This year, Conde Nast Traveler’s readers picked Boracay in the Philippines as the “best island in the world,’ outside of the U.S. Their choice includes Cebu and Palawan as the next two best islands in the world! The Philippines is indeed the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Last summer, we spent our family vacation in Boracay. My wife and I renewed our marriage vows in its powdery sands where we had our first honeymoon 26 years ago. Our two sons, aged 23 and 22, joined us in this renewal. So did my wife’s brother Fred and his family.
It was the third time I visited Boracay. The first was in 1986. There were not many hotels and restaurants back then. There was not even a pier yet. Most of the people I’ve met then were foreigners. This fact saddened me a lot. Christof, a native of France, became a friend of mine during this time. His travels to so many countries have inspired me to do some traveling, too.
In 1991, my wife Alicia and I spent our honeymoon there. There was no pier yet. With my wife’s point and shoot Minolta, I took a photo of her which has won an award in 2014 in ViewBug. My love for photography began then. You will find this award winning photo below along with our recent photos of Boracay.
We enjoyed the memories of our last summer vacation in Boracay. The island hopping, courtesy of my sister-in-law Dr. Arlene Hallegado, was the best. We cherished most our spectacular experience with the schools of fish and coral reefs afforded by the highlight of the island hopping which was snorkeling. Contrary to my first visit of Boracay, this time, we saw more and more Filipinos enjoying what probably is the most beautiful island in our planet. This made me so much happy.
As I am writing this, one incident revived in my memory. When I handed our waiter a tip for our midnight snack in Boracay last summer, he was jubilant! It wasn’t much. Just a one dollar bill. But it made his day. “You don’t know how much I wanted to have one in my wallet,” he said excitedly. This is what my children who were both born outside of the Philippines have noticed: that most Filipinos are grateful and happy with the little they have.
A lot of foreigners have noticed this, too. You will find many videos in youtube and articles on the web attesting to this fact. This makes me proud of having Philippines as my native land. Not only do we have beautiful islands, we have people with beautiful hearts, too.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all above photos including the featured one are copyrighted by the author.