If asked what Boracay looks like, I would quickly answer, “After my vacation in Bora, I couldn’t help but compare how more beautiful and serene the place is than other Philippine beaches I’d been.”
That was in 2006. My first adventure in Boracay with my college friend. I am from a part of the country surrounded by farmlands and dusty roads. The nearest beach from my hometown was two hours away via a private vehicle. So, going to Boracay was a very special event for me.
I could still remember the deep color blue of the sea from the horizon. Thinking I could see from my bare eyes that the earth is really round. I remembered the fine white sand that I could walk barefoot along the shoreline.
The calm water gave me enough and the cushioned sand below it gave me the confidence to dip in it even if I couldn’t swim. At that time, waste management was already an issue and the proof was the thick algae left behind in the morning after a high tide. It was one of the ugly sides of Boracay but, in 2006, I could see hired people clean up.
In 2006, I admired the people of Boracay because of their honesty and on how they do business. My friend and I could leave behind our digicam and other items on the sand so we could have a swim. No tourist guide would offer a more discounted price just to get more clients. From what I understood back then, they had a collective agreement on how to deal with tourists. We could confidently roam around the island at night and sit on bars because we felt secure and welcome.
We did island hopping and snorkeling. Boracay is surrounded by other small islands and protected coral reefs with an abundant ecosystem. Since I couldn’t swim I was really scared to leave the boat. With assurance from the boatmen and my friend that I was safe with a life vest, I jumped at an opportunity to see the underwater world. I forgot the fear and I was overwhelmed by the new beauty I saw.
Different size of fishes swarmed around us as we fed them with bread crumbs. Colorful coral reefs were their home. Other sea creatures I could not name would just pop out. I forgot that I couldn’t swim and was jus happy to be a part of their world.
The other islands were also nice. If you want a quiet time, the beach would be nice. Although that time, the other beaches do not have the fine sand like Boracay. Most of the islands had little shells and pebbles along the shoreline. Also, it’s business as usual in any island. Local vendors were waiting for tourists to sell their handmade shell accessories. I actually bought some and wore them back home.
Taking pictures was very important to us. We couldn’t go back home without showing off how beautiful Boracay is. With our swimming attires and beautiful sceneries, we had some of the best pictures of our lives from Boracay.
That all happened in 2006. I went back in 2013 with my boyfriend and colleagues and a lot had changed. Boracay is no longer an escape to the city but a city in an island. It still has the deep blue colored sea and fine sand. But a few meters from the beach, one can see a long stretch of restaurants, bars, and stores. Beggars are also roaming the area and it’s saddening to see that some of the beggars are the actual tribe people of the island.
At present,there are a lot more beautiful and pristine Philippine beaches that are promoted for tourism. They would advertise it sometimes as the Boracay of the north (Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte) and the hidden Boracay of this XX province. It is still compared to the famous beach island, Boracay. I just hope it remains to be one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Philippines.
Daily Prompt: Beach