The littlest and simplest of things can make the Beets happy. Whether it be a good meal at a nice restaurant, eating canned sardines and take out garlic rice from McDonald's, eating in, or dancing at a club—we're not particularly choosy. Frilliness and prissiness are not particularly Beets-y traits. However, one trait that is common among the Beets is that we can be remarkably sugodera (i.e. impulsive).
—Case in point: How I lost my Boracay virginity:
It was a quiet Tuesday evening in June. At around 10 pm, my phone started to ring. It was Twin.
"So," she begins, "Beets landed today from New York... She mentioned she wants to go to the beach."
"Yeah, the beach would be great!" I reply. I was thinking: It's 10 pm on a Tuesday, the week's barely started, I'd love to go to the beach but I'm pretty sure we aren't going anytime soon.
Or so I thought.
"Well... we can go to Calatagan again..." she suggests.
"Uh huh...?" I reply almost questioningly. I can sense that throughout Twin's pregnant pauses, the cogs in her brain were working double time.
"Hmmm," she murmers. "I know! Well, you see, T3's already in Boracay with her fam... so...?"
At this point I do not answer.
"Give me five minutes," she says decisively and hangs up.
"Twin?" she asks five minutes later (we each call other Twin), "Do you have a passport?"
Oh gosh, I think to myself, What did she do?!
"Well," she continues, "I've pretty much booked us hotels and stuff, I just need your full name for the ticket."
"Uh..." I answer dumbly, "I've never even been to Boracay and my parents are asleep and I can't just up and go!"
"Fine Twin." she answers glumly, "I'll call you tomorrow."
Fast forward to the next day: Wednesday.
Twin, Beets and I are racing against time and traffic to make it to a 3:50 pm flight to Caticlan. Earlier that day I steeled my nerves before asking my Dad if I could go to Boracay—hastily adding that I would be leaving that same afternoon. He gave a quick and off-handed "Yes," much to my surprise.
Anyway, we were racing to catch a 3:50 pm flight—it was 3:14 pm. As expected, we missed it.
We ran through the terminal desperately trying to find an open flight to Caticlan for that same day. We were unsuccessful. We were, however, able to get seats on a 6:50 pm flight to Kalibo (which simply meant that when we landed, we'd have to take a 90-minute bus ride to the Caticlan port, and then get on a boat to Boracay island). We got the tickets for the 6:50 flight.
After half a day of rushed-packing, rushed-driving and straight-up rushing through the airport terminal, we were relieved to have a couple of hours to kill before boarding. We spent those two hours having merienda (afternoon meal), browsing through the airport shops and discovering kokology (which probably deserves its own post) on the floor of a bookstore.
Fast forward about three hours: location Boracay!
We were billeted at Discovery Shores—which is gorgeous! Upon arrival, we were offered super refreshing glasses of lemongrass-pandan water. A tour of our suite soon followed, during which we experienced something none of us ever expected to.
As our gracious tour-guide showed us the hot tub on the balcony, something moving in the room across the walkway caught all of our eyes. In that room, which was on the same floor, eye level and probably only about thirty-or-so feet away (i.e. very clearly visible), was a very energetic man showing his affection to a remarkably receptive woman—the guy was super energetic.
His enthusiastic thrusting seemed to say: "Welcome to Boracay Beets!"
Trying to regain control of the situation, our frazzled guide tried to explain how the hot tub could go from cold to warm to hot in mere minutes. It was a lost cause. We were a little more interested in how the man across the way could go from slow to fast to jackhammer in seconds.
"Eeew!!! I saw his thing!" shrieks Twin, arms a-flapping.
After the show, Twin, Beets and I grudgingly went back into the suite where we were to conclude the tour and wait for T3 to arrive (as I've mentioned she was already at Bora and was billeted at another hotel).
This was what we did while waiting for T3:
|A very very very welcome foot scrub and massage!!! (Yes, I'm wearing shorts. Perv.)|
After our foot scrubs (and critical analysis of our neighbors' performance) T3 arrives. After the shrieking, hugging, and retelling of the tawdry tale, we decided to go exploring.
It was a bit late by the time we ventured out—around 11 pm.
Naturally, most of the establishments open were bars. While walking along the shoreline, the most obvious aspect of our common nature surfaced: We were hungry.
We stopped at Pat's, which at that time had a steady reggae ensemble setting the mood.
|Ooooh Baby I love your waaaaay!!!|
We sat in the sand, ordered our food and soon after hastily devoured our meals—naturally. After a couple of drinks, we decided to explore the rest of the island. Another reason we thought it best to go exploring was because by the time we finished our second mangorita, the bongo drummer was passed out on a bench.
|The Beets at Pat's: Full of food and in a smiley mood.|
As a Boracay-virgin, I had no idea what or where anything was. I've heard tell of how crazy it could get during peak seasons, and how Glee's Puck was there just a few months before. So as we strolled along the sandy-paved storefronts, Twin took on the role of Bora-Beets-Tour-Guide and her excited gesticulations and testimonials filled the air.
"We're eating lunch here tomorrow! And for dinner, there's this place down the way..."
Deciding that we've walked far enough we entered Juice Bar. The place gives the phrase "flaming shooters" a whole new meaning.
As if the shots weren't hot enough, we saw something that made the bar a little bit steamier: the energetic couple from across the way!!!
We know they know we know.
After a fun-filled evening of good-natured frivolity we ran back to the hotel. (As in we simply decided to run—literally run; during which time T3 sprained her ankle.)
The next morning, we decided to take full advantage of sun, sand, and sea.
|A bar right on the shore. Aside from going to the bathroom, there's really no other reason to give up your MTA (maximum tanning angle).|
By mid-afternoon, we were toasted from the sun and the Twins' and Beets' fingers and toes were all prune-y from the sea. And most importantly and obviously, we were hungry.
We stepped into the Mexican restaurant that Twin mentioned from the night before: Mañana. Note: If you are not a big carbs fan then I guess you can just sit with your friends and breathe in the delicious aromas—but I'm telling you it won't make up for it.
|Beets'-eye-view from within the cozy cantina.|
I know, the picture's dark and grainy... True story: of the four Beets who came to Boracay, zero of us brought a camera. But lucky for us, a mutual friend of Beets and T3 was on the island—and his camera is very nice. Meet Malaya:
|Tatted Tour-Guide Extraordinaire. Thanks for everything Malaya!|
Aside: Malaya is an old friend of Beets' and T3's. Our Boracay experience would have been extremely different had Malaya not serendipitously been there. He knew the island well, had many stories and jokes and is an all-around good-vibes kinda guy. More on Malaya later!
After our Mexican meal, we went off to find another shared Beets obsession: coffee (except, Twin, she doesn't drink coffee).
|T3's smile is so big! She must be pinwheeling from the Real Coffee. Pinwheeling, you say? Read on to find out.|
We looked for a place that was said to serve some good bean: Real Coffee, I mean the place is called Real Coffee. We ordered some coffees and each had one of their famous calamansi muffins—so good! We also had the pleasure of meeting the owner: Nadine, who was 'pinwheeling' at the time. She says, "I think I've had too much coffee, my eyes are like pinwheels!"—well, she did have three real coffees. A real coffee is kapeng barako with a shot of espresso. T3 had one and look at her pinwheeling in the photo above. Nadine had three. Yep, she's pinwheeling. I think I saw her eyes vibrating in her head.
Nadine also showed us this notebook:
|A younger Raymond Gutierrez says: "Clean your room!"|
Nadine explains that she's been having guests write in this notebook by filling in the blanks of: "Men think it's ok to_______, but it's not. Women think it's ok to ________, but it's not."
After a few hours of chatting, letting the pinwheels subside and discussing what we thought men and women think are ok to do but aren't; we headed back to the hotel to draw up a plan of action.
|We can go here, or here, or here....|
Later that night it started to rain, as in pour—as in thunder-and-lightning-what-the-heck-is-going-on type of pouring rain. So our adventuring was put on hold. Since we were hungry—again—the most pressing issue became where were we going to eat. Twin immediately suggested an Italian restaurant this time which served a good Truffle Pasta. I was sold. When the deluge finally subsided, we left the hotel and ventured out through the slushy white sand. On the way to Aria, the said Italian restaurant, we saw this:
|Firedancer. Hey, I have that mankini in acid green!|
Firedancing is a pretty popular sight at Boracay. The next night we saw another performance, but we'll get to that later.
At Aria, I indulged in my truffle pasta. =D
|About to get my butete on!!!|
After dinner, the Twins were finally introduced to Malaya. After catch-ups and introductions, Malaya wasted no time. He was taking us to the other side of the island to check out the bars there.
The other bar, whose name I can't remember, had a dive-y-er and steadier vibe than the cray cray side that Bora is known for. There were about ten other customers at the open-air bar: a group of artsy looking friends, and a group of loud tourists—who I'm assuming are Chinese.
The vibe that night was steady, although a few things were quite memorable too.
1. There was a huge old Golden Retriever who begged anyone who would oblige to throw his tennis ball—so cute!
2. The Chinese group, who we're going to refer to as Drunk Man (DM), Drunk Woman (DW) and Somebody Restrain Her! (SRH). Oh about half an hour later we discovered they had another friend with them who we shall refer to as Passed Out Annie (POA). Anyway, the group was throwing back shots like it was nothing! I think they did seven or eight in an hour. It was insane.
3. DM, DW and SRH decided that it was a really great idea to go skinny dipping. POA continued to sleep in her chair.
4. SRH almost strangled herself silly as she tried to put her top back on.
5. SRH fell off her barstool.
6. POA, awoken by SRH falling off her stool started screaming angrily at SRH for waking her—and then she fell back asleep.
7. SRH made out with the bartender.
Since it was getting pretty late and we made plans for early the next morning, the Beets and Malaya decided to call it a night.
As we were walking back:
8. DM and DW are using their cellphones to look for something in the grass/fallen coconut leaves. They're probably looking for SRH's dignity.
After breakfast, Malaya dropped by to take us on a more extensive tour of the island.
|The tricycle: common to the Philippines, but in Bora, the cheapest and most practical way to get around on land.|
|Bantay. (Guard dog) Not looking too effective, Pal.|
After the land tour, we went to the grocery to stock on some snacks and drinks for we were about to get seaborne.
|We're on a boat!|
|Gilligan and Skipper, Bora Style.|
|How awesome is this?!|
|Beets and Twin, looking at a brighter future.|
|We made a makeshift table out of life vests for some snacking at sea!|
|T3 didn't go into the water though. She will in time =) Baby steps. Face your fears!|
After a great afternoon spent in the ocean, we headed back to shore after sunset. Naturally, we were hungry (and a bit sleepy) from the day's excursions and this:
|A whole new meaning to killing your drink.|
We headed back to the hotel and had food delivered from Kazbah (I think my favorite meal of the trip). As we let the food digest, I noticed that eyelids became heavy and bodies started disappearing to be found moments later asleep in beds.
Speaking of beds!!!
Each night, the staff would leave us presents on our beds—our towels would be folded up in the shape of animals. It became a game—Guess the animal tonight. One night it was this:
|Echema the Elephant.|
Beets and I were lounging in the hot tub when suddenly a shriek from inside pierced the air. We rushed in to find T3 and Twin, crumpled, not in fear or pain, but in laughter. Sitting on the bed in the dark eerie glow was Echema the Elephant. Yes, the shriek was originally a shriek of surprise/fright.
Anyway, so T3, Twin and Beets all managed to get into bed and fall asleep. Ich don't think so. This is no way to end the last night of my first trip to Boracay. I conceded to letting them nap for a bit, but afterwards we would romp through the island.
At around 11 pm (like the first night—full circle), the four of us trudged sleepily into the night.
We got to Jungle Bar and were welcomed by the sounds of a most interesting sort—think of a reggae jam crossed with an underground rave. It was pretty awesome. Oh also there was more of this:
More firedancing! Woohoo!
And after some of this:
—among other things, none of us were sleepy any more.
And after some of this:
|Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! SHOTS EVERYBODY!!!|
We met a lot of interesting people that night, but we weren't too savvy and so didn't take any of their pictures... We did however manage to photograph this one girl's awesome tattoo:
|An Ode to her Mother.|
Many thanks to Archie and Verona of Jungle Bar for showing us an amazing time that night!
It was time to go home.
I regret to say that we missed our flight that day too! Haha. Tempers half-flared that day because of the missed flight, but looking back we just seem so silly!
As we picked up our baggage in the Manila airport. The reality of the trip being over set in. We had so much fun and bonding time over those unexpected three days and four nights. Nothing was really planned but so much has happened. Wednesday subtly just melted into Saturday much in the same way a dinner melts into a sleepover melts into another sleepover. When you're in good company, no matter what the experience, you just don't want it to end. It's great to be lazy and carefree in a familiar setting, but the excitement and novelty of completely unfamiliar surroundings could make for such an adventure! How can one say no to either?!
I leave you now with a short video that Malaya put together. Thanks again Malaya! It's called:
FAREWELL TO JUNE
|Time really does fly under a grenadine sky.|
Images from Beets', T3's and my phone and our friend Malaya. Thanks Malaya!!!
Video from YouTube by bradamanmalaya (who is also Malaya)
*No alcoholic drinks were harmed during the production of this post.