I’ve been to Boracay a couple of times before, and each time I leave I always make a mental note to come back as soon as I can. Yet, for some weird reason I have never run out of excuses to delay (and eventually cancel) those travel plans.
As I was preparing for my third visit to this world-famous island, I began to realize — and finally admit to myself — that my reluctance is somehow predicated on the fact that I did not want to get too familiar with the place by coming here too often. I wanted to retain some of that sense of delight and discovery when I first beheld its white sandy beaches. If I had given in to my wishes and came as often as I wanted, I think Boracay would have quickly lost its appeal to me.
As we prepared to board the ferry boat to the island (from Caticlan), I started to feel better. Yes. I’m glad I came back. It was definitely high time I renewed acquaintance with Boracay. I was surprised to note that I actually missed the place — heck, even the sea air felt like a welcome nudge.
Another reason that made this trip a bit more special was that this time the whole family was coming. This was going to be a meaningful family get-together, a chance to reestablish and strengthen our bonds. We lost our father to cancer 4 years ago, and his absence has been sorely felt since then. Things have been so different without him. My mother, one of the most pragmatic people I know, has been uncharacteristically sentimental lately and is starting to show her age (lost weight and forgetfulness; we’re keeping our fingers crossed that she’ll stay with us for a long time). However, she is rather fond of this place because she has had many happy memories here with my father, siblings, and her grandkids.
After hours of travel, we finally arrived at our hotel (Azalea H&R), one of several new hotels that seem to be sprouting like mushrooms every month or so in this part of the island. The glass-encased lobby was full of incoming and departing guests so it took us a while to sort out our reservations. My sister did a great job of organizing this trip, so before long we were trudging wearily to our rooms.
As always, the ones who enjoyed and made the most of this trip were my brother’s kids, who spent practically half their time in the water — either in the hotel pool or at the beach, while us grown-ups wimped out (it rained on and off during our stay) and opted to stay indoors or just took walks when we had the time. As for food, we basically stuffed our faces the minute we got there.
Another highlight was the presence of several “Ati-atihan” tribes that sashayed and played their rhythmic drums along the length of the beach, which was thoroughly appreciated by many tourists. The hypnotic drumbeat and the performers’ colorful costumes provided a delightful spectacle. It definitely added a festive touch to the whole weekend.
This has been an oddly satisfying stay (for me), a bit on the emotional side perhaps but nevertheless more appreciated. My first 2 trips here were rather hectic and rushed, so this laid-back pace gave me enough time to look at other things that I didn’t notice before. I even managed to do a bit of work (deadlines!); when I spotted Starbucks during one of my walks, I just couldn’t resist. As always, I wasn’t able to take the right amount of pictures because of overcast skies and my weird sleeping habits. Ah well. There’s always the next time.