Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Boracay Diaries ~ Updated

Boracay White Beach

Night Day 1 | Thursday | September 24

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 keep on coming back. I stood in the middle of my two favorite travel buddies, as if guarding me from whoever and whatever, as we walked along the familiar paths and alleys of the area. I love being with these two lads, like I couldn’t imagine being stranded on an island without them. But I digress...

Boracay White Beach Sandcastle

Everyone we passed by seemed lost and dazed while. We were looking for a decent dinner place and Andok’s was our refuge(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 (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Boracay).

It was Thursday an hour or so ago but the party scene at White Beach 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.

Boracay White Beach Sandcastle

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 bumped into. A crazy mix of fun and fascinating people. Very reminiscent of the crowd at Sakura Bar in Vang Vieng, Laos.

Boracay White Beach Surfing

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 a bar, I looked at my buddies staring at the bar and then we started laughing as we all felt the same thing, we should continue the party. 

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 sunbaked tan.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay Puka Beach

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.

Boracay Puka Beach

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.

Boracay Exit Bar Station 2

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.

Boracay Exit Bar Station 2

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.

Boracay Exit Bar Station 2

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.

Boracay Insomnia Bar Station 2

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.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay White Beach Station 1

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.

Boracay Puka Beach Gold Eagle Beer

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.

Blame it on Boracay’s party mood but the Carla I saw there was the real representation of what she’s feeling right now; sober or not. 




Updated 2017: Away from the Crowd

Boracay White Beach

It was a Friday when the announcement came, 26th of June was declared a special holiday, a long weekend is coming up exactly a week from that time. The usual suspects immediately gathered on our group chat and right away, a plan was made.


Day Night 1 | Friday | June 23

I slept all throughout the two-hour journey from Kalibo International Airport to Caticlan Port, and then a ferry ride, and then a van ride. We’re getting used to this type of commute that it doesn’t bore or bother us anymore. We weren’t as excited as the Chinese tourists inside the bus though as Boracay became our go-to beach place whenever our schedule meets.

A champagne bottle was popped as we entered the lobby of our home for four days, Ferra Hotel Boracay, almost half of the staff were all there to welcome us. We were then ushered to our lovely One Bedroom Loft and found a bucket of beer and some munchies (the best welcome treats ever!) and then got settled.

Ferra Hotel Boracay
One Bedroom Loft at Ferra Hotel Boracay, our home for three nights
We continued the beer sesh at Ruf Resto Bar on the topmost level of the hotel. The plan was to booze up a bit before heading to the White Beach for some serious partying. The supposedly preliminary booze ended up on an all-nighter drinking sesh with the gang. Granny hormones kicked in and we didn’t have the energy to go out anymore. We slept like babies with no particular time to wake up the next day.


Day 2 | Saturday | June 24

Me and my buddy just arrived from our two-month backpacking trip, Same Same Summer Trip 2017, and were itching for a beach trip. Me and my friends didn’t have a concrete plan beforehand on this four-day jaunt. With no particular places in mind, we went on and visited some places we failed to see during our past holidays to Boracay.

Boracay White Beach
Envious of these kids' playground
The sun was shining at its best when we arrived at Mt. Luho. A minimal fee of P120 was paid to have a great view of the island. We shared the paved steps going to the top with other guests who seemed to not be distracted with the glaring midnoon sunshine. We climbed up some more on a metal staircase and went to the topmost level which gave us a panoramic view of the whole island.

Boracay Mt. Luho
The view from Mt. Luho
It would such be a disgrace if we wouldn’t check out the beach scene so we decided to stop by at Bulabog Beach after the quick stint at the viewpoint. Locals were enjoying the lazy Saturday afternoon with picnic baskets with them; a stark contrast on the touristy scene on the famous White Beach.

Bulabog Beach Boracay
Bulabog Beac, one of the 12 beaches in Boracay
Going to Boracay in June has its perks; the yellow green algae that fill the shoreline during summer are completely gone while the Habagat season (southwest monsoon) was just starting. During the rainy season, the whole stretch of White Beach is blocked with makeshift bamboo scaffoldings with clear plastic wraps to prevent the strong winds and wave splash to reach through the beachfront establishments.

White Beach Boracay
Boracay's White Beach in June = No algae, no monsoon rains
The afternoon heat was piercing through our skin as we walked our way to White Beach. We scanned the almost deserted beach (deserted in Boracay standards) and found the perfect spot to lay our beach mat. We’ve got the best seat, or should I say best pocket of sand, with a nice view of the beach which is devoid from tourists and paraw boats.

My buddy, couldn’t contain his excitement, went straight to the beach, while my other friend documented the goings-on at the beach. I sat where I was and did nothing but enjoy that perfect moment.

White Beach Boracay
Laze around
So I lazed on the mat and stared at the clear blue sky and the swaying coconut trees. Idle time isn’t my friend ‘coz I’m the type who always wants to use my time in something productive, but the lulling mood felt like it would such be a dishonor to be preoccupied in this perfect time.

White Beach Boracay
Station Two
My buddies were busy doing their own stuff while I sat on our beach mat. I stared at the azure clear waters and the countless barefooted people who seemed to enjoy the sunbaked powdery white sand of Boracay. I relished that moment, that fleeting time of guiltless slackerhood. That feeling remained for two hours, two wonderful hours.

White Beach Boracay
Blissful times
We had lunch somewhere and thought of spending the golden hour on a nice spot. We went to West Cove Boracay and had an early dinner while as we wait for the perfect unobstructed view of the famous Boracay sunset, one of the best in the country as they say.

Boracay Sunset
Boracay's famed sunset from West Cove Boracay
We downed a few bottles before we partied the night away at the White Beach, like we always wanted to, until the break of dawn.


Day 3 | Sunday | June 25

My head was still banging when we woke up at six in the morning the next day, blame it to last night’s (or should I say mornight) booze. We asked for the help of our hotel to arrange a boat for us going to the nearby island paradise of Carabao Island in the province of Romblon. And just because the beauty of this island is ought to be shared, I will dedicate a separate post regarding our lovely trip.

White Beach Boracay
Field trip Sunday. We're going to Carabao island in Romblon Province!
That same night, our last party night, we reveled like we were born to do so. We joined the maddening crowd of teeners and twenty-something youngsters and enjoyed the music at Epic Bar. We couldn’t keep up with their raging hormones but somehow managed to enjoy the crazy party. Make sure to get inside the bar before 12 midnight because they ask for a 300-peso door charge after that time.

As expected, we dragged ourselves to our rooms and snoozed the mornight away.

Boracay Party
Cocktails by the beach before we party the night away

Day 4 | Monday | June 26

It was déjà vu from yesterday, we woke up later than usual and realized that we skipped breakfast. Again, blame it to the booze.

The sun was beaming with its midnoon glow. There were no shade to seek refuge to but we carried on with our stroll. The group decided to check out what’s on the farthest end of White Beach, thus we braved the afternoon heat and started the saunter at Station 3.

White Beach Boracay
Uncrowded beach at Station Three
I tried walking barefooted but the heat from the sand made walking a punishment. But the deserted beach on this side of Boracay was too beautiful to even bother the heat.

We found a pocket of beach that was surrounded with limestone rocks, a secret beach of some sort. We downed a few bottles of beer and then lounged on the beach. The seclusion we had and the incredibly clear water were too tempting. And so our afternoon siesta was spent on this side of White Beach; away from the crowd on the famous stations of Boracay.

White Beach Boracay
We reached the farthest end of White Beach
Our midnight flight back to Manila allowed us to have one final booze up sesh before we leave the island. Exit Bar, our go-to beachfront bar in Boracay, was strangely empty at four in the afternoon. We owned the bar and spent the rest of the afternoon people-watching. We waited until the sun lowers down into the horizon.

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We traveled to Kalibo for our flight back to Manila. The two-hour bus ride lulled me to sleep. Our flight was delayed not once, but four times which made all the passengers furious, but not us. We knew that delayed flights are not uncommon to the Philippines and we would just be wasting our precious energies to arguing with people who cannot do anything about it. But I don’t blame them, for they have important matter to attend to the next day, same with us. The five-hour delay was too much, for them, but we are so used to it like the crazy Manila traffic.

Boracay Sunset
Serene
It was, as usual, a great weekend with my great buddies. I always believe that travel, just like happiness, is meant to be shared. If you’re with a group of friends who shares the same passion with you (beer + slackerhood for us) then everything will turn out as amazing as it can be. And I’m sure that this won’t be our last Boracay trip.


Boracay Sunset


Check here for discounted hotels in Boracay





6 comments:

  1. Ay nainggit naman ako sa todo party niyo. huhuh!

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  2. Saya ng Boracay kahit huli na kami dumating! Haha :)

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  3. gaganda nman pictures ni Madam...

    *walang details nun environmental fee at iba pang bnbayaran.. researching on those infos. tsk

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    Replies
    1. Demanding reader! Haha. Click mo Boracay link ko may post ako na Boracay Travel Guide :)

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