February / March 2016
On my longest flight to the other side of the globe I was traveling for 33 hours and 20 minutes with KLM from Lima via Amsterdam to Manila, including 5.5 hours stay in Amsterdam. The time difference was a maximum of 12 hours. I had a lot of respect for this flight and thought that I would suffer. To my surprise, the flights in the new 777 planes were very pleasant. Time passed by with eating, watching unknown movies and literally sleeping in the air. In Manila a 5-star hotel awaited me, so that I could recover after the long flight. The first two days I woke up already at 4:30. On the third day I was prepared for the new time. I was shocked that I still saw families with babies sleeping on the sidewalk in Manila.
Beach on Negros island
I traveled to a beach on the island of Negros, where I met the Swiss lifeguard, who also travels every winter. It is is a 1 km long sandy beach with the right orientation for perfect sunsets. As it is 6-7 hours drive from the nearest airport, many tourists simply don’t have enough time to visit this place. There is a quiet, family atmosphere here. Of the 8 resorts, 6 are Swiss owned and one has a German owner. Another Swiss runs a Rock bar. Since the resort owners themselves live in this paradise on earth and want it to be preserved in this way, there is hardly any growth here. What an exception in the growth-driven tourism industry!
Beach on Negros island: A hopefully still long peaceful piece of earth
Thanks to a moonless night and little light pollution, millions of stars and the Milky Way are visible.
Just the opposite I found on my next destination, the island of Boracay. The goal here is to reach more tourist arrivals every year. In 2001 265’000 people visited the island, in 2015 1’560’000, almost a sixfold increase! Only five years ago, only half as many visitors were counted. Koreans and Chinese now account for 30% of all arrivals and in 2015, for the first time, more foreigners than Filipinos visited the island. Meanwhile, there are cheap direct flights from more and more Korean and Chinese cities. And the additional workers needed must also live on the island and move around.
The holiday experience has therefore changed a lot in recent years. More and more accommodations have been built, traffic has increased, there are more boats in front of the beach and green algae swim near the beach, which feed on the additional nutrients from the tourist boom. The beach is still long, wide, traffic-free and the sand powdery. The sun continues to set, although more and more boats interrupt the horizon. Nevertheless the mood is not the same anymore.
I went swimming every morning before breakfast, jogged on the beach or rode my bike to the Shangri-La Resort, which is located at another beach. Otherwise I spent the day with reading, investment analysis, editing photos and writing travelogues. I reserved my room with one of the best sea views of Boracay 6 months before. Surprisingly, there are few rooms with this sea view. The hotels are built to the back. At the front there are almost always public rooms. A colleague from Switzerland visited me and brought me the last things the cleaning lady had removed in Mendoza. The restaurants cannot compete with my experiences in South America, but the variety is great and by Philippine standards they are at a good level. After dinner there are many possibilities to drink a beer and dance to live or DJ music.
Sunset from my balcony
My next destination was Ambon on the Moluccas in Indonesia. There and on Papua I visit some of the best snorkeling areas in the world. The underwater camera is ready.
This text is an automatic English translation from the German original by deepl.com