Boracay Island, or simply Boracay, has been given due credit by Trip Advisor’s acclaimed Travelers’ Choice 2011, being awarded the Number 1 spot in the Top 10 Beaches in Asia, as well as being ranked second in the Top 25 Beaches in the World.
Guest blogger for Boracay, Giselé, an Aklanon local and self-professed Boracay inhabitant, shares her view and experience of the magnificent island that is Boracay.
Boracay, being as famous as it is, is a mere 17 miles away from where I live, but would you believe that the first time I set foot on the sugary powdery sands of this beautiful island was only when I turned 18 way back year 2002? It is true, to travel to Boracay, I only have to catch a van or bus to Caticlan for 25 minutes, jump on a boat from the jetty port for 10 minutes and I’m already on the world famous Boracay Island.
I used to think that only the rich and the famous had the right to go and being a poor laborer’s daughter, I thought I was not worthy to bask in the sun; get a tan (more like get sunburned… ) while lying on the wide stretch of fine sands along White Beach; or take a dip on the crystal clear blue waters and sip cocktails while watching the breathtaking Boracay sunset. Not forgetting to mention endless shopping; feasting on seafood and exotic delicacies at various restaurants; making the most of Boracay nightlife until the wee hours in any of the bars dotting the White Beach shoreline; and sleeping in one of the lavish, air-conditioned, and fully furnished Boracay resorts, with a concierge at your beck and call. As clichéd as it sounds, that’s the way I would think of Boracay when I was a teenager.
When I turned 18, my college girlfriends organized a girls’ getaway as a gift for me. I remember we were chaperoned by my mom – in case we get lost, or in case we met some handsome male tourists and got swept off our feet by their exotic accents and talks about how pretty Filipinas are. Not saying that any of the things I mentioned are true or perhaps just a misconception. J Anyway, as soon as our boat anchored down in White Beach’s Boat Station 1, we took a plunge and swam to our hearts’ content, laid on the fine white sand, and let out a loud contented sigh, hardly believing that we were finally in the island paradise. It was just a daytrip and time flew so fast, we tried to take a fistful of sand, washed away shells and corals and hid them in our pockets not just for souvenirs but as a proof to our family and friends that we indeed went to Boracay. We were very much in awe of the sights, sounds and things to do on Boracay Island that come afternoon, we were all teary-eyed when we boarded the boat to take us back to the mainland.
Three years later, fresh out of college, I find myself again getting off a boat, disembarking to my first real job as a front desk officer in one of the hundreds of hotels in Boracay. The job was exhausting and paid so little but I didn’t mind. I was working and living in Boracay, nothing could top that! I could get all the Boracay sun, sand and sea as much as I wanted, anytime I wanted. I got to eat in any of the Boracay restaurants I fancied and stayed up late at night partying. Of course I lived from paycheck to paycheck but who cared? I repeat, I was in Boracay! Not everyone gets a chance to be here, right? But as the saying goes, all things, good or bad must come to an end. The workplace became so chaotic that everybody started leaving and as reluctant as I was to go; I just had to if I wanted to get a career and push forward.
And so I left, went to the city, took other jobs, explored other places, met all sorts of people from all walks of life, got married, had a child, tried to make my life more meaningful, tried to make a difference in my own little way. But every once in a while, I would give in to the call of the mystique of Boracay, whenever I got a chance to get a few days off from work in the city, and whenever I had saved a few bucks enough to cover the fare and stay a few days’ stay in the cheapest cottage, I would always come running to the welcoming sand and beaches, arms wide open and with a big grin pasted on my face.
Boracay, despite all the changes and the development it has undergone and continues to go through still manage to maintain its allure to new and returning guests, foreigners and locals alike. Some have even bought homes and spend their retirement years here on Boracay Island. Others have built their homes and raised their families in Boracay – which I myself hope to do someday, given the chance and the resources of course. After all, there are very few places in the world where one can take a dip or jog along the beach, go to work, take a stroll in the late afternoons, watch the famous Boracay sunset at Willy’s Rock and meet all sorts of interesting people from all over the globe… then go home to your family and depending on the mood, spend a quiet dinner at home, or take the family out to a dinner feast at any of the restaurants dotting the main White Beach.
These days, I am no longer a tourist visiting this beautiful island; I have come back to Boracay Island and have been working and living here for a couple of months now. But this I tell you, I still get amazed whenever I happen to gaze out of the window and see the sparkling blue waters, the fine white sand, the picture-perfect blue skies, and all the sights and sounds of this little island on the north-western tip of Panay, called Boracay. I would still trade any city job for a job based here on this tiny island, any day. Boracay Island has cast a spell on me since I was 18 and to this day, that mystical effect hasn’t waned. And that is why one of my favorite t-shirts has the slogan, I ♥ Boracay!
Full-time mom & wife, self-proclaimed Boracay local