Backpacking with a Book
Quotable Motion: Up in the Air
October 30, 2010
Backpacking with a Book
Unexpected Gift: Notebook
November 4, 2010
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Boracay: Traveling with Llosa

Backpacking with a Book

Life gets difficult when a person goes to live somewhere else. . . Luckily we know how to walk. Luckily we’ve been walking for such a long time. Luckily we’re always moving from one place to another. What would have become of us if we were the sort of people who never move. We’d have disappeared who knows where.

—Mario Vargas Llosa, “The Storyteller”


1. You’re not a tourist rather a fleeting visitor, a place sniffer. So, please, don’t be treated like royalty. You want to see the place as it is, without the pampering, without the superfluity.

2. Always travel with a backpack and do not indulge in Ryan Bingham’s way of backpacking—travel with the necessaries, not with might-be-necessaries. Practice light packing.

3. Who said you visit to laze the day away? Travel is explorations and discoveries. Explore. Be amazed. Be educated.

4. In case, you find your name in a place, don’t eat your heart out, be happy instead; the place remembers you. 😉

SKIMBOARDING. It is the trend among youngsters in Bora. I tried it once during my first visit. Just like any outdoor sports, it necessitates constant practice to get the hang of it. They commercialize it now whereas before it came for free. An hour cost P250 inclusive of free skimboarding tutorial.

UNMINDFUL. He played with the sand doodling unrecognizable characters. Perhaps they were butterflies with feet, dolphins with wings, dogs with five tails. Kids—just like writers—they create their own realities.

SURFBOARD. I hadn't spotted surfboarders in our three-day stay. Although the afternoons were rainy the sea was soothingly calm almost like a wide well-ironed blanket all day long.

BEACH COMBER. A real beach comber. Boracay over the years has been polluted due to the huge number of tourists pouring in. With the immaculate water and creamy powdery sand come with the flotsam. It is the job of this man to sweep the wreckage caused by humans and sea itself. Who said Bora is all pristine and immaculate?

ACCESSORIES VENDOR. They were from Puka Beach—the northern side of the central white beach. A necklace roughly cost P50 depending on the stones used and the complexities of its design. They speak an entirely different language; perhaps it is Akeanon—the language in Aklan. Bracelets with "Boracy" etched on them are good for ten pesos apiece.

BOOK. Always travel with a book, with a writer. A book saves you. A writer educates you.

CATICLAN AIRPORT. Our flight to Boracay was a bit bumpy. The plane jolted as expected from a small plane or the competence of the pilot. Caticlan Airport is designed for small planes. Boracay being a world-class tourist destination should have a sophisticated airport. InFlight, the official magazine of Seair (was reading it on our way home), featured the incumbent DOT Sec. Alberto Lim and his future tourism projects. One of his main concentrations is to improve existing airport facilities and construct high-class airports in emerging tourist destinations.

SAILING. You can't completely appreciate the beauty of Boracay without indulging in island hopping. Equally compelling touristy islets surround it. The rent cost P1000 for a group of five. Persistence can give you a lesser price.

CARVING. Kids are skilled in carving sand dolphins, flowers on the sand. This lad here stayed all day long on the beach waiting for customers, for those who took picture with his creation. Kids asked for donations. Boracay is nothing but commercialism. Anything can be a business. Carving one's name on the sand can cost you five pesos or so. The problem with visitors, they all act like tourists—although they can do it themselves, they prefer to be pampered. Incidentally, they create business for kids. Well, that's good.

SANDCASTLE MAKER. As night falls, he and a neighbor gather sand and delicately sculpture a structure similar to Disney fairy tale's castles. They usually earn P1 500. LGU prohibits the creation of sandcastles on daytime except on Fridays. They "illegally" do it as nighttime falls.

STATION 2. It has the most lively scene.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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