Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the beached polar bear

to think that this would be my first time to set foot at boracay's world famous shores, i was unusually unexcited. kuya was running through lists in his head, making sure he had all our documents in order. we were a large group, 9 in total, and coordinating so many with barely any sleep yet was quite a task indeed. he did, however manage to pull it off without incident, no surprise really except for me wondering sometimes how i could be related to such an amazing person. in no time, we found ourselves dropping our bags in our huge room with the turquoise waves just outside our door. i was finally in boracay.

this was supposed to be an "escape" trip of some sorts for me. the prior week had been rather hectic, both at work and "somewhere else" and as i thought fate had it, being distanced from all of these were supposed to be good for my run down soul. but as i should have learned this lesson long ago, never ever commit the sin of presumption. fate apparently had something else in mind for distance, in this hi-tech age of ours offer no more reprieve. work followed me to the beach (easily managed thankfully. it helps to travel with businessmen, i found. you tend to imbibe their sharp acumen) and that "something else" that prompted many posts prior to this one, well, it never left my side.

not wanting to be a wet blanket though, i did try to enjoy myself still. this wasn't just my vacation anyways but also the vacation of 8 others as well, all of which were well deserving of the peace the beach can offer. the beach, well, the beach on the other hand had something more than just peace to provide, or rather, with the weather in conspiracy with it. in the 4 days we were there, 3 were overcast and rainy, with only the last day when the sun finally showed it missed face. the cool, unheated waters, dirtied by the industries that have sprouted like mushrooms along the island's banks, have contributed to a thriving forest of algae... perfect food for small little fishies that zigzag their way as you wade through the shallow, clear waters. and as the food chain goes, where little fishies reside... the larger, more predatory jellyfishies are never too far away, as kuya's friend eventually found it. needless to say, we were all a bit more paranoid whenever we step into the waters and get extra jumpy when something brushes along us. thankfully, seaweed and dried palm leaves don't leave lasting impression, more so, their contact itching like crazy.

the waters have had their laughs with us. now, its the sky's turn. the overcast days were truly a disappointment for its dusky gray illumination seemed to have sucked a lot out of the vibrant life of people on the beach. not that many people frolicked in the waters (maybe because of the jellies too) and many looked like they would just rather stay in and sleep, or beach comb, like what i did. a friend asked me to pick up some mementos for him and being the loyal friend that i am, i did. up and down the sands i walked, taking a bit longer in some areas, and breezing through the rest. in about an hour or so, i had gathered quite a few unusual finds already: shells; bits of coral; barnacle fragments; and oxidized iron pieces that once were parts of a boat to name a few. in about an hour or so as well, i realized i was already as red as a suckling pig ready to be served to a hoard of hungry orientals as appetizer! the cool breeze and the filtered light was truly deceptive for though my body did not feel hot, my skin however was still being bombarded by invisible UV rays. wearing a sando made things worse since my sando "stayed on" even if i took my sando off already. being as pale as your morning breakfast milk, the contrast was very extreme. it thereby became the agenda for the succeeding days to even out my rather embarrassing burn, more so because most of the tops i brought with me were all sandos, unable to conceal my shame! i have never been comfortable walking around shirtless since it makes me feel like i'm being cocky, but with my particular predicament, i am just glad to say, THANK GOODNESS i work out. to pacify my discreet upbringing however, i walked around with my head bowed :) after 3 days of baking, i am happy to report i am now EVEN.

the sand it seemed also wanted to get a slice of my sour boracay pie. my growing restlessness due to the limited activities at the beach made me seek a bit more action. my marathon was near and 4 days of no gym or jogging made my body crave for endorphins. i then decided to jog. i invited kuya if he would like to accompany me and he gladly obliged. by 5am, i was already awake and after having my quiet time and doing some pilates moves i had picked up to stretch, i was geared already to get my runner's rush. kuya and i started at 7am when the sun had finally come up. we both didn't bring shoes with us and were confident running barefoot wouldn't be so bad since there were quite a few who were doing it and it didn't look quite that uncomfortable. we set our course, starting at our quarters, avoiding the tide line and aimed for the firm, sifted sand. the edge of the coast was the turning point before we head back to where we started.

all i can say was it was a fortunate thing we ran in daylight. as i broke away from my kuya so i can keep my pace, i noticed that he kept stopping to pick things up and continued running again. he did this several times and i only presumed he was trying to catch his breath or rest. by the time we met each other at the finish point did he hand over to me the items which were causing him to stop. in his hand were about 10 large pieces of broken glass, remnants of bottles or bulbs that were sticking out of the fine sand. the sight of them sent a cold chill down my spine since i could only imagine how nasty it would be to accidentally step into one of those, more so, get ur self bloodied around those razor-sharp edges. thankfully, the sand was the only one who didn't take with it a casualty.

boracay must be a beautiful place since it still attracts people to it like bees to honey. hell, marc nelson is here so often, ppl ignore him already completely! but i as i looked around the things that made boracay this haven for beach goers the world over, i could not help it but ask myself, what's so beautiful about this? knowing that it was my first time there, one of kuya's friend's asked me what was my impression of boracay. all i said was it was so commercialized, and she just nodded in agreement. boracay apparently, before this tourist boom happened, was truly magnificent. a sight to see, an experience to relish. i could only compare how this place must have looked before, almost like the beaches of coron, which to this day still hold a special place in my memories. but now, with all the storefronts and the hotels and the restaurants and the tourist's that jam pack its congested shores, the beach, the island, is starting to give, buckling to the insatiable appetite of commerce and unregulated greed. the waters, though still clear is polluted. you can feel the stickiness, the grime. you can smell it for there is no refreshing ionized scent familiar to that of sea spray. the sand, though still white in many places, are now tinged with grey and green, colors contributed by garbage and sewage, not to mention litter like glass and whatnot's inconsiderate people drop as they walk by. the coastline, once clad with palm trees to shield you have now relinquished their places for inns, and bars and cafes. the people, who's lives were simpler, more honest before, now have to contend with a different lifestyle, one that requires them to be more shrewd, cunning, and manipulative, quite corrupt from how life once were.

hmmm, this place almost resembles the city, only with a beach.


i however wish i could see boracay as the place people i know romanticize about, for truly it has potentials of being one's paradise. but basing from my past four days experience here, i have a feeling, my paradise lies elsewhere.

* * * * *

kuya brought with him his newest toy, a canon G10 which takes awesome pics. trying to maybe cheer me up and also practice his shutterbug skills, he took a pic of me as i was contemplating over the sunset.

bronzen and all, he said i looked "fierce". i guess this is what polar bears look like when we find ourselves in the beach.


joelmcvie said...

Your kuya uses the term "fierce"?! I swear, your fabulousness is really rubbing off on him.

jamie da vinci! said...

he actually used the word "taray" :) tried to look for an english word that had the same punch :)

Mugen said...

Never been to boracay and I think I would never be. You said it yourself, it has become too commercialized. If I would go to the beach, I would seek solitude; I would desire oneness with the sea. How can achieve such bliss if there's someone selling something to me while doing my meditation. Hahaha.

But I like how you wrote your piece. I hope you found peace in those shores.

DATS said...

great tan!!! goodie! polar fierce!!! :)

joelmcvie said...

Ahahaha! Unless he was poking fun at you, using "taray" is just as pink as "fierce"!

Maybe your kuya really is a fabulously fierce straight guy. =)

Victor Gregor said...

i think people no longer flock to boracay because of the place itself, but because of its famous reputation, albeit no longer justified, as you very well-put. i'll still give it ago when the time comes, but only for the sake of figuring out what the buzz all is about.