Firstly, I know I got this a bit backwards – its usually Christmas before New Year I know- but it the spirit of my earlier mid-year resolution to hold consistency over perfection – here it all is and who cares about the order, right?!
We spent Christmas week in Boracay, world-famous for its 2-mile stretch of perfect white sand beach, crystal clear waters and beautiful weather. And very beautiful it is too. Here’s a classic promotional shot of the beach:
And it does look EXACTLY like that with two provisos: this is the far end of the beach past all the noise and hullabaloo which we much preferred …and the sun needs to be shining to enjoy the blue skies and water. It wasn’t when we arrived. Christmas weather was overcast, gloomy and rainy or with the threat of rain. This was kind of beautiful in its own way and kept the crowds away from the beaches. It looked more like this:
We were warned it would be crowded at Christmas and it was – despite the weather. The main restaurant and tourist section (Station 2) was heaving by 7pm and we had to shuffle single file past the shops and bars past slow-walking Japanese women wearing ridiculously high, spike-heeled evening shoes in the sand, every tenacious tourist peddlar known to man all selling exactly the same
crap goods, large families with small children, loud crowds of young backpackers on an Asia odyssey, trading locals, Manila Pinoys and everyone else (and their mother)… It was quite a scene. We ate early, left early, and returned to our quiet cottage at the far end of the beach. We were happy to enjoy the chaos for a short time and happy to get away.
After the rains stop around day 3, we explored around the island a little. Boracay is very small. A few miles long and less than a mile wide. On the opposite side of the island is a smaller, quieter beach which is also the side of the prevailing wind, making it a great location for water sports. When we visited the winds were still blowing strongly for the tail-end of the low pressure, and the kite boarders were out in full force. It was amazing to see 200lb men taking off into the air like they were paper bags:
We stayed in a small, recently built private villa that was part of a native-style resort at the end of White Beach. They were clean, new with a kitchen, bathroom, living space and bedroom:
It turns out that the thatched roofs are built in their distinctive style for reasons other than just aesthetic. When it poured with rain and the wind blew, the umbrella of the roofs kept me dry enough to continue reading on the balcony of back porch. Sitting outside reading, protected from the rain, watching the storm was as close as it came to experiencing the cosy, Christmasy feeling of watching the snow falling next to the fire…. a bit of a stretch I admit… but Christmas in the tropics takes a little extra imagination….
A beautiful place. But next time I think I would prefer a smaller, beautiful beach (I hear there are many) and less people. Working on that for Easter.