Rain season is getting closer and before the typhoons start rolling in I wanted to get a chance to make a road trip up to to the small island of Boracay just north of Panay. I had heard that Boracay was once named the ‘Best Beach in Asia’, and I wanted to see for myself if that was actually true. So we set the date of departure, packed our bikes and headed north. First up to Dumanjug to take the ferry across to Negros, then across Negros to Bacolod where the next ferry took us to Dumangas on Panay. From there we shot straight up inland to Caticlan where we left the bikes and took another ferry to Boracay. Heading back we decided to take the beautiful road along the west coast of Panay, and then took the same roads back to Moalboal after getting back to Negros. With more time we would have headed down the west coast of Negros and come back to Cebu through Dumaguete, it’s supposed to be beautiful. But, we had to save that for next time.
By bike is really the way to travel in this country, it takes you so much closer to the people and the life of the villages and towns you pass. And in the Philippines, along the road is where life happens. Children are playing, food is cooked, baths are taken, pigs are slaughtered, every part of Philippine everyday life can be seen along the road. It really is like riding your bike through somebody’s house, entering through the kitchen door, passing the bathroom and exiting through the livingroom. And when you’re on a motorbike, you have the opportunity to smile at the people you meet, and see them smile back. If there is one thing you take with you from the Philippines, it’s the smiling faces. They always brighten your day.
It’s hard to sum up 800km of being on the road in the Philippines in a short blog post, you really have to see it for yourself. The dramatic mountains and valleys of Negros are breathtaking, the coastline of Panay fantastic for riding, loading a motorbike on a ferry (by hand) is an adventure in itself, and the beach in Boracay definitely up there with the best of them. Although I have to say that in some ways I prefer our own White Beach here in Moalboal. The beach in Boracay truly is beautiful, but it is so developed with hotels and resorts that it doesn’t really feel genuine anymore. I think I prefer more of the ‘desert island’ feel when I go to the beach, and the parasailors and banana boats in Boracay kind of take that away. All in all, I liked going there and back more than actually being there. The journey truly is the goal, right? But it was a great trip, and I’m already dreaming up the next one.