The wind was forcefully whooshing as we walked barefooted on the sand. I could feel each granule piercing through my skin; habagat season (southwest monsoon) at its full blast. The glow from the one-o’clock moon was radiant, not quite full but more than half. And then there’s this Asian lady who ran from a beachfront bar to the beach and screamed like it’d be her last. I want that kind of feeling, let’s grab some booze.
I was still in shock at the exorbitant fees and fares to get to Boracay Island as we combed D’Mall to grab a bite. I’ve been to the island quite a few times before and it was always a shocker, the fees I should say. But still, I kept on coming back. I was in the middle of my two favorite travel buddies in the world, as if guarding me from whoever and whatever, as we walked along the familiar paths and alleys of the area. I love them both, like I couldn’t imagine being stranded on an island without them. But I digress...
Almost everyone seemed to be dazed and boozed up while we were looking for a decent dinner place. Andok’s was our refuge which is conveniently open all day, every day. I was three hours away from my 4:30 a.m. routine alarm clock when we started to explore Station 2 but I was wide awake, not my usual self.
It was Thursday an hour or so ago but the party scene was close to nil. I could count the bars that were still open at that time, our options were limited that I sensed that we’d be sleeping sober that mornight, which would be fine, but no. We’re on the party island of the Philippines and we’re sober on our first night; that would be very sad.
The group later on found a nice chill place with a good crowd. Exit Bar was packed with backpackers around the globe. With cold bottles of Red Horse Beer on hand (P60 each), we settled on the wooden bench right outside the entryway and people-watched.
A topless South-American guy who’s holding a small bottle of Johnnie Walker on right hand and energy drink on the left. A languid Japanese woman who’s slowly grinding to the song as she frequently stopped for a high five to whoever comes along. A barefooted Caucasian lady who seemed to know everyone and danced up every guy she bump into. A crazy mix of fun and fascinating people. Very reminiscent of the crowd at Sakura Bar in Vang Vieng, Laos.
We had a couple of bottles each and decided to call it a night. We walked the same path as we did going to Station 2 and then stopped in front of the bar where the Asian lady performed her roaring scene two hours ago. Club Paraw was pumped up with locals and a few tourists. We grabbed an expensive bucket of our fave beer (P550 / 6 bottles) and boozed up some more. At three in the morning, I felt the world was crashing in front of me. I wasn’t smashed but my body was contesting its 23-hour duty. I hunched my body toward the wooden table and dozed off in a few seconds. I was brought back to life after my buddies finished the pack. Garbled stories of this and that were shared as we walked back to our home. It was four in the morning...
Day 2 | Friday | September 25
Last night’s booze was still hammering my head, or maybe it was the lack of proper sleep. Brilliant in the twelve-o’ clock sun, the coastline with white sand was swarmed with beach bummers who were enjoying basking under the intense heat. Barenaked women lined the shore getting that perfect tan.
We initially planned for a beach day wherein we’d explore the not-so-famed beaches of Boracay. But as expected, nothing transpired the way we intended it to be. Smoke Restaurant at D’Mall was our hideaway that crazy hot afternoon. Their famed Sizzling Bulalo was our lunch and it wasn’t as fabulous as we expected it to be. The thick sauce saved this dish from being boring. And then we saw the promo they’re offering, P250 for six bottles of our favorite beer in the world. You prolly know what happened next.
Slightly woozy from our afternoon beer sesh, I walked barefooted (my overpriced flip flops retired) and scored a good deal from a trike driver that would bring us to my favorite beach in Boracay Island – Puka Beach.
After a 10-minute ride and one hundred pesos, the three of us arrived at our only destination for the day. Puka Beach wasn’t as deserted as before but still, not as crowded compared to the White Beach. With Gold Eagle Beers in tow, we walked all the way to the farthest northwestern end of the beach with karsts blocking most of our way.
I unrolled our good old native mat and lazed for the next three hours. Our side of the beach revealed a different side of the island. There were locals a few meters from us who were guzzling some local wine. The all-men group played on the shore like kids. Some laid on the shore where the waves constantly caught them while others were perfecting a sandcastle. And then the sky turned gray as showers slowly poured in.
Finding refuge inside the karsts, we continued with our late afternoon sesh with travel stories and more. Realizing that we’re already wet, we jumped into the water and treaded heavily as the strong waves crashed into the shore. We lazed some more and decided to hurry back to White Beach to catch the sunset.
After a hundred fifty pesos and ten minutes later, the ride back was pricey (my haggling skills won’t work in Boracay), we arrived at the White Beach only to realize that there was no marvelous sunset that day.
We met a new friend during dinner. This 20-something lass was on her fifth month as a marketing officer in one of the 400 hotels on the island. I’m tired of the island life, she stated. We, the thirty-something trio, were startled. How can you not love the island life? I stared at her as she continued her musings. The real meaning of what she said started to sink in. She was bored. Boredom kills. So I grabbed her and started the walk to Station 2, specifically at Exit Bar.
Only a few bottles of Red Horse Beer was needed to perk things up. The playlist was different from last night but the same backpacking crowd was there. Our new friend danced her way in the middle of the mob while dragging my two buddies. I was laughing on this scene while chatting with an Australian guy who repeatedly declared his annoyance over the crazy traffic in Manila and professed his love with the weather in the country.
After my quick chit-chat with the now drunk Aussie guy, I went to the crowd to where my friends were who seemed to be enjoying the groove. Our new friend showed off her moves and invited me to join her. I am not a dancer, I kept on telling her. But she still insisted on letting me loosen up a bit. After hesitating a second, I joined them and slowly got the groove. We’re sweaty and sticky and partied non-stop. This wasn’t our normal thing but we enjoyed it, really.
It was one hour past midnight and the night was still young. An hour of dancing made us more alive. We’re looking for a place to chill and passed by Epic Bar which was rockin’ at that time. With no time to think about it, we swarmed directly on the dance floor and continued the party. And it was a blast! Like, I don’t wanna leave the dance floor as the next song might be the perfect one. Like, I was still strutting on my way to the washroom. The party vibe was really infectious.
As we were about to call it a day or night or mornight, we heard a loud whack on the door. Hey, let’s continue the party! It was, again, four in the morning and two of our friends had just arrived on the island to join the party. I didn’t move an inch and continued my slumber. My body was aching, I think I’m really getting old.
Day 3 | Saturday | September 26
It was as if I suddenly screwed the remote control’s contrast setting as the dull and cloudy Boracay welcomed us on our third day. Last night’s partying may have caused a terrible hangover, for everybody seemed to be lost and dazed on what’s happening at the breakfast table. I glanced over the sunless White Beach and it was packed with people stretching out their selfie sticks.
With tired and aching bodies from non-stop partying, we lazed the whole day for our planned shindig that night. With that, I went for a dip on the resort’s pool and strolled along the shore of the still gloomy Boracay.
A few cocktails and beers before dinnertime and we’re all pumped up for the night’s party crawling. Our group of five stormed Insomnia Bar and joined the rave for a UK-based DJ. I was brought back to my university years where we would comb the streets of Malate to crash some rave parties, not to dance but just to experience the hullaballoo.
We boozed up some more and started to join the crowd as they hailed the famed DJ. I was on my fifth drink of the night and I was starting to feel the buzz.
We went out of the bar for some fresh air. The bar was suffocating so we went back to the beachfront to search for the perfect booze and crowd. We passed by a store and bought a small bottle of Tanduay Rhum and soda.
And as expected, we finished the stash on the way to, yes, Exit Bar. We said our hellos to the cool servers and grabbed some more drinks.
The Saturday night crowd was still the same. We danced, screamed with the crowd, boozed up, and, I dunno what else happened. It was euphoria. I couldn’t think of the last time I felt like this. I didn’t even remember how I got back to the resort. All I remembered was that an alarm clock echoed throughout my room that stirred me up.
Day 4 | Sunday | September 27
It was a Sunday and I needed to be back in Manila. My flight was scheduled at ten in the morning so with only two hours of sleep, I was awakened by the alarm clock set by my buddy. Surprisingly, my stuff had been arranged and stacked inside my backpack like I wouldn’t normally do. My phone was also charged full and all I needed to do was to grab a quick brekkie and board on the shuttle provided by the resort all the way to the airport in Caticlan. Such a lucky girl.
I was nursing a bad hangover as the boat coughed its cold engine. I was lulled by the five-minute ride back to the mainland. I was leaving my friends behind to go back to the real life as they continued the party.
As expected, the crazy Caticlan Airport was a moshpit of delayed aircrafts, grumpy passengers and exorbitant fees. I sat somewhere observing everything as I soothed myself with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’s OST.
I couldn’t think of the last time I boarded a plane solo. My window seat provided the perfect reflective setting. I was literally on cloud nine as I thought about what transpired during the trip. My musings brought me back to my core being. It was the sheer happiness and contentment that was dug deep down inside me.