Going to Boracay used to be my favorite respite from work. This was back when I was still single and the island was not so crowded in the summer. Since my hometown is only a few kilometers away from Caticlan, my family and I would go there on day trips already in our swimwear and with just enough food and water for the day. Back then, we would have the island to ourselves, save for a few tourists here and there. We would bury ourselves under the powdery white sand, our skin starkingly dark after being under the sun for so long. We would then end our day marveling at the spectacular sunset before heading back home.
But word about the island spread far and wide and fast! Sadly, our undisturbed summer pilgrimages to Boracay only lasted a few years. Before long, people came– hordes of them. The once pristine beach became crowded with establishments that catered to all sorts of tourists from all over the world. It didn’t take long before plastic bags, cigarette butts and various trash (living or non-living) turned up on the beach front. That’s the price of progress, they said. When the summer crowds became too much, we stopped going, too. Perhaps like many Aklanons, we were a bit ‘turned off’.
I haven’t been to Boracay in a while so I was a little excited at the thought of going there with my family. This time, four-year old Mushroom was with us. It’s always a joy to see children in Boracay, running around as if they have discovered their own little paradise.
As expected, the island was packed. Shops and hotels everywhere, potholes on the road, abandoned houses, construction sites… it was all unrecognizable to me. It seemed that the island was trying to catch up with ‘progress’ but was failing miserably. I felt a little angry. What the hell happened to my Boracay?
But my annoyance quickly disappeared as soon as I saw the beach– the beautiful, world-famous white sand beach. It can mesmerize anyone, you know. Even grumpy Aklanons like me. I couldn’t stay mad for long. I dove in and let the cool water wash away my disappointment. Despite the crowd, there is no other place quite like Boracay. It is still the most beautiful beach in the world.