It was in the early 1980s when I first fell in love with Boracay.
During that time, Boracay was still undiscovered by tourists both foreign and local. Virginal, Pure. Undeveloped.
The warm, clear, blue waters seemed unreal. I even remember having a coconut oil massage on the beach itself. My husband Ruben (then still my boyfriend) and I had romantic dinners on the beach with just lighted bamboo torches. We used oil lamps at night to walk the powdery white beach.
It was truly a piece of paradise on earth. Quiet. Private. Simply beautiful.
A small island in the Philippines located approximately 196 miles south of Manila and two kilometers off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region, Boracay, which is part of Aklan province, is definitely an island for honeymooners and those yearning to relax, enjoy some peace and quiet, or simply as a place to escape from the madness of city life.
When I came back in 2007, this time for a family reunion of the Rodriguez clan with my two then teenager daughters — Bianca and Rafaella — in tow, the place was brimming with hotels, restaurants and a lot of vendors selling various wares and food delicacies.
There were lots of water activities to do for the kids — water skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, banana boat rides, jet skiing, hang gliding or just swimming and enjoying the warm waters and watching the colorful tropical fishes.
At night, the whole gang of adults and teenagers would wind up in either a beach club where the family can dance on the beach or on a stage with the rest of the locals and the expats. There were more choices of restaurants during this time as more businesses sprouted.
There is now a place near Station 2 called D’Mall that is the commercial center of Boracay. It is here where you find stores selling beachwear, trinkets and souvenirs. There are also various kinds of restaurants from Japanese to German, even a Hobbit place or a karaoke restaurant. Massage salons are also abundant.
More tourists have definitely discovered Boracay. In 2012, Boracay was awarded as the best island in the world by the international travel magazine, “Travel + Leisure.”
Last August, my husband and I revisited Boracay again. We stayed at the newly built The Lind Hotel in Boracay located in Station 1. Still to have its hard opening in October or November, we were lucky to experience the five-star accommodations and service of The Lind.
The sprawling hotel boasts of an infinity pool, Jacuzzis, kids pools, four restaurants that offer amazing views and mouth-watery breakfast or lunch brunches, balconies where you can watch the most beautiful sunsets, and friendly and efficient staff members who are dressed in no less than Francis Libiran-designed colorful tropical uniforms.
What is also impressive in The Lind is how the rooms and facilities were designed which will definitely compete with some of the top hotels in the U.S. or in Europe.
You get spoiled here as the waiters remember your favorite drinks or dishes. You also get a special surprise, a sweet treat at night before you call it another beautiful day in paradise.
Lazing around by the pool or by the bar, or just feeling the soft powdery sand in between your toes, the nice, warm ray of the sun on your face, or the tempting blue waters to swim, or simply just lying down and doing nothing — such is life here in this paradise called Boracay.