When my little sister, Dani, was five years old, my mom brought her to the beach. It was her first time and she ran excitedly towards the waters exclaiming, “Mom, look at that big swimming pool!” I wasn’t there to hear it, but my mom told me all about it and we laughed at that innocent remark.
When my mom announced earlier this year that were going to Boracay, I was thrilled. I had gone there two years ago, and it was such a fun and amazing experience, I was just excited to go back – and with my siblings too! I was actually looking forward to seeing Dani’s reaction. Now six years old, she knew that the giant pool wasn’t a pool at all; it was a beach. My mom taught her (just as she had taught me when I was that age) that the beach is a great place to build sand castles. My mom loved making sand castles – elaborate walls and towers that were designed with flowers, pebbles or seashells she had collected herself. She usually ended up doing most of the work, so my siblings and I just busied ourselves with digging the moat.
Armed with a plastic bucket, some shovels, and a desire to create the best sand castle in Boracay, Dani was ready for her second beach experience. When we got there, she jumped right into the water, which surprised me because I thought she hated swimming. She stood by the shoreline and jumped and jumped, laughing all the while. After some time, she sat and played with the fine white sand, gathering a handful and letting it slip slowly through her fingers.
I became her beach companion. I brought a sarong, which I spread out under the sun, and read a book while she built (or tried to build) sand castles with her plastic shovels and bucket.Later on, she found a friend who helped her build sturdy walls and towers that didn’t crumble or fall apart. Of course, my mom had a hand in it.
Did I mention we went island hopping twice? Twice! My dad – not usually the adventurous type – wanted to go snorkeling again on our second day there, so he suggested another boat ride so we could see more corals then stay at Puka beach, where there was less moss in the water.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take enough food shots because well, we were hungry. Attending to a grumbling tummy seemed more important at the time. In case anyone is wondering though, the picture above features the paella in Dos Mestizos (excellent Spanish food!), mango margarita and chicken burritos in Mañana (Yummmmy!), and strawberry cheesecake from Cafe del Sol (not the best cheesecake I’ve tasted but it’s okay). We also went to Smoke for tasty and affordable rice meals (try their salpicao and bulalo), Real Coffee for calamansi muffins and brewed coffee, Jammers for delicious buko milkshakes, and of course Jonah’s for fruit shakes (Melon Mango and Strawberry Mango, aw yeah!).
Of course there’s nothing like an amazing Boracay sunset to cap off the day.Boracay was just as lovely the second time around, especially since I got to bond with my family. It’s been a long time since we last went on a beach trip together. We built sand castles, hunted for delicious food from station 1 to 3, drank several glasses of fruit shakes, ate calamansi muffins, braved the high tide for a second boat ride around the island, and hugged each other for a photograph as strong waves crashed at our backs, making us tumble all over each other.
That was the best family trip I’ve had in years! Traveling, for me, is all about those moments. It’s about the connections you make with people – even with people you’ve known your whole life. 🙂