The food sucked, we got majorly sick, and John went to a strip club.
I was too jet lagged to remember now whether or not my first report on our trip to the Philippines was quite so terse, but that, according to Tracy, is how I summed it up to our friend Doc while in LAX’s international terminal awaiting our final connection back to Denver.
Truly, I would require some more sleep and/or practice in choosing my mention-worthy highlights before I could be trusted to paint a fairer picture of the whole 18-day experience.
For it wasn’t that bad, whatever images popped into your head while reading the opening words above is most likely a far cry from how our trip went. And it is in that spirit that I would like to acknowledge a few things up front and get them out of the way:
First, it is true that, of the now 4 international adventures that Tracy and I have taken together, this one happened to take 4th place. And I’m not bummed by that. After all, one of the 4 trips would have to take that slot, and I see no reason to think that particularly disappointing because this one was our honeymoon. The flip side of that coin is the realization simply how fantastic it is that we’ve enjoyed now 4 trips of a honeymoon-esque scale and radness.
Second, I want to grant up front that I would not recommend the Philippines to a friend. Tracy and I wrestled with this a bit while over looking the South China Sea from our 3rd floor balcony one night, wondering if that meant we were genuinely not having a good time? We decided that more than anything the reason we wouldn’t is because it’s TOO hardcore: we love to find travel bliss in more obscure places, preferring to sidestep touristy hot spots, but for even us the Philippines was too far off the beaten path, a bit too rugged, and even (oddly enough) not touristy enough. One hint that we are not alone in this belief was the sheer regularity of the question “So why did you come to the Philippines?” as posed by locals to me. I gather that they really wanted to know, as though the obvious rationale of tourism somehow did not apply.
Third, though as a rule I prefer to refrain from being a big complain-monkey, I will go on the record here and now stating that yeah, the food did kinda suck. There’s a curious and consistent culinary quirk in the Philippines, and that is the sweetness found in everything. Basic staples like butter and bread are infused (sans exception, it seems) with sugar, and it permeates out from those basics accordingly: even the catchup for french fries and marinara sauce for spaghetti are acutely sweet. Once the novelty wears off, it’s just kinda gross.
That about covers the upfront caveats: I lay them out here with care because of the tendency for people to expect that your honeymoon should be this magical, unforgettable getaway where you have your first span of time together as husband and wife. It’s a sweet presumption, for sure, but for it I feel compelled not to dash anyone’s well meaning presumptions with tales of my honeymoon that came in 4th place.
With all of those things said and done with, I wish to clearly articulate now all of the things that were fantastic about our trip to the Philippines. Tales of our travel–free of superfluous commentary on things like sugary spaghetti–begin with the next post!