Philippines #1 – Scooters, Jet-Lag and Sunburns

Day 1 – Made it to the Phillies The past week has been one heck of a ride. After visiting my friend Sarah in Taiwan and navigating the Mandarin transportation system, I managed to catch the Red-Eye flight from Taipei to Manila. Manila, infamous for it’s hustle and bustle, is something you can’t ever really get used to. As soon as you step out of the airport doors you have about 15 taxi drivers yelling “Hello Ma’am! Hi Ma’am, taxi ma’am!!” I weaved my way through to the ‘meter’ taxi station, the one where you don’t get ripped off by paying $900 pesos instead of $300. My taxi driver dropped me off at the Pasay bus station, where I bought at ticket to Angeles City. Destination – Clark I spent a fair bit of time in the Phillipines the last time I was here so I have a general idea of what to expect. What I didn’t expect was a fancy-pants Holiday Inn with all the amenities and comforts of home. I mean full-on American style rooms with turbo-charged aircon, buffets, and an outdoor pool with a pool bar. To be honest I was actually a little disappointed, but really – what did I expect? Holiday Inn prides itself on world-wide standards and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Clark is an old US military base from WW2. The airport was a primary checkpoint and it is apparent when you take a walk around. Officers guard every entrance to Clark, there are no tuk-tuks or Jeepanys that can enter the base. It is full of Casino’s, high-price hotels and 7-11s. Across the road from our hotel is a Military obstacle course and paintball – two activities with possible 10s in entertainment value for later on in the week.

After I unpacked my bags and had a solid nap I made my way over to the cable to meet up with Christian and get some laps in. The Cable is brand-new, apparently the first stage of a destination development which they literally opened on Monday for this event. The set-up is sweet, double transfer boxes, two sets of kickers, a roof-top and a flat box. The Cable is pretty tight so the air-tricks we have been working on at home on the System 2 are transferring over well. Christian and I got in a couple hours then headed back to the hotel. We had some dinner, another nap then met up with Jono and the IWWF crew in the hotel bar. It really hit me then that we made it to worlds. I met organizers from Austrailia, Taiwain, UK, Germany, Croatia, Israel, Austria and the list goes on. Everyone is super friendly and I am excited to meet the rest of the teams as they arrive.

Getting Around – Driving in the Philippines is crazy. There are literally two rules, honk when you pass a car and don’t hold back when you turn left. So what do we do? We rent scooters. I know, I know, probably a silly idea, but when they charge $300 pesos for a 5 min cab ride or $200 rental for a full day, well hey, when in Rome right? And now I understand why people go crazy over bikes. Heck ya it is so much fun. Just ripping around on a bike gives you so much freedom at a Wakeboard event. You aren’t stuck at the cable all day, you can head into Angeles city and get some Mangos at a fruit stand, new flip flops for a dollar or pirated DVDs for 50 cents. Love it. Well I think that’s all for today folks – Stay tuned, tomorrow is the official practice day and the big riders will start showing their faces. We’ll be riding hard.

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