Being older and wiser, I have adjusted my travel patterns according to what I learned from experience, and I don’t mind sharing with all of you my “trade secret” on my Boracay travels.
The first time I had the opportunity to visit that island was when I went there with colleagues from the international airline I used to work for many, many years ago. It was at the peak of summer. You can imagine how crowded the whole place was. Walking along the bayside pathway in Station 2 was like navigating across Tokyo’s Shibuya pedestrian crossing, the world’s biggest, busiest pedestrian lane, where you don’t really walk across, you “attack.”
I remember that on that first visit, wherever I did some walking, I got continuously bumped on both sides by tanned bodies, slimy with tanning lotion, walking slowly and leisurely, or milling around the many sidewalk vendors along the path. When I decided to avoid the overcrowded pathways and walk along the beach instead, I had to tiptoe or hop over bodies basking in the sun, much like engaging in my childhood game of hopscotch.
After that first visit, I concluded that Boracay will never be the place for me to de-stress. In fact, in the succeeding years, I begged off from a lot of invitations from my friends simply because my idea of a beach destination is that which gives me some peace and quiet that can take me away from the constant hustle and bustle of city life. Boracay was far from being one…until four years ago.
Having been chosen as one of the principal sponsors of the beach wedding of a very close business associate, I had to go back to Boracay, and this was right after the Summer vacation ended, and classes had resumed all over the country. Much to my surprise, the bayside pathways were not at all congested, even during the day’s peak hours. The beach was almost deserted at any given time of the day. At night, the bars and restaurants were not crowded at all, and one could easily find a seat.
That was when I started to enjoy Boracay and everything it had to offer. Only then could I understand and appreciate why, through the years, it has consistently topped the list of Top 5 Islands in the World. In fact, last year, Condé Nast Traveler proclaimed it as “The Best Island In The World” and described it as an “itty-bitty island, as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets.”
Such recognition was based on the votes made by 300,000 readers of the magazine. Domestic and international visitors rave about the island’s beaches, the powdery white sand and shallow blue water which is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
During that second visit, I realized Boracay’s potential as a stress reliever for harried city dwellers like me. In fact, I started to like the island, especially after I did a leisurely stroll along the bayside pathway from Station 2 to Station 3, without having to maneuver between slimy tanned bodies. It was an energizing walk, and I got to see more of the people and the interesting things they do…and sell.
That visit taught me to always schedule a Boracay trip right after the Summer Vacation, or Semestral Vacation or the Christmas Holidays, and I have done that through the years. That way, I could really enjoy myself in the island, basking in the sun on the beach without a hundred other bodies around me, or taking a stroll without having to navigate through an oncoming crowd, or immediately getting served in a bar or restaurant without having to endure a queue for what seems like an eternity.
Just a few days ago, after the Christmas exodus had dissipated, I decided to sneak into the island to relax after too much “holiday-ing.” Just as I expected, the island was devoid of the crowds. Any part of the beach or the hotel poolside, I practically owned, as there was nobody else near me to share my “private” space.
What bliss it was to spend a few days in such an idyllic setting, with nothing but the sound of waves rushing to shore, the cool wind blowing from every which way, and the sun gently working up my tan which I could “take home” and show off to friends.
So, if you need to spend a really relaxing holiday in “The Best Island In The World,” tweak your travel schedule. You’ll be convinced that Boracay really is.
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