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Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Archive for January 4th, 2015

How my 2014 ended and 2015 began 0

Posted on January 04, 2015 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 4, 2015 – 12:00am

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I am writing this as I have just arrived from Boracay a few hours ago. We have just returned from a short vacation from the Dec. 28, 2014 to Jan. 1 with my family and some relatives.

We decided to go to Boracay during the holidays since we had such a great time in 2009 when we spent the onset of the new year there.

That was five years ago.

Since that time, many things have changed, and yes, quite drastically. The number of people who were vacationing in Boracay in 2009 compared to now seems to have doubled. The airports, boats, transfers and buses were teeming with vacationers going to and leaving Paradise. The lines in the check-in and check-out counters everywhere seemed endless and unwieldy. All in all, it took us some nine hours from the time we left our house in Quezon City to the time we arrived in our hotel in Boracay, even though the flight was only 45 minutes. It was a crawl from Manila until we got to our destination.

The crowds in public areas in Boracay like D’Mall, the the pedestrian walks on the beach that lined Stations 1, 2 and 3, even the main and back roads where cars and tricycles passed were filled with people most of the time.

In many instances, we had to call and make reservations every time we wanted to eat out.

I must admit, it took me more than the usual time to begin to relax and enjoy the vacation. The social critic in me kicked off big time and was stressing out analyzing the problems of how and why things had become as crazy as this. There is the problem of overpopulation. There is also the clear lack of physical infrastructures — airports, bigger roads, more sea transportation, hotels that could accommodate the growing number of people from all over the world who want to vacation and enjoy the astounding beauty our country offers.

It took me awhile to silence my natural inclination to rant and stop thinking of problems to complain about and just enjoy myself. I realized that more often than not, the more one needs a vacation, the more one can be so resistant to it. You can also claim you need one, and perhaps you do, but it takes a while to settle into the right mode to enjoy it when it is there. Vacation can be a great inconvenience until one completely surrenders to it.

After an hour of rest, after I changed my shoes to slippers, my long pants to shorts, my polo shirt into a sleeveless T-shirt, did vacation mode start to kick in. As I got out of Shoretime Hotel and crossed the street to access the beach, I felt a wave of relaxation come over me. The beach was as eternally gorgeous as it was the last time I was there. It still had the finest white sand one can find anywhere in the world. I welcomed the sensation of the sand finding its way between my toes. The sensation of walking on the sand was simply liberating. The surge of sea wind made my weary spirit fly animatedly as it mussed my hair and made my loose shirt flap against my body. I felt alive and carefree.

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Despite the throngs of people walking on the beach, the beauty of Boracay was still there. She still beckoned. At night, the clubs and bars were alive more than ever with all sorts of party animals. It was and has always been crazy fun. Or fun crazy, if you wish.

Almost everywhere we went, the locals were friendly and accommodating. The staff at Shoretime was simply wonderful. They instinctively knew what we wanted or needed on every occasion. On the beach, they had lounging chairs, towels, drinks, umbrellas ready for us. One time, I had a craving for turon and asked where I could find some on the island. One member of the staff quickly volunteered to buy some for me a few miles down the road. My sister-in-law asked where she could get some popsicles. A staff member offered to walk with her a block away to where she could get some.

Before we left Manila to go on vacation, we had heard about the rainy weather advisory which was in effect for Dec. 30 and 31. We had planned on having a New Year’s Eve dinner along the beach but had to change plans. Two days before the dinner, a staff member of Shoretime Hotel offered the use of the conference room to accommodate our group’s planned get-together. She offered a delicious menu, which we approved.

After our sumptuous New Year’s Eve dinner, shortly before midnight, we rushed out to the beach to watch the fireworks coming from all the stations to usher in 2015. Amid a strong drizzle and under umbrellas and wearing jackets, we joined many people on the beach as we watched like children in awe, taking pictures and videos and cheering as every pyrotechnical wonder lit the night sky. Our guests from the US claimed they had not seen such fireworks all in one night. As the clock struck 12, we cheered and shouted and greeted everyone. We stayed on the beach for another 30 minutes before we went back for more indoor celebrations. It was still a fun New Year’s Eve party even if it wasn’t how we had it five years back.

The next day, I got an advisory from AirAsia that flights had been canceled the previous night and that morning due to visibility problems. We were scheduled to leave at 4:20 p.m. We were advised to proceed as planned since the weather could clear up by afternoon. We did exactly that. On the way back to Kalibo where the airport was, the shuttle, boat and bus ride back went without a hitch. We got to the airport an hour and a half before the scheduled flight. We managed to check https://www.viagrapascherfr.com/acheter-viagra-avec-ordonnance/ in easily.

The airport was bursting at the seams. It was filled with passengers all waiting to go home. Some had been there since morning because their flights were canceled earlier. Many were there simply waiting for their much-delayed flights to bring them home. The airport congestion in Manila had delayed every flight including ours. It was bedlam.

We finally got on board the plane four hours after our scheduled flight, and promptly got home at 10:30 p.m. exhausted, only to be greeted by more relatives waiting at home who threw a party for some of our Boracay companions leaving the next day.

Our tiredness soon dissipated as the party went into high gear. We sat down, ate, drank, exchanged stories, laughed and simply enjoyed ourselves in the company of loved ones.

We finally got to bed at 2 a.m. What a year ender it was. And what a start of a new one.

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