I get up and head out at around eight in the morning. With my aviators on and my ever trusty belt/sling bag that lodges my digital camera, wallet, cellphones, and room key, wrapped around my body, I take a stroll from Station 1 to 3 and back, subtly gawking at all things and people, trying to decipher and discover their stories and possibilities. From my morning beach walk, I return to my hotel room where a fully made bed awaits me. I rest for a bit, freshen up, and then take my lunch. After a heavy and hearty meal, I go back to my chamber again to get my sun tan and cooled bottled water. Once more, I hit the beach to find myself an idyllic spot where I can bask in all the sun’s mighty glory as my back is satisfyingly pressed against the fine, pristine white sand. And from time to time, I dip myself into the crystal clear beach water that leaves a salty yet strangely sweet aftertaste in my mouth, which I don’t seem to mind at all.
In case you were wondering, yes, I went there alone. I was able to pull it off, and did so with such flying (and varying) colors. Many people question why I do it (traveling by myself) and give me that searching-bordering-on-condescending, hoity-toity look. Some even consider it weird that anybody does it. I actually have two answers; one sounds rude and cocky, while the other is more on the pensive, character-defining side: (1) because I am secure enough and I can afford to do it, and (2) because I value my me-time. I sincerely love doing things alone. I just do. It helps me de-clutter my mind and shoo all the stresses away. In addition to that, like what I said before, going solo dismisses all conflicts and considerations you need to be mindful of when traveling with other people. It’s all about you and what you prefer. You get to enjoy and experience things your own way. And that’s how it was for me in my recent, out-of-the-norm trip.
Without a doubt, I was over the moon for this vacation. I had almost everything taken care of from a couple of months back. But as the getaway drew nearer, the eagerness simply went through the roof. I didn’t sleep the night before my departure. Not that I couldn’t, but I was afraid I’d miss my 8:10am-flight. I took the cab from my house to the airport. I ate breakfast there, which was a very pricey thing to do. I spent P122 for fried rice, egg, and mineral water, and was so not worth it. So yeah, never again. It was my first time in the Manila Domestic Airport (which, by the way, to my surprise, had very nice and clean restrooms), it was my first time to fly alone and Seair. I checked in my luggage and waited for boarding. It took our plane, a 32-seater, a little while before it could take off. Our flight got delayed for a few minutes, and yet, still arrived in Caticlan right on time. Yay! Generally, it was smooth-flowing.
There was nothing much to see at the Caticlan Airport. In fact, if not for the runway, I would think it was an abandoned factory or something. As soon as I got my suitcase, I hailed a tricycle and headed to Jetty Port. After about 15 minutes, I arrived at Cagban Port where Ms. Jean, my contact who booked my accommodation, was waiting for me. Another tricycle ride and in no time, I was at the Royal Park Hotel. Thankfully, the room was readily available, so I was able to check in early.
I only had three goals for this retreat: (1) get sun-smacked; (2) parasail; and (3) ride the zorb. Other than these, I had no other plans, except maybe to really enjoy. Sunbathing perhaps is one of the last things I will ever give up on. Soaking in all the sunshine is always cathartic and cozy. Ditch the beach beds! Feeling the sand and the water is the real shiz. Not to mention the specific seaside scent and the sound of the crashing waves, they’re quite simply soothing. Parasailing was such an incredibly remarkable experience. I’d even go out on a limb and say that it was some of the best 15 minutes of my life. Being up there felt like stepping into an oasis of tranquility. The comforting fusion of the cool wind and the warm dash of sunbeam tenderly cloaked my spirit and dissolved all my anxieties, and even for that fleeting moment, the world stopped and shut down. It was superb. The mere thought of doing it again gives me good chills. I didn’t get to try the zorb. Boo. Apparently, doing it NOT alone is more fun; hence, I was advised against it. I was, instead, encouraged to give reef walking a shot. Comparing the two, doing the zorb costs a little less (P580) than helmet diving (P600), but the latter lasts longer (ten to 15 minutes) than the former (three to five minutes). Oh, and souvenir pictures and video are included in the reef walking package. That was my cue. While I did enjoy helmet diving, I’m not sure I’m elated to do it again. Sinking was a struggle. It hurt my ears. There was just too much pressure. And also, it was really cold underwater. But upon seeing the fishes in various shades and shapes rush toward me, I was one happy kid. Of course, the photo opportunity was pure wonder.
A wall art at a restaurant could not have stated it any better: “Diet is not an option.” And that was exactly what I adhered to. I binged. Most of them were utterly mouthwatering and scrumptious — from the generic fares like tapsilog, isaw, fries, and beer, to the specific ones such as Bite Club’s grilled burger, I ❤ Backyard BBQ’s bulalo steak, Smoke’s beef salpicao, The Original Hawaiian Bar-B-Que’s sun-ripened mango chicken BBQ, Fishbar’s beer-battered fish and chips, Crazy Crepe’s mango crepe with cookies and cream, and Jonah’s mango and banana choco vanilla shakes. This summer holiday was one crazy-ass celebration for calories, my adipose tissues, and if I still had them, my gallstones. Sinful indulgence indeed! I also feasted my eyes on the diverse, mostly lovely, and occasionally hilarious sights of Boracay: the sunset, the sand arts, the beach sports and activities, and the “success stories”/”island souvenirs.”
It goes without saying that this vacation caused a pretty substantial dent on my wallet. Doing activities individually does cost much more. You can’t really haggle and you have to shoulder the regular rate. But I prepared myself for all the expenses. And in the scheme of things, seeing how my heart ended up with immeasurable joy and appreciation, money shouldn’t be an issue. I swear, had I chanced upon my worst enemy there, I would have shown compassion and would have given my forgiveness in a heartbeat.
My four-day bliss inevitably and unfortunately had to end. The last day just passed by so swift: I got up, packed my stuff, took one last stroll along the beach, had breakfast, checked out from the hotel, took a tricycle, a boat, and another tricyle, and there I was at Caticlan Airport, waiting to board. I wanted to prolong my stay there, but Seair refused to give me an extension, as my flight back to Manila was right on the dot. With a heavy heart, I mustered all the fondness and jollity and life went on. All things considered, though, every second of this trip was a moment well spent, so definitely, there’s no speck of regret for me. And most certainly, this is an indelible highlight in the Rexy Jolly chronicles.
Thank you, Boracay. As usual and as expected, you delivered. You were all sorts of awesome. I’ll see you again — hopefully very soon. 🙂
Now here’s a pressing concern: I’ve already picked Baguio and Boracay as my personal hideaways. Where to go next? Time to cruise a place that begins with another letter in the alphabet, maybe? That’s a start. 😉