I´m no kite surfer and not really into beach bumming either, but I lamented the fact that despite many trips to the Philippines (on business), I had only ever stepped foot on one of the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippine Archipelago. When it became apparent that my original idea of spending a weekend in Tibet would be overly-ambitious (ie bordering on crazy), a side trip to a tropical island with plentiful supply of 7D dried mangoes didn´t seem like such a bad alternative.
Getting there involved a few too many transfers and waiting periods than my then travel-weary body had patience for, namely: 1) flight to Manila; 2) a few hours´ waiting time in the domestic airport (though thankfully not in the dilapidated international terminal); 3) flight to Kalibo; 4) a 1.5 hour mini-van ride to Caticlan jetty port; 5) a 15-minute boat ride to Boracay island; and 6) a 10-minute open air buggy ride to the main beach and resorts. Some say it´s all about the journey, but I just wanted to be at the destination and have a shower!
Even if gaudy is not your style, you have to give credit to the creativity and effort exerted in the widespread decoration of Jeepneys, a popular mode of public transport originally made from
US military trucks leftover from WWII
We arrived just in time for dinner. White beach, the main tourist strip, is lined with restaurants offering al fresco buffet dining, with Mongolian BBQ heavily promoted. Perhaps sensing the impending return to landlocked Berlin, my body resisted the inescapable smell of charred meat, demanding instead a sushi and sashimi fix. As soon as we ordered, the lights went out and then on again, as the generators kicked in. Just another brown-out.
Damage from a recent typhoon
Boracay attracts quite a few kite surfing junkies, but it is also possible to be extremely lazy without suffering from boredom. Strolling barefoot on silky soft White Beach is soothing for the feet, and it´s worth exploring the other less frequented beaches simply to be anti-social. The seawater is nearly crystal clear and is the perfect temperature for splashing around aimlessly. Once you get to the island, everything is relatively hassle free and the most challenging situation I faced was having to decide which two flavours to pick from a wide selection of exotic-sounding ice creams.
A passenger boat, obviously not in service
Kids playing in the wind
Time for a break after crawling down and up the Crystal and Bat caves,
avoiding getting smeared with bat droppings
Err, how do I get down from here again?
Sirshasana (headstand) on a slopey beach is actually not that comfortable...
Another view of White Beach
Kite surfing off Bulabog Beach (no, that´s not me in the air!)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbend/wheelpose)
Sunset view from Boracay Tropics Resort