March update

My brother decided to leave Tokyo after 5 years. He’s now in Florida for a while and may or may not return to Japan in June.

We’re leaving early tomorrow morning for Puerto Galera – white sandy beaches on the next island south of Luzon (the island we live on here in the Philippines). I’ve heard many mixed reviews of how to best get there. Essentially there are three main ways: small open catamaran style ‘bancas’ (one sank in 2009), enclosed ferries, and larger roll-on roll-off car ferries. Friends who’ve previously done the crossing have had some negative things to say about the ferries and bancas. At this point, there’s a fair chance we may go with the ro-ro so we can bring our car across (and have a potentially safer trip).

Looking forward to chilling on the beach for a week, doing some kayaking, snorkeling, and just enjoying being out of Manila for a while.

The biking addiction has come full circle and I’ve been mountain biking lately, with two trips this week to Santa Rosa approaching the volcano near Tagaytay. It’s been a brutal ride both times, mostly because I’ve been out of biking so long, but also because today started with a ride up “cardiac hill”. You can only guess why it has taken on such a name. I managed to completely biff it once when a wheel got caught in a rut, but considering the terrain we’re riding in, I suppose it’s bound to happen. At one point today we got a bit lost off our course and found ourselves traipsing through coffee and pineapple plantations in thick undergrowth trying to get back to the trail. But all in all, it’s a fantastic workout, and a welcome respite from Manila’s craziness.

Here’s our route via Google Earth using MotionX GPS for iPhone.