I touched down Siargao from Cebu at around 8 in the morning. I was greeted by the shuttle drivers outside the airport, all vying for my attention, not because I’m such a goddess but because they want me to pick their van transfer service. The airport is 29-km away from General Luna where my place of accommodation is, a transportation service is a must. But I booked my transfer prior to this trip, I just had to look for a certain guy named, Burdoy.
I asked the drivers if they knew him and they sure did. Moments later, I saw this old short guy from a distance donned in a barong shirt. He is dark skinned, his hair is brushed neatly, and he was carrying a placard that bears two names; one is mine.
“Ayun driver ni Burdoy, si Binay.” (There goes Burdoy’s driver, Binay)
The old man is not Burdoy but his driver. I didn’t get his name, but because he does share an uncanny resemblance to the former vice president, let’s just call him Binay.
Binay offered to carry monster for me. I got in the van and waited for the other passengers to arrive. All in all, there were 5 passengers including myself. It’s bound to be a long ride, somewhere along the way I napped. When I opened my eyes the van has stopped on a clearing surrounded by trees and small outbuildings. Turns out it’s my stop. I alighted from the van, Binay helped me with my bag, I said my thanks then I started walking towards the resort. I stopped in my tracks upon remembering I haven’t paid. Binay has just got on the driver’s seat. I quickly made the approach and told him that I have to pay.
“Okay na,” (It’s okay) he said.
I stared at him confused, “Ano po?” (What?)
He nodded and repeated what he said. I tried to remember if I made the payment online; I know I didn’t. Not entirely sure what was going on, all I could do is say thanks and let him drive off.
I continued my way to the Bravo Beach Resort, which I found on a travel booking app. The dirt pathway opens to the resort’s in-house restaurant and reception. The main reason I chose this resort is that I liked how it looked on photos, clean and new. Despite this, I was still mighty impressed when I saw it in person.
Beyond the restaurant, right in the resort’s backyard is a beach that is bare and beautiful. The view alone makes dining at the resto such a pleasurable experience. There is also a small swimming pool.
Bravo Beach Resort is located in General Luna. If you want to do some surfing or if you want to watch surfers do their thing, you should stay in this municipality. When you search for good accommodation in Siargao you will find Kermit on top of that list. I meant to stay there following my friends’ advice but it’s fully booked. Maybe Kermit is amazing, but I cannot say I feel sorry that I didn’t stay there. I liked Bravo a lot, I think it’s perfect. I went to Kermit for dinner and aside from the fact that it takes an effort getting there due to the poor road condition where it stood, it is also not beach-front. There’s a reason why people love beach-front accommodation; the view of the beach cannot be beaten.
I approached the receptionist who started telling me about the cost that I should settle. She said that the accommodation is good, I just had to pay for the food that I ate. Food that I ate? I just arrived! I read the name on the paper in which she was basing her computation and found that it’s not me.
“That’s not me. I’m just about to check in,” I informed her.
She immediately apologized, but I’d soon forgotten about her when the other receptionist started speaking to me, a young woman with an even brown skin and a lovely smile. She made me sign on a form to enter my information, then she told me to wait as she checks if there’s an available bed already. I stayed in the restaurant, enjoyed the view of the sea, and the welcome drink of calamansi juice.
When the room was ready, the girl called me out and led me to this narrow pathway that is surrounded by plants. We went to room number. I was very much impressed that I muttered “beautiful” as soon as I stepped in. There is nothing fancy about the room, but I love the minimalist design. The bunk beds are made of thick sturdy wood that they don’t shake even if somebody climbs up on the top bed. The toilet and shower are separated, the doors can be closed by a wooden latch. Across the shower/toilet is a long concrete sink, below a huge rectangular mirror.
There are tall closets with hangers, each bed has an electric outlet and a night light, the bed is thick and not too soft, sheets and pillowcases smell fresh, and they also provide a bath towel and a beach towel for their guests. The girl gave me the key tied to a blue string. I asked her name, it’s Monique.
For my 2-night stay, I paid ₱3561.46 ($70.45), pretty cheap if you ask me considering the lovely amenities, the cordial staff, and complimentary breakfast.
Oh yes, let’s go to the food. Bravo is among the must-go places for good food in Siargao. Their most recommended dish happened to be the one that I tried for lunch, the peri peri chicken ₱240 ($4.75). It’s a must-try, the chicken meat is tender and well-seasoned.
On my first night, I had a hard time sleeping due to the loud snoring of the old white guy on the bed below mine. Not only does he snore, he was also suffering from a terrible coughing fit. I remember praying that he gets better, having a bad cough is one of the worst feelings in the world. The next night, the man, as well as the other foreign tourist, have checked out. In came a group of Filipino friends who are dentists. They bought a bottle of whisky and had a drinking sesh Filipino style outside our room. I was busy reading Dan Brown’s Origin on my phone when one of them came to the room to invite me to join them. I considered this for a moment, I have been alone on this trip, hardly talked to anyone so I thought, why not. Let’s go talk to some hoomans.
I went outside, sat in the hammock, then started chatting with them. They were led to the room by Monique earlier and they heard her calling me “ate” (big sister). So there everyone was calling me ate. If I have to be honest, I really don’t like being called ate. In the Philippines, it’s a sign of respect for women who are older than you. I am perfectly aware that I am older than them but I just don’t like being called ate by people who are not my siblings. In my family, the ate and kuya (big brother) is exclusive with siblings, not with cousins. This means my youngest sister doesn’t call our oldest cousin ate yet she is obliged to call me ate because we’re sisters. I hope I made sense.
Anyway, my point, I was raised in a family where the terms for older sister and brother do not extend to the cousins, not even to neighbors. I am used to this, hence I don’t like being called ate by someone who is not my sibling no matter our age difference. I hate it most especially in the place of work as I find it very unprofessional. So yes I am older than you, no don’t call me ate. I will not find it disrespectful if you call me by my name.
In keeping with good faith, I kept these thoughts in my head.
Most of the guests at Bravo are foreigners. One of the girls in the group kept saying baby shark whenever she sees some of them pass by. I realized she was referring to the white men. She was the most flirtatious and most willing to meet some guys that night and she succeeded. Before I knew it she was already talking with 3 of them who are staying in the room across from ours.
I thought I would get an easy sleep that night, I was wrong. The girl and the 3 guys talked so loudly and excitedly, I had to put my pillow over my head to lessen the noise. Why did I freakin’ leave my earplugs at home.
Monique and I were supposed to go out form some drinks that night and I was honestly looking forward to it. Then it rained, and I waited and waited for her message. When I woke up, I got a missed call and 3 sms from her. I said sorry that I zonked out early.
Bravo arranges island hopping tours and airport transfer. The van service that I hired the first time didn’t reply to my message. I wonder if it’s because I wasn’t able to pay them, but then it’s not like it’s my fault. I mentioned it to Binay about it you know. To get to the airport, I took Bravo’s van service for ₱400 ($7.91). I was alone in the van and we reached the airport in only 30 minutes.
Already I am planning to go back to Siargao next year and when I do, I will still choose Bravo Beach Resort. And I won’t forget to bring my ear plugs.