Since summer is near (or has, in fact, because of the HOT weather, arrived), here’s an article I wrote in May 2007 about one of the world’s best beaches….
It was 23 years ago when my feet first touched the powder that sprinkled on this island. Then, there was no electricity. No rock bands rocked your sleep until 3:17 a.m. No Greek or Indian or Portuguese cuisine tempted your tongue. No 18-hole golf course chased down the white ball into a six-inch-hole like Fairways and Bluewater. No Flying Fish or Banana Boat or Yamaha jet-skis floated on the slippery seas. Boracay, in those 1980s and echoed by Madonna, was “Like A Virgin.”
Last week, after my 10th or so visit, my feet once more touched the powder. I despised it. You know what I hated the most? The part when, after five days and nights stranded there, your boat leaves the paradise to head back home.
I hate leaving Boracay! To my family-threesome—my wife Jasmin and daughter Jana included—there’s no other place in our archipelago that we’d rather vacation than this island strip off Panay the world calls “One of the Best Beaches in the World.”
On Boracay’s four-kilometer-long stretch called “White Beach,” you can drink, sleep, eat, lie for a massage, listen as the wind howls, you can dip, snorkel, freestyle, watch the sunset, scour for pebbles, sunbathe, drink, sleep, eat…
And you can do sports. Lots of sports. Take what Jasmin and I did. On our first morning, we jogged. For 45 minutes, we ran alongside the water, planted one footmark after another. Then next day, it was adventure time. With my brother-in-law Jake Mendez, Jasmin and I rode their popular ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles). For over an hour, we braved rough roads, wiped dust off our faces, and trekked to Mt. Luho, one of the island’s highest points, and scooted down to Puka Beach.
More sports? Sure. There’s hiking, trekking, caving, mountain climbing, and horseback riding—take your pick. If you’re the adventurous type, jump in.
Aqua sports? Plenty to swim about: Scuba diving, windsurfing, sail-boating, kayaking, and para-sailing—those are a few. Here’s one more activity we did: On our third day—together with Jack and Malu Mendez, my in-laws; and Jasmin’s auntie, Chit Garbanzos—we rented a “pump-boat” and, for three hours, circled Boracay. We dropped anchor near Crocodile Island, dove, and held bread by our fingers as the fish chewed on them.
What sports didn’t I try that I vow to do next time?
Kite-surfing. Wow. Have you seen that? You’re floating on a surfboard, gripping a pole that’s attached to a rope. High above the rope is a power kite (or a small parachute, as I call it). The strong wind carries the surfboard (and yourself) across the water as you glide and surf. Challenging? Nah. That’s too tame. Make it exhilarating. The result? Expert kite-surfers twist on air; they flip, fly, pull one leg out from the board and push it back in. It’s surfing—but minus 13-foot-tall waves.
Mountain-biking. That’s another sport I’ll do there next time. Hire a guide, rent an MTB and pedal. Climb the hills. Skid through stones and dust roads. Swim straight to the water with the bike if possible!
Those are two I must do next time. But the items I didn’t forget to pack? Tennis rackets.
Each visit in Boracay, we stay at this resort named Tirol and Tirol (T & T). Why? One reason is it sits on Station Two, right in the middle of White Beach, and because we get a cottage right on the beachfront. The second reason? Because two hard-courts sleep at the back, ready to be awaked by yellow balls. And so I played. With my daughter Jana, and, at one time, with a Swedish former junior player.
Boracay, you soon discover, is more than just Sun, Sand, Summer, Sexy girls, Souvenirs, Swimsuits. It’s also about Sweat.