After a quick pit stop at Cebu, where I just went out of my hostel to go to church, eat and buy toothpaste, I was on my way to my penultimate stop -- Boracay via a Cebu Pacific flight to Kalibo then van to Caticlan for the boat transfer. One of the changes that I noticed at once was that the boats were brought to the pier at the southern end of the island. No longer were they allowed to stop at the original 3 stations along White Beach. It was also a good thing that the tourist boats also stayed farther away from the beach than before. The beach used to resemble a huge boat parking lot.
I took the tricycle to Station 1, at the northern end whereabouts I usually stay. I thought I might show a backpacking couple that I met on the boat to a 2-room nipa bungalow (w/ fan) that was surprisingly set up between an expensive boutique hotel and one of the bigger resorts in Boracay. It had a view of the Boracay Rock and was such a great bargain for being beachfront and on the better beach along White Beach. When we got there, the nipa bungalow had gone, and in its place was a cement 2-room air-conditioned bungalow that cost twice what it used to even at low season!. The last time I stayed there was November 2005, so maybe I should’ve expected it. At Real Coffee and Tea a couple of days later, I told Mom Lee (the owner), of this development and she said that a friend of hers used to patronize the place too, and would even set up his hammock on its little terrace.
But like many things in Boracay, it was overtaken by the island’s non-stop development.
I was already wishing that I hadn’t come to Boracay before even getting there. In Cebu I’d already re-booked an earlier flight out. My original plan was really to stay in Boracay for about 5 days, because I’d never been there for more than 3. Now I’d arranged it that I would only be there for practically just 3 nights and 2 whole days. Many years ago, Boracay was my first experience of a white beach ever. I ended up comparing all my beaches to it everywhere I went, and none would really measure up. But seeing the seasonal seaweed still strewn about on the beach at low tide, so many people milling about, and already feeling so melancholy, I wished again I was somewhere else, and with someone else. To cheer up, I thought I might catch up with a couple of backpackers that I’d met at Malapascua and were also on the island, but they happened to be all the way down the southern end near Station 3. I really didn’t feel like it either. Generally, Boracay felt the wrong place and at the wrong time.