I never had the Philippines on my bucket list of travel, until a close friend invited myself and a group of friends to join her in celebrating her Lolo's (grandpa's) 98th birthday. We flew into Manilla, the very urban capital, but didn't stay long. We headed for the rice fields and joined her very large family in the rural town of Oas, ate a feast of pork, pork, more pork, rice, oh and some cobra. We drank coconuts (bukos) spiked with gin, and karoke-d the night away. A few highlights included many trips traveled by banka boat between islands both big and tiny, cave exploring (stalagmites, stalagtites, and bats!), wakeboarding at the CWC in Caramoan, snorkeling, and digging our feet into the powdered sugar sand of the relaxing vacation island of Borocay.