Before the year 2018 started, I promised myself that I will be focusing only on my career this year and save money. But fate has different plans for me. I was hired as a Digital Marketing Specialist in a travel company here in the Philippines and part of my job is to visit some of our the travel packages that we’re offering to the clients to experience it firsthand. This is actually a dream job for me as I am working on the two things that I love the most – travel and Digital Marketing.
Another exciting thing that happened early this month was my friend from South Korea visited the Philippines for the first time so I needed to host him and make the most out of his stay here. We went to one of the tourist spots here in the Philippines – the Boracay Island. It was one of the best travel decisions we’ve made so far next to our Bangkok experience last year.
Seungmin as my Best Travel Buddy
It was March 2016 when I decided to travel alone around Southeast Asia. During my Thailand tour in 2017, I’ve met him in Bangkok together with a group of friends traveling also in Thailand. I’ve made friends with all of them but Seungmin became my instant friend as we shared the same passion for travel and how we view life. After our tour in Thailand, we’re still communicating and teaching each other’s culture. We became partner also in studying the English language. That’s how we bonded before coming in here in the Philippines.
A Reunion with a Friend
As much as I want to pick him up at the airport on his arrival in Manila, but I still have work until 5:30 P.M. so we agreed to just meet in Glorietta Mall in Makati. After my working hours, I went straight to the mall to meet him up. It was a great experience seeing him again. We talked about a lot of things over his first ever meal in the country which was in Jollibee. We went to my condominium where he’ll stay then I brought him to the nearest street food stall near my condominium then had a short trip to Makati area. We ended the night by drinking a Filipino beer with my friends in the condo.
The Boracay Escapade
I left the office exactly 5 in the afternoon and went directly to NAIA Terminal 4. I arrived at the airport around 6 P.M and waited for Seungmin for 30 minutes. We went directly to the check-in counter and waited for our 8 P.M flight going to Kalibo.
Around 9 in the evening when we landed at Kalibo Airport. The place wasn’t too busy just like any other domestic airports, but I felt like I was in a different place because of the fresh air that I breathe and hearing the Aklanon dialect from the locals. Then, we decided to walk going to our hostel which is 3 kilometers away from the airport so we can save and most importantly to feel the fresh air of the province. It was a tiring yet joyful walk going to our hostel as we learned a lot of things from each other’s stories.
After checking in, we looked for a nearby restaurant for our dinner. We found a rustic-themed bar and restaurant near the highway. We ordered a beer, lumpiang shanghai and sisig. It was Seungmin’s first time to try our Philippine local beer and sisig which he liked the most during his visit in the Philippines.
First Glimpse of the Famous Boracay White Sand
From Kalibo’s local terminal, we took a 2-hour jeepney drive going to Caticlan port. It was Seungmin’s first time to ride that long on our local public transportation. Around 2 in the afternoon when we arrived at the port so we ate our first meal of that day. I decided to bring him to Mang Inasal’s so he can try our local food. He tried a roasted chicken and sago’t gulaman (gulaman cubes and sago or tapioca pearls suspended in milk, fruit juice flavored with pandan leaves). After that satisfying lunch, we took a 15-minute ferry ride going to Boracay Island. Once we arrived at the Island, we rode a motorcycle going to Station 2 of Boracay Island.
I can’t contain my excitement seeing the palm-studded paradise of Boracay for the first time and its white, talcum-fine beach, balmy weather, and warm, crystalline water. Tourists enjoying Boracay were everywhere to be found. Since we still have our backpacks with us and the sun was still hot, we decided to check in first at our hostel, rest and go there by 5 in the afternoon.
After taking a short nap and freshened up, we then went to Station 2 of Boracay Island. We walked around the Island, sit in front of the beach then talked a lot of things about life. Sitting in silence at the shore, watching the waves and sunset, and hearing the surf are the most satisfying feelings of my life.
Around 8 in the evening, we looked for a restaurant to eat and drink. We found Globy Bar and Restaurant which is a perfect place for the mood. It’s a beachfront restaurant with tables, chairs, and couch set-up outside the bar. The calmness and sound of the waves and a breezy night perfectly combined attaining the great feeling of freedom and happiness. We ordered Soju, it’s a Korean alcoholic drink typically made from rice or sweet potatoes. We also tried the pork chop and Hookah/Shisha. If I can remember correctly, it was only my second time trying Hookah, first was in the year 2013. It was also Seungmin’s second time trying it, his first try was this January of 2018 during his English training in Malaysia.
It was one of the most memorable days of my travel life. Having a good person that you can have a great conversation with, and having the same mindset, aspiration and dreams in life are enough for me to convince that I will keep our friendship forever. Seungmin is one of the best people in my life that I will keep forever.
Meeting Four Other Backpackers
On our second day, it was 10 in the morning when we had our breakfast in the nearest and cheap restaurant. Then we went swimming for the first time in the beach of Boracay. The water off White Beach was shallow for many meters and you can feel the white-fine sand under the glassy-smooth water. Seeing how locals and tourists enjoying different kinds of activities like kayaking, sailing via Vinta, snorkeling, sunbathing and simply sitting in the sand put a smile on my face. It made me realize how the beach gives a temporary happiness to everyone. Out of their busy schedule, they need a break from their normal routine so they can get energized again. For some, it’s an opportunity to bond with their families and friends. But as for me, it’s an experience that will add value to improve my life.
It was noon already so we went back to our hostel where we’ve met our newest friends. Their names were Robin (we actually have the same name) from Netherlands and Jordan from France. They’ve just met each other in Palawan and flew together in Boracay because the weather in Palawan wasn’t good. They asked me if I know a cheap restaurant where they can eat because they don’t want to eat at the pricey restaurants around the beach area. So I took them to the nearest cheap restaurant where I and Seungmin were always eating. For $1 you can have a decent Filipino meal already. As always, it’s the conversation that I am looking forward to when meeting new friends. We learned so much from them about their experiences working in Australia as construction worker wherein they were earning tons of money more than in their own land. It was Seungmin who’s really interested in Australia because even before, we already talking about it and how most Koreans want to work there.
After our lunch, Robin and Jordan went to the beach then I and Seungmin went back to our hostel to rest. Upon arriving, we saw two other Koreans beside our room. I invited them to join us that night since the four of us were planning to drink at night. It was Seungmin who convinced them since it’s easier for him talking to them in their language. They agreed that they will join us also.
We went back to the beach to swim again and stayed there for many hours until the sunset. Boracay has one of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It brings a romantic feeling for some but for me, it brings hope and freedom.
At night, all of us six ate first at the Filipino eatery before going to the beach. After our dinner, we went straight to the beach where the bars and restaurants were becoming more lively as most of them have their own shows to offer. You can choose whichever bar you prefer. There were live bands, fire dancers, loud party music, mellow music and many more. We bought our own beers and had a walk along the beach as we watch each show in every bar. Unfortunately, one of our Korean friends had a stomachache so he needed to leave us along with his friend and went back to our hostel. The remaining four of us decided to bond over hookah and beer in one of the beachfront bars. One of the best things that I like the most when traveling is the fact that you can instantly meet new friends and even if it’s the first time you’ve met each other, you can still talk a lot of things even after so many hours of talking. We jumped from one topic to another topic and before we knew, it was already 1 in the morning. We left the bar and went for a walk looking for a balut for Seungmin so we can all witness his reaction eating it for the first time. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any vendor so we ended the night trying the Filipino street food.
The next morning, we needed to pack our things and check out to our hostel around 11 in the morning as Seungmin head back to Kalibo Airport for his flight going back to Manila. We had our breakfast first together with Robin and Jordan before going to port.
Seungmin and I went back to Kalibo for his 5 P.M flight to Manila. We went our separate ways as he needed to go to the airport and I needed to check in to my hostel since my flight is tomorrow morning.
You Still have your Natural Beauty, Boracay!
Boracay may be facing some issues right now, but you still can’t deny that it is still one of the best beaches in the world. It was another one of my amazing travel stories that I will definitely remember for the rest of my life. Technically it was our first time to travel together from the time we’ve met each other in Bangkok last July 2017. We promised that we will go back to Boracay again but that time taking our girlfriend with us. *fingers crossed*
We still have a lot of travel plans in store and hopefully, I can visit him in Seoul before 2018 ends.