Docastaway Experience, Part One

Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long! Apparently, real life is much more hectic than normal after a relaxing 2-week vacation. I am so ready to relive those moments and also to share them with you! So, without further ado…

Our journey was beginning! It was too early for our local bus to be running, so D’s parents picked us up on Saturday morning (May 18) and drove us to Yverdon-les-Bains so we could catch the train to the airport. After a short flight from Geneva to Amsterdam, a long-haul from there to Guangzhou (11+ hours), and another short flight to Manila, our adventure could “finally” begin. Up until this point, I had been the one reserving the legs of the journey. The rest of the way had been prepared by the travel company┬áDocastaway. It truly was a leap of faith as we had only had email contact with them up to that point. The overall feeling was excitement, mixed with a bit of caution and a spirit of adventure.

We changed terminals (surprisingly easy considering horror stories I’d read about the Manila airport) and caught a flight to “Local Town.” (Out of respect for Docastaway and their services, I will not be revealing exact locations.) We had to wait on the tarmac for 45 minutes before taking off, no explanation offered. At least I got a great nap in while we waited! Upon arrival at “Local Town” later in the afternoon than we were expecting, we learned why there had been a delay: a thunderstorm had just passed through. We collected our suitcase, and went to look for the person picking us up. At such a small airport, the meeting was made quickly. We drove in an air-conditioned van/bus over pot-holed and not-always-paved roads to the actual town. At this point, the bus driver called someone on his cell phone and dropped us off alone at the port. Although things had been going smoothly, D and I exchanged wary glances. But, lo and behold, 5 minutes later, one of the hotel workers arrived on a small (very small) speedboat. We got in and were whisked away to… we didn’t know where, and we couldn’t really see where either, because the sky kept getting darker and darker with night.

"Marooning" Island. This was not taken at our time of arrival (because it was too dark to see anything).

“Marooning” Island. This was not taken at our time of arrival (because it was too dark to see anything).

Instead of dropping us off directly at our private beach + bungalow, they decided to put us up at the actual hotel for the first night. This was complete with a coconut welcome drink, a dinner buffet, the beach-front cabin for the night (the starry sky was incredible!), and a breakfast buffet. Could have gotten used to the great service, but we were here on more of an isolated adventure this time around!

Welcome drink at the beach-front cabin.

Welcome drink at the beach-front cabin.

After breakfast, we were transported by boat to our own private beach! They dropped us off with a cell phone and promised to return later in the day with our kayaks and to replenish the water supply. That meant we had time to get installed in the bungalow, explore the beach, make and eat lunch, and go snorkeling. When we were in the water, we felt like we were getting stung by small, invisible creatures. The stinging went away after a few minutes. When the hotel workers returned in the afternoon, one of them confirmed that this was jellyfish season so the stinging was probably by baby jellyfish that were too small to notice. So, from day one, we knew we’d have to be on the lookout!

Did we find more jellyfish? Sorry folks, out of time for the moment… Check back soon for the next installment!

“Marooning” in the Philippines

I am now the biggest fan of the unique travel agency Docastaway. Founded by Alvaro Cerezo, this company specializes in desert island vacations (mostly in Indonesia and the Philippines).

We signed up for their Marooning experience and were on their glorious island from May 18 to June 1. A vacation that will be hard to forget. ­čÖé Here are a few pictures for you while I work on more posts about the trip:

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If this type of experience is something that interests you, contact Docastaway! They have great customer service. It being something I found online, I was wary at first. But I was blown away by their amazing service. My assigned agent always answered my questions within a day (usually just a few hours) and made sure I felt as comfortable and as informed as I needed to be.

Absolutely zero regrets. In fact, we’ve already started thinking about where we’d like to go next time!