The advancement of tourism has greatly affected the island of Boracay in Philippines. Resorts and restaurants has mushroom all over the place. The island vibe has lost its innocent touch of hospitality instead people pay to be treated like a king. It's pristine, powdery white sand used to be its trademark, now crowds hang in the bush to do inappropriate activities. However, despite the drastic changes I still see the natural beauty of this butterfly-shaped island at the northwestern tip of Panay. It has captivated a lot of people and is still attracting more tourist than before. Here are 10 positive aspects of Boracay which makes it still one of world's best beach destination, and a few things that I want it to be remembered in my memory bank.
1. Beautiful Beach as Always
The first time I laid my eyes on Boracay I knew it was the hidden paradise of Philippines. This was way before the big changes in the island, where people can run freely from end to end without any disruptions like: sun beds, tour guides offering water activities and massage parlors ,even camping was allowed last time. Moreover, the beach is still the same with its fine,white sand and the feeling of walking in baby powder land remains. This is what I love about the beach in Boracay as it is still for everybody. Everything is still accessible, brisk walk all you want from night till dawn. If you got nothing planned for the day strolling in the beach is a great way to start. Check out the high end resorts in station 1, go shopping in station 2 and party with the wild people in station 3.
2. Mesmerizing Sunset
Sunset is one thing that makes Boracay a memorable place. It's a tantalizing feeling of happiness to see such wonder with a twinge of sadness to see it fade away. I remembered the sunset that day. I laid in the cold white sand with a fresh fruit shake in my hand, squinted my eyes with the sun rays as I watched the colors dance with the wind. Never leave the island without seeing the sunset. It's always a different sunset everyday. Take that opportunity to be with yourself, just keep your mouth shut and be prepared to be amaze.
3. Friendly Local People
For my previous visit we stayed in a popular beachfront resort. Breakfast was bomb diggity, all my breakfast favorites was served in the table. This time around was totally different my friends and I decided to go for Homestay. We said goodbye to fluffy pillows, white mattress, jacuzzi and the sought after breakfast buffet. It was a small house owned by a local family in the island. Genuine smiles and hearty breakfast welcomes us every morning. By interacting with the local people outside the tourism zone I get to see the simplicity of their life. I loved the feeling of being able to connect with people. Our host was kind, generous and graciously helped us book our day tours at the discounted price.
4. Best Drinking Place
There are lots of bars and restaurants all over the island. Choose from the most sophisticated drink to the most alcoholic fruity drink you ever had in your existence on earth. I prefer the latter as always. Love those flaming drinks or top it with chocolate liquor which makes you want to drink more until you go beyond your maximum alcohol tolerance. The bar competition is undeniably great as drinks varies from one bar to another creating unlimited choices.
5. Party till dawn
Last time I saw Boracay as an island that doesn't sleep. I went out with friends, tried my first shisha and dance the night away till sunrise. Clubs and beach parties comes alive at night most especially during peak seasons like March till May. Summer is indeed the best time to be there.
Those were the days my friend. Now that I'm getting more prettier, smarter and wiser I choose a different kind of vibe. Instead of partying I prefer chilling at cozy bars with dream catchers dangling at the ceiling while the chyme's sing along with the ocean breeze. The ting-a-ling sound creates this feeling of bliss which is calm and relaxing. My friends and I drank a few beers as we all catch up with what's going on with each others life. We didn't get wasted instead all of us went back to the room before the break of dawn.
6. Water sports all day long
Boracay has a lot of water activities, name it from island hopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, helmet diving ,cliff diving and even an exhilarating helicopter ride. I did parasailing last time with my sister, the first activity that showed me how beautiful it is up there. The air was strong but gentle in some way. You can smell the ocean, hear the birds and see people taking your picture without permission.
Everyone must book the island hopping , just like Phuket in Thailand, Boracay holds so much wonders with its nearby islands. Less crowded, sand is whiter and the waters more clearer.
7. Relaxing Vibe
Even thou the island is bombarded with tourists,the island relaxing vibe is still there. If you're the type who wants to get away from the noise, then get yourself a private resort away from the crowd. For people whose on a budget go to bars that plays reggae music with a nice bar that serves piña colada. After a long day pf getting bruises from water sports I like to relax in shack-like bars or bohemian kind of places. It's just the perfect place to be for an island vibe kind of feeling.
Walking in the beach is a great way to unwind. Collect some seashells along the way and just toss it over on your way back. I did a hair braid and a henna tattoo last time with my cousin. I've always wanted to see how it feels to be like those cools kids with braided hair right from their scalp as they do break dancing in the streets. Funny and crazy as it may sound. After the girl braided my hair it felt like the air was kissing my scalp, my head was breathing on its own giving me this high feeling of walking in air.
8. Unexpected Happenings
Most of my island trips always has a pocket of surprises. This time around I got my second tattoo. My friends and I was just talking about life, politics and reminiscing about college memories, then out in the open I just blurted out "why not all of us get a tattoo with the same design." They all looked at me for a second, thinking I've never changed I'm still this crazy tall girl with butterflies in her head. Then they responded "why not." Silence turn to enthusiasm. Everyone was excited about it. They started to talk about what kind of design suits us, one mentioned hello kitty -like seriously? we're going to regret that. Even if I'm drunk I'm not going to have that on my skin. I've shown them this particular musical sign that I've always wanted stitch to my lower clavicle, unexpectedly they love it and so that's how I got my second tattoo. A more meaningful tattoo that reminds me of my love for music and a lifetime symbol of friendship.
I have a good photographic memory of Boracay, the sand , the sky and especially the sunset. It's permanently painted beautifully in my mind. What I'll treasure more about the island are the memories. Family reunion, getting to know my half sister and my heart to heart fun time with friends. Every visit means a different experience. Just because we've all seen the same sunset at the same spot doesn't mean its just about the same experience. I strongly disagree as different people brings different joys in your travel.
Sometimes all we need is Vitamin Sea. I've been through a lot, I don't want to compare my pain with others but we all go through something in life. In my case, Boracay has helped me recover. It has somehow cleanse my soul, maybe not thoroughly but I feel better now. My mind is clearer and I am at ease. Thank you Boracay! I'll see you again soon, maybe next time around I've bring along that special someone with me. Let's hope for the best. Cheers!