Since we did so much diving, we didn't really spend much time exploring the island of Mindoro (the island that Puerto Galera is on). We had heard about fire dancing and other entertainment in another town not too far away, White Beach. So one night, we decided to skip the night dive and head that way. Thankfully, a couple of the dive masters at the resort were interested in going. We grabbed a Jeepny in Sabang Bay and headed over there. It was about a 20 - 25 minute ride from Sabang to White Beach and when we got there, the driver dropped us off in a parking lot. Had it been just Aaron and I, I'm not sure we would have found the actual beach. Thankfully, PJ, PJ's girlfriend Cherry, and Jake came with us and they knew where to go!
We got dinner at one of the places along the beach. The water isn't really safe to drink in the Philippines, but we will usually give cooked food a go. We ordered a a couple different skewers of meat, chicken and pork, some soup, grilled egg plant, pork belly (which is pretty much bacon, but so much better) and a (whole) fish. It's all served family style with rice. What we didn't know until after we were done eating was that it's customary to eat with your hands in the Philippines. Since we were not aware of this, we ate with a knife and fork. When Aaron and I travel, we try to not only eat the local food, but also the way in which locals eat. Had we known, we would have been all for it. Oh well, next time....
After dinner, we wandered to one of the bars next door and grabbed a seat for the show, just in time to make our next faux pas. We ordered a bucket of beer for the group and when it arrived, started passing them out. It wasn't until AFTER they were cracked that we learned that the beers are usually opened one at a time and kind of shared between everyone. Note to self, next time do research on local food customs...
And then it was time for the shows to start. This was quite the experience! The first part was a group of three fire dancers. Basically, they are swinging around these balls dipped in some sort of fuel (kerosene maybe) that are lit on fire. It takes some serious talent to do what they were doing and not burn the crap out of yourself. We only watched one of them catch his hair on fire over the course of the whole night.
After the fire dancers were done, the main show started: the Ladyboy show! What's a ladyboy you ask? In the states we call them cross dressers or drag queens. Basically, they lip sync to a bunch of songs and dance. I was actually impressed. One would be hard pressed to realize that these were actual men that were dressed up, singing and dancing, and not women if you hadn't known before. I mean, in the picture to the right, doesn't the one on the left behind Aaron look like a woman?! They had some mad talent with hair and makeup (wish I had some of that talent). The ladyboy show lasted about an hour and it was awesome! Most of the songs are American songs, but there were a couple in Tagalong. Even though we didn't know the words, it was pretty clear what the songs were about. The people we went with explained to me that the ladyboys are actually the bread winners in their family. This isn't even the first time we've been to something like this. On the first night of our honeymoon (a 7 day western Caribbean cruise that left from Fort Lauderdale), we met up with a member of Aaron's fraternity. One of the bars we went to that night with him had a drag show happening. While similar, the one in White Beach was much better, more believable ladyboys, if that makes any sense.
Words cannot do this experience justice. If you're ever in the Philippines, make sure you see a ladyboy show, you won't regret it. Any one else been to a ladyboy show before? What were your impressions?
- Meghan -