My uncle brought me to the island, along with his staff and the champion team of the just-concluded City-wide basketball tournament (a trip to Boracay was their prize! Lucky chaps!). We landed first in Kalibo and then took a 2-hour road trip on rough terrain to Caticlan. Believe me when I say my arse was truly sore after that. When we got to the (what we know now as) Caticlan jetty port -- well, actually there was no port, just a cottage where tourists had to pay for their boat ride, we had to wait a few minutes for Willy's (resort) boat to take us to the island. Midway through the boat trip, I looked down at the water and I couldn't believe that it was so clear! I could see the stones at the bottom! I remember calling out to people and telling them to look out and down, and hearing all the wows, the oohs, the aahs. Once we were all standing in front of Willy's Resort, nobody really wanted to go their rooms yet and we stayed in the beach for a while to get a good look of the water, the sand, the sky. I think we went directly to Willy's Rock before going to our rooms! We stayed there for 6 days... 6 blissful days. I was infatuated. And before I knew it, I was in love. I nearly cried when I realized we had to come home.
I've been coming back to its cozy embrace almost every year since then and I see the gradual changes in the things I do during my stay - drinking and dancing until the wee hours of the morning to snorkeling, jet skiing, windsailing to just relaxing and taking in the great scenery lying before me.
I get it now -- I don't necessarily fancy the water sports nor the nightlife as much as other people, nor the thrill of land adventure it offers -- it appeals to me, yes, but I don't crave for it nor want it. I've tried almost everything once. And I think that's enough.
My beach trip to Panglao was a key to this realization. I now know that a beach trip doesn't have to be a 'gimmick' with booze and hip-hop or house music. It's what's sensible which really matters.
I'm now more into the sights, the people I'm with, the sounds, the feel of things, the smiles, the taste of its food. I'm into the anecdotes from a book a friend will share while she's reading it. I'm into the 'kwentos' friends will suddenly share with me while we're sunbathing, the hirits which come while drinking strawberry wine in the beach, the life-changing realizations which are shared during long walks from station to station, I'm into waking early to get a wonderful view of the empty beach. I'm into the kids who bathe naked in the crystal clear water without a care in the world. I'm into the words of wisdom a true friend will utter at the most opportune time.
These are the beach experiences which I'm after.