and a run-down of the things i did/happened to me during my three-week vacation in the philippines:

-took my oath and withstood the challenge of walking upright in my weapon-of-mass-destruction shoes starting from the ceremony until the party that followed afterwards. i tripped on my way back to the PICC hall after being dragged by a sorority sister to recover some money paid to "colorum" photographers outside the venue. she was able to get a refund, while i couldn't find the one who took my pictures. anyway, i got my money's worth of 5R-sized photos much later.

-videoke night out with a few old pals, in which i weirded them out by singing "abracadabra", a song none of them has ever heard before, and to them seemed like an aerobics anthem akin to olivia newton john's "let's get physical."

-finally got to visit boracay, and saw what all the fuss was about. the waters are clear and is always cool, never gets hot no matter how sunny it gets. the waters are also rendered verdant with algae here and there. my sister discovered the exfoliating potentials of the powdery sand and applied it generously to her skin while bathing in the waters. i followed suit.

-the highlight of our stay was the activity not to be missed by any tourist, "island-hopping." depending on which boater you contract with, you could have the boat to yourself or share it with a dozen other tourists, mostly foreigners. we were lucky to have had a boat to ourselves, P1,500 for a 4-hour island tryst, complete with snorkeling and fish-feeding and swimming and my incessant picture-taking/videotaping.

-my biggest regret? not buying that underwater camera i saw at target before i left NJ. it would have been perfect for all the corals and fish and those spiky sea urchins i saw while snorkeling. took me a little while to get the hang of snorkeling too, trying to breathe in that mouth tube.

-soooo many korean tourists in bora. they also tend to dress alike, e.g., wear matching mickey mouse shirts while strutting in public. i find it very amusing, yet cute.

-we missed the other bora attraction, "banana ride," in which you ride on top of an inflated, banana-shaped log pulled over the water by a speedboat. a 15-minute ride costs P200 per head. we were too busy shopping for souvenirs for a lot of people that it was already dark when we remembered we had to ride it. we had to leave the next day.

-all the restaurants at bora charge exorbitantly! a can of soda would sell for P45. my cash was drained just from buying food.

-got me a temporary henna tattoo on my ankle for P50. it was a unicorn. i've scrubbed it off now because the head was already faded. it was a fun two weeks for my tat, though. haha.

-i met some of my elementary classmates and bought them dinner at don henrico's. it also seemed obligatory to admit who my crush was back then. found out my crush had a crush on someone else, who was with us that very evening. haha. we were just kids!

-streaked my hair at a beauty parlor for the first time. the head thing he wrapped my head in felt like a giant condom...a giant, neon green condom. this method is not recommended for claustrophobics. with that thing all the way down my forehead, he then starts pulling on a few random strands here and there. he then paints it with hair color, so that my head looked like a martian with platinum blonde worms crawling out of my skull. the worms were then baked for an hour in that head contraption. after that, the process was complete. my sister thinks i have grey hair.

-bought a few filipino publications to take back with me to NJ, namely: jessica zafra's twisted 7 (which kept me company on my flight back to NJ), zsa zsa zaturnah comic book (a gay spinoff of darna), and a compilation book of larry alcala's cartoons.

-was given VIP lounge tickets in manila and taipei for having flown that particular airline frequently enough to earn me VIP status. haha. free snacks, yum! you can even go back for seconds and thirds. my bliss lies in my stomach, as you can see, among other things.

to be continued....

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