Albert Francis E. Domingo, MD

my flight of ideas

Boracay’s Ambiance

Posted on | May 9, 2005 | No Comments

UP College of Medicine, Manila – Last May 4, a group of seventeen medical students and friends from the Class of 2008 jumped for joy upon learning that they have successfully hurdled second year (as evidenced by true copies of grades), cursed those damn Path* exams, and boarded a boat bound for Boracay.

M/V Mary the Queen of the MBRS Lines gently bobbed on the not-so-clean waters of Pier 8 at Manila’s North Harbor, holding a promise of paradise to be reached only upon patiently sailing for sixteen hours. The Port of Caticlan warmly (and humidly) greeted the prisoners of medical education who were freed on bail from the confines of UP Manila.

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Our beach resort – Boracay Hideaway – is located at the area of Boat Station 1, quite close to the night life zone of the island. Mornings found us on the beach either soaking up some sun or cooling off in the cool waters (that never heat up eventhough high noon was cooking everything else).

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Powder-fine sand and clear turquoise waters instantly justified the hours of ship swaying and surviving on the anti-emetic (seasickness) drug meclizine. For about 20-30 meters into the shore area, one could go swim and still feel sand underneath. It was like a huge salty swimming pool, with a mixed crowd. Lots of people were there, but it must have been the abundance of activities to pursue or the large open swimming spaces that kept the beach from becoming crowded.

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The beach front seemed to be endless. From the Northern tip where the first-class hotels were located down to the affordable villas of Boat Station 3, white sand and coconut trees lined the walkway. While in other beaches walking entailed the use of rubber slippers to keep your feet from being peeled, Boracay’s sand is so enticingly cool and fine that I didn’t mind sloshing around as I walked.

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And what would a vacation be without souvenirs? Flea markets (talipapas/tiangges) were everywhere, waiting for you to test your haggling prowess. Chester, a friend of my classmate who joined our little happy band on this trip, is the best haggler I have ever met. He can bring down the price of original pearl accessories from P460 to P425!

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My personal favorites are the colorful sarongs (large, multi-purpose cotton shawls) and lamp shades made from a bamboo-like material, string, and the same printed cloth used for the sarongs. I got a large lampshade for my condominium in Manila, and some small ones as gifts (pasalubong) for friends. Four sarongs also got the best of my pocket, although patterns from only three are shown above (the fourth is still being washed because it got soaked in seawater).

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Once the sun sets, the seaside speakers start booming. Night life in Boracay is as colorful and laid-back as the day activities. Partly places like Cocomangas, Pier 1, etc. are lined up along the shore, and there are tables available on the sand itself, with beanbags as chairs. Firedancers moved about, and occasionally a celebrity would be seen grooving to the music on the dance floor.

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Elsewhere along the shore, there were beautifully-executed sand castles that are sculpted only in the late afternoon, to be lighted at night by kerosene lamps. The locals who make the sandcastles would appreciate a few pesos in alms for their impressive work of art, and tourists alike would delight in pictures by the four to five-foot tall creations. Once the night ends, the castles are torn down, only to be rebuilt once more at dusk.

Boracay is still the place to be. However, be prepared to spend a lot – the prices are all tourist range (example: P50 for a popsicle, when the going rate at a Manila grocery is only half or even less). The ambiance, however, is worth the stay.

(This is my Bora post #1. Once pics from the five or six cameras that were with us have been distributed, I shall write another entry with more details and photos with friends.)

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