Monday, June 14, 2010

Wow Philippines! * Boracay (June 2010)

It's been a while since I had gone back to Boracay, one of the nicest beaches in the world. Fine powdery white sands which do not even burn your feet under the most sweltering sun, sky blue waters that are so clean you can see clearly underwater, banana shakes all day long, massages by the beach, hammocks and cabanas for you to spend the whole day lazing in, resort rooms that lead out directly to the beachfront, and of course, the most beautiful sunsets.  How could you ask for more?

This is my third trip to this wonderful paradise, but to my disappointment, it is no longer the wonderful paradise I used to know.  Commercialization has invaded this island.  Although you are able to get to enjoy a bit more luxury and comfort these days, the island has began to lose its beauty and identity year after year.

The once white shoreline with clear blue water, is now full of algae, the white powdery sands are now yellowish, the long stretch of shore line which used to be full of people sunbathing on the sand, taking relaxing strolls or simply watching the kids enjoy the sand, is now full of commercial establishments.  The water is hazy now due to the algae that stay for the entire summer waiting for the rain to take them away.  It is sad to see such great natural resources being destroyed.

The older quaint and more beach-friendly establishments are now being moved to the inner areas of the island to give way to larger more commercial establishments that can afford the higher rents at the beachfront.

The romance and adventure of Boracay is dwindling.  When I first came to this island, we took a small 19 seater plane and landed in a rocky bed they call a runway.  It was like I was in a McGyver movie.  The engine of the plane drowned out all the memories of the city and bring you into another world.  As you arrive at the airport, you take a small tricycle to the port, and take a 30 to 40 minute banca ride to the wonderful island of Boracay. Riding the small banca felt like you're floating in giant pool of ocean and anytime, the waves can suck you in whenever it wanted to.  Scary but that's the adventurous part of the whole experience.  Then suddenly, you get a glimpse of the famous island and the beautiful beach, and the excitement begins.  You get to arrive right in front of the island, and you are dropped off right by the shoreline nearest to your resort.  Local guides carry you off the boat to the shore if you do not want to get wet, but for the ready and on the go, you can jump off the boat into the shallow blue waters, and walk towards the shore.  What a great experience as you are introduced to this paradise called Boracay.  You can really feel the difference, as you are now in paradise, away from all the city life.

These days, you get dropped off the commercial port, and take a van to the back entrance of your resort.  D'Mall, which used to be a nice small town shopping area, is now a replica of a city shopping center even with branded establishments that come from the city.  What a big difference!

I miss the old Boracay, where you can really feel its unique character.

But despite all of this, I managed to still capture some aspects of this island in my pictures, hoping to keep the memories of paradise fresh in my mind, a place to relax, recharge and live life.

Our 19-seater plane, but no more McGyver runway :-)

Enjoying the sunset walk

Willy's Rock at sunset

Sailing on a paraw to enjoy the sunset

Looking through Willy's Rock

Lounging by the cabanas

Boracay sunsets still create the most fiery skies

Watching the firedancers perform

And lastly, the breathtaking sandcastles that they build fresh every day