For years, I had been dreaming of going to Boracay. But we kept putting it off. First, the kids were too young and the transfers from plane to land vehicle to boat to land vehicle didn’t sound like child’s play. Then, I resumed my career and all the traveling I got to do was work-related and none brought me to Boracay. Then, we bought a house and plane tickets sounded too much of a luxury. All of that is now behind us and we finally went last week.
Sure, the fine white sand on the beach didn’t scorch my feet even under the midday sun. Sure, the sunset was picture pretty. But as our first day in Boracay drew to a close, I was more than ready to voice out my disappointment. I wasn’t impressed, I didn’t find it relaxing, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I suppose it’s just fashionable to be seen in Boracay. It’s hip to be with the hip crowd, that sort of thing. Really, I felt no excitement at the fact that I had to jostle my way through the crowded beach.
But then again, I have to admit that it was too early at that point to judge Boracay after having seen nothing but White Beach. By dinner time, I was willing to concede that the tables on the brightly lit beach did have a charm all their own. Still, not being one to enjoy life in crowded places, I kept wishing there was more to Boracay than what I had seen so far. That wish would be granted the following day when we went island hopping.
Now, that’s my idea of a beach. NO CROWDS, just the sand, the sea and palm trees. Someday, I’ll build a house on a beach just like the one in the photo. White Beach is nothing compared to the solitude and pristine beauty of Puca Beach and Crystal Cove. And the endless fashion parade on White Beach seemed silly compared to diving, gazing at the corals underneath the sea and playing among the fish.
We hired a boat on the morning of Day 2 and Speedy was mocking us the entire time because only he had a waterproof cam. Sam, Alex and I could only take photos on shore. By the way, all the photos in this entry are mine and Speedy’s; I don’t know where the girls uploaded their photos, if they already have. Anyway, the first stop was Crystal Cove. I was happy enough to stay on the beach and ditch the cave tour.
I took photos…
Our friends who had gone to the park to see the caves sent someone back to tell us that it was beautiful inside and we ought to leave the beach for a while. True, it was beautiful. The park was on a cliff, there was a viewing deck and there were footpaths to the two caves.
Alex doesn’t like heights but there was a handrail so she just walked with the rest of us.
No photos taken inside the cave. I didn’t go — claustrophobia. Alex doesn’t like heights; I don’t like tight enclosed spaces.
Between Crystal Cove and Puca Island, we did a little snorkeling. That episode is both the highlight and the disaster.
The boatmen knew exactly where to stop. The spot was marked by buoys, the water was clear and the fish (like Nemo) came up to feed on pieces of bread tossed by sightseers.
But the fish weren’t the only attraction in the middle of the sea. There were coconut vendors…
…and they were splitting the coconut husks as the waves tossed their narrow boats. Amazing! It was a very hot day and we were all thirsty. We ordered a lot of coconuts and enjoyed the sweet juice.
And then, there were the ice cream vendors.
It was pinipig crunch for me. I couldn’t resist. Not that I was craving for ice cream but the idea of eating ice cream bought from a vendor in the middle of the sea was simply too irresistible.
Snorkeling time. I wanted underwater photos of the fish and corals.
Someone lent me goggles. I didn’t want to use them at first as I’ve always swum in the sea sans goggles. But the underwater view was better with goggles on. But, despite the goggles, taking photos wasn’t easy.
The current was strong and the boatmen insisted that we don’t let go of the rope attached to the boat. Then, Sam came down into the water and I figured she’d have a better chance of taking underwater photos. But the girl, taller and with all the muscles I wish I had, took one plunge and two shots then came up, wrapped her legs around my hips and wouldn’t let go. Told you, strong current. And it’s difficult to take clear pictures if you’re too near the surface. It would have been a better idea to really dive with the proper gear. Can’t dive with those life vests. But with that current, it would have been too risky to go into the water without them, so…
By the time we climbed up the boat and took off the life vests, disaster struck. All that buko juice and ice cream, combined with the tossing of the boat and we were ready to barf. I felt the ice cream rising up to my throat. Sam had her head down and Alex looked bad. In fact, no one looked good at that point except the boatmen. And Speedy who was still playing with his camera, trying to make us envious by holding it by the strap and dipping the camera in the sea.
The boat was untied from the bouys and we were off to Puca Beach. The water had calmed considerably a few hundred meters from the snorkeling site but we knew the nauseous feeling wouldn’t be totally gone until our feet were on dry land.
I fell in love with Puca Beach. I have never seen a more magnificent place to spend my retirement in. I wonder if they have broadband there…
Darn, ain’t there a slice of paradise that no one owns yet?