Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Is Boracay Paradise...?

Early Monday morning, I flew south from Manila down to Boracay, about 90 minutes by plane. I had first learned about this place from Gino and, when I checked it out further, it seemed like it would be an ideal place to kick back for a few days before flying off to Hong Kong. You first fly to a town called Caticlan and then you have to take a tuk-tuk to the docks to catch an outrigger for the 20-minute boat ride over to Boracay Island. Since the boat has to anchor a bit offshore, they have local guys who, quite literally, carry you and your luggage on their shoulders through the water and then deposit you safely on the sand. (All for a price, of course.) The island is famous for its pristine beaches and, indeed it truly lives up to its reputation. The main part of the island (appropriately called White Beach) is well-known for all kinds of water sports: sailing, scuba diving, snorkling, parasailing, swimming and, especially extreme wind surfing. There is an ongoing balmy breeze that flows onshore and, I understand, they have international competition for windsurfers held here every year. The water near the shore is a brilliant turquoise and it laps gently onto the spotless white beach that stretches for several miles. The beach itself is between 50 and 100 feet in width. After that, it's lined with an long section of palm trees and other tropical vegetation that's about 20 feet deep and is often surrounded with foot-high bamboo fences. Right next to this green area is a 25-foot wide walkway of white sand that stretches for miles in both directions to handle the steady pedestrian traffic. On the side that's away from the water, this walkway is lined with shops, picturesque hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc. that cater to the many tourists. Among the vegetation, enterprising sellers have erected makeshift stands and are hawking necklaces, postcards, sunglasses, massages, etc. There are also little pedal-driven bicycles with passenger sidecars that transport the weary walkers from one end of the beach to the other...all for about 7 pesos. At night, I imagine that this walkway will become a fairyland of colorful lights, music, and enticing smells coming from the wide variety of restaurants.
In the evening, I found a small restaurant between Station 2 and Station 3 that was owned and managed by a Frenchman. At his suggestions, I tried the chicken curry. As I was finishing up, I noticed an attractive young woman checking out the menu, and I casually remarked to her that the food here was very good. She decided to sit at the table next to mine and, since she was alone, we quickly struck up a conversation. Her name was Julie and she said that she was from Korea. We spent the next 45 minutes talking about a wide variety of different subjects, and we seemed to genuinely enjoy each other's company. Afterwards, several of her friends came by to pick her up since she was flying back to Manila with them in the morning. I gave her my card and she said that she would keep in touch. As I've mentioned before in this blog, the conversations that show up with the fascinating and delightful people that you meet "on the road" are among the greatest joys of traveling. More later as it unfolds....


Blogger ivieboh said...

i just got back from boracay. only spent 2 days there but it was awesome. i would suggest going to the bat cave they have out there too. that was pretty amazing.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Red Pirates said...

You could also head down to the southern end of the white beach (south of boat station 3) to get a taste of the 'old' Boracay. It's much less crowded and developed.

10:35 AM  

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