Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Happy Place

Despite everything that’s been written and said about it, people still keep asking what the big deal is about Boracay. It’s not like there aren’t other beaches in the country blessed with pure, powder-soft and sun-kissed white sand; I’m told there are lots more of those around the archipelago, many of them yet to be discovered and exploited by commercial developers. But ask anyone who’s been there and they’ll tell you the same thing: there’s just something special about that place. No one can quite put a finger on it, but you’ll know it when you’re there to see it for yourself, and feel it even more so when you have to leave. For me, as simplistic as it sounds, Boracay is and always will be that little spot on the map where I found my happy place.

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Happy place

The original plan was for me to join my friends in Roxas City, Capiz on Saturday to attend the wedding of a good friend’s sister, then head on out to Boracay early the next day. But work stuff kept me in Manila, so I had no choice but to follow everyone else down there Sunday morning. My flight to Kalibo, Aklan left at 8:30 in the morning, but at 12 midnight the previous evening, I was still in the office waiting for my (extended) shift to end. I hadn’t even packed yet. When I finally got home at past 1 am, I had just enough time to throw some clothes inside my big travel bag and some other stuff in a smaller backpack and catch a couple of hours of sleep. Subconsciously, I must’ve been pretty excited because I got to the airport well before the requisite 2 hours before take-off. (I say “subconsciously” because at the time, I wasn’t even feeling anything but exhaustion and sleep-deprivation). At the pre-departure area, with more than an hour and a half before boarding, I read a book (Peter Mayle’s “Chasing Cezanne”), listened to music (Gavin DeGraw’s “Chariot” album and a few live tracks) and indulged in a bit of people-watching to kill time. Judging by their summer get-up and what appeared to be sunny dispositions, almost half of the people there were “bakasyonistas” like me out to catch some rays. A good number of them were also headed to Boracay; I could tell because there was a flight for Caticlan leaving every 30 minutes or so.

The flight was pretty much uneventful, except for the annoying inflight game. Cebu Pacific ought to really consider scrapping their attempt to entertain its passengers during the flight. (I for one can do without a game of “Bring Me” or “Tongue Twister” at an altitude of 40,000 feet).Less than an hour later, we landed in Kalibo. Right outside the airport, vans waited to take passengers to Caticlan port. I got on one and spent the next hour and a half traveling through the Aklan countryside. But as beautiful as Aklan is, one can only take so much of green rice fields, rolling hills and tall coconut trees, so, once again, I turned to music to while the time away. I listened to my personal CD mix, which includes songs by Moonpools and Caterpillars (“Soon”), Blessid Union of Souls (“I Believe”), Mike Francis (“Let Me In” and “Friends”), EBTG (I Didn’t Know I was Looking For Love) and a few others.

Arriving in Caticlan port at around 11am, I felt the first stirrings of guilt about my penchant for late-night snacks and aversion to any form of exercise; contestants for a bikini contest milling around the port made sure of that. I’m not fat or anything (at least, people keep telling me I’m not, even though I have a sneaking feeling I may be a bit over my ideal weight). A quick boat trip across the calm waters and I was on the island of Boracay. But instead of being dropped off at the front beach, we were brought to a central port on the other side of the island; apparently a new scheme the local folks were trying out. I initially didn’t have any problems with that, except the tricycles had to fill up with passengers before taking them anywhere. I had to wait for about 20 minutes before a couple of old ladies and a guy carrying 2 sacks of rice finally got in the trike with me.

After all that, I finally reached my destination. I was surprised at how much change there was since the last time I was there. Of course, all the familiar places were there: D’Mall, Hey! Jude, Summer Place. But there were a lot of new places, too. I decided there would be plenty of time to explore all that later. After getting the key to our place and leaving my bags in our room, I went back out and took my first deep breath of Boracay air right on the beach. It was gonna be a good trip. be continued (obviously)


Blogger aMgiNe said...

waaaahhh inggit naman!!! hope u didnt mind if i read ur post, was merely bloghopping and then i read ur entry about bora. di pa kasi ko nakakapunta dun eh anyhow ingats po.

4:37 PM  
Blogger peejay said...

no sweat amgine. thanks for stopping by. and don't worry, if you really want to go there, you will. and believe me, the wait will be worth it.

10:57 PM  

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