In just a few days, summer season will end. Although many parts of the country are already experiencing intermittent weather, midday is usually scorching hot. It only aggravates my hyperhidrosis, a disorder that has been tormenting me since my elementary days. That is why I tend to gulp down huge quantities of water, a feat that might even surprise regular gym enthusiasts and athletes.
I admit that I abhor this kind of weather (I’m a typhoon type of guy, I guess). But this scorching summer discomfort that I feel brings back memories of last year’s equally searing summer. Last year’s heat wave, however, was a fun one, because me and Wifey spent it in one of the world’s most famous beaches…
…our very own Isla de Borácay!
Truth to tell, I never dreamed of going to that place. I’m not a beach guy (I’m a self-proclaimed mountaineer, hehe!). It was just to please my wife who is more of a beach person. Anyway, since I’m planning to travel the whole country before reaching the age of forty, perhaps it’s unthinkable to even skip this tropical paradise from my herculean itinerary. So what the hey.
The very few who share my advocacy (on Filhispanic Identity, true Philippine History, heritage conservation) will not find much of our Filipino Identity in this island because of its internationalized look. Aside from a Catholic Church near Station 1, no bahay na bató, no historical site, and no Fil-hispanic touch could be found here. But enough about that for the moment! Borácay is all about partying!
But hey, this doesn’t mean that history is not worth mentioning in Borácay. The origin of this tropical resort’s name captures some interest. Many agree that Borácay was derived from the word borac, a local term which means cotton. Either cotton used to grow in this island in large quantities, or its powdery white sands had something to do with it.
Some say that Borácay originated from the word bora or bubbles. It is because of the foamy appearance that the waves make when it softly crashes onto the whitish sands. Aetas also claim that the island was named in part from the word sigáy, a type of seashell (could this be the rare puka shell?). Lastly, another theory says that Borácay was from the native term boay meaning vegetable seeds. It was said that Aeta tribes in the past used to plant vegetables within the island.
Borácay is not a huge island (just 10.32 km2), but small groups of Aeta tribes, then as now, inhabited it during the Spanish times. Perhaps due to Borácay’s small size, not to mention its small population of Aetas (who also had an uninviting reputation to live as highlanders), no religious mission was ever sent there. For better or for worse, the lack of a Westernized (or even Asian) community in the island’s history helped preserved its pristine beauty.
Sadly, what history did not do the island commercialization is now undoing. Various reports have been written and even broadcast about how “environmentally stressed” the island is nowadays due to an exploding number of private beach resorts and other commercial establishments. There is even a seaside mall there! Could this almost unstoppable influx of commercialization be the reason why the beach has an abnormal amount of algae every summer? Just asking.
Here’s hoping that Borácay will not be abused further by selfish profiteers. This is for the sake of future generations. Don’t we want to share this beach heaven with them?
Too bad. Me and Yeyette were planning to go back there this summer. But we have no housemaids (for about a month now!) to take care of the kids and our apartment. Oh yes, I do admit that —because of Borácay’s powdery white sands and romantic coastline— I am now a beach person, too! And I so miss Summer Place!
All I can do for now is reminisce last year’s Bora adventure.
NOTE: Please click on each photo to enlarge.
BORACAY, a set on Flickr.