It happened again this year: Arthur and his friends Joyce and Yen snagged a great deal at the Travel Expo last February 2012 and he surprised me when he said that we would be headed there again. Our slated dates were May 4 to 6 (I actually had to miss my company's outing also slated for May 4, but "prepaid" plus "booked in advance" means NO REFUNDS) and as I am writing this, we are waiting for everyone in our party (11 of us) to come together for dinner in one of the "paluto" places (markets to buy food and have them cooked your way) for a seafood feast.
I actually enjoyed the last time I was here, but an acquaintance of mine who knew of my trip had to brag about how she was in Boracay "before electricity!" (was constant) and that the Boracay I was so late in visiting (as per her time schedule) was "a waste", since "it's not innocent anymore", there are "too many people already", etc....in other words, her intent was to make my experience look bad and somehow "inferior" to her own.
Thank goodness her opinion isn't really one I value too highly. Or at all.
She was right about one thing, though: there seems to be too many warm bodies here. All at the same places, all sunbathing at the beach (duh), all clubbing the night away...you get the picture. (You may have actual pictures of what I'm referring to.) So it was a great pleasure that for this particular trip, we seemed to be going "offbeat" - that is, off the usual track that people usually schedule their trips here for.
For starters, we stayed at Boracay Terraces Resort, which was located at a portion of the beach that seemed so desolate relative to the frenzy of heightened activities that characterizes summers on this party island.
A place that demands you...relax.
We decided to hire a private van from the docks to the hotel because having 11 people in our party meant the van would be "ours" (no one else riding in it). The cooling provided by van's airconditioning system was badly needed, this being one of the hottest summers in the country. From the main road, we took a detour to a side street that would comfortably fit two tricycles in opposite directions. (Which gives you an idea of how "wide" the street is.) It stopped at the end of the road, where a large gate awaited us. When the guard ascertained we were hotel guests, he opened the gate.
I didn't say it out loud, but I was very relieved to see the hotel could be considered "semi-private". There were hammocks all around, some sunbeds, "housed" swings that could seat 6. The teenagers and kids in our group expressed dismay that (1) there was lumot (moss) at the beach and (2) we were situated "far" from where all the "action" is. You say potato...
After our check-in process (where we were provided welcome drinks, most certainly a welcome gesture given the heat), we proceeded to our rooms to get the lay of the land. The hotel was split and multi-leveled (think of rice terraces), and Art and I were assigned rooms on the second floor.
Waking up to this view in Boracay: priceless.
When we got in, we were (pleasantly) surprised to see the room open up to a large space, for both the bed and bathroom areas. Our bed was raised on a mini carpeted "platform", and the bed was made of wicker. The bedding linen was old but clean, and the pillows were adequate if you weren't a fussy sleeper. Paint was chipping on some walls, and we had a "fat" television set (as opposed to flat screen TVs). And wifi was complimentary, if a bit spotty at a few times.
The bathroom had a hanging area, many shelves, a bathtub and a shower area in addition to the toilet.
The bathtub reminded me of Joan Collins in Dynasty for some reason, where you had to take "a stair" to get to a tub that was, er, suited for two. A portion of the ceiling was stained, and while our airconditioning unit was extremely cool, Yen's room didn't have a satisfactory working cooling unit, so you win some, lose some, depending on which room you get assigned to.
I'd say this hotel needs updating and refurbishing in order to modernize its look and facilities (I was told that this property has almost two decades under its belt operating as a business in Boracay) and if it wants to be current and competitive with the newer, sleeker places that have sprouted up, it has to do this soon. Its strongest card is the location - away from the hustle and bustle. If you're like me, you will appreciate its solitude. And yes, I know I usually have the "minority report", so the kids' reactions to the place upon sight was totally understandable and expected: Where are the parties?!? Where my hommies?!? (Excuse me while I scour my tongue, I am fond of using "are" in my sentences.)
More on the next post.