As the budget fare gods would have it, cheap flights to Boracay could be had on Friday about two weeks ago.
My friends and I booked early, excited at the prospect of having a beach all to ourselves, and were headed to “Boracay Please, Not Bora” on the 5:30 a.m. flight.
Except we landed to dreary skies courtesy of typhoon Ambo, contrary to the pilot’s “It’s going to be a beautiful day” announcement prior to touchdown. No matter. We four girls were making the most of our trip to the island paradise (not to mention our P1,080 air fare), rain or shine.
Prepare to swim in the rain. We were going enjoy a splash in Boracay’s unbelievably clear and calm waters anyway, so enjoying a quick dip under a light rain shower was no issue.
My girl-scout friends brought Ziploc bags to store their things in, so cameras and cell phones were safe and dry. We were also clad in our bathing suits, so clothing was not an issue. One girl had a waterproof tote I was envious of; this was where she stored her gadgets, as well as a dry set of clothes to change into after the swim.
Do some watersports. As soon as the sun peeped out even the tiniest bit, my friends and I raced to the dock where banana boats, flying fish, and jet skis bobbed temptingly. The gloomy skies did not dampen our spirits as we headed via speedboat to a holding area in the middle of the sea. We were treated to a gorgeous view of coves and jewel-bright waters.
When our initial plan to go parasailing was thwarted by a sudden downpour, the staff at the Diamond watersports facility (http://boracay.com.ph/business/diamond-water-sports.html) lent us lifejackets so we could cannonball into the water.
With a shriek, I jumped in. The water was over and around me before I knew it, and I kicked until I found the surface.
Spitting out the taste of salt, I felt a giddiness, a sense of freedom, settling in my chest.
Then the staff helped me back onto the boat so I could jump off of it a second time. The day after, my friends were still determined to be hoisted by the waist into the air, trailing after a speeding sailboat, their legs dangling a hundred feet above the sea.
So we went back, the three of them got strapped on the harness connected to the parachute (I volunteered to document the entire affair), and off they went, up, up in the sky.
I can still hear the screeching.
Be inventive. We didn’t expect to be stuck indoors for more than a couple of hours.
With a lone magazine on hand (the arts and crafts kind) and a lack of chick flicks on the TV (We did get to drool over the humanitarian soldier-prince Harry in a CNN special, though), we decided to do our own (someday-viral) video of Carly Rae Jepsen’s LSS-inducing “Call Me Maybe.”
Move over, Solenn, Anne, Georgina, Isabelle, and Liz! Not.
We expect only family, friends, and special someones to watch the finished product, but we had a blast jumping on the bed, walking like an Egyptian, and making faces at the camera, anyway.
Sit down for an exceptional meal. Finally, a roof over our heads.
We couldn’t wait to get dinner on the first night in Boracay, which was at a Moroccan restaurant called Kasbah (http://www.kasbahboracay.com/food_exotic.html) on Station One. My friend had been salivating over the prospect for days as soon as she chanced upon its website.
We had a mixed platter brochette, which featured skewers of chicken, fish, prawns, and beef tenderloin. Two dips and pita bread completed the dish.
We also gorged on some seafood saffron tagine, which was a stew of prawns, white fish, mussels, and squid.
Couscous and basmati rice were our carbohydrates of choice.
The wonderful service, ambient music, and Moroccan vibe wove quite a spell. We left the restaurant with full stomachs and smiles on our faces.
Get your groove on. We were not leaving the island without partying. So, after typhoon Ambo battered against the roof of our inn for hours Saturday night, the rain finally let up.
We got dressed and headed out, no matter the puddles leaving streaks of white and gray on our bare legs.
“Sa maingay o tahimik?” was the question that puzzled me the moment my friend asked it, and I immediately declared, “Maingay!”
So we headed to Cocomangas (http://www.cocomangas.com/), the beachfront shooter bar that urges its customers to take the “Still Standing After 15 [shots]” drinking challenge.
“Do it for your country!!” (Take note of the two exclamation marks. They’re that persuasive.)
After the four of us felt the buzz that came with a well-prepared Tequila Sunrise / Rum Coke / glass of wine (My friend who downed the latter was, we teased, “Sorry na, sosyal!”), we headed to the dance floor and tested some of the moves in a YouTube viral video called “How to Dance in a Club (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDenfReHs3Q&feature=relmfu).”
Kidding. Only YouTube user “Jemdahunk” can accomplish The Seaweed, The Towel, and The Space Hugger with grace and dignity.
The rush and the sweat that came with our workout to a mash-up of Rihanna, One Direction, and The Cranberries (The DJ had an eclectic taste) was a good combat to the cold winds that came with the monsoon season. The alcohol warmed us up nicely, too.
If the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t hop on that plane / ship / bus. Always check the weather and travel advisory—don’t take risky chances.
For the trip back home, we booked a ship to the Batangas port. ”Titanic, Titanic, Titanic” was the only thing running through my mind as soon as we stepped on the vessel.
All through the night I found myself honing in to the whir of the ship’s engine, as well as the ship’s motion, waiting for the tiniest irregularity that could signal Mayday! Mayday!
I’d stare at the floor and imagine it covered with water. Then I’d look around for an emergency exit.
“Okay. If our ship sinks, I’m going to smash that window,” I told my friend, eyeing the window on the bunk opposite ours. I was going to wriggle out that way, because I had no intention of dying in a sea tragedy, much more a stampede.
And wasn’t the crew supposed to teach us what to do in case the ship sank, before the ship departed?
Needless to say, I was beyond grateful for my first glimpse of dry land the morning after.
No one needs that stress.