Vacations spell heaven for me. Don’t you just love those days when you don’t have to worry about the next day for fear of not waking up on time and being late for work? Or not setting up your alarm clock and rushing to get out of the door without breakfast? These are just a few of the trivial reasons why I love a well-deserved vacay.
Last February 2015, I had the best vacation month. It was pretty special too because it was the first time that my long-time boyfriend came to my country, the Philippines. Realizing at first that I was at a loss as to where I can take him, I had a little mental meltdown. I didn’t know where to start because there were so many places I would like to take him, I just did not know which ones to pick!
The Philippines is an archipelagic country with three major island groups: the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. And all of them have places worthy of spotS (mind the s) in your bucket list. Our coastline boasts of the eye-watering beauty of white sand beaches lined with tall coconut trees. I love the turquoise waters and post-card worthy beaches of the Caribbean but ours are just to die for.
When he arrived in the Philippines, I still hadn’t finalized my plan yet except for the night when he would meet my parents. That thought required my full attention! We stayed in a serviced apartment at the heart of Makati city and that’s where we both hatched our “bakasyon-grande” plans. We decided to play our itinerary by ear. It was not the best of plans but we thought of going laid-back style again with this one. Something similar to our European road trip back in 2014 where we would finalize our next destination a day before we left from our stop.
The first in rank for our island-hopping trip is the famous Boracay island in Aklan. What would a trip be to the Philippines if he would not have a chance to see the tiny paradise we are known so much for. We also played with the idea of going to Palawan but decided to skip it for next vacation. We thought it best to explore Boracay this time as much as we could.
I wanted my boyfriend to have a real taste of the Filipino way of life. Food-wise, he loves adobo so I made him try other food like chicken inasal, afritada, and pancit. He liked all of them but to my surprise he did not like our favorite fruit, the mango. On the other hand, he developed a liking to our local brew, San Miguel Beer. That really did not surprise me, to be honest.
I also made sure he would experience riding all sorts of public transportation. We rode the MRT, taxi cabs in Manila, buses in Batangas, jeepneys in Cebu, and tricycles in Boracay. He even experienced sailing with the 2go travel ferry due to my fear of flying.
Coming from Manila, you can fly to either Caticlan or Kalibo. Since we took the ferry, our jump-off was Caticlan. To my surprise he liked our overnight ferry ride. We did not have the chance to book a cabin for ourselves so we took the bunk bed accommodation which were pretty comfortable. What made it great was the evening sail-away. There was a stage set at the aft open deck with a live-band playing. They have a bar so you can let the night pass while sipping your drink and enjoying the stars.
From the Caticlan jetty port, we had to ride the banca (pumpboat) towards Boracay. I quickly regretted taking a suitcase with us, that was just not the right way to travel. But to my mind paradise awaits so no time for remorse.
Since we had a Rambo-style vacation plan up our sleeves, we did not bother with booking a hotel prior to our arrival. I really do not advise this to people, only if you are really one of those few who can handle the thought of a possibly ruined trip I’d say go for it. We were feeling adventurous at that time so it was like “nah, whatever!” We were just lucky that since tourism is big over there, we did not have a hard time finding a place to stay with the help of a local tour guide.
Boracay is truly a tiny piece of heaven. Our days were filled with vibrant sunny days, jaw-dropping sunset views, and dreamy starry nights. It was a real party place in the evening too. February, in my opinion, is the best time to visit. Yes, it was already busy with tourists but it was still considered low-peak season. You can still find good price deals with accommodation and tour packages.
We met one great local tour guide, Judith. She was a nice lady who did not bug us with sales talk and she was funny. We truly enjoyed the tours we booked from her like the Flyfish Adventure, Bug Car trip combo (the Ocean Tower climb and Trick Art Museum visit included), Island Hopping Tour, and the regular jetski ride among others. She would even offer to accompany you and be your personal photographer!
All the tours were fun but apart from all the fun adventures I experienced in Boracay, I must say that what made me so fond of it all was the joy I felt spending all that time with the one I love. In all its cheesiness, I can truly attest that no matter how fun something might be but you’re not sharing the experience with the right person or people, it will never be as memorable and special. Those moments will just be fleeting memories in your head.
My February stint was one of the best because up until now, whenever I remember those long sunset walks by the beach holding hands with my Srce, I still get that warm fuzzy feeling inside.
What is your most memorable trip of a lifetime? And who with?