Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Rediscovering Familiar Shores

Posted by Carren |

Text and photos by: Carren Jao
Published in an altered form at Travels in Paradise

“THIS time it was going to be different.” I thought to myself. I could feel it. Maybe because my friends and I are a little bit older and not as spendthrift.

It was a return to Boracay. I remember the first time I stepped on those white sandy beaches; I didn’t know what a good thing I had. Our fine white sand beaches cannot compare to any in the world. The waters were a deep blue that the sky seemed to shrink in comparison.

I first came there with my friends as we graduated college. It was a graduation treat and we spent exorbitantly, falling prey to tourist ploys. We played in the sand of Station 1, while walking to Station 2 everyday. We were young and just a little spoiled.

Now, three years after, it is a different story. The Philippine travel industry was getting back on its feet and airline travel was getting cheaper by the P1 promotion minute. We lucked on our accommodations during a Travel Expo in SM Megatrade hall. The Patio Pacific (formerly the Pink Patio) was offering P7,000 per person package inclusive of airfare for 3 days and 2 nights. Cheap! Who can refuse? My friends and I certainly couldn’t.

The airline carrier was SEAir, a small carrier company that boasted of the fastest flights to Boracay. Indeed, that was true. We landed on Caticlan in about 45 minutes. From there, it was a 5-minute shuttle ride, 10 minute ferry and another 5 minute shuttle to Patio Pacific. It was a nice change from our first trip on PAL, which meant us taking an hour-long shuttle ride.

Taking SEAir though made me pause for a moment. It was a small airplane and basic in terms of amenities. But hey, I’ve been on worse. And this was an adventure.

Pic1: Small SEAir propeller

We landed safely, though not without a little bit of hesitation on my part. The trip was thankfully smooth and uneventful. My friends and I were able to check into Patio Pacific without the usual fatigue that comes with airline travel. In fact, we were up and ready to spend some good island time.

Boracay was better this time. The Patio Pacific was on Station 2, closer to the heart of the island activity. It wasn’t beachfront but it was still pretty close. After a short walk, a welcoming beach vista stood before us.

However, our stomachs came first. It was already lunchtime and what better place to look for seafood than on this island? We went looking for seafood to satisfy our craving and we landed in D’Talipapa, a wet market filled with fresh catches of the day where you can literally take your pick at a very reasonable price.

For P1,200 we were able to get chili crabs, baked oysters, grilled oysters, and blue marlin right on our tables. Suffice it to say, we were satisfied and the smiles on our faces showed.

Pic 2: Chili Crabs at D’Talipapa
Pic 3: Baked Oysters at D’Talipapa

Over the years, Boracay has turned from sleepy beachtown into a happening tourist destination. Though that isn’t always a good thing, it does bring something new to the island each year.

New restaurants have managed to flourish on the island. Among which is Lemon Café, its soothing yellow décor mimics the oasis of calm it offers in the middle of busy beachgoers roaming D’Mall. I was pleasantly surprised at their sophisticated menu and presentation that could compete comfortably against other Manila restos. Their location in the middle of D’Mall is also ideal for people watching or cute guy hunting, whichever your preference.

The menu reveals a creative mind offering dishes such as Herb Nicoise with Fresh Pan Seared Tuna in Mustard Vinaigrette. Their Lemon Café cheesecake is probably the best that I have ever tasted. The cheesecake, lightly baked and slightly fluffy, is tasty and heavenly. Don’t miss their iced shakes that vary from the most conventional, Pineapple Coconut, to the off-beat Pineapple Mint. Lemon Café is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the getaway feeling of the island.

Pic 4: Pineapple Mint- surprisingly good at Lemon Cafe

For those with a sweeter tooth, Zuzuni’s Mati Chocolate Sin is literally a sin to miss. Rich chocolate cupped on a chocolate cake topped with ice cream goes perfectly with a warm day at the beach. Their beachside property is a great place to rest, relax and play in the sand or sit under the shade of palm trees conveniently placed near the shore.

Of course, let’s not forget the staples like Jonah’s big glass of shake for only P60. Try the Choco-Banana but also look for a friend to share with. Finishing that glass can be a challenge.

Now, before you think all I care about is eating, Boracay is filled with other activities. For those in the mood, a massage on the beach is only P350 an hour. My friends and I were able to schedule ours as the sun set, my personal recommendation for massages. The cool breeze gently touches your skin as the aches and muscle pains are massaged away. You have a choice of getting a massage on the sand at a cheaper rate or on a bed in front of the beach. It was the perfect way to end the day.

I was also able to try skimboarding. It’s a relatively new sport on the island, as skimboards were non-existent three years back. Skimboards are roughly half as long but a bit wider than surfboards.

Pic 5: Skimboard set against the tree

Children slid around the shore with skimboards as we walked, inspiring me to find someone to teach me. I eventually found someone with a board for rent while walking down the shore. P400 for an hour is reasonable because, from the looks of things, I would only need an hour before raising the white flag of surrender.

Beginner’s skimboarding is like learning how to skate- slippery and not a little painful. I slipped countless times and scraped both my knees trying to steady myself. But it was fun. I couldn’t remember the last time I did something for the first time. And, as you know, the first time is always magic. Professionals could slide, twist and turn on their skimboards with ease as if balance was not an issue. I turned green with envy but I was happy just to be able to slide across the shore without plastering myself on the sand. Yes! Skimboarding was my last agenda on Boracay and I could finally leave saying I did everything I set out to do.

Our flight was leaving that same day at 4 in the afternoon. Though the return trip was not as smooth sailing, with the confusing airline check in lines and hot waiting areas, those Boracay memories will remain perfect in my mind.


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