Boracay at its best!
SHANGRI-LA’s exclusive beachfront, “a tumbling away” from Movenpick and a 10-minute walk from Crimson.
Revenge travel is peaking in many tourist magnets in the Philippines, and this could not be truer than in the island paradise of Boracay —- tagged the “Top Island in Asia” in the 35th edition of Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. November tourism data have shown that over 90 percent of travelers to Boracay in 2022 are locals, but the men, women and kids who make their living off the island’s travel sector are ecstatic.
“The foreigners are starting to trickle in, but we’re more than happy to help realize the dream vacations of our countrymen who come here,” Jun Ambito said in Filipino as he drove us from Crimson Spa and Resort in Station Zero to D’Mall. He then profusely thanked former President Rodrigo Duterte, the local government of Aklan and the many private-sector samaritans who helped them survive through “ayudas” during the 2018 cleanup closure and 2020-2021 Covid travel restrictions.
For Jane, raking day in and day out her one-kilometer assigned stretch of the beach is her “small way” of ensuring its powdery white sand is kept free of unsightly debris. “I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years and we’re all thankful it’s now back to business for Boracay.” Elsewhere, Mark Ocson makes about P250 an hour, ditto with Mang Jerry, as they provide Crystal Kayak and boat-paddling photo-ops at Puca Beach. At the always-packed Hobbit Tavern, Desiree Comandante, a proud single mom of an elementary grader, had to drop her barista work in Quezon City to join a crew of seven “vertically challenged but towering” food servers.
The hotels are packed or nearly packed, including at neighboring Shangri-La, Movenpick and Crimson, which have a stretch of white beach exclusive to their guests. “You can have your hair braided for as little as P150,” explained Angge while working on a cornrow for a young woman. “But it could go as high as P100 per row if the design is intricate.”
Yes, Boracay is back and it may well be the best Boracay you’ll ever visit with the road newly paved, the better to visit the many restaurants in the area like Dos Mestizos, True Home, Pig-out Bistro and our own find, Sizzling 99.
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