Tag: road trip

TRAVEL: Boracay, Philippines. Heaven On Earth.

After enjoying the sunset, the walkway and D’Mall became full of tourists. It was so crowded that it was difficult to even find a place to eat. Happy hour started as early as 4pm so there would be a party crowd as early as 8pm. Drinks are fairly cheap even if you purchased canned beer at the local convenience store.

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I never really enjoyed partying and consuming large quantities of alcohol so I like to turn in early and try to catch some of the early morning sun. It’s pretty cold around 6am so there aren’t too many people around but I do happen to catch some moments that answers why I liked to wake up so early. As soon as my feet touched the sand, I know that I have reached Heaven On Earth.

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After walking around the beach for a while, I like to retreat back a little to see the view behind the trees. It feels as if I’m looking threw a picture frame with the sky and water within arm’s reach. It’s also an outlook of how the morning succeeded from the night before.

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About 30 minutes walking distance along the white beach, we found a small island that is frequently visited by tourists. It sits just meters away from the beach shore. With the water up to our knees, we had to walk into the water to reach the first climb of steps.

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Just above the first landing was a small grotto that held a statue of The Virgin Mary. I would see some people clutch their rosaries and say a few prayers as they passed by.

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We would walk around the small island and snap photos. Out of the hundreds of photos I took, I think I liked this one the most.

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Walking back, we happened to see a beachside resort setting up a small wedding and reception. We were so happy to catch this moment. How wonderful it was to see that a happy couple would exchange their wedding vows and celebrate their special day with family and friends by the beach!

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As the day slowly turned into evening, we walked along the beach with slippers in hand, taking photos. The heat quickly moves on and a slight cool breeze set in. We would watch people enjoying the last minutes of the sun before it snuck underneath the horizon.

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We would sit and watch the colour of the sun change colour from a large yellow-ish ball to a tiny orange no bigger than a thumbnail. I still remember how much I became so hypnotized with the reflection of the light off the water. I could sit and watch the sunset in Boracay every night and not even look at my watch. Time doesn’t mean anything when it feels like you’re in heaven – except when you realize it’s time to go back to reality.

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TRAVEL: Boracay, Philippines – Relax, Shop, Enjoy.

After such a long road trip, the only thing on our minds is to unwind and walk along the beach. We would always check into the hotel right away hoping that our room might be ready. If our rooms weren’t made, we would ask if we could temporarily leave our bags in storage or at the front desk until we returned.

Boracay has become a popular tourist destination. It is a lot more commercialized from when I used to visit back in the early 2000’s. There weren’t as many hotels, the number of tourists were probably half of what it is now, and prices were exponentially lower. Even just the logistics of traveling from the port into Boracay Island was a lot different. We used to disembark several meters from the beach, walk into the rocky shore with the water up to our knees. Now we travel from the main road behind the hotels and walk about 10 minutes through narrow passageways to reach the front desk.

It is still beautiful as I always remembered it. Everywhere I looked was a different scenery. To my left, right and straight ahead – I saw the water, the sand, and trees that touched the horizon in every different way.

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Sometimes I got a little sleepy and took a short nap but shortly after, I would take my wife shopping at the nearest outdoor market called “D’Mall”. Funny name, right? They have lots of things to do here from a mix between lower/higher priced shopping, snacks and restaurants, and a basketball free-throw court for entertainment. Every once in a while, I always liked to shop here if it was too hot to walk on the beach.

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6 Dmall2SC.jpgOn a very heavy rainfall, there were times when the walking area in D’Mall was just completely flooded.

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After the rain dissipated, the skies quickly cleared up. We ventured out along the walking path again. There were times when the path was clear and we could lazily walk up and down the main path to see anything that would catch our eyes.

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10 Shopping2SC.jpgAside from seeing stalls upon stalls full of trinkets, jewelry, and clothing, we would come across the odd store that would sell fresh fruit ready to eat. They look so delicious and mouth-watering!

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The sunset arrived very quickly. I had forgotten how quickly it came after watching everyone on the beach still catching as much sun as possible and smiling at the kids running in and out of the water. I remember sitting for on the beach with my wife and while I was looking out towards the horizon, I happened to see something that I never knew would catch my eyes. I managed to capture the moment when this long canoe was directly underneath the sun and it made for a great memory that will last a lifetime.

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Next Blog: Boracay, Philippines. Heaven On Earth.

TRAVEL: Boracay, Philippines. Road Trip To Vacation Is Part Of The Vacation

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.

1 roadSCThe 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.

2 RiceFieldSCThe 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.

3 driedriceSCOnce 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.4 housebrokenSCAs 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.

5 riverSCAfter 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.

6 MountainSCTraveling 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.

7 AfterMountainSCAfter 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.

8 CatamaranSCOn 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.

9 CatamaranSideSCAs 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.

10 CatamaranIslandSCThe 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.

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Next Blog: Boracay, Philippines. Relax, Shop, Enjoy.