After attending the Les Mills 2nd Quarterly Workshop on Saturday, four of my friends and I boarded the earliest Cebu Pacific flight to Kalibo, Panay Island on Sunday morning. Why would we fly to Panay? That’s a rhetorical question; I think you already know the final destination. From Kalibo, an hour’s van ride took us to Caticlan, gateway to the island of Boracay.
Yes, Boracay. I was there a little over a year ago with my family and spent three glorious days chilling out in celebration of finally finishing my master’s degree. This year I meant to do precisely the same thing in celebration of making a clean break from the past. (Those of you who have been reading this journal regularly can deduce what this “past” is. Ü)
Many things had changed in that one year between my visits to the island. Instead of taking 30 minutes to make a beach landing, our boat ride from Caticlan took us in 15 minutes to Boracay’s jetty port on the side of Boracay nearest Panay. From there, we took a tricycle (the island’s main form of transportation) to get to our rented place behind D’Talipapa, the wet and dry market between Station 2 and 3.
It was a long walk from there to the beachfront, and an even longer walk to Station 2’s D’Mall where we had our lunch, and I met up with one of the friends I had made during the last visit. Trondz Cheng owns the pioneer glitter tattoo stand on Boracay as well as the Ice Monster franchise in D’Mall, and I hadn’t seen him in a while because he had been living on the island for almost six months straight. He was about as close to a native guide as we got (hee hee), but since Boracay is very much commercialized, my friends and I were able to get around without a lot of help.
Boracay, when compared with the nearly unspoilt islands of El Nido, is a big disappointment. The heavy influx of tourists uneducated in environmental conservation ensures that the beach is always littered with human-produced trash every morning. I must confess I was glad I had friends around and I could enjoy being with them instead of bemoaning how much Boracay had deteriorated in the span of one year.
Thinking back on the trip, most of it is a blur composed of a lot of laughing, camwhoring, lazing about on the beach and in the water, drinking milkshakes (and maybe not just milkshakes?), being cheapskates and enjoying chicken butts on a stick at Mang Inasal, splurging on Italian food and junk food alike, and letting it all hang out. We didn’t do anything touristy like go island-hopping or get on a banana boat; we were just happy to be around each other and have no work on our minds.
I felt recharged and energized upon our return to Manila, like I’d left a big load behind on that island. Laughter (and a hefty dose of smiling for the camera) is great medicine for what ails the heart and mind. It was our last hurrah for the summer, and it was a great big emphatic HURRAH! at that. It was Rest & Recreation indeed.