It was in 1990 when I first visited Boracay. Joben Miraflores, then Mayor of Ibajay, a municipality in Aklan Province, invited me.
Boracay then was thinly populated. The resorts and commercial stalls were sparse and the beach was almost uninhabited.
An island off the province of Aklan, Boracay became world renowned for its powdery sand, almost like a “polvoron” and its mile long pristine beach.
My recollections of Boracay the first time I went there was memorably sad. Not that I did not enjoy the place, but Boracay etched an unforgettable event in my life. We spent almost a week in the beach. Communion with nature was the daily pursuit. The place where we stayed was a simple hut with basic amenities.
Before I left Manila, I had a profound heart to heart conversation with my mother. She was bed ridden for several months due to a slip disk.
As I was saying goodbye to her, I saw her face glowed with intense happiness and peace. She just told me to take care and enjoy the trip.
On the third day at the beach, I could not explain my feelings. I was morose and melancholic. The sunset was beautiful as always but the feeling of sadness seemed to enslave me.
I thought of drowning the mood with alcohol but to no avail. As I went to the bar to order for more drinks, I asked if there are newspapers around. There was none. There was neither television nor radio.
The waves in their rhythmical fashion served as the musical scoring for the starry night. The lonesomeness continued until the last day of our stay.
As we left the island going to the airport, the family of the Mayor met us at the Caticlan port, a 2-hour drive from Kalibo airport, the province’s capital city.
At the airport, I felt that everything was in slow motion. I heard people talking but in gibberish manner. I did not understand what was happening until the Mayor extended his hand and said “condolence”.
At first I thought he said ‘thank you for coming”. Then he patted my shoulder and repeated “condolence”. It was then that I realized that there was really something wrong. My mother had passed away for two days already and there was no way to contact me.
My friends in Manila went on television, radio and newspaper to announce my mother’s death, but they were not available in Boracay at that time.
When I boarded the plane, my whole body was numb and tears kept rolling from my eyes. The scenes while I was talking to my mother played back in my mind. It was then I realized that her goodbye was for real.
As I landed in Manila, I went straight to the funeral parlor. This is the time when real friends become handy. They practically helped my siblings to arrange everything and put things in order.
In hindsight, I knew my mother was very happy and peaceful. She allowed me to leave and enjoy the moment, to experience communion with nature. She made me see the most beautiful sunset with an inexplicable feeling of sadness.
Maybe, this is my mother’s way of teaching me the balance between joy and sadness. That there could be mixed feelings in life’s purpose and existence: there are trade-offs.
The Second coming
It was several years hence when I got the chance to go back to Boracay. I went with a bigger group.
It was then I learned that Boracay beach was subdivided into stations 1, 2, and 3. Station 1 being the high-end area while station 3 is the commercial area.
I was shocked to see the beach so congested and full of commercial stalls. The place was full of people promenading endlessly.
It was a good thing that we were booked at a hotel called West Cove. Away from the hustling and bustling of the revelers. This beautiful hotel has its own charm and style.
The hotel is architecturally Mediterranean. It was built as if the hotel rooms are cascading down the mountain of limestone. The rooms are all overlooking the sea seen through the glass windows.
I went into déjà vu as I saw the magnificent view of the sunset. This time, I am sure that the feeling was more of joy at God’s awesome creation.
Staying at Boracay West Cove Hotel transports you to another world. It gives you the feeling of special privacy. It’s as if you are in a secluded place away from civilization
The Third coming
Last month, I got a message from dear friends Ruben and Janet Nepales inviting me to join them in Boracay. It was as if, the trip was pre-planned. I was free on the dates they told me to join them. Ruben and Janet Nepales is a power couple from the Hollywood Foreign Press. So how can I say no to their invite?
So off we went. We stayed at The Lind Hotel; a fabulous hotel located in Station 1, right beside Fridays, one of Boracay’s first high-end places. Some areas in the hotel were still undergoing construction ergo not fully operational.
We were told that the hotel is doing a soft launch at the moment, which explains some limitations, i.e. menu and some amenities.
But the food list was delightful enough to be enjoyed for a week. The presentation was flawless while the service is unfaultable.
The service crew is absolutely warm and accommodating. Their attempt to make their clients feel comfortable is seamless and effortless.
But what really caught my attention were their uniforms. They were sashaying like ramp models truly proud of what they were wearing.
I was not sure whether they were trained or it was just natural for all of them to project and carry their uniforms with such confidence.
It was later on that I was told that their uniforms were designed by no less than Francis Libiran, a world-class Filipino fashion designer. His designs are just picture perfect with details that are well crafted.
This made me think that a designer’s outfit creates a lot of difference in a person’s self-confidence. It assures the person that you are indeed in good hands wearing the uniform regardless of the kind of work you have.
It is a good investment also on part of the company because the employees do take pride in their uniform, the company’s iconic portion of image and branding.
The Lind Hotel is situated right at the beachfront while a sprawling pool awaits guests as an alternative to a water fun activity.
At the lobby, the guest is greeted with the marvelous expanse of the horizon and the beautiful gazebo-like structure with an infinity pool with small cabanas lining up.
Who da who?
- Who is this daughter of a former high government official who married a tycoon’s son. They got separated because she was involved with a local government official? This issue did not reach the grapevine because the girl and her beau were sooooooo discreet.
- Guess this super singer whose relationship with a young actor is always the center of speculations as an on and off. The singer’s mom was said to be worse than a KGB and Gestapo combined when it comes to her daughter’s “concern”. The mom was said to have hired a bunch of security guards just to make sure that her daughter does not talk about her love life. Also the alleged boyfriend was told not to divulge any info on their relationship. What a pathetic mother isn’t she?
- This woman is now being dubbed as the “festival mole”. Her modus is to visit the Philippines and go around the circle of indie filmmakers. She would ask for screeners (the film in discs) and promise the unsuspecting filmmakers that she would bring the film to the international film festivals. Then if the film makes it to the festival, not necessarily because of her effort, she would free ride by asking the filmmaker to bring her along, all-expense paid.
- He is known as a “pathological borrower”. Most people who know this indie filmmaker have nothing but shame for him. He borrows money from anybody in sight and does not pay back. His modus was posted in Facebook by no less than his former friend. Sadly, it did not change him. Borrow as usual is the name of the game. Beware!