Mactan Island covers is 25 square miles, and is home to roughly 430,000 people making it the nation's most densely populated island.

We stayed at Green Gate B&B on Mactan Island, it was in the middle of the island so super just a short cab ride to most things.  The owners Grant and Violet couldn't be nicer, but the house was a bit run down.  Hubby and I kept talking about how fabulous it must have been once upon a time and what we could do to fix it up - it truly could be a  magnificent house.  I can't believe I didn't take pictures of it...seriously I'm kicking myself!   The B&B is behind a huge gate and you feel totally safe behind those gates! 

This is the roof top view and the waterfall (without water going into the pool.)  Since we were the only guest we had the place and the pool to ourselves which was an AWESOME thing to wake up to. 
Breakfast was simple but nice....we ate outside by the pool.
The younger kids had a great time playing in the pool while the teenager was no where to be seen for hours. :o)
While on the rooftop I looked outside out gated area to see the view.
Goats and shacks.
I would soon come to discover this is Mactan Island EVERYWHERE except behind closed gates.
Unfortunately we couldn't exchange money before arriving in the Philippines and arriving on Christmas morning made exchanging money a little more difficult.  However Grant (the owner of the B&B) had some errands to run so he offered to take us with him.  This is when we got our first taste of the 'real Mactan' island, and let me tell you, I wasn't sold.  Most of these pictures were taken from a moving car.

Tricycle are the most common mode of transportation for tourist & locals. The price depends on the distance, 2 pesos for short trips, 12 pesos for longer trips.  That is any from 4 cents to 25 cents a ride!   STOP IT, I know!
Downtown
I spied some mangosteens on the side of the road so I ask Grant to pull over.  We were both completely SHOCKED when she tried to sell a kilo to me for 350 pesos!!  Are you kidding me?  That is almost $8USD!  I thought this was the Philippines people!

No, I didn't ask about the durians.  I have yet to try them.  I really don't think I ever will but maybe who knows....
Grant and I trying to bargain at another vendor selling mangosteens.  Another no-go.  I know, I know I should have bought them anyway, I mean really how often do I get to eat that delicious little fruit?  I totally missed out.
As we continued on our trek to find a money exchange place we saw more of the lovely countryside:
(insert sarcasm here if you didn't catch that...)

This is a typical store on Mactan Island.
A home?
I really think the area to the right is a restaurant.
A neighborhood.
Goats and chickens were EVERYWHERE.
Chickens were tethered to things by a clamp around their leg. 
Most goats roamed free.
Not a spa I would ever want to visit.
Another common mode of transportation it the Philippines is the Jeepney  (The van looking thing to the left).  Jeepneys are taken mostly by locals the price is 4 pesos for the first 3 kilometers and 1 peso for each kilometer after that.  1 peso equals about .02 cents US.  Jeepneys have a fixed route, similar to a bus in other cities.
The possibilities of this being a store and those clothes being for sell is very likely.
OH, something I DID NOT get a picture of....
While we were driving I looked over and saw a half naked woman in a field - I had to do a double take.  She was squatting. As I continued to gawk she picked a leaf from a bush and wiped her ass.  TRUE STORY.  She was taking a dump in front of God and everyone passing by. 

Needless to say my first impression of Mactan Island, Philippines has not been a good one.....
 
Oh yeah, I'm this far behind.
This is the way we travel now.
If you can't carry it, you can't take it.
We woke up early on Christmas Eve and celebrated Christmas!
We spent the day hanging out, playing with our new toys and then hit the road for Christmas Vacation, Six in Seoul style!  Our flight was supposed to leave Seoul around 10PM, however Cebu Pacific Air is know for delays...in fact the announcement they made was "we are sorry your flight is delayed because the air plane is late. Don't worry we will board the plane as soon as we are ready'.

At least my peeps had their Christmas toys to keep them occupied.
We ended up arriving in the Philippines sometime after 3AM.
 
Corn ice cream.
Enough said.
 
There are some things that one needs to experience in life.
Night shopping in Dongdaemun is one of them.
Suck it up, stay up late and hit the roads of Dongdaemun at 11PM.
I promise you will see things that will make you shake your head in confusion.
For example, this guy lounging in the street.
Packages, packages and more packages.
People shop, dump their stuff on the street and go back for more.
It appears some 'package areas' have a system.
While others do not.
The crazy thing about all of this.
No one steals anything.
It is all safe just sitting there on the street.
How awesome is that?
Can you see my friends in the next picture?
Someone did some serious shopping.
While out night shopping you might see men's napping tights...
I should have bought some for Hubby...
You will be able to find hats galore...
You might even find a little ol' lady in a box.
Or a chair on the street in case you are feeling a bit tired....
And just in case you need it, a mobile stationary store.
Need your stuff delivered? 
No problem there are tons of deliver men waiting to be hired.
You will even find some tasty treats (and some not so tasty treats) on the streets of Dongademun!
2AM & we are finally DONE!
The yellow tents open around 10PM.
I think the malls around 10AM and close at 4AM.
Purse Haven opens at 1AM.
Most things stay open till 4AM.
To get there go to Dondaemun around the Milgore... you will see the yellow tents across the street.
Just explore! 
Don't be afraid to go in every building or down every alley.
There is no telling what you might find! 
Happy shopping!
 
Tomorrows post is on shopping.
Thought I would give you a little preview to help get you in the mood.
Night all....
No discount for you!
 
I'm a little tired....
I think I'll just rest right here in the street.
I cannot make this stuff up.
WHY...WHY would he rest in the street and not on the sidewalk??
 
Our kids adore us, especially when we are on 'vacation' and we wake them up at 5AM to go hiking.
I'm talking A D O R E baby!
One has never heard such excitement.
They even adore us more when they get outside and realize it is MUCH COLDER than anticipated and their hoodies aren't cutting it...
Then we make them run to warm up.
I'm telling you, they adore us.

I can't wait to hear the stories they tell as adults.
The truth behind the wake up:  Hubby woke up in a frenzy looking for his phone.  HIS PHONE....do you know why?  He needed to check the score of the Bronco game.  During the search for HIS phone  (he couldn't use mine...and it was sitting in plain site - right out in the open!) he turned on lights, tripped over kids (remember we are on a Korean holiday....floor sleeping is the norm!) and made LOTS of noise.  All to check the scores at 5AM.  AND then we had to hike early so we could make the 3.5 hour drive back home so he could watch a game.  

Who does that?

In the end it turned out to be PERFECT.

We only passed one other person on the trail.

So quiet.

So peaceful.

Just us and nature.

I would totally do it again.
This is a super easy hike.
The only 'hard' part are some stairs, but there aren't that many.
Distance is 2.4 KM each way and it took maybe 2 hours with lots of stopping.
 
One of our favorite things to do in Korea is to hike.
I was particularly excited to hike Seoraksan in the fall.
Ahhh, Beautiful Korea....

I'm not sure what these roof tiles were going to be used for but I thought they were super cool.
There are even crowds on the hiking trails in Korea....
Girl wasn't feeling well so Boy 1 stayed at the base of the mountain with her.  I think it was a ploy because when we got back they had been having a great time hanging out together - they  had played in water, skipped rocks and texted me a million times asking when we would be done.

On the mountain the boys were getting along great...I love it when that happens!
Not even close...
The views on this hike was A M A Z I N G ! !
I can't get over it.
Koreans can drink.
Even at the top of the mountain they stop for a little makkoli!
I'm afraid I would fall down and break my neck!
We made it!
4KM to the top!
This our stunning view!
Heading back down.
3.5 hours from home and we run into friends on the mountain.
I'm always amazed when something like this happens.
This took about 4 hours round trip. 
It was tough in some areas.
Not for the faint of heart.
 
This past November we all hopped in the car and headed to Seoraksan National Park in our awesome $2,000 hooptie that I wasn't sure would make it.  I mean she has been sputtering, dying and really just being down right feisty for the past couple of months - I've been praying that she will just make it till we move in June.  I was prepared to have another Korean adventure of being stuck on some random street up in the mountains while she was being repaired.  Good thing that didn't happen.  Ends up I think she just needed to get out and feel the breeze on her bumper and get some fresh air in her engine.  Anyway she's been running awesome since we took her over 20MPS.  :o)

SO, I think it took us about 3.5 hours to get to Seorak (that's what happens when I don't post right away...I forget.  I need to start taking notes) and we saw things we can't undo.  I'm going to share them with you.  If you have little people in the room, well, it is probably too late....I'm sure they already saw this picture.  I'm sorry.  If you want you can have them call me and I will explain it to them.
Yes.
That is what you think it is.
A GIANT PENIS STATUE.
In fact this was a penis statue buying area.
Buy them for your yard, buy them for your car, buy them for your house.
You can buy them to take SHOTS IN!!
You know because you can NEVER have too many penis - peni?  I don't even know.
While on the way to our hotel we say signs for the DMZ, so we detoured.
We passed through too man rock drops....
And I ask hubby to drive extra soft though the mine fields.
Are you kidding me?! 
I was afraid if we had a blow out or our hooptied died we would surely be goners.
Thank goodness that didn't happen.
This is North Korea.
We weren't allowed to take pictures but I'm a rebel.
I was that close.
As we were trying to find our hotel all the young'ens were complaining that they were STARVING so we found a place and went in.  Only to find out this is what they served:
OK...this is the part of my blog where you might decide we need to break up.  If that is the case so be it.  It was nice knowing you.  But we had to.  We were there and while in Korea you know...

If you don't want to know what we TRIED, skip this part.  Don't read anymore.  Go down to to the picture of the piles of poop pillow hammers.  I'll leave some empty space.  Close your eyes and scroll.







It was dog.
I know, I know.
I never planned to try it, but when you happen upon a restaurant that serves it and all the stars are lining up....well you do want the universe is asking you to do.....I know many of you would not listen to the universe and you would  turn around and RUN, but not me....I embraced it.  Sucked it up and continued on.  
Plus, I am here to tell you that they don't kill your pets...they breed a certain type of dog for food.
Just like cattle, pigs and chickens.
And dog as food is REALLY, REALLY bad. 
My stomach churned before I tried it.
The smell was enough to knock your socks off.
And when it hit my mouth I wanted to spit it out.
I'm talking NASTY.

Good thing they had other things to eat.
It was never on my bucket list, but I added it and checked it off.







YOU can start reading again!
Korea is not only obsessed with the penis, they also have an odd amount of poop things here too.
Poop hammers.
I don't even know.
Next up.
Hiking.
I think it should be a clean post.
 
When you go to the Noodle Lady's house for lunch it is like you are going to Grandma's house.
Your sassy grandma's house.
I mean look at her!  How cute is this woman?
Honestly I would have NEVER in 1 million years gone up that staircase because I would have never known this is a restaurant.  The only 'sign' this is a restaurant is that little 'sign' above with Korean writing and a phone number. Who knew?! (Well I guess if I read Korea I might have been able to figure it out....)

Kimchi pots full of kimchi goodness.
Here is the menu.
She has noodles.
2 different types of noodles and kimchi mandu.
I'm not sure if kimchi mandu is on the menu or not but we had it and it ROCKED.
Luckily we went with my beautiful friend that knows the Noodle Lady.
I'm not sure if we got special treatment because of my friend, but I totally felt 'a home' while here.
We ate in her living room.
No really, we did.
From what I understand the Noodle Lady has been cooking up noodles for years and years right here in this kitchen.
I'm not really sure what this is, but I see it drying often.
Some Americans might be put off because it is not a traditional restaurant. 
I feel sorry for those Americans as they are going to miss out on something special.
She has fat noodles
And thin noodles
The thin noodles are my favorite.
The noodles are called Kalguksu and they date back to the 12th century. 
They are a handmade wheat flour noodle that is cut by hand and served in a thick seafood broth. 
If you are lucky you might get a clam.
Once you have Kalguksu you will never look at noodles the same again.
The kimchi mandu.
OMGoodness...
I had NEVER before had kimchi mandu.
It was THE BEST mandu I have ever eaten.
We left full and happy.
I think she was full and happy when we left too.
To get there:
From the Gas Station gate on post....
Cross over into Itaewon.
Typically you would walk straight....this time turn right like you are walking back towards the Commissary gate... Turn LEFT at the 1st street - just past the dog groomer - the alley between urban works and Bull and Barrel restaurant is her alley.  It is across from the entrance of the Underground market in Itaewon. 
It looks like this:
Thanks to a friend that went out and took this picture!!

Turn RIGHT.  You will see the staircase pictured above. Go up the stairs.

The noodle is only open for lunch.