Boracay — kite paradise
Boy, the heat and dust of Cambodia really wore me down, and the longing for smooth winds and tropical waters was unbearable. A name of a kite spot in the Philippines had come up several times, and when my British kite crew from Mui Ne said they were going there next, I decided I would check it out as well and commence the Pacific island hop back home to California.
Boracay is somewhat buried in the Philippine islands. From Manila it’s an airplane, bus, and ferry ride away, but once you get there you don’t really need to move. I ended up accosting a fellow kiteboarder in the terminal at Kalibo international, and we hitched a ride together to the ferry spot in Caticlan. The ferry over to the cay is a hoot — riding in wooden trimarans with bamboo outriggers. The ratty lifejacket everyone is handed when boarding made me think of the steady flow of deadly ferry accidents in this part of the world (2009 , 2008, …). The crossing is not very long though, and possibly swimmable 🙂 On Boracay, I ended up staying at the same place where my fellow kiter Birgit and her sister had reservations (I don’t do reservations) — Surfer’s Home on Bulabog beach about 20 meters form the water. The next morning waking up in my new digs, I couldn’t help but be ecstatic. The wind was cranking, the sun bright, and kiters were slicing through gorgeous blue water. Time to pump up!
Boracay has an interesting split personality for an island. The east side of this skinny cay has a coral-reef-protected beach called Bulabog. It is a kitespot and offers nothing for the typical beach goer — the beach is narrow, and the wind is strong. The west side of the island sports White Sands beach, and as the name implies it has a gorgeous, broad white sand beach of postcard quality, but it also sports a tourist as grave as you can imagine with even an air-conditioned Starbucks on the sand beach path. There are also lots of clubs with DJs suffering from AVCD (Asian Volume Control Disorder). This disease is serious, and I noticed it in all SE Asian countries I visited where evidently people don’t realize there are volume gradations between ‘1’ and ’11’. Anyway, White Sands Beach is a must-do for a sunset cocktail, but I only ventured over there a handful of times during my three-week stay.
The diurnal wind pattern is somewhat unusual in Boracay: it’s windy in the morning, dies down around noon, and then picks up again in the afternoon. Being a morning person, this pattern suited me fine, and accommodated a mid-day nap and afternoon/sunset session — Paradise indeed. Besides making pals with Birgit, we ended up having a fun and very international crew to kite and party with. I also finally ended got to do a full-moon session — awesome fun and an adrenaline rush to be sure.