It’s summertime now and I’m feeling the heat. But I don’t mind the hot sun shining bright from above. Summer always reminds me about my short trip vacations to Boracay; an island just a few miles north of Panay Island in the province of Aklan, Philippines. It is a very special place for my wife and I. I will always remember the white-sanded beach that stretches way into the distance and the waves slowly disappearing into the horizon. The hot sun warming my body while I’m walking on the sand or taking a dip into the water. It is a breath of fresh air way from the bustling city life.
We try to squeeze time around our schedule to make our way to Boracay. Tourists will go to the ends of the earth to visit Boracay and for good reason too. For many flying in from other countries, there are only two ways to get to heaven on earth. Tourists will have to fly into Caticlan airport using a smaller airline service (possibly propeller) then take a 5 – 10 minute motorized transportation to the Boracay Jetty Port, then another 15 minute boat ride into Boracay. The other method is by taking a larger commercialized airplane ride into Kalibo then take a 1.5 hour bus ride to the Boracay Jetty Port.
With our travel, my family lives at the very southern tip of Panay Island so instead of taking an airplane ride in, we take a road trip starting as early as 5am. Early bird gets the worm, right? It usually takes us about 6 hours to reach the Boracay Jetty Port so it is about 3 times longer than those traveling from Kalibo airport.
The road trip is a bumpy one. Some roads are unfinished, narrowed to one lane, or extremely muddy depending on rain conditions. Sometimes there is stop-and-go traffic because of the large trucks driving at a snail’s pace. But once you get into the rural areas, the road trip is a completely different experience.
The rural areas of the Philippines are like no other place. Once you start catching the sunrise, the light reflects on the beauty of everything you see. Rice fields upon rice fields, workers slowly start their day of laborious, back-breaking work by planting each single crop. For other types of food, they spread out their grains to dry in the sun. Even if it’s roadside, it’s an opportunity for farmers to sell their goods quickly or use for their own consumption.
Once in a while we catch a broken shelter that may have been a home or a small commercial storefront at one point. We saw piles of mud that became almost solid as concrete. These projects were planned to restore these structures but later abandoned.As we pass through some places and towns, the real beauty of nature is a sight to see. When there is no traffic on the rural roads, we drive as quickly as we can to make up for lost time which makes it difficult to take photos. Every time we were about to cross over a bridge, I would quickly pull out my Iphone and snap as many pictures as I can, hoping at least one photo would come out just right. And it paid off.
After the rural lands we start the up-and-down, twisting roads into the mountains. The forest is so dense that it became so hard to see anything beyond acres of trees and bushes. Green forestry with blue skies filled with puffy white clouds is something I haven’t seen for a long time.
Traveling down the mountain, the view starts to clear with a brief picture of the water. I managed to take this photo to capture a bit of everything on where I was headed and what I have seen during this road trip. A little civilization, trees, hillside farming, mountains, and the beach.
After we disembarked off our motorized transportation and paid our way through the Boracay Jetty Port terminal, we started to walk towards our boat ride known as a catamaran. It is a small watercraft with two, very wide parallel hulls of equal size that can carry up to approximately 30 passengers.
On a clear day, the crew will keep the plastic roll-down windows open for passengers to enjoy the fresh air and view. The ride can get a little rocky when several boats are riding nearby. There are larger boats that can take us across the water but they cost more and they are completely closed off. With the catamaran, I like the feeling that I’m very close to the water.
As I’m starting to approach Boracay Island, the anticipation starts to set in as I see smaller islands filled with rocks and trees and small caves hiding in the sides.
The catamaran slowly floats past more islands. The white-sanded beach can be seen in the distance. It’s just a few minutes away. I’m thinking now that nothing feels better than having small, powdery crystals of sand on my feet with the warm breeze on my back. But I could never forget how I arrived to Boracay as the journey will be the same going home.
Next Blog: Boracay, Philippines. Relax, Shop, Enjoy.