Sailing in Boracay
The colourful sails floating all over the blue sea became the first thing which attracted my eyes when I arrived in Boracay. Blue, black, and white sails glided gently across the water and they blended so nicely with the sparkling sea and sunny sky that for a moment, I thought I might have been looking at a postcard. But no, I was really standing in the infamous semi-paradise island of the Phillipines.
It was quite a trip to get here from Manila. First, we took a half-hour flight by Cebu Airways to Kalibo. It’s such a small airport that it’s closed in between flight schedules (We had to queue outside the locked doors when we arrived early for our flight back to Manila). It’s followed by a two-hour ride in the super hot uncomfortable van to Caticlan jetty port. These vans are not recommended. It would better to use the air-con bus or privately-hired cars but, of course, back then we didn’t know any better (We hired a private Mercedes van on our way back from Boracay and only had to pay 100 pesos extra each). Finally, there’s a short boat ride to cross from Caticlan to Boracay.
I had never ever sailed in my life before and so I was thrilled by the sight, “Let’s go and try! Let’s try!” Yet, none of my friends shared my enthusiasm. They preferred more challenging water sport: banana boat, snorkeling, island hopping, flying fish, parasailing, walking under the sea using 250-kilo helmets, and so on and so on. We spent two days trying them all, with me casting a longing look now and then onto the floating colours scattered over the blue sea.
On our last day, however, all my friends decided to show a gesture of good will. Just before sunset, they asked me if I still wanted to go sailing. “Of course,” I said, “In a boat with blue sails preferably.” They generously granted my wish. So, we hired a boat with blue sails, just as I requested, from one of the agents at the beach. It cost 600 pesos for one hour. When my friend tried to bargain, the agent insisted that it’s already a very low price. “Next week, the price will be up to 800 because holiday seasons for university students begin,” he said.
I sat on the wings of the boat with my feet touching the water while two boatmen steered the boat for us (and paddled when there was no wind). Since there was no wave in Boracay and the sea was always calm, we had a very pleasant and smooth sailing towards the sunset. The sky displayed different colours as the sun moving down, from orangish to grayish, like a stage for spectacular light shows. As the light slowly faded, our boat sailed back towards the beach. I lied down on the boat, mesmerized and felt perfectly happy. “If I want to buy a boat like this, how much does it cost?” I asked the boat man. He mentioned 200.000 pesos as the price but, of course, everything in Boracay is up for a bargain. One day when I have my own beach house (wherever it might be), I will bargain hard for one blue-sailed boat from Boracay so that I can learn to sail on my own.