Weekend update from paradise: tourists, dentist, party

Happy weekend from the island of Boracay in the Philippines. We’ve extended our ‘two weeks of beaches’ stay for two more nights.

We were supposed to return to our long-term apartment on the Panay mainland today. But this cheap studio unit was available longer – and the hostess eager for more business.

Weekend update from paradise

We continue to notice some increased ‘tourist’ activity here on Boracay, which has mostly been closed to visitors since the March 16, 2020 COVID lockdown. That’s the day we arrived with a Boracay reservation – but were turned away – and instead started living seaside on Panay.

The uptick in tourism is most noticeable on weekends and centers around a couple of the large, luxury hotel properties on world-renowned White Beach. It’s good to see some Filipinos with disposable income trying to negotiate the ‘new normal’.

Boracay tourists from Panay Island

I chatted with a Filipino gentleman and his wife for a few minutes today — standing 10 feet apart and shouting through our masks. They said they had driven by car without any problem from the largest Panay city of Iloilo, about three hours to the south.

I counted at least three dozen total visitors enjoying the late afternoon beach sun in front of the Henann Regency Resort. Not surprisingly, a desperate cluster of local vendors offering everything from coconuts to jewelry to boat trips had gathered as well.

Of course, to swim at the beach one must register at the various life guard stations. All the major Boracay beaches have tourism officials present with clipboards and forms for each guest to enter their name, age, address, and contact phone number (they have stopped scanning body temperature). The information is a precaution — to facilitate contact tracing should it be necessary.

COVID prevention

Bad news; unfortunately, the need for tracing is real here. There are a handful of new confirmed COVID cases in our provincial capital of Kalibo (50 miles away) – and whispers of a bigger outbreak which may require a new lockdown.

In all, like everywhere on earth, the pandemic continues to ebb and flow and wreck havoc on life. And it will certainly take many more months and visitors to begin to revive the Boracay economy. We noted a few hundred weekend tourists; Boracay normally limits day-trip visitors to about 6,000 (19,000 can stay overnights)!

Leg wound, dentist visit

In other news: my leg infection is healed. There is a bright pink scar, but the week of self-administered antibiotics did the trick. Thanks for the many inquiries and well wishes.

I also had a dental cleaning and exam the other day. The experience was smooth and pleasant. The workers and office heavily draped in protective gear. The dentist announced “you have a great set of teeth.” No issues. It has been one year since dental visits.

I made an appointment for Ellen for this coming Wednesday when she will return to Boracay.

Ati party

I’m still absorbing the debutante/cotillion event that we attended yesterday back on the mainland. The community celebration was put on by the indigenous Ati tribe; a beguiling mixture of modern and traditional, cultured and rustic, sublime and ridiculous.

It was a big deal. Hundreds of people attended.

Of course, due to our help with several Ati sustainability projects we were invited and know many of those in attendance. It was a neat experience. Some of our Ati friends were almost unrecognizable in ‘formal clothing’.

Bottom line, it was just people trying to live their ‘normal’ lives in these anything but normal times. We were honored to attend. Unfortunately, we needed to travel back to Boracay so we couldn’t stay as long as we hoped.

Spectacular sunset

Lastly from this weekend update from paradise, tonight, one of the most beautiful sunsets since we arrived here in March.

Hoping your sunset and weekend are as spectacular. Stay safe.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Weekend update from paradise: tourists, dentist, party.”

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Weekend update from paradise: tourists, dentist, party

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