(Note: Sorry for the suspense. I like my weekends tech-free these days. Ü)
I woke up disoriented and wondering where I was. Then I realized I still had sand between my toes. I got out of bed while the rest of my family was still sleeping. It was 5:30am, but the sun had already crept up behind us. The sky was grey, the beach was deserted, and nobody was around except for the delivery truck that passed under our private cottage balcony as I emerged from its sliding doors.
I went off for a walk up the beach and managed to see a few of the more famous sights on Station 1: Cocomangas, Fridays (with the best-kept sand on Boracay), and some private property owned by the Elizalde family. Okay, so I only saw their beachfronts and fences, but it was a great walk anyway. On my way back, however, I also saw the more infamous sights of an overpopulated beach: green algae clouding the clear water (their enthusiasm for growth is encouraged by island sewage seeping into the ocean), and human refuse poking out of the sand and floating in the water. Boracay is no unspoiled paradise, and I walked back to the cottage with a heavy heart.
Aunt Gel had booked an island-hopping tour for our three families, so we all got into a small motor-driven roofed boat with skids on the sides and made our way out to sea. We went to this island but didn’t disembark because of the huge waves crashing on its beach. Then we came to a supposed snorkeling area, where I got into the water. The coral wasn’t very well kept and the colors weren’t even vibrant, and the only fish there were fingerlings. I was charged twenty pesos as a snorkeling fee, but the fee was collected by this man paddling a canoe. I don’t really know where that money goes because the place wasn’t even impressive. (In other words, I really mean to cry “Corruption!”)
The best part of the island-hopping deal was landing on Puka Beach. It was actually back on Boracay, but on the other side of the island. Though the sand wasn’t as fine, the spit of beach was short, and the waves were stronger, it was a tranquil escape from the main beach’s commercialization and green algae. The off-season for the main beach lasts from July to September, since that side of the island is lashed by the seasonal winds known as Habagat. Puka Beach, however, is perfect at that time of year.
We got back to the main beach after lunch. I had my hair done in cornrows, and also got a temporary glitter tattoo at the Glimmer Art booth near our cottage. Marielle and I sunbathed for a while, then watched the sun slip beneath the waves. And then it was time for dinner. A resort called Ban’s also runs an ihaw-ihaw on the beachfront, so we had some broiled fish and pork for dinner. The food was great but the music was loud and terrible.
After dinner, Marielle and I went to explore d*Mall in Station 2. It’s a commercial district populated by restaurants, souvenir shops, and clothing stores with its own plaza. We discovered the Lemon Cafe and had its specialty Belgian chocolate flourless. We wanted to make plans to bring the parents back there, but it wasn’t to be: they were leaving ahead of us early the next morning.
To be continued…