Lately my social media feed’s been bombarded with travel promos to the different tourist destinations of Philippines. Much as I’m so tempted to book (especially those buy one take one all-in tours), I can’t help but be anxious if it’s even worth planning ahead now. I’m still scared to hop on a plane and be in an enclosed space for an hour. So I guess I’ll cross the bridge when it’s safer to travel.
For now, looking back at travel photos is my consolation. I realized I have not even blogged about Boracay Island. It’s the place where I’ve had my first actual travel experience. First time I went there was in 1992, when it was still unexploited and there was no direct flight to it. I remember my cousins and I took the ferry from Bacolod to Iloilo very early in the morning, then rode a mini bus for hours crossing over to Aklan. Then we hopped on a jeep (my older guy cousins sat on top of the jeep!) and rode for hours on rough roads towarsa Caticlan (if my memory serves me right). And finally, we rode a boat for towards Boracay Island and arrived at sundown. At the time there was no electricity in Boracay, and the hut that we rented was lit by gaslamps. During that trip in ‘92, we stayed for a week. Vivid memories were hours of sitting under the sun on fine white sand, and an island tour where I saw thousands of bats in the remote part of Boracay.
More than a decade later I went back with my BFF for a short R&R. It was the rainy season so not much tourists were in the island. I was shocked and disappointed at how much the island had changed. It’s become so commercialised. We did the island tour but I couldn’t find the part where there were thousand of bats.
Third and last time I went back was for a 2 day business trip of sorts. We stayed at the Shangri-La and at that time I didn’t even bring my swimsuit. My only time to relax was when my friend and I headed to the spa for a good massage. The rest was a blur as it was a series of business meetings. When it was time to party I was so sleepy I skipped it and just went to bed.
Boracay in the 90’s was absolutely gorgeous. Nowadays, it’s lost its charm for me. I prefer the quiet, laid back, non-commercialised beaches, and I hope there is still quite a few of those to explore in my country.