I took that video just as the sun rose, as I love waking up when it’s still a bit dark out--hearing the waves, a slightly chilly wind on my face, cup of coffee in hand. I don’t really take hot coffee unless I’m oceanside. There's a romantic proposition to it, like a ceremony reserved for special places.
Before heading out to the airport, I load up my Kindle and bring a paperback of some book that I swear I will get to while lounging on a chaise, but it never happens. It’s because when you are in Boracay, you can float and stand on the shallow water alone or in conversation for hours and not know the time. At least I am able to tech detox and load up on Vitamin D.
Although the Maldives, Bora Bora, or Amanpulo can probably boast of better accommodations and waters, I always find myself gravitating to this little commercial island in the Philippines where the water always seems warm, and the sand talcum. I like that in Boracay, rich or poor, local or tourist--you all get that same powdery white sand and turquoise water, and while you’re there everything and everyone seems to be on equal footing because accommodations can be one that a backpacker can very well afford.
We start with a breakfast buffet or meal special at the hotel once my early-riser kid wakes up, then immediately get changed for the beach or pool. Then follows early lunch, preferably at Aling Gloria's carinderia, for the softest calamari and some fish dish. Hours pass with some kayaking or paddle boarding, then it’s time for lychee mojitos at Discovery Shores and beers happy hour almosteverywhere else (dump your drink inside your water canteen if you want to be mobile), then walk towards the best 4-cheese pizza and oyster sisig at Two Seasons to wait for golden hour. I did the obligatory island hopping with friends, only to find that I was already happy being near my hotel. Nighttime, go to Epic or whatever open club there is post-rehabilitation of the island if you have the strength to walk, or cliche your bar experience with some beer and peanuts listening to a band at Ambassador in Paradise or Henann (maybe, jam?). Repeat the next day, but maybe squeeze in some fruit shakes at Jonah's or choriburgers from a man selling on the sand.
I like that in Boracay, rich or poor, local or tourist--you all get that same powdery white sand and turquoise water, and while you’re there everything and everyone seems to be on equal footing because accommodations can be one that a backpacker can very well afford.
We were fortunate to have been able to travel with about 5 groups of friends and their families on our last visit. I checked in gifted bottles of Grey Goose and gin especially for that occasion. That said, happy hour on Day 2 started at about 11 AM with them, tunes busting out from a portable speaker. By 4 PM, most of us had already drank too much and sang too loudly. A Korean couple we gave one of our tables to even bought us some pizzas and smoothies (maybe telling us to slow down?). Geon-bae to that.
I bought my take home souvenirs at 9AM on the day of my flight home, and got surprised that the main market on Station 2 of the island was already bustling even though most of the shops are closed. I was told by the cashier that brekkie on roast chicken and white rice from Andok's was commonplace as early as 7 in the morning. Island-style: no rules, even in your gastronomic preferences. Even though it was too early, I peeked in on my friend’s swim shop, Cabanna, and always think to myself that I envy her, as I would love to have a reason to visit, even for work.
Many say they left their heart in SF, but I also find myself leaving it in Boracay all the time--bit heavy as I return to city life--looking forward to the day I can come back.
A semi-seasoned traveler