Sunday, May 31, 2009


Boracay has changed a lot.

Caticlan now boasts of an upgraded airport and a spanking pink port terminal. The era of cows grazing along the runaway and passengers piggybacked into the boats is perhaps gone.

Eleven years ago, we were ordered to pack up to Boracay and never come home until we can present a comprehensive 3-year program phase-out plan. Day 1 was almost a disaster when our Nueva Ecija team got caught in one of those notorious old NLEX traffic jams, then made a wrong turn somewhere along EDSA, before reaching the domestic airport where we rushed though security, the guards and the check-in counter and the airport police running after us (this was before 9/11), in a vain attempt to catch our Air Philippines flight to Kalibo which we were told was the plane taking off as we finally arrived in the departure area. But our quick thinking branch manager heard the second call for passengers of an Asian Spirit plane bound for Caticlan, collected our 2k each pocket money, got us the tickets, and arrived a full hour ahead of the Kalibo group. I still get amused recalling the assorted expressions of amazement painted in their faces as they got off the chartered bus in Caticlan and found us on the last bottles of a case of San Miguel Beer. There were some 30 of us that time from the 5 SRDDP provinces and the Central Office.

Eleven years from that scenario, two from the same group came back to Boracay. And as we shuffled from window to window of the pink Caticlan port to pay the various fees, I realized that only about 9 from the 1998 group remained with us. I know of 2 who died: Menard from our Bataan Branch whose young life was snuffed by the violent streets of Manila, and Maricel Vigo of our North Cotabato Branch who with her husband were murdered by suspected military assassins as they were going home to their 5 children.

Bora is more crowded now. The piece of beach where we once played harang taga is eternally plastered with green slimy lumot. The people are more uninhibited and I saw several topless sunbathers and really itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikinis. I walk to both ends of the Long Beach every mornings and afternoons, trying to shoot Bora beyond the white sand, the emerald sea, and the hot bikinis. And thank God for the Talipapa where we found respite from the lousy hotel food.

My wife’s birthday caught me in Bora. She wanted to come to Boracay and I would have love walking the beach with her. I planned to make a side trip to Pan-ay’s national heritage colonial church and its 10.4 tons bell which is probably the biggest of its kind in Asia, which I did not, then promised myself at least to a church in Bora which I’m sure there is, but which again I did not. I did have some pansit moments though and I guess that will do…

PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom): (1) The Nueva Ecija Team in Bora 11 years ago (from left): me AKA MVI, Pare Arden, Sir Tolits, and Pare Amor; (2) Maricel Vigo (left in white shirt) and the SRDDP cadres of PRRM; (3-4) breakfast in Boracay.

1 comment:

ZeroGravity said...

ok, so nasaan na yung mga picture mo ng itsy teenie weenie bikinis? sure ako, hinayang na hinayang ka na naman dahil hindi telephoto ang lens mo. =)