Retire in Miami, Florida? No, thanks. If given the choice, my husband and I will happily retire in one of the best beaches in the world – in Boracay. Especially now when the Philippine Retirement Authority is offering an unlimited SRRV Courtesy Visa for former Filipinos, for just a US$1,500 deposit!
This post will focus on 3 things: Eat. Pray. Love. In the book, author and heroine Elizabeth Gilbert went on a journey across Italy, India and Indonesia to find meaning in her life. I don’t have to journey across three countries to find happiness and fulfillment. It’s all here in Boracay, in my home country, the Philippines.
You might be asking why “swim” is not a part of the experience (it is, after all, a beach). My dears, my golden year only allows me to sit by the shoreline and let the waves lap at my feet. I can only admire the jet-skiers and paraw-sailers from afar. But I did ride an ATV – more on this later.
So I checked-in at the wonderful Fairways and Bluewater. I had a few days to myself since I arrived two days earlier than my cousins, who arrived on a weekend. They are avid golfers and they had the time of their lives at Fairways and Bluewater’s 18-hole golf course. But that’s not the only thing special about the resort hotel. The hotel has large, clean rooms with comfortable beds. Rooms had views and kitchenettes. I was welcomed warmly by the professional staff who asked friendly questions when they learned I was a balikbayan. Was it the American twang that gave me away?
I just can’t help but admire this well-kept, quiet property in Boracay. Apart from the world-class golf course, it also has its own beach and the developer of the property, Megaworld’s Global Estate Resorts, Inc., is selling condotels, too! Remember when I stayed at Belmont Hotel in Newport City? Lo and behold, there’s Belmont Boracay! I really think this is a sign. I am being inspired to make an investment of a lifetime, in Belmont, Savoy or Chancellor, all pre-selling condotels, in adjacent Boracay Newcoast.
So let’s get into the “meat” of the matter, shall we?
Near D’Mall is Tilapia ‘N Chips. Who doesn’t love tilapia, especially if it’s cooked crispy on the outside and heavenly soft and delicious on the inside? You simply savor every beer-battered bite and completely zone-out. What a gastronomic delight!
There’s also D’Talipapa Market. It is absolutely D’ best, D’ most affordable, and D’ tastiest meal I’ve ever had! All you have to do is pick-out the fresh seafood from the market and the nearby restaurants cook it whatever style you want. Basically anything stir-fried with garlic and butter, from crabs to shrimp, is simply mouth-watering. And, of course, kamayan na! We eagerly used our hands to eat because that’s part of the fun!
How to end the perfect afternoon? By ordering a refreshing banana choco-peanut fruitshake at Jonah’s, sitting on the beach, and watching a glorious sunset.
There’s definitely a time for prayer in my life and that is why I visited Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Station 1.
But you know that God is present in all things! More so, I believe, in this wonderful piece of paradise that is best seen at the island’s highest peak, Mount Luho. So I had the most spiritual experience there but the trek had been a challenge. A tricycle dropped us off where the ATVs are rented. My cousins didn’t hesitate and they had to coax me into it (C’mon Ate, Jen! Kaya mo ‘yan! You can do it!). And so, after praying to all the saints, I rode an ATV! How exhilarating! It was actually very fun and I felt like I was young again, carefree (and a bit careless!). We weren’t allowed to drive fast, anyway. Plus, the road is not made of dirt, and I was able to easily maneuver my ATV on asphalt.
Mount Luho offered the best vista of the whole island. Once there, you get to feel that there’s a Higher Being, a God of love who created such beauty and peace. The sky was blue, the clouds fluffy, and the sea, a deep blue-green. I could only say a short prayer of thanks for friends, family, for my beloved country and the new Duterte administration, and for life itself.
LOVE (And the Greatest Love Story. Ever.)
It’s funny that I will talk about love when the love of my life is 11,291 kilometers away. But you see, it just so happens that we are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. My sweetheart, J.T., proposed to me on a beach in the U.S. We were two sweethearts walking on the sand when he turned to look at me and said that he didn’t have much in life but everything he had was mine, including his heart. He then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes and the rest is history.
J.T. came from very humble beginnings but he studied hard and worked equally hard. I am from a well to do family in Pangasinan. I never had any hardships growing up. When J.T. and I met and eventually became a couple, J.T. had to win my parents over, much like an episode in a telenovela.
J.T. is my rock, an answered prayer, my hero in all aspects of our life together. Our relationship has its ups and downs naturally, but we have made a promise to each other that we will stick it out no matter what. Love is a verb. And our advice to young couples is to always work on love every single day.
So on a starry evening while walking on Boracay’s powdery sand, I told my sweetheart how thankful I am that I have him in my life and that my home will always be with him. He knew we will spend our anniversary apart but since his generosity is boundless, he let me go on this wonderful journey. A few more months and I’ll be back in his arms again.