It was the midweek of an off-peak season. Usually, times like this, I would expect to have the beach all to myself. But this was not an ordinary beach. This was Boracay. And in Boracay, even a slow day is roaring.
Boracay has always been the flagship beach destination of the Philippines. It has topped many lists of the greatest beaches in the world, compiled by international travel magazines. All this lovin’ from local and foreign press and backpackers has been drawing swarms and swarms of tourists. What used to be an unspoiled sleepy village transformed into an overdeveloped party island. Even upscale hotels and restaurants have found their way to the island, attracting luxury travelers. Yet, it remains friendly to the budget-conscious.
My life was at the mercy of a single rope.
As the wind blew me away from the boat, I was briefly taken to my juvenile years, when all I did all weekend was run across a cleared field and fly a kite. But this time was different. This time, I was the kite.
If I ever doubted the popularity of Boracay (which I didn’t), it quickly evaporated as soon as I walked along White Beach. It was midweek of an off-peak season, yet this side of the island was packed to the edge. Never mind the temperamental weather. Never mind the gloomy, un-postcard-friendly skies. Beach-goers swarmed around the shore like worker bees attracted to some sort of tropical pheromones. The culprit, Queen B.
She emerged from the kitchen bearing a freshly baked cake. The moment she heard that one of our companions was celebrating her birthday that day, she made a chocolate cake at no charge. It was one of the many ways that the people running the place showed just how warm Boracay hospitality could get.
The place is Dakong Amihan, a Spanish colonial-style guesthouse that offers affordable bed-and-breakfast accommodations in the island. Ms. Grace Brodard, the owner of this lovely home, made sure that our stay was comfortable and our needs met.
Aside from the stunning landscape, one thing that is going for Boracay is its accessibility. This tropical paradise may be in one distant nook in the Visayas, but it is relatively easy to reach. No long hours of land travel, no bumpy roads, and no uncomfortable rides. Thanks to the increasingly organized system of transportation both in Kalibo and Caticlan.
The past few years have also seen several additional flights. Some airlines now offer direct flights from China, Korea and Singapore, bypassing Manila. They paved more ways for more tourists to easily set foot on one of the best island destinations in the world.
If you’re planning on making a splash in Boracay, here’s a step-by-step guide!
I followed them blindly, for I had no idea what else Boracay could offer other than the beach and the nightlife. Micaela and Doyzkie, who both had been here before, led the way as we walked under the burning sun.
“Where are we going again?” I asked.
“We’re having some fruit shake,” Mica answered. And without any more questions, I just trailed them even though at the back of my mind, I was wondering why we had to amble almost the entire length of the island just for a cup of fruit shake. This must be a hell of a fruit shake.
The beach found a new life as soon as the sun went down. Colorful lamps illuminating the facade of stores and restaurants glowed, as stalls selling street food mushroomed along the shore. Loud dance tunes drowned the sedating lullaby of the rolling waves. Firedancers put a spell on the crowd that gathered around them. I stood at the beach with my back turned to the horizon that had just devoured the sun, watching the metamorphosis to complete.
“I have bad news for you.”
That was the first thing I said to Doyzkie as soon as I opened the door. He was standing right outside the door, his finger still pressed to the doorbell. He had barely entered the suite, and I was already bombarding him with negativities.
“What?” he asked.
Not too long ago, I was parading around town, screaming my indifference, feeling like I was above being a Boracay dreamer. I just couldn’t understand all the hype. “I will never go to Boracay,” I declared. “Unless it’s free.”
The joke was on me. Together with other bloggers, I received an invitation to an event in Boracay from Tattoo. They would be covering everything. All I had to do was show up. Now, now, that’s the very definition of free. Who am I to pass up an opportunity like that?