Everyone tried to send me to Boracay including my dentist from Manila…and I simply said that island looks too touristy and plastic. I will NEVER visit Boracay and waste my time mingling with a bunch of loud mouthed tourists and beach touts trying to sell me dive packages, trinkets, souvenirs, massages, and island hopping boat tours. There are over 7000 islands in the Philippines with natural beauty where I could learn about the history of the different cultures, meet the locals and actually have new experiences from a diverse and interesting country. Zentraveler is talking off the beaten path… discovering areas and sites that are new and exciting and blogging till the cows come home.
The question is NEVER SAY NEVER! As it turned out my partner Perla had a Herbalife Seminar in Boracay at the Shearton Hotel and had a package deal with the airlines and the hotels. I was invited and said: “Why not!” Fast forward pack my bags with two cameras one laptop and some bright jamming swimwear, a couple pair of beach shorts, a few vintage t-shirts and one flowered Hawaiian shirt so I wouldn’t get lost in the crowd… and I was good to go.
My travel rule… try to get to your travel destination (if possible) in the daylight…so you can get your bearings and get settled into the hotel. We had a flight at 8 am about one hour more or less flight from Cebu to Boracay and arrived at airport at 5 am to be sure we had plenty of time. They then announced there would be a delay as a tropical storm was approaching. We left the airport after four more announced delays at 6 pm in the pouring rain. The pilot also announced the closest airport to Boracay was closed so we would land at another airport. We circled the airport for a half hour and finally dive-nosed through the storm onto terra firma. Lightning and thunder had us running to our designated bus which would cruise for another hour or so in the maddening tropical storm only to be dropped off at the ferry terminal which was closed. We then hop on a tuc tuc with plastic hung over the windshield and arrived at another ferry location where we paid some kind of entrance tax and walked down slippery wooden steps in the dark to craw on a pump boat heading to Boracay.
Soaked to the gills we hopped on a travel van with the driver asleep who wakened and he must have thought he was in a James Bond action movie as he floored the travel van through several large mud holes and knocked me on the floor. I was so mad I said you are in the transport business…let me drive the van and I will get us there safely. He dropped us off in a side street where we stepped in about 15 inches of rushing water and checked into our hotel.
Next day I had all you can eat buffet breakfast and Perla headed to her seminar and me being the perfect tourist took off with large camera around my neck and was ready to see the real Boracay for myself. The weather was a bit overcast and as I stepped onto the beach walk the bright sun popped out displaying a picture perfect sky against the aqua blue water superimposed against the longest white sand beach I have ever seen in my life. I just stood there and said OMG thats what all of the travel writers are talking about.
I had the entire day to reflect and take in the sights and aside from the fact that people were trying to sell you those long armed selfie camera extensions and invited you for some island hopping or diving… if you gave a firm polite no or just signaled with your hand no…that was it no more hassle and they went about their business.
I enjoyed looking at all of the sailboats swaying in the wind and watching the athletic kite-surfers race along the ocean floor demonstrating jumps and backwards somersaults as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Talk about beeing free…these dudes really had it and I said to myself thats what life is all about isn’t it…freedom.
Walked to the rock formation at the end of the island where I took lunch and had french onion soup and grilled fresh fish of the day with fried veggie rice plus a cold beer as a tribute to this beautiful island. I meandered along the rest of the beach walk taking in the sites of the many bars and cafes and hotels directly on the beach. They also has lifeguards on beach stands and the white sand beach was clean with not one scrap of plastic or paper…that’s refreshing!
That evening we walked along the beach front and cut into the outdoor mall where we discovered a grocery store with three floors that had an excellent rooftop outdoor restaurant looking over the entire island of Boracay. We ordered the local grilled fish along with a special baked squash dish recommended by our waitress. The ambiance and food was excellent. We clicked our glasses as the sun disappeared with a red glow and thanked our lucky stars we got to share this day.
So there you have it! Even thou my mind was jaded to begin the journey I would rate Boracay as a great tourist destination with many excellent restaurants and hotels at all price ranges and one of the best beaches in the world. There is something for everyone, you can bring the entire family, adrenalin junkies can find all sorts of water sports and the purest of the pure can simply hang. That’s what I’m talking about, laze in the sun , munch on some freshly baked fish tacos, drink fresh buko juice from a fresh coconut and hit all of the happy hours if beer and spirits are your thing, plus get a beach massage and my friend you have just reached Nirvana…need I say more!
QUOTE: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Travellers used to be okay with being called ‘gypsy; until the word ‘gypo’ became a common insult. The term ‘pikey’ is also very offensive to Travellers (comes from the word ‘pike’). They often call each other ‘pavees’ among themselves.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your travel experiences!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Pack your bags Grasshopper you are going to Boarcay…pack your camera and suntan lotion since you are going island hopping. Be careful you don’t fall overboard…fish love fresh grasshoppers!
From here to Infinity and Beyond is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on. Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.