I woke up to one of San Francisco’s foggy summer mornings, already excited about going to Boracay, Philippines. My mom was stirring anxiously, readying me for the trip. After an uneasy goodbye with my parents, I joined my cousin and uncle on a 16-hour plane ride to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Philippines. We landed briefly and took an hour long connecting flight to Boracay with more family.
And then, we were finally in Boracay, a place whose white beaches we heard of very fondly so many times. However, I was not sure if Boracay would live up to its hype.
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Boracay is split up into three different sections, each corresponding to the amount of money that travelers are willing to spend on their trip. Instead of Station 1's luxurious hotels or Station 3’s economical motels, my family and I stayed in Station 2’s Boracay Regency Resort). Located right in the middle of the station, rooms fared a median price of about $100/night. Waking up each morning in our comfortably clean rooms, we walked down the hall to the hotel’s delicious complimentary breakfast buffet — a true luxury.
A short walk down from the hotel was “D’Mall,” Boracay’s bustling commercial strip by the beach. D’Mall was set apart by its tasty multicultural restaurants and varied shopping opportunities. Many local vendors advertised their bargain jewelry, stylish sunglasses, and beach hats. Discount spas, decorative henna tattoo shops, and fun cornrow braiding services were everywhere. D’Mall was definitely full of life in the day and also was the center of nightlife.
As a family, we arranged for an island hopping trip. Taken by boat, we saw beautiful vistas, snorkeled with fish in the coral reefs, and stood on the ocean floor while helmet diving. Our fun and adventurous activities extended even to the mountains where island trekking and zorbing, an activity of rolling down slopes while inside a huge transparent ball, were sensational.
However, none of these activities matched our walk on the pristine beaches of Boracay. Unlike Hawaii’s beaches that have been trodden on overwhelmingly, Boracay’s beach was seemingly still in its natural state, movie-like and unreal. Many visitors, like my family and I, lined the shore in awe, watching the clear teeming waters colliding with the gentle white sand. We walked barefoot and wiggled our toes in the immaculate water. The warm sun and boundless blue sky brought me an otherworldly happiness. The beach humbled me. It had me thinking about how lucky I was to be there in a country so untouched, in a location so praised by its visitors, and on this radiant white beach with so many amazing people surrounding me.
As our trip came to a close, I looked back at my experiences: eating great Filipino and Korean food at D’Mall, sightseeing on the beach, and shopping for unique earrings and fake sunglasses. Boracay was much more amazing than I originally expected. I felt thrilled about my visit, but, at the same time time, sorry that my parents were not able to share this trip with me. My Boracay adventure was unforgettable. If I could, I would go straight away, back to those white sands — this time with Mom and Dad.
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