Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by Ellen
There was a knock on our door last night. Not too late – maybe 8:15 or 8:30 p.m. It was Edenia, the manager here at the Hangout Beach Resort where we are staying in Malay, Aklan, Panay, Philippines.
In her hand she held a packet of coronavirus face masks. She said someone had come to deliver the “order” for “the American on the bike”. That would be me!
But I was confused. I hadn’t ordered any face masks. Who was sending masks? Who knew where the American with bike was staying? Who would come after 8:00 p.m. at night? Very odd.
Once I examined the masks, I understood. These were sent by my new friend, Robby. They were demos, gifts, samples of his latest work.
Bad Company leads to embroidered Boracay masks
About ten days ago, I was riding my bicycle along the beachfront in the nearby municipal center of Malay. I had been exploring more of our immediate surroundings as the coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
Late in the day – actually on my way back home – I passed a fenced property where I could hear American music playing; Bad Company. I did a quick U-turn to investigate further.
As I rolled up to the open entrance doors, I was unsure if the place was a home or business or restaurant of some other type. When I stopped to peer in, a guy came walking up from inside and greeted me.
This was Robby (Roberto). It turns out, Robby is a long-time local property owner with family ties in the area going back generations. I had stumbled on his homestead – and workplace – at the end of the day. He was relaxing with some tunes and drinks.
Robby and I chatted for a few minutes. We joked about the coronavirus protocols and the state of the world. He invited me inside immediately. But I needed to get home. So I said I would come back soon. Robby smiled and said, “great, we’ll have some beer and shots”. My return was assured.
Beer before business
A few days later, I did return. After another leisurely bike ride along the waterfront, I pulled up at Robby’s place at about 4:00 p.m. But the front entry was closed. The door is solid; the fence impossible to see through. After considering the options, I pedaled around the corner onto the small side-road which borders his property.
Now looking to the side, I could see Robby’s yard. And there he was, seated in another shaded area. I called out and we connected. He opened the front doors and I came in on my bike. We laughed about our ‘re-meet’ and face masks and kept our social distance.
Within a few minutes we settled in for those drinks and conversation on a range of topics. Robby cued and played a stream of American classic rock through his cell phone to some big Bluetooth speakers; Pink Floyd, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, U2.
His waterfront property was beautiful. His home and surrounding structures nicely kept. He graciously showed me his ‘business operations’ in one of the small buildings. Inside, four sewing machines used for embroidery.
And he proudly showed off his principal product – colorful shoulder bags with a ‘Boracay’ logo embroidered on each side. Of course, I bought two for Ellen and mom at the bargain price of $2 each!
Robby explained that he churned out dozens of bags and other merchandise every day with a staff of four ‘sewers’. Items that were bought and sold by a distributor on Boracay island – just a couple miles across the water. Everything had been idled due to the coronavirus lockdown. But he hoped to restart some production soon.
In fact, it was I, during the course of our beer drinking, that suggested he use his staff and equipment to embroider the Boracay logo on face masks — which are now required of every person in public throughout this province. Robby agreed that such a product would be a good idea.
Test riding the Boracay masks
It was just a few days later that the first batch of ‘Boracay’ embroidered masks were delivered to our temporary home. I can only assume the product will soon be available on Boracay Island.
We’ve worn them a few times – in rotation with our other masks. And in the next few days, I intend to return to Robby’s house/shop and thank him as we drink more beer, play more classic rock, and gaze at the amazing seascape – including Boracay – that is his ‘front yard’.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Embroidered Boracay masks, beer & Bad Company.”
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Earth Vagabonds are riding out the pandemic at an awesome place named the Hangout Beach Resort in Malay, near Caticlan – the port town to Boracay. We give the place five stars! It’s perfect for budget-minded travelers like us. We encourage anyone traveling this way to check it out!
(*Reminder: this is an independent blog. We get nothing in return for positive reviews.)