I may become an emotional wreck writing this last Boracay post. Not sure if I’ll be able to hold my shit together. But you’re right, it must be done.
So here we go, people! As I said in my previous post in the Boracay series, there were many different excursions being offered on the beach. Every five steps there was another group of (usually) men ready with their sales pitch and “secret price.”
So, which ones did we choose?
First up was parasailing! Now, I had jumped out of a plane not too long before this, but I somehow felt more afraid on this day. I just didn’t really understand how one got up into the sky from a boat. I mean, the logistics of it all.
Well, clearly these guys knew exactly what they were doing. The photo above is not of us, by the way, but it shows part of the take-off process.
Away we floated into the sky, the boat growing smaller and smaller underneath us. The ocean was sparkly blue, the weather was perfect, and I was becoming very nauseous.
It was still a great experience just floating in the sky peacefully. I was surprised that it didn’t feel like we were being dragged around by the boat. It was a very smooth ride.
Unlike our motorboat trek back to shore. That had to be the single most petrifying moment I’ve experienced in the past decade or so. I basically had nothing to hold on to while the driver raced back like he had just found out his wife was going into labour.
However, undeterred by such potentially traumatic events, we set out for our next exciting adventure the following day: helmet diving!
A boat from shore took us out to meet up with the helmet diving crew. We passed a bunch of fancy-looking get-ups and then stopped at Jals Helmet Diving.
After our boatman tossed a rope over to Jals, he pulled us in and we walked on board.
Someone greeted us and had us fill out some forms, waiving away our lives.
“The diver will take you after he wakes up,” the greeter informed us. We looked over at a guy who was fast asleep on one of the benches in the corner.
Alright, so maybe first impressions were slightly unsettling, but once our diver emerged from his slumber, we were put at ease by his friendliness and great instruction.
After he splashed into the ocean, I started gingerly climbing down the ladder in my water shoes. When my head was level with the surface, someone from the boat put the 35 pound, pressurized helmet over me and I advanced downward with help from our diver.
When you’re in the water, the helmet’s supposed to feel like a couple of pounds. You can also stick your hand through the opening by your neck to relieve some pressure by plugging your nose and blowing. Our diver took a billion photos of us and gave us food for the fish to eat.
I wish I remember our diver’s name. He was really awesome. They also delivered the photos and video in a CD right to our hotel when it was ready!
Well, our last excursion was … you guessed it! The bug car ride! We made sure to go back to our friend Jerry (remember, Jerry from the first Boracay post?) to give him some business. He brought us over to the bug car station where we met Joabert, our guide for the day.
Joabert explained where we’d be heading that day, got us set up in our bug car and signalled for us to follow him!
Our first stop was to a tower where we could catch a great view of Boracay and the surrounding islands.
The first thing we were confronted with after paying for our admission to the tower was these set of stairs.
I’m not sure if I managed to suppress the groan that was developing. Probably not.
I slowly dragged myself up to the top.
Groan. More stairs.
But getting to the peak was well worth it. The view was awesome and the clouds were doing wonderful things!
Next stop was Puka Beach. Joabert took photos for us and said we had 40 minutes to spend here. He stood around waiting while we took in the sights and checked out the shops.
I asked Joabert if he had to take tourists here often.
“Every day,” he replied solemnly.
Puka Beach was completely different from the one by our hotel (White Beach). This one was filled with stuff from the ocean, lots of shells and pebbles. The water was still super clear though and I was happy to cool off in it.
When I got into the water, a group of Filipina girls and one boy came over and started circling me like fish. Next thing I knew, one of them was braiding my hair and they all started asking me questions, like where I was from, if I had a husband, and whether I was going to have a baby (what the heck, did I look pregnant?!).
I chilled with the kids for awhile, one of them even hopped onto my back while I walked around in the water. They told me I was beautiful. I was quite flattered. Then they asked me to buy them ice-cream. I wondered how many other tourists they had told were beautiful *sniffle*
One of the great things about riding around in the bug car was that we got to see Boracay outside of the touristy strip. I snapped my camera like mad while we whizzed by shops, homes, and restaurants. Many turned out to be a blur, but a few made the cut.
After Joabert guided us safely back to the bug car “terminal”, we gave him a heartfelt thanks for being a great host and took off with Jerry in search of the best dried mangoes to take back to family.
Just another example of how hospitable and friendly the people in Boracay are!
The day ended with a last night at Don Vito Ristorante, listening to our favourite band, and, of course, with an hour-long massage ;)
I have such fond memories of my stay in Boracay — of the beach, the food, the music, and most of all, the people. I truly hope to return to the Philippines one day and get to once again experience this amazing country and culture!
– Cafe <3
P. S. Rodified Opinion’s post Oh My! Boracay! (Part 1) gave me a strange sense of deja vu as there are many similarities between our Boracay trips. But he also gives some great tips on how to navigate your way around Boracay as a first-time visitor. Check it! There’s also a part two ;)