The Boracay Diaries: Day 3

             At last, we arrived at the last day of our adventure in Boracay. The first day was a disaster, the second day was just fine but not that amazing, and for this last day, I have my hopes of enjoying and making sure nothing hinders me from having fun the whole day!

img_1957             I woke up around 8am, but this time I was alone. Apparently, my mom and my aunts were already out to eat breakfast. I hurriedly stood up and fixed myself so I can eat and swim early. When I went out, the beach was beautiful as usual. There were not much people, the serenity I was looking for is now there, and I was already feeling the moment, the happiness I’ve been yearning for 3 days now. The wind was strong, due to the raining that happened yesterday, the waves were high, I can hear my mom and my aunts scream as they enjoy the waves while swimming, the weather was perfect. It was the best time to swim. As I indulged myself in the ocean, I though this was the last day. I will miss this place. Everytime the waves hit me, it was satisfaction. I swam, I dived, I played with the water. The kid in me was bursting in joy as I was having fun in the sea. I can say that this day was THE HIGHLIGHT of our vacation. Everything is going perfectly fine, this is the vacation I had in mind, I didn’t want it to end.

             A small mishap though, my mom wanted to take pictures with img_5436the “Boracay” sand creations, or whatever they call it. But the people who made it didn’t want us to, as they were asking us for a high price to take pictures. We were surprised and walked away. The guy then destroyed his work. The other tourists were surprised to what he did. I’m not sure if this is normal in Boracay though. Instead of dwelling on that, we decided to eat lunch. The food is perfect as usual, we even had left overs that we packed for later ;). What more can I ask for. After lunch, we were able to look for a better “Boracay” sand creation and took pictures there for a cheaper price. And yes, my mom was satisfied and made sure she had hundreds of pictures with it. Perfect beach? Check! Perfect lunch? Check! Perfect pictures? Check! Does it get any better?

             While waiting for our pickup from the hotel, we decided to look for souvenirs. Honestly the souvenirs were really affordable but they were also really beautiful! If only I had  a lot of money, I could have done some shopping. Haha. I bought some bracelets, they were really cheap amd had nice designs. I also bought a fridge magnet, it was for p50. So I already paid, but when some Koreans came, the saleslady said the fridge magnet was p100 for 4 pieces. Oh I should’ve bargained Haha. Around 2pm, the tour people came on time in picking us up. It was already time for us to leave the beautiful beaches of Boracay. It was a bit melancholic, it was too soon, but we really had to go. I shall return, maybe? 😉

             I was tired, very much exhausted, I just wanted to sleep, these thoughts were running on my mind. I didn’t care if the boat picking us up was delayed, all I wanted was to sit down and free my mind. All these swimming, walking and travelling really pushed me to my limits. After the boat ride, a bus picked us up going back to Kalibo International Airport. I wanted to stay awake and enjoy the view, but my body really can’t stay up, I fell asleep the whole time, no regrets though. I needed that rest.

img_5445             We arrived really early, around 5pm. Our flight was for 7:30pm. We had enough time to eat and still take pictures, well my mom and my aunts enjoyed that. I just wanted peace of mind and to sit still. When it was time fly, it was hard, but I had to bid farewell to one of the most beautiful islands I’ve seen in my life. The flight wasn’t delayed and we took off Kalibo on time, but we landed late due to air traffic in NAIA. Thank goodness we had a smooth flight, though it was raining really hard. It was a bit scary but we were safe. It was still raining hard when we arrived in NAIA, and as expected, it was hard to look for a cab. Thankfully, NAIA has a very reliable internet connection and we were able to book with  GrabCar. We used the code “GRABNAIA” for a p200 discount, effective until October 10, 2016. It was really helpful, the original price was around p500+, this is definitely how our vacation should end, easy and convenient.

             When I remember these 3 days I spent in Boracay, it was totally img_5464out of this world. Bizarre events and misadventures all led to a mixture of annoying and happy moments. Admittedly, I really had a lot of bad experiences during our stay there. But I can’t change the fact that I also had a good time. Good food, amazing activities, hospitable people, beautiful beaches and perfect weather, what else can I ask for? This is everything I needed for a perfect vacation. The mishaps should’ve been avoided if we had a concrete plan and if we prepared in advance, it’s something that’s useful in case we go back there, or to any destination. Planning is really necessary, a small mistake can be a big factor affecting one’s mood in a vacation.

20160927_003003206_ios             I want to go back there, I want to feel that I am away from all the troubles and responsibilities I have in Manila. It made me feel as if I am free and liberated from pain and stress. Definitely, Boracay served it’s purpose. It has a distinct personality out of all the beaches in the Philippines. It is crazy, definitely out of this world, but this craziness is something to look forward to if you’re looking for adrenaline and adventure. Boracay is not your typical vacation destination. Yes it is crowded, complicated and chaotic, but it depends on which perspective will you be looking from. I chose to love its simple side, the relaxing and serene Boracay, still half-crazy, but a good combination of both. No wonder it is one of the greatest tourist spots in the Philippines. As they always say, never be a stranger to your own country, learn to discover, because once you know the hidden beauty of your country, that’s when you get pride of what you have and realize it can be irreplaceable. It’s not world-class but it is unique, a distinct characteristic that a Filipino culture has to offer, a soft heart, serenity in this world full of chaos and scramble.

 

The Boracay Diaries: Day 2

img_4637       My first day in Boracay was, somehow, a disaster. But for our second day, I’m hoping that we will get better experiences and activities, really beach related, not some free buffet or whatever. We came here to enjoy the beach, not to make business. But it’s our fault anyway haha. We have the whole day and I really expect for everything to get better.

       I woke up early for our second day, around 7am. I heard my mom and my aunts makingimg_4650 noises. They’re preparing. Mom said we have joined a beach activity, ISLAND HOPPING. And by the sound of it, it seems fun. Last time we did island hopping was when we were in corregidor, and it was definitely out of this world, unforgettable. So I was expecting the same thing for this. I hurriedly fixed myself to make it on time. We had breakfast, THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD! I’m not sure if I was just hungry though ;). My mom told me we will be swimming in all the islands we’ll be going to so she said I’d better have my swimming attire ready, something we didn’t do in Corregidor. When it was time to go, we had to meet the boat guy and my mom was originally offered P450 per person, she was furious that she had to pay P600+ per person. It wasn’t the price she was told so she wanted to back out. Here we go again, another mishap. But the guy was insisting and said we can just get it by P500. My mom agreed as we were already there, and it is better than the original price. So at last, it was a go for us.

img_4675       During the boat ride, we were very much crowded, different that what we had in Corregidor. Sorry, I can’t help but compare. So far I’m not happy with the service. I realized that you can rent a private boat and do the island hopping privately, but it’s much more expensive of course. So we arrived at our first destination, Puka Beach, not even sure if I spelled that right. We had a tour guide but she was of no use, there was no tour guiding happening. When we went down the beach, IT WAS REALLY BEAUTIFUL, peaceful and simple. It was the Boracay I had in mind. I though what I see in movies and in TV are all lies, but the image of Boracay they instilled in my mind was real. The guide said we only had 1 hour and we had to get back to the boar. So we hurriedly ran and enjoyed the view. The sand was clean, the beach was so clear and the scenery was spectacular, something that the main island can’t offer. My mom and my aunt took the opportunity and asked me to take some pictures, so we did. It took so long and when they were happy, I just wanted to swim. I was deeply enjoying my swim, when my mom told me that we needed to get back to the boat. It wasn’t even 5 minutes yet when I was swimming, bummer. It was bad that we had to go early, I wasn’t able to maximize my stay there, time was too short unfortunately.

       Our next destination was snorkeling. I was excited, it was my first time. I was tellingimg_4746 myself, maybe this will cover all the disappointments I had including the short time we had in Puka Beach. They stopped in the middle of the sea, and gave us some basic snorkeling gear. I wondered how many mouths have been used for this gears they’re giving out? Haha. It was hard to snorkel at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great experience. THE SCENE UNDERWATER IS BEAUTIFUL! I’m so amazed with how beautiful the fishes look, and the corals, this moment is just so majestic. I even put my phone in a water proof case just to take a quick video under the sea (no pun intended). After snorkeling, we were given lunch buffet as part of the package. We went to another island for the food. As usual, THE FOOD WAS GREAT! I don’t get how food in Boracay can be so much better than what we have in Manila. After eating, we were supposed to be transferred by the boats to Crystal Cove, but another bump on the road, the boat was delayed. They said they failed to call for us because they didn’t see us. What an excuse, totally a cherry on top a cake -_-.

img_1618       When it was our turn for the boat ride, it was extremely tiring. I’m getting all exhausted with these boat rides and travelling. I think we’re consuming so much time, I was hopeful that Crystal Cove would give me the satisfaction I’m looking for. So the “helpful” guide mentioned that this last island has 2 coves, and we can swim. We can go there for p200 for one hour. And as usual, we have to be back in the boat after that time. I was hurrying my mom so we can start. Crystal Cove is a big island. I was excited to see what it can bring us. So we had to walk and follow the trail to the first cove. Upon arriving, the view was so overwhelming, it was so beautiful, worthy of a panorama shot. Hehe. We hurriedly went down the cove so we can swim. There was nothing much to do but swim, if you have your own snorkeling gear, you can watch the fishes below. After this we went up and hurriedly went to the next cove, we have 30 minutes left and I’m not enjoying it. I didn’t know the second cove was far, we were walking under the heat of the sun, and I was really exhausted, plus the fact of time pressure which wasn’t necessary. When we arrived in the second cove, there was nothing there, it was just plain similar with cove 1. Had we known, we should’ve never left there. Or maybe, we shouldn’t have entered Crystal Cove in the first place. It was a waste of time.

       We’re on our last boat ride, back to the shores of the main island. I was boredimg_4979, exhausted, tired, I just wanted to sleep. We were terribly delayed, I don’t know what happened, and I didn’t wanna know why, I’m just really tired, I then fell asleep. Moments later, my mom asked me if I wanted to do parasailing. I SAID A BIG YES! Of course, it might take away all of my disappointments this day. So when we came to the shore, my mom arranged the deal with a guy, the we were on a speedboat going to the floating station for parasailing. Then, we were transferred to another speedboat carrying the parachute. We were with another batch, they were the first to go. When they were floating, the men in the speedboat noticed the skies and pulled the first batch back to the boat. They said it was gonna rain and we had to go back to the floating station. WOW. So my only hope for enjoyment was gone in just a snap. And it did rain, very very hard. My mom was freezing cold. It was fun, but of course I was really disappointed. After a while, the rain stopped, I saw this double rainbow. And this gave me hope that my parasailing dream would come to life again. And yes, we were invited back to the speedboat, and moments later, the parasailing gear were attached to us. And before we know it, we’re already flying!

img_1689       It was the best thing! I felt I have wings, I can see the whole panoramic view of Boracay’s breach front. The boats were small, as if they were toys, and wind was blowing perfectly. I felt as if the rope was gonna break, and if it was, I’m gonna be okay with it so I can fly all across the island. But before getting to the climax, we were already pulled back down to the speed boat. We didn’t spend 15 minutes, the supposed time frame. The guys helping us said it was gonna rain again and we had to go back to the shore. I was happy that we did parasailing, but disappointing as we didn’t get the actual value of the activity we paid for. Why do they have to cut all the excitement of this day. 😦 When we were back to our hotel, I asked my mom if we can swim the beach even if it was raining. She said yes and that’s when I got excited again. We hurriedly went to the beach for swimming and enjoyed the rain. We felt as if we were young again, it was the fun that we were looking for the whole day. This simple swim was what we’re looking for, it was all we wanted. It should’ve been what Boracay focused on instead of offering us all things. In the end, it was a fun and unforgettable afternoon swim. My mom said we will do it again tomorrow morning. This time, I’ll make sure that I’ll make the most of the remaining time I have with Boracay!

       We ended our day with a wonderful dinner, THE FOOD WAS VERY img_5069DELIGHTFUL! Boracay never disappointed me in this category. We ordered a lot, from soups to pizzas, it was all moth-watering. Every bite was delectable, and every scoop is worth it! Plus the factor that I’m with amazing people, it was a perfect dinner I must say. After eating, we all rested for a while, viewed pictures we had the whole day and decided then to sleep. It was a better day compared than the first one, but it was still not the enjoyment I was looking for, still disappointed in some aspects.

       For our final day I hope that we get to enjoy the whole day without holding back and without disappointments. This time I’ll make sure that we’ll just swim the whole day and won’t let other activities hinder us from having fun. The other stuff that Boracay offers are fun, an icing on top of the cake, but they aren’t necessary. It will be more fun just to enjoy the main offer of Boracay, to enjoy their beaches and just have a relaxing time. That, my friend, is my goal for my last day here and I am very much looking forward to it. A better tomorrow as they say. 😉

The Boracay Diaries: Day 1

img_1991     Boracay is, of course, one of the most popular swimming destinations in the Philippines, even in Asia! It is so because of its “beautiful white sand”. That’s all I know about it, I haven’t been there. We were taught in elementary about its white beaches and that it is one of the famous tourist spots in the Philippines. It is also portrayed in movies and in TV that Boracay is a very fun place, the go-to for people who wants to swim and party. It is definitely a mix of serenity and extravagance, something I thought I wouldn’t see. But just this week, I was able to visit and see the beauty that is Boracay.

img_4342            Prior our flight, I was actually sick. I was experiencing fever and headache for 2 days, and I was really eager to make sure that I get well so I can join my family’s trip to Boracay. I rested really well and followed medication. And when it was morning before the flight, I was feeling all better. Aside from me and my mom, her 2 sisters joined us, I felt I was the bodyguard and I had to protect these “queens” ;). I woke up early, around 5am, since our flight is 9:45am, so I have a lot of time to prepare. When we were ready to go, we used GrabCar’s service and charged us P312 instead of normally around more than P400. GrabCar was truly our savior, the driver was really fast, courteous and  very accommodating. Apparently he lives near us and one of my aunts know him. I felt safer. We arrived in NAIA in just one hour. My mom then reminded me about my ID for boarding, and stupid me, I didn’t bring any ID, even my school ID. I though I was gonna be left behind but the kind lady in AirAsia told us I can use a digital version of my ID or if I have a picture of it, I can use that. Good thing I have a picture of my school ID and they accepted that. I love how flexible AirAsia, they saved my arse hehe. After boarding, we had to go through tight security and x-ray. I didn’t know I had to remove all the metals I’m wearing, it’s a good to know now. Plus, they are just doing their job for everyone’s security.

img_4362         After several years, IT FEELS AS IF IT WAS MY FIRST TIME AGAIN in riding an airplane. I’m not scared, I’m actually excited. We were already inside the plane around 9:40am. And yes, my wish is granted as I am sitting next to the window! Everyone’s dream come true, I must say. But all excitement went down as the captain announced the flight being delayed. It was just a small hump along the road, it was okay. And finally we flew around 10:50am. I was just amazed throughout the flight, taking pictures of the aerial view, yes I was like a kid again, just like when we went to Samar. Another thing that amazed me is the expensive food inside the plane. I told my mom to keep the water from the water bottle and use it up until the end of the year, as it feels as if it was golden. Kidding aside, the flight was so smooth I though it was cotton. We safely landed to  Kalibo, Aklan.

img_4369            Now reality has struck me, I am now in the Visayas region and everything seems different. The arrival area is not as grand as what we have in Manila, but hey, they have WiFi! Good job Kalibo International Airport, it made me really happy. The room was small, but the air-conditioning was enough to accommodate everyone. There were a lot of Filipino tourists, and of course there were foreign ones. I was getting mor excited as I feel the beach is near, yet I was wrong. My mom told me we have to ride a bus. And when we went outside, the heat of the sun almost grilled me. It was really hot, and I told her, it wasn’t this cold in Manila. Island Star Express accommodated us for our bus ride up to Caticlan Jetty Port Terminal for the boat ride. It was hell in the bus, seems like the air-conditioning was broken, I was really sweaty throughout the ride, very uncomfortable. When we went off the bus, I was really hot-headed and I wanted to get in the port terminal real quick to shade me from the sun. img_4371Thanks for Island Star Express for keeping us safe, though. It was a two-hour ride, but I wish they had better cooling options. Now this part in the Port Terminal started to be confusing as no one assisted us about the next steps to take. Of course we weren’t familiar about the process and they just kept on asking us to sit down, while some people who just came has been assisted to their boats. While waiting for our turn someone offered us free buffet in a specific hotel in Boracay, that’s something new, but we’ll see if it is true. When it was our turn, no one still assisted us and we almost mistakenly rode on the wrong boat. We just followed the people we were with in the bus and went to the right boat. It was a 5 minute ride to the island-proper of Boracay, and alas, we arrived.

         I though our suffering already ended. We arrived around 2:45pm. Apparentimg_4397ly someone was supposed to pick us up after the boat ride, unfortunately the four of us are the only ones left in the port, waiting for Island Star Express’ van. We were obviously wasting time, instead of enjoying the beach by this time, we are still waiting in the port. When the van arrived they apologized and said the boat delivered us to the wrong port. As much as I w
anna get angry, I just wanted to get over it and relax in the hotel. Upon travelling, I was surprised at how much the img_4453suburbs of Boracay looked like. This isn’t the Boracay I’ve been seeing on TV. It looked like the streets of Metro Manila, crowded, narrow, messy and very disorganized. This isn’t the Boracay I had in mind. I was more disappointed when we reached our hotel. It was worth more than P6,000.00 for three days, and it looked like a boarding room in Metro Manila. I’m not trying to be all-perfect here, but of course, I’m in Boracay and I wanted to be in a luxurious hotel. The one we had is best and recommended if you have tight budget. They have the basic needs, bed for two, complementary water, cable TV, clean blankets and of course cozy restroom, but it wasn’t what we were looking for. Too bad we were already booked there but we had to find a different one.

            We decided to eat our “lunch” first, since it’s already past 3pm, and we haven’t img_4399eaten anything yet. And upon going out to the beach front, the beautiful white sands of Boracay has gazed our sight. It was a glorious moment up until I noticed the place was, again, overcrowded. There were street vendors and the place was just all disorganized. I’m already disappointed in this trip. We decided to eat then in a nearby restaurant. After eating, we started looking for a better hotel nearby. There were a lot of options, there were modern themed ones and tropical themed ones. Some hotels were giving out promos, prices ranging img_4408from P9,000.00 now down to around P4,000.00  We were really surprised, there were a lot of better options. And my mom decided to go to the tropical themed one, The Nigi Nigi Hotel, I remember they offered the room around P3,000.00 per night for the 4 of us, I think it’s a good deal. The place was like a mini resort, and the rooms were Nipa Hut themed, so the huts are away from each other, we really had privacy there. The one that we have is good for 4 persons. The style was very Filipino, we had a second floor, one huge bed downstairs and 2 more beds upstairs. The restroom was beautiful and clean. This was SO MUCH BETTER than what we had earlier. We relaxed for a bit and decided to go to the free buffet that was offered to us earlier.

            So we arrived at the place, around 7:30pm. It was the Astoria Hotel that hosted. Andimg_4504 it was true, the buffet was free. The catch? They were offering us something that we had to listen to later, for about 90 minutes. As the youngest, I had no say on this but I told my mom to just follow since we are getting free dinner buffet. When the “talk” started, I was interested at first, but as when time went by, I got bored and uninterested with it. He was offering us a room, but we won’t know how much yet. There img_4514were a lot of benefits. What got me excited is when he toured us inside the rooms and the facilities. Indeed, it was world-class and something you can’t decline. The salesman was really kind but since he was already consuming 2 hours of our time, we really got a bit irritated and we just wanted it to finish, consequences of taking advantage of free stuff I suppose. We politely declined his offer in the end, and went back to our hotel. It was definitely a waste of time. Good thing WiFi was good in the hotel and I get to entertain myself before sleeping.

            So yeah, basically we weren’t able to do anything in our first day and first night. Itimg_4484was a disaster, my first time in Boracay was a mess. It all started when I forgot my ID, then the mess in the bus and the boat, the unwanted hotel and the time we wasted in Astoria. Well, lesson learned, everything really has to be organized and well-planned before going to your destination, and check for best options, too! Also, don’t get attracted to free stuff, there’s always a catch, and most of the time, the “catch” is really burdensome. In this case, the consequences we had is we lost our time to enjoy and, of course, we weren’t able to save money as we didn’t get the value for what we purchased at first. Would day 2 be a better one? I hope so, and it better change my perspective with Boracay, because so far, I’m not impressed and would prefer Batangas or Palawan. We’ll see ;).