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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BORACAY: A Feast for the Eyes (Circa 2004)

“I shall return” was what I said to myself as my boat pulled away from the shore of the beach famed for its white, powdery sand. My fourth trip to Boracay was no less fascinating than my three previous visits in March 1994, October 1998 and May 2001. Any normal beach lover like myself would fall in love instantly at the sight of this dream-like beach. It’s like your screensaver or post card coming to life. If I had my way, I would go to Boracay every three months because I just can’t get enough of the place. Unfortunately, I have neither the luxury of time nor money to do so.

My adventure began with the friendly exchange of greetings with the airline employees as I checked in my black, compact luggage (which contained only the basic essentials such as bathing suit, shorts, shirts, sunblock and mojos). As usual, I would request for a window seat to savor the majestic view of the land and body of water below from a bird’s eye view. As I stepped into the plane, I felt sheepish when I realized that most of the seats in this 19-seater aircraft were located near the window; and the middle seats had easy access to both window views. After I buckled my seatbelt, I said a short prayer --- a standard procedure of mine before a flight (especially when riding a small plane).

The weather cooperated without a grumble so there wasn’t much turbulence to and from Boracay unlike the stormy week before. I prayed that that the storm would end before my trip the following week as I booked my tickets and accommodation. I guess Somebody up there really cares that I have a great time as the sun shone on my weekend, well most of the time anyway. After alighting from the plane and going through the inspection line, the guests proceeded to a waiting bus that took us from the airport to the pier. From here, we took a short, exhilarating boat ride to our destination. I was surprised to find that I was the only guest in my resort this weekend so I had the boat trip to myself. My rare VIP-feeling moment . . . and it took more than 15 minutes too.

Land Ho!
Land ho! Thank goodness I was in the appropriate Boracay attire of shorts, t-shirt and mojos aware that I would be getting wet until mid-thighs on reaching ashore. My past experience of soaked jeans and rubbershoes, which were practically useless during my stay, has prepared me to dress and pack right. I felt the excitement rise inside me as I set foot on Boracay’s powdery shores. The view of the horizon with sails floating on the deep blue water and the high-noon sun making the colors so vivid was truly a mesmerizing sight. After I hurriedly unpacked and changed to my swimsuit, I went straight to the lounge chairs, just to take in the visual treat before me. These were the times I felt so thankful to be alive and enjoy God’s blessings.

Boracay Trademark
Time and again, visitors to this lovely paradise have written about its awesome allure which is not at all an exaggeration. The descriptive phrase of “crystal clear water and powdery soft beach sand” instantly brings images of Boracay to mind. It is a Boracay trademark, an apt description of the beach and not mere ad copy. Unfortunately, after experiencing Boracay, all other beaches fall short of expectation for me.
I can’t imaging anyone not ever experiencing Boracay . . . it is simply a must. What makes Boracay more special than the others for me? Well, aside from the glorious sunset and sunrise, its quaint village-like setting makes me feel safe and comfortable even if I decide to travel alone. Boracay’s incomparable edge, in my opinion, is its unique combination of: natural beauty, beach and shops accessibility through walking, interactive environment, and reasonable rates. It is one big party place where you will bump into all kinds of people, unlike exclusive resorts that encourage only a certain crowd and discourages friendly interaction with other guests.

The Boracay Character
I have observed major changes since my last visit, such as infrastructure improvements. Some resorts now have as high as four-story buildings as more and more travelers are expected. I don’t believe that it has marred the beauty of Boracay one bit. The entry of internet and computer technology even encourages a longer stay as you can do some work while enjoying the beach. The more adventurous souls can enjoy the many activities offered at Boracay such as boating, snorkeling, sailing, rock climbing, trekking, parasailing, horseback riding and more. It would not be fair to compare Boracay with the serenity and privacy of other beach resorts because Boracay has a character of its own. Take it or leave it.

You’ll love the Nightlife
The Boracay nightlife is another story. After sunset, the romantic hues from the candle lit dining tables and the jazzy lights from the row of bars along the shore brings the night to life. The display of colors amidst the starry night and the latin and reggae music against the rhythmic sounds from the ocean is an experience that can’t be described with words alone. I wish I had more guts to sit in a bar and have a drink by myself but I guess I’m not the type.

I prefer the laid back activities than the adventurous ones like parasailing, scuba diving or riding the banana boat. Strolling by the beach under a starry night or watching the sunset while having a fruitshake with a friend may be the pinnacle of cornyness but these are my favorite activities in Boracay. Enjoying the morning coffee while watching the sunrise, having a quiet massage right before sunset . . . what can I say? I guess I’m really corny at heart. Where can you get a combination of reflexology-shiatsu massage infront of the beach minus the exhorbitant spa rates for only P25O (about $5 only). Only in Boracay.

Towards the end of my 3-days/2-nights vacation package that breezed by so fast, I was tempted to extend my stay like I did before. But I had to use my head over my heart so I decided against it because of my appointments scheduled the next few days which I couldn’t miss. I hated the feeling when it was time to go, because the truth is: I couldn’t get enough of the place. I will keep coming back for more . . .the place is simply addictive.

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