Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back to Boracay

I have spent numerous holidays in Boracay since I was in my tweens and I was even lucky enough to work there when I was in college. For more than a year, between the year 2007-2009, I spent almost every weekend in the island that I fondly called my second home. Every Friday, I would stuff my ever loyal laptop, camera, some books and notebooks and lots of bikinis in my 50 liter backpack to spend the weekend in Boracay as if I were just on my way to a classmate's house for some late night brain storming. Imagine a UST CA student, in her uniform, aboard a cargo ship or on a plane, reading her notes in advertising . A sight that looks so much like "stowaway teen".

I always looked forward to these trips not only because the guy I was seeing then (emphasis on past tense!) was from Boracay and their house is that big yellow house right off the cliff in Cagban Pier visible even from Caticlan, but because I fell in love with the ocean, diving, my local and Korean friends, the Ocean Blue Staff and the heat of the clear island sun beating down on my Muro-ami tanned skin and bleached hair.

With Choi (Tabachoi) real name Joon. He was the dive shop's Mafia Lord. :))

With Dive Master Wonsok and Dive Instructor Joon. Joon now owns Ocean Blue but stays in Korea

Alexis AKA Longlong and the muscle man Ariel
 For more than two years, I avoided going back to Boracay. Not because I didn't want to, but because my then boyfriends, feared that I'd get back together with the ex. I kept telling them that recycling is good for the environment but not for boys but I guess I don't strike them as very trustworthy... and duh, he's back in Australia now. Please.

So anyway, I just watched enviously at my friends pictures as they spent their summers and Christmas holidays on my island. On my beach. Under my sun!Thinking to myself that I could have given them a better tour, a local tour, a tour not listed in the guidebooks.

Finally, the inevitable happened. I had to go to back. The longing was so palpable that my heart will burst. I missed diving, I missed the distinct smell of the island. No other island will suffice. No other waters will compare. It was homesickness beyond belief... and to think that it's not really where I grew up... It was just the island where I found myself. The island that liberated me from the stigma that girls who have made mistakes will no longer find love, it rid me of the caste system that is still evident yet taboo in our modern world, it liberated me from all the norms that once held me prisoner.

I made friends with Tricycle drivers and the porters, my best friend was an orphan boy who did construction jobs, I saw working girls (prostitutes) as real people and not just girls to be disgusted at, I made friends with Koreans and we bonded and laughed without having a to communicate through words, I understood a father's love to his daughter, I assumed my responsibility for the environment, I learned what it felt like to dive in neck deep sewer water, I let go of fear and just kept doing what I loved no matter how many times I fell and hurt myself (not only emotionally but physically!) and many, many more. 

The island held so much for me; more than what tourists see in white beach.

Finally, after many tears and sullen fits, my ever understanding partner knew how much I wanted to go.. and so...

May 12, 2011; with only 5000 pesos in hand a piece... my three girlfriends and I made our adventure back to my favorite island!

May 12, 2011. Alimall Bus station Cubao.

  • The Bus left around 9pm... two hours to Batangas.. nothing exciting yet.
  • Arrived in Batangas 5 minutes to 11. The ship is leaving in 5 minutes, next one won't be at 12:30... We bought the tickets and arrived on the ship just in time for it to leave. Unfortunately, there weren't any seats left so the three of us ended up staying in the roof deck with just the stars over our heads. Two hours with the sticky and salty wind blowing in our faces, no lights but the stars and moon overhead and the distant city lights. Bliss!
Me standing in front of the dumpster on the roof deck. We used that as our "couch"

  •  After almost two hours of horsing around with two other youths who weren't able to get a seat inside, the captain announced over PA system that we were getting too noisy and interfering with some navigating activity whatever. LOL! didn't know we were just next to the captain's bridge!
Eljay, Aliza and Camille making a racket while I was trying to shoot a jumpshot. The captain's bridge is that white room at the back.
  •  We arrived in Calapan around 1 am and we thought we were lucky that we bought our van tickets at the port. Lucky my ass. all ticket holders were made to squeeze in one van because other vans were from a different operator. There were more than 20 of us! lucky that we were all girls with really surly "do-not-fucking-cross-me" faces so we got better seats. The driver even had the nerve to ask me to sit Camille on my lap. I was outraged! so four hours of squeezing together as we drove through the bumpy unpaved road to Roxas...... no pictures here. obviously
  • We arrived in Roxas at almost 5 am and the porter informed us that the ship just left a couple minutes ago. Next one won't be at ten am. Seriously?
  • Turns out he was serious... so here we got about a million photos. Here are some of my favorites.

Classic jumpshots done when you've taken all scenery pictures and just need to pass the time

you can see how truly happy we are just doing this.. LOL

the boatman, I guess felt sorry for us and invited us to take a picture on the motorboat.

I wanted to capture the sunrise behind Ally... but then the crazy girl started to run towards me!

Mean Girls II surprised face

Made friends with the porters. I reckoned we looked like co-workers! cute!
  •  The porters took to us and allowed us to board the ship before anyone else. We got to sit in first class even though we didn't have a car with us! the ship left at about 11am. thats 10am filipino time.
first class! yeahay!

  • The trip usually takes just 4 hours, but because there were other ships docked on the pier, we stayed at sea for almost 1 hour just staring at crocodile island and then after an hour, at Cagban Pier. this was when frustration really set in...
Camille's sour face.. Ally sleeping in the background.

Super fake Happy Face.

Finally after more than 6hours from Roxas to Caticlan, we arrived in the island at 5 pm. But all is well that ends well!

the Island is way different with all the big hotels and stuff, and the pier is bigger plus Ocean Blue is now in Station 1. The Shoreline is continually receding, and Station 2 water smells like the sewer, seaweed is piling up everywhere. But some area's remain the same. Some things are still reliable. And these are what I call: Friends!

With Jack! My best friend on the island!
Jack was on top of this billboard when I came looking for him at the pier. He said he was so excited his first instinct was to jump and hug me... and then he realized how high up he was. LOL

With Ariel... notice how big I got... not taller but wider. compare it to our previous picture.

Laughing around with Bobot, another dive master at Ocean Blue.

So excited to dive again!
Horsing around after my dive and Camille and Ally's snorkeling.

We had a blast albeit being really low on funds. I miss the island already! Can't wait to be back hopefully within the year, or if not, maybe early next year!

See you Boracay my love!
playing Frisbee with one of the locals.

P/S we made friends with the "ship boys" on the way home. Actually Ally did, so they let us stay in their cabin and even insisted we stay at the captain's bridge so we are as comfortable as possible. LOL!

Jay, Ally, Camille and I in the officers cabin

At the captain's bridge!! yew!

Shameless plug. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay in Boracay, please post me a comment here and I can book you in Casa Sta Fe. it's an apartment and each room has a private hot shower.

Amenities are: all rooms have A/C and there is a kitchen upstairs that anyone can use. Anyone can use the grill and front lawn if you want to just chill and have drinks there.
Manang Alice is really nice as well as Jay and Ernie the houseboys. They will make sure you are taken cared of. From checking if you need fresh towels to hot coffee every morning and she will even cook you a mean sinigang! Casa Sta. Fe is located in Station 1 near One real Maris... in the eskenita near Starbucks.

Php 1500/night during high season.

and if you want to dive, please go to Ocean Blue Dive Shop!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am on a tight budget and it is my 1st time to go to boracay. I am looking for a place to stay and I have bumped into your blog. I am not sure if you can help me out but could you please help me book a place in Casa Sta Fe? Feb. 3-7, 2013.