Boracay in Off Season

I’ve heard about it, and I saw it in pictures, from both locals and foreigners. I thought then that it could just be like any other beaches in the Philippines, closest to the beautiful white beaches and pristine blue waters of Panglao, Pagudpod, Casapsapan and Guimaras. But, Boracay is indeed incomparable and it truly deserves its proud title of being a world-famous beach.

Boracay was my first stop in my Panay-Negros Island itinerary. Thankfully, I got a flight from Clark to Kalibo for P1.00++. In this trip, I tagged along a highschool classmate with me, so someone else can take my picture. Perhaps, it was the flight and road drive that took away my collected images of Boracay, which were not from a personal enounter. I wasn’t that excited as I was also upset with the excessive terminal fees and fastcraft fare.

Sitting off the northern sea of Panay Island, Boracay has outdone the other sights and attractions of Aklan Province, attracting tourists, travellers or just plain beach bums as a summer and week-end getaway. The island,seen from Caticlan, seems to be like any other island, as its long white chalk beaches lie hidden from the jetty port.

After taking our late lunch in a turo-turo at jetty port, we took a tricycle which was supposed to drop us off at a street corner going to Bulabog. However, the unmindful driver took more than half a kilometer, so Wally and I needed to walk back to D’Mall. Both of us were strangers in the place, but it’s alright to get lost when you know you got a company with you. We just walked back and find our way around the place.

The splashing waves could be heard from the road where the wind blowing from the sea could also be felt. At the nearest alley, I grabbed my friend to head to the beach area. It was off-season, it is the rainy month July. School has past a month started and summer is over. Yet, the stretch of white beach was so vibrant that day.

It was teeming with life – there are a lot of people at all sides. I thought, people must just be scrambling to watch the sun set. Yet, later on I learned it is at low tides in the afternoon that Boracay beach becomes full of life. As to how far the beaches would stretch, along it are the numbering resorts, hotels, inns, stores and restaurants.

Sabang and Puerto Gallera flashed in my mind. But, Boracay is far better in terms of its beaches and its waters than those. I may have felt like it as a paradise, but it isn’t because of the structures built close to the beach front. Boracay is indeed breathtaking, that suffices for me as a description.

Like those kites flying and the sailboats swinging with the wind, I was blown away in awe. I was surprised with the volume of visitors it has at that time. I was amazed with how fine its sands were. I was extremely filled with its shouting pristine blue water. So far, from where I have been, Boracay is the best, I wondered though how it is like in the summer specially during the Holy Week.

We waited for the sun to set, and basked in its dimming lights before we headed to Boracay Kite Resort where we stayed for a night. A little rest, then were off to our feet to find some food. We did not splurge in expensive dining.

The barbecue at a nearby turo-turo was enough for the two us, and I liked, the ginataang tulingan the most for that night. The pure coconut milk drenched the fish meat and the siling labuyo simply gives the right kick of spice. That’s part of the travel adventure, and the truth is, you don’t get to taste the authentic cusine of a place in the restaurants. It is there served in the platter that the local folks would eat with.

Dining and lodging are not a problem in Boracay. The island has everthing that tourists would desire, from the low-end to the high-end. Life does not end at sunset, but begins from there. At night, you can stroll down the beach area where the restaurants and bars are. There, you can grab some good buys from the little mementos such as keychains, bracelets and necklaces, to shirts and other accessories. The price ranges depending on where you are buying. Food and beverages near the beach area are a little expensive than in the small stores at inner streets.

The night was still young when we finished our dinner. Then we went down the beach for a stroll and picture taking. When we were done walking from end of stations 1-2-3, we had our backs on our comfy bed. Lucky for us though, that the guard on duty that night extended service to call the resort’s manager to accept us, since we did not make any reservation and we got there at night.

We came for Boracay’s beaches, we did not have any plans as our budget was limited to splurge on kiteboarding, sailing, island hopping, snorkling, diving or jetskying. All these watersports are available for a price, and they are really pricey. So we headed to Yapak for its famous Puka Beach.

Unlike the white chalk sand of stations 1-2-3, Puka beach boasts of white coarse sand from corals and crushed puka shells. Fewer people go here. The water is a little deeper because of the sand slopes. What is wonderful in Puka aside from its beach is the view of Carabao Island that seemed to be just a hand reach.

Its clear blue water is cold even at noon. There are no restaurants, bars, hotels and stores that spoil the lush and verdant sides of the hills that border the area. Except for a boat or two, there are no other sail boats that blocks one’s vista of the bounds where the sky and sea meet. This place I’d say is like a paradise.There are still other places to see in Boracay aside from Puka and the White Beach.

MY REGRETS

However, we just had one day and a night for Boracay. That was one of my regrets. The other two are: Bulabog beach is unmaintained and it looks like a parking area though it really is a docking place for fishermen and a jump off point for divers; another which I find it really worst to my despise, is that the terminal fee is highly excessive, even higher than the boat fare.

It is just unreasonable, to really turn me off. I will never understand, why I should pay a hundred bucks and even more, while I would only stay at the terminal for not even five minutes. I’d rather pay higher on environmental fee, when I see that the whole ecology of the island is well-kept. I’d rather pay more for the boatmen to earn more, than for the maintainance of a port which the government should be paying for. Of all the ports and domestic airports outside Manila, this is insofar the highest to extort from local tourists and travellers. I am really dismayed of this money making.

PIECE OF ADVICE: For Boracay travellers from Kalibo. Be still and don’t get too excited when you arrive at the airport. This is the best opportunity for tourist tricksters to trap you and rip your budget. In Kalibo, there are a plenty of tricycles waiting outside to take you to the bus terminal going to Caticlan, or you can walk outside the mainroad and just call any passing tricycle. The ordinary bus ride is less than P100.00, the aircon bus which is faster than the vans costs only P107.00. There are motorized boats ferrying travellers from Caticlan to Boracay at P25, much lower than the charge of Oysterferries which is P150. Stick to the tariff or ride a tricycle which has a passenger already, and don’t get into contracts, to keep you in your budget. Make a reservation if you can so you’re sure you’ll have a place to stay.

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