Our week in the Philippines didn't exactly start out as planned - as in it was COMPLETE disaster. Remember how we talked about our Flying Mishaps - which can be summed up to "you get what you pay for"? Well this is where one of our budget airlines SCREWED us.

Original Plan: Fly into Clark, take an 8ish hour bus ride at 10pm to Banaue where we would arrive at the beautiful rice terraces early morning where we would spend the day. Then take the same bus back that night where we would get back to Clark the next morning and then fly to Boracay - AKA paradise. Well our flight got changed to 3 hours later, causing us to miss that bus so instead, we decided to just take a flight early the next morning from Clark - Boracay. Meaning we would be spending the night at the airport.

We've already had PLENTY of experience sleeping at airports so we weren't too fussed over this. Unfortunately, this was an airport like no other, thus far. Only international flyers were able to be inside the airport (which did NOT include us since we had a layover in Clark) so we were stuck outside. With cockroaches and dozens of other humungous bugs EVERYWHERE. And I'm talking GIANT FLYING cockroaches. We were going to take turns sleeping (we didn't want to get robbed) and as exhausted as I was, there was no way I was sleeping with cockroaches creeping around every corner in the hot humid weather. Yes, it was the middle of the night. No, this didn't mean the humidity wasn't 80%.

So after 8 hours of terrified exhaustion, we finally board the plane to take a 45 minute flight to Kalibo, where we then waited for a bus to take us 2 more hours to a dock where we boarded a "bunka" boat. This 15 minute boat ride finally landed us in Boracay! And the 15+ hours of traveling was worth it to get to paradise.
White Beach, Boracay had THE most BEAUTIFUL white sand and clear (yet incredibly turquoise) perfect-temperatured water I have ever been in, in my LIFE. And this is including Fiji and Thailand. Yes, it was probably the most humid place we had been so far, but that just meant more time spent in the water, which was probably around 80 degrees.

We were halfway through our trip and probably spent the majority of our money, so this was just an excuse to be completely lazy and lay on the beach all day, which we definitely did. I was completely content with going for a morning swim, laying on the beach drinking $1 happy hour cocktails, napping under the sun, going for another swim and then watching the sunset. 
After a few days of this, we did decide to partake in a few activities - with a bit of coercion from the dozens of guys harassing you on the streets. We booked a sailing trip around the islands followed by horseback riding at sunset at about $40 a person. A few Filipinos came on the sailboat with us and we cruised around for a few hours and ended up riding right into a storm. It poured on us for a good 20 minutes and then literally cleared up within 5 right after. We also snorkeled a bit but the rough waters and lack of fins made it a bit difficult.
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Snorkeling with Marlon & Nemo (if you look reeeal hard, you can find them!)
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Our semi-sketch boat with tarp sails
Horseback riding later was a lot different than I expected it to be. I thought we would arrive at some ranch and we would just be riding through big fields. After taking a little "tuk tuk" (their little baby cabs) to the stable, we arrived at a dirty farm with a few kids manning the horses. Without so much as a brief introductory (I've never been horseback riding before), we were jumping on our horses and were on our way. Instead of riding through fields, we actually rode down the street and then into what I guess were the neighborhoods. The streets had sporadic housing which was basically just a small shack with an entire family living inside every half kilometer or so. And I'm talking, 8 by 8 feet HOUSES with families of 5 living in them. Clothes lines were connected from houses to trees and little kids were running around everywhere. People were sleeping in the dirt under trees with babies wrapped in their arms. I felt like an asshole riding around on a horse because all of the kids would come chase after us a few dozen yards when we would ride past them. 

I did notice a lot of families cooking and having big get togethers at the larger houses I saw. There would be heaps of people gathered outside these houses drinking and celebrating birthdays and such. But these were rare. Poverty was the majority of what we saw.
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Tuk-Tuk cabbies
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They were absolutely INSANE drivers
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Leaving the stable!
The rest of our trip was spent wandering through the shops, lazing around on the beach even more, finding authentic Filipino food (most of the food on the touristy island of Boracay was BBQ and seafood kind of food), eating, finding happy hours and playing pool. Which are all some of my favorite past times so I was completely satisfied.

Boracay may not have been the most exciting destination we went to, but it was still an amazing experience. Extremely eye-opening for sure. Maybe I'm a little biased because it's my "homeland" but I just couldn't believe the poverty there. And this is at the most touristy place in the Philippines. I can't even imagine what the REALLY poor places are like. There are about 94 million people in the Philippines and of those, 70% are living in poverty. That's almost 70 million people possibly living in the dirt, not knowing when their next meal is going to be. 
I definitely want to come back to the Philippines and stay a lot longer. Boracay was gorgeous but I'd want to get a more authentic Filipino experience. Although, there really was nothing better than being able to walk 100 feet to the beach, wear nothing but a swim suit, be able to go dive in the ocean at any point in the day or night and choose from the happy hours as cheap as 30 pesos a beer (which is less than a dollar). The people are so nice and hospitable, there are tons of shops, bars and restaurants, and the view didn't suck either :)
 
Election time. The time when my Facebook newsfeed is full of everyone's opinions, people saying they don't want to see everyone's opinions & of course the many pretentious posts about people thinking they're better than everybody else because they may know a little bit more about what's going on. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about getting educated, especially about things that affect us all directly on a daily basis. But no, I don't really want to read your arrogant posts about you saying everyone else is an idiot for not having your same views.

But hey, I guess I'd rather have my newsfeed full of opinionated people that are at least watching the news every now and then (although unfortunately that probably includes Fox News half the time) than people going on about ridiculously idiotic reality tv shows like The Bachelor. Yes, political (& definitely sports) talk/rants > reality tv gossip BY FAR (funny how a person usually will fall under only one of those categories).

People always go on about how they "wish they could filter their newsfeed" or how they're sick of people blowing up their Facebook about a certain sports game and so on and so forth. Why don't you just get off Facebook maybe? Obviously I am one of the millions that are unable and unwilling to delete my Facebook, but I am also not bitching about how much I hate it. Perhaps I am right now, I suppose, but at least it's not on Facebook exactly? The reason I like blogging is that people have more of a choice whether or not they want to read what I have to say. Granted, we all have always had this choice but Mark Zuckerburg somehow convinced us otherwise. But you know what I mean. It's not deliberately in everyone's faces.

So my actual intention of this post - before I started ranting about how annoying people are - is to say that we are all actually very blessed to be able to have different opinions. We are lucky to be living in a country where we are able to contribute to the laws that are passed and the people who ultimately represent us. A lot of people think that the electoral college is stupid and that it doesn't give us a real vote or that there's no point in voting because it won't make a difference. But if everyone thought that way, then it would make a HUGE difference. Not all of us live in Ohio, but there IS more to voting than just voting for president. (And imagine what a nightmare it would be if every democrat in California decided that their vote didn't matter.)

We will all never agree on everything, especially on who we think is fit to be president, but that's the beauty of our country - that we're perfectly entitled and have a right to our opinions.

I've been traveling around Southeast Asia and have never felt so blessed to be an American. You don't realize how lucky you are until you're walking around third world countries and see the mass amounts of poverty. Until you see dozens of families sleeping in the dirt with infants cradled in their arms. And then you go back to your hotel room when it starts pouring down rain and you have no idea how that family manages storms like that on a regular basis without shelter.

In America a lot of people won't give money to homeless people mainly because they'll probably just spend it on booze. Some people say that they put themselves there because of drinking or drugs. Don't get me wrong, I usually have the same opinions. But I've never seen poverty like the Philippines. Where you know that they didn't choose the life they have. There wasn't a choice - that's just life.

We are all so lucky to live in a country where we have so many rights and freedoms. A country that fights to keep the poverty level and unemployment rate down. It might seem silly to compare The United Stated to third world countries, but the point is that we're lucky. That's all. People in a lot of these countries know nothing about the kind of freedom we are privileged to have.

So I try to consider that more before I open my mouth and argue about a stupid "NObama" post. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter how idiotic or ignorantly they may display it. At least they have an opinion.