Boracay

First of all, a happy New Year to all of you! You should know that our blog is a few weeks behind where we actually are (to give us time to write and find the pictures etc.). So, stay tuned and you’ll get our Christmas and New Year’s stories somewhere in January 😉 

As I sit here in my hotel room typing up this blog, I listen to the sounds coming up from the street. Our door and windows are closed, but nothing stops the sound of a steamroller on diesel fixing the street your hotel is on. It nicely drowns out the sound of the grinder from the construction across the street though.

Boracay is not finished. The government closed the island in April for 6 months and organized a huge cleanup of the island. They also installed new rules and from the party island as it was known, it is now trying to find a new identity. At the moment it really is one big building site, probably not what they are going for? We at least are not loving it, especially last night when the backhoe arrived at 10pm to start working on the road. It just ground off the top layer and then left. Today they are finishing it. Temporarily we assume, as the rest of the island has cement roads we figure they will get to that here at some point. Hopefully not today though.

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Thankfully during the day we spend most of our time outside the hotel of course, so we don’t notice the sound of the construction. It’s just that I write best when in solitude, and in the Philippines that is hard to find; usually our hotel room is the best place for it. In Boracay not so much. We know that the Karaoke party across the street will start up at least in one of the restaurants or hotels when it gets dark (5.30pm) and will continue until midnight. Without a karaoke machine it’s just not a celebration and we chose the wrong season to be in the Philippines. Although it would not surprise us if they would find a reason for a celebration any day of the year, as they are very happy people. And while the sounds coming out of the speakers is always way above ‘healthy’ decibel readings, it’s mostly the horrendous singing that weirds me out.

I could of course tell you all about how amazing Boracay is, and how awesome the beach is and how incredible everyone is here on the island; but really it’s not. Maybe it’s all the construction everywhere; literally everywhere you look something is either being constructed, still has to be demolished or should be one of the two (according to us).

Or maybe it’s the amount of people on the island. We share this island with no more than 19.000 tourists, and although we don’t think we’ve hit the 19.000 mark yet (as you can still get hotel rooms in a lot of places) it really feels like there are a lot of people on this island right now. There are people everywhere. Trying to get a ‘clean’ photo without unwanted people in your frame is almost impossible.

The name Boracay is famous of course, and many Asians fly here to make their wedding pictures. Some take the whole family, most don’t. We’ve seen this on other islands as well, so it’s not just Boracay (although it is probably only Boracay for the more affluent). Others have their friends or partners photographing them while they are posing in ‘attractive’ positions. Granted some of the photos may look amazing, but seeing how the photos are taken sometimes makes us laugh (out loud) and sometimes makes me cry when I have to wait for someone to get out of my shot. The problem with advantage of the digital era is that you can check your photos instantly, and that this is best done at the location you took them…

Don’t get me wrong, White Beach (the main attraction) is amazing, it’s about 2 km long and the sand is the softest you’ll ever feel (they tell you the beach is about 4km, but the sand further south is not as powdery even though it’s the same beach…). At the same time the sand is quite hard and uncomfortable to lie on for a longer period of time. There are no chairs, or beach beds anywhere, so basically everyone is just walking up and down the beach and to change things up a little they take a little swim. There is no sharp coral, the beach goes down very gradually and the water is crystal clear, so ideal for kids and people who are not that confident swimmers. The sand is also great for building sandcastles.

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And, when it doesn’t rain, you can expect a magnificent sunset and all the restaurants and bars are at a stone’s throw away. Pretty perfect.

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Spectacular sunsets

To us the place is pretty boring. We could do some tours of course, but when you see the many, many boats go off to all the same destinations loaded with tourists who like this sort of thing, we are kind of intimidated by it. It makes us uncomfortable to even think of being on a boat like that. They seem to be totally comfortable, which is great because that is how Boracay rolls. So it says more about us than about Boracay, but it’s just not our thing…

Everyone else here seems to enjoy it though, so good for them! I just wished they didn’t feel the need to sing about it…

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Yep, cruise ships are now also welcome in Boracay…

 

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