Positivism first. Boracay is beautiful and true to what I usually read, the sand is white and powdery and the sunset is majestic. But let me make a confession, I wasnt excited to go to Boracay even though it was my first time and it is not on my bucketlist and I dont think I will have a love affair with it.
I love beaches and I will always be its child. But I always prefer going to secluded ones where I can have the beach all for myself and bum on it all day. And when I went to Boracay, I expected an overcrowded and a dirty beach, and my expectations where validated when I started to walk on its shores. I hated how consumerism took over the place. It was as if I compressed a city and put it in a place with palm trees and sand. I felt that the place also lost its island charm when it became a highly popular tourist attraction.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the economical benefits and I love that the main source of income for the locals is tourism. Kudos to the local government for establishing a system that would secure them decent jobs. I also like how vendors and travel agents have identification cards and are issuing official receipts. But, I disliked how some agents are continuously asking if we have booked tours or if we wanted a massage even if I already politely declined (e.g. I smiled while declining). There is a fine line between salestalk and being annoying human beings.
Food is also not a question, as we have an array of choices of where and what to eat, I’ve eaten good pizza, fresh seafood, awesome street-food, tangy calamansi muffin, refreshing shakes and I don’t need to compromise because bars offer ice cold beers. There was never a shortage of options and I find myself overwhelmed because I don’t know where to eat next. But its also a bit sad to see big brands such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza hut and Subway on the beachfront. I always associated travel with local cuisine so how about more local food brands get the beachfront spotlight and let the big ones stay on the inner streets. I also loved that there were vendors on boats selling buko and ice cream in the middle of the sea, a perfect way to refresh ourselves after snorkeling.
I am really impressed by how telcos are offering LTE connectivity throughout the islands and it was as if I never left the metro. This trip is one for the books because I updated more on social media compared to my past travels.
But that one thing that I really like about Boracay is that you will never run out of things to do on the island. There are a lot of activities to do either on water or on land. I tried parasailing, helmet diving, flyfish, snorkeling, island hopping, cliff jumping and reverse bungy. The only downside of this is that its more expensive compared to other places I’ve tried before. I read on a blog post somewhere that Boracay isn’t very friendly to budget travelers like me, so I took a longer time to save up for this trip. An exception to this rule is the GMax Reverse Bungy, which is way cheaper compared to the one in Singapore. (everything in SG is expensive. Hahahahahaha!)
One of our bangkeros shared to me that when the once quiet fishing village became a tourist attraction worldwide it gave the locals better jobs but pointed out that they can no longer fish around the island vicinity. All the fish and seafood that are sold on the island comes from nearby coastal communities. So when I asked him if being a tourist attraction is a good or bad thing, he said that he doesn’t know.
One thing that concerns me about Boracay is its waste management. I remember watching a documentary about it once and when I saw Bulabog beach my fears were doubled. I forgot to ask this to our tour guide so if you know any resources where I can look into this it is really welcome.
I am not itching to back Boracay again. But if I will be, I will be avoiding the White Beach and its chaos and will opt to camp on Puka Beach and bum there all day.