Lars Alfredson
Mon 18 Jan 2016 03:55

pos 11:56.89N 121:55.63E

The passage from Romblon to Boracay was even shorter than Donsol to Romblon and with some decent winds we made short work of it arriving in the late afternoon. I thought that the waters around our previous ports of call had been busy but they were nothing compared to Boracay. Dozens of small sailboats tore up and down the coast just off White Beach small speedboats for parasailing wove amongst them at reckless speed dive barges charged in straight paths through the chaos and all of this took place in a congested mooring field full of anchored boats. It was chaos, it was commercial and artificial and certainly not a genuine experience (as the travel writers are always harping on about) but you could not deny that it was energetic. The same held true for Boracay throughout.

We had seen few tourists to this point, a smattering in Donsol, some expats in Romblon, no one at all in Tabaco, and I had begun to wonder where they were. I found them. All of them. Landing on the beach there was a constant stream of tourists walking up and down the four kilometre stretch of sand lined three blocks deep with hotels and restaurants and shops and we joined their number. Stopping whenever we saw a likely place for a beer and indulging in the chance for some Western food.

Some of the bars had a party feel while others held quietly chattering expats who held themselves above the fray. Everywhere we went though we seemed to be the most sober people there and try as we may never quite caught up to the rest of the crowd. In the end I conceded defeat and we retreated back to boat, falling asleep to the unremitting thump of distant bass.

In all we spent perhaps twenty hours in Boracay and at the end of that time I was quite happy to up anchor and raise the sails. That is not to say that I agree with the general condemnation among the backpacking caste that these places of outright commercial tourism are to be reviled. I think they have their place and can also be interesting to visit if in another way. If you're looking for Filipino culture you won't find much there but its frantic, almost manic, energy is something to see in itself.