Phun in the Philippines Part 2

Borcay. I think this is Paradise. Coffee. Lobster. Sweet Kids. Flying Fish. Scuba. Amazing Boracay.

Seoul, South Korea

Hello Friends and Family,

First of all, thank you for all the great emails I received after my last newsletter about my adventures in the Philippines. Especially the funny ones. I actually received 34 emails from you, and I have been able to respond to many of them. If I still owe you an email, please be patient. I’m doing the best I can. The best news is that not one of those emails asked me for any of my money. Good. Let’s keep it that way.

The ironic thing is that I developed this newsletter so that I could efficiently stay in touch with you while I’m traveling. The problem is, as I travel, I meet more and more people, and I add them to my subscriber list. Then they go back home to their cubicles and mortgage payments and rainy cities, and write me long emails to tell me how much they wish they were still traveling. So I keep getting more and more emails as time goes on. I’m not complaining at all… I’m just trying to tell you that it’s hard for me to respond to every email I get. Again, please be patient.

OK, my last Lexpedition focused on my adventures in the amazing and beautiful Philippines. I lounged on the glorious beaches of Boracay, went scuba diving many times, swam with the massive whale sharks, and had a blast with my funny Danish friends. I ended up traveling with them for four weeks (the Danish guys, not the whale sharks.) Here are a few more of the highlights of my time in the Philippines.

As I mentioned in my last Lexpedition, the people of the Philippines are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Of course there are exceptions to every generalization. I realize that. But time and time again, the Philppinos greeted me with a warm smile and were extremely generous and hospitable to my friends and me. The children were especially happy and vibrant. As you may know, I have seven sweet nieces and nephews back home in Kentucky – Elliott, Gabriel, Isaiah, Quincy, Gracie, Ireland and Maximus. I miss them dearly. So when I’m traveling, I like to goof around with the kids when I can. Here is a photo of a boy covered in sand against a coconut tree on the Boracay beach.

One day the four of us took a ride on a Flying Fish, which is basically a huge inflatable raft that is pulled behind a powerful speed boat. As the boat speeds up the square raft turns into a giant kite, bouncing up and down on the water. Riding on the Flying Fish reminds me of riding a mechanical bull, where you have to hang on with both hands or fall off. And they won’t stop the boat until someone falls off.

We were laughing so hard, flying all over the raft, banging into each other. Eventually one of us would be so exhausted and lose our grip, or the raft would come crashing back down on the water and violently knock us all off. My neck and shoulders were really tight the next day, but nothing that a five dollar, hour-long massage couldn’t fix.

As the speed boat brought us back to shore, we were met by a bunch of kids who wanted to climb on the Flying Fish. After the owner kicked them off, they decided to climb on us. We spent about 30 minutes playing with these kids, throwing them into the water, letting them jump off our shoulders, and watching them do backflips on the beach. It was like playing “fetch” with a dog who just keeps bringing a ball back to you over and over again. It’s hard to say no. These kids just could not get enough. How can you say no? Here are Anders and Louis playing with the kids.

I went scuba diving with a small dive shop called “The Dive Gurus” on Boracay. I enjoyed twelve dives around the beautiful island, and as it was approaching the “low season” on the island, many times I was the only diver on the trip. Which meant it was just the divemaster or guide (Jung Eun and Edwin) and I exploring the wrecks and corals together. It was usually a 15 minute boat ride to reach our dive site, and the views were incredible. As I’ve said before, the boat rides to and from the dive sites is one of my favorite things about scuba diving.

Here’s a view from my chair inside the Dive Gurus shop looking out toward the beach. The chalkboard shows the scheduled dives for each day. I would sit and enjoy some coffee while waiting for my next dive, enjoying the postcard-perfect scenery.

Here’s a shot of the swirling clouds and beautiful Boracay beach, taken while I was floating around one afternoon.

One night we spent many hours dancing and enjoying the festive night life on Boracay. OK, we did that almost every night. Don’t tell anybody, please. One night I walked home as the sun was coming up. OK, I actually did that quite a few times. Please don’t tell my parents. I took this photo of the sun coming up with the full moon going down. Then I went to sleep. I did. Honestly.

Here are Morten and his brother Anders and me one afternoon. I can’t remember whether we were goofing off, killing time, walking around, or just enjoying the beach. We were always doing one of those things during our 17 days here. Remind me again… why did I leave???!!!!??

We decided to have a massive seafood celebration on our last night on Boracay. Two of the Danish guys had (somehow) never had lobster before. So our friend Don Don (from the hotel next to ours) offered to purchase and prepare our dinner for us. How could we refuse. Here is Don Don (“The Lobster Mon”) showing us the two massive fresh lobsters he bought at the market. They were quite yummy. Remember… Lobster always tastes better with a good Mojito.

And as my mother always taught me… never eat a lobster unless it’s big enough to wear as a hat. Well, I had to be sure. I called this one “Pinchy”.

So next time I will write about my four days of diving on the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines, which was one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite places. It was the best diving I have experienced so far in my (fairly) limited scuba adventures. And maybe I’ll include some photo of my crazy bungee jump off the 70-story Macau tower. That was nuts, man!

Life is good. I just booked my flight today from Seoul to New Delhi at the end of July, with a few more nights in Bangkok on the way there. I can’t wait to get back to the Himalayas. Time for some more Himalayan Hillbilly adventures. Wahoooooooo! I don’t know if I will ever come down. I’m a happy boy up there, I tells ya.

I’m taking a train tomorrow morning from Seoul to attend another seven-day silent Zen meditation retreat in a beautiful monastery in the South Korean mountains. I’m really looking forward to some serious peace and quiet and the “simple life” for the next week. So I’ll catch back up to you again real soon.

I hope you are doing well and enjoying your lives. Don’t wait to have fun and to follow your passions and dreams.

Thank you all for your support and friendship.

Peace & Love,

Lex Latkovski

PS – In case you missed it, I was (believe it or not) quoted in a June 6th USA Today article by Matt Krantz about the US Housing Market. Here’s the link… Enjoy.

“Many Investors Feel Like Running Away From Homes”
USA Today, June 6th, 2007, by Matt Krantz

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