Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Skills to Avoid the Bills

I just got back from a looong vacation. When I say vacation, that usually means with my family in Manila - where somebody else takes care of my food and laundry. And while I was enjoying liberation from daily chores, it made me think of some important skills to have if you want an island life. 

Living in Boracay isn't cheap, but you can keep your life pretty simple and inexpensive with these few tips. Consider it a must if you are - like I once was - a sheltered city girl. 

No. 1: Doing Your Own Laundry - Laundromats on the island charge a little more than the ones in Manila at an average of 35 - 40 Pesos per kilo. Sadly, after trying all the major laundry shops here, I haven't experienced one that has not lost/ruined an item of clothing or returned someone else's clothes in my pile. If you value some of your clothes and like me do not like the idea of having your undies mixed with other people's undies in one machine, then I suggest you channel your inner labandera and start scrubbing your own clothes. 

No. 2: Cooking - One of the hardest parts of living in a tourist destination is the tourist-priced food. Eating out everyday is way too expensive. Eating in carenderias on the other hand, can be tiring or nakakasawa and offer very limited choices if you want to eat healthy and not-so-greasy. So, it's better to know how to cook, even just the simple stuff like pasta or omelettes. It will save you A LOT of money and save you from getting stuck with cheap-but-unhealthy food. Believe me, you don't want to eat Choriburger everyday.

No. 3: Swimming - You would be surprised how many locals and residents don't know how to swim. Sometimes I wonder what they stay here for (after all, standard island salary isn't big). It's simple, you're on an island, you are surrounded by water - learn to swim. If you can't then you can't enjoy (the very thing that surrounds you) to the fullest. Plus, it would be harder for you to survive a tsunami. Just kidding -- but not really. Swimming is also one past time that you can do here for free. :)

Simple tuna and tomato pasta - could save your life.

At least wash your own swimsuits, they may not survive the laundromats.

Learn to swim, because it's fun.

Mind you, I didn't come to the island equipped with these "skills" - not the first two to be exact. I remember "washing" my clothes once outside my old place, and a group of tambays nearby were watching me. I thought: Mga manyakis (What maniacs)!!! Staring at me, while I wash my clothes and underwear!" Until, one of the shirtless, big-bellied manongs go: "Marunong ka ba talaga maglaba? Kulang yung pagkusot mo." (Do you really know how to do laundry? You're not scrubbing well.)

Sorry naman.

I then figured if I can't fool a tambay, then it was time to learn to be a big girl and take care of myself (and my budget). Nowadays, I'm too lazy for my own laundry so I spend on laundromats BUT I do wash my own bikinis and undies. 

I never liked cooking because I don't enjoy the idea of holding dead animals or dead animal parts. But after getting simple vegetarian recipes from vegetarian friends, I've learned to feed myself and can proudly say that I can make a pretty decent Eggplant Mozzarella, thank you very much. :) 

For those who always dreamed of living here, now you know what to prepare. I imagine the first 2 rules apply to anyone moving out of their home anyway. I wrote these tips down so you can enjoy the island life more and worry about it less. Trust these tips and you will survive.

So yeah, it's been almost 4 years of doing my own laundry and preparing my own food. It sure is nice to know that I am capable of taking care of myself (pat on the back), and equally nice to know that I can also take a break from it, whenever I'm home "on vacation".

*This article is the 2nd installment of my Island Anniversary posts. :) Hope you like it. 

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