Boracay – Life in two different worlds

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Boracay, Visayas, Philippines
We set off early from our improptu resort on Ramblon Island in hopes to still make breakfast at our original destination island, Boracay. Again we had our 30 minute drive to the boat dock, but this time in daylight. It was a completely different world from Japan as we were visibly in a developing country. We'd finally made it to an astoundingly different place, all by our own flying. Dogs and chickens ran along the road, small stalls were set up to sell fruit or repair mopeds, and farmers were working the fields outside without machinery. 

Once at the boat dock we set off on powerboat . It was choppy and quite the ride! In minutes we were drenched from head to toe. Now I understood why they put the bigger bags in the hold and had us put all the rest of our small bags and belongs in plastic bags. I was getting a kick out of the ride, but I wasn’t sure if some of the older folks with us today or those that made it the previous night were having such a good time. Every time the boat smacked down on the water after a large wave – which happened at least once a minute – everyone got drenched. Still, I was sitting up front and had a blast. I would have gladly paid extra for that kind of amusement ride, although I’m sure by back was grateful when we finally docked.

The Shangri-La Resort, where the rest of the group was staying, didn’t disappoint. It’s a gated resort with private beach, multiple restaurants, and golf carts to whisk guests around. Although we weren’t staying there, we were able to indulge the breakfast buffet. It was an impressive spread to say the least . While indulging we heard from the others that made it over to Boracay Island the previous night that they not only got drenched on the from the ride but also from the rain. It turns out then that we didn’t have it bad after all.

Our hotel was in the center of town along the only main road so we grabbed the hotel shuttle to there. It was a different world once outside the Shangri-La gates. It resembled your typical southeast Asian beach island with moped and tricycles zipping about, stores selling the usual tourist fare, with poverty and chaos just a street removed from view. It wasn’t as postcard-perfect as the Shangri-La hotel, but that’s okay.

Philippine cuisine leaves lots to be desired. The glorified hot dog or bland stir fry didn’t do much for me. We did stumble upon the western coast beach strip with one bar and restaurant after another. There were lots of tourists, but mostly from Taiwan or elsewhere in Southeast Asia. There were very few western tourists about.

The following day I mainly used to catch up on emails, do some work, take care of the obligatory chore: laundry, and stroll along the beach. It was pretty windy so there wasn’t much beachfront relaxation. Overall I wasn’t that turned on by Boracay. Yeah, the sand was pretty and it surely had some picturesque views, but with all the wind and bustle of the main beach strip where folks touted their restaurants or massages or fake tattoos, it was a bit over the top. 
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