Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015
Boat Station 1 of White Beach
Swimming underwater near Boat Station 1 of White Beach

















I S L A N D

P A R A D I S E










What’s worse than a feet-filled pair of socks on powdery white sand? A recluse on a crowded beach. It’s awfully painful to see my elusive self walk into a tropical scene where human heads match or outnumber coconut fences along the shoreline. For whatever reason I was in the world famous White Beach of Boracay months ago, I kept to myself. It did not call me. I made appointments. It did not beckon. I invited myself. My revisit was as taut as skinny jeans on a middle-aged banker. It’s paradise to most people and it looked like it was something that I wanted to experience again. Clearly, I wanted more of it for reasons I could not explain.

"Year-End Bang In Boracay" Blog Series Tour

My first visit of the island in 2013 evoked in me the pleasure of finding my serene spot. Whether it was sunbathing at a less crowded space or reading a book on a recliner, I enjoyed my own version of Boracay. En route to the island via Ambassador In Paradise’s boat transfer service from the Caticlan Jetty Port, I resolved to rid myself of such travel ennui by just picking up on the energy where I’ll find it the most sincere. If a spot allowed me to linger in expensive luxury, I’d surrender my wallet. If a peddler cornered me with a tempting souvenir, I’d empty my pockets. After an AirAsia flight on seat-sale rate from Manila and an hour of van commute from Kalibo, I managed to save more than a thousand pesos for transportation. Splurging at my target destination would not be so sinful after all.


Station 1 Beachfront
View of the island from the peak of Mount Luho
Souvenirs at Puka Beach




Outdoor Love

To enjoy the moment, I had to set my sense of appreciation in perspective. For outdoor activities, cerulean dips were free in the island. Priceless were instances of seeing a small fish meander gently on my ankle at waist-high deep water. Collapsing in reckless abandon where the crystalline surf made a line of foam did not cost me anything at all. If anything, it even earned me a fab tan. My favorite shoreline was Puka Beach which I visited two years ago aboard a motorboat for an island tour. This time, though, I hopped in on a tricycle for no more than a hundred pesos, one-way, to reach the part of Boracay where it's located -- in Barangay Yapak. It may be harder to walk on with bare feet because it's studded with bead-like shells, but I preferred its more expansive beachfront with its vibrant waves. It was there where I spent my quiet sunset which I first had at the famous Willy's Rock in Station 1 for my first visit.

Diniwid Beach
I wanted to try stand up paddle boarding or throwing a frisbee at the shallow waters but lost free time for it after spending an extra hour at my choice of tour activity in the island – a ride of the Segway Personal Transporter. The extra hour was a visit of Mount Luho’s view deck which was sort of a culmination of the inland adventure ride. I hesitated trekking to the view deck at first but when I finally gave in to the enticing segue of my Segway spotter or guide, I was rewarded with a spectacular Boracay panorama in a way I did not see it before – atop a deck on a peak that’s 100 meters above sea level.

Luxurious Stays

For accommodations, I had to experience the island where opinions varied. Since my Caticlan roundtrip transfer was arranged by Ambassador In Paradise, I settled staying there for a night. With five star hotel quality amenities, it certainly made me feel pampered. Read about my bespoke luxury experience here. My first night, though, was spent at the Mediterranean-inspired Beachview Room with Balcony of Zuzuni. Check out my fabulous stay at the famous Station 1 boutique hotel here.

Waiting for the sunset at Puka Beach
AirAsia flight to Kalibo
Caticlan Jetty Port
Sunset at the calm Diniwid Beach





Lusty Dishes

I also made sure to hie off to the nearby Diniwid Beach where I had an afternoon swimming pool soak at Microtel By Wyndham after a tasty snack of ham and cheese sandwich at its restaurant called Mama’s Fish House. Fortunately, sunset was stunning at this side of the island. Read more about my stay at this Diniwid Beach destination here.

Both destinations – Station 1 and Diniwid Beach – may be welcoming, but the island has the busy Station 2, a middle child of sorts in its cradle. It’s where party animals tend to instinctively find their own kind regardless of the time of day. It’s also where I dreaded strolling for fear of being listless, so I decided to imbibe its energy just to discover what it could offer me. It turned out, a night cap of bliss could be had at TheTides Hotel Boracay’s Solstice Sun Lounge, as well as inventive Filipino cuisine at its Ka-on Restaurant. Read more about the gustatory details here.

Sunset at the vibrant Puka Beach
Since I ended up wanting more of Station 2’s festive vibe, I made sure to experience what The District Boracay had in store for me – lusty dishes from its Best Buffet Brunch roster, restful power naps at its stylish Premier Suite with Loft, and a cool afternoon dip at its gorgeous lap pool. Know the nitty-gritty here.

It turned out that Station 2 was not the rebel spawn that some tourism advocates buzzed about in forums. At least not during my stay. I remembered it to be a sea of bodies two summers ago, an interesting blow to my reclusive nature.

Reputable History

The other interesting thing that I stumbled upon about the island was what I learned online with it being once considered by a post-war government committee to be a potential capital of the country. Thanks to strong Wi-Fi, my plugged moments were reliable even if I was 400 kilometers from my work desk in Manila.  

Stand Up Paddle Boarding
The bead-like sand of Puka Beach
The strong waves of Puka Beach
My revisit of Boracay had me strolling on my bare feet. With powdery sand as soft as cotton (according to the island’s old inhabitants), there’s nothing worse to experience than holding out on just being there for the heck of it. 

Photography by Josua Chan and Karl Ace


Contact Information of top hotels:


Contact Information of Segway Philippines

Boat Station 1 of White Beach
Bats over Puka Beach


Aboard AirAsia
Caticlan Roundtrip Transfer

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