The picture that came with the press kit of Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center Philippines looked, well, the way Boracay should—blue skies over cool, calm waters and sand with the color and consistency of oatmeal.
What Boracay looked like when we arrived, however, was not exactly postcard perfect. Then smack in the middle of storms Egay and Falcon, the tropical paradise was wet and windy, its sky dreary and overcast.
Who would have guessed that our host, a triple A-rated beach-front resort, would boast a full house all year round, and even in the face of back-to-back typhoons?
Boracay Regency resort manager Dindo Miguel Salazar says Koreans and Taiwanese typically book weekends in the “honeymoon season” of July, August and September, while Russian tourists flee their bitter winters for Boracay’s more pleasant climate from December to February.
At first, the thought of Russians making their way to our part of the world, and via chartered flights, no less, seemed unbelievable—until I noticed several hardbound Russian books propped on the shelves of the resort’s well-appointed VIP lounge. “Oh, they like to leave their books here after reading them,” notes Salazar with a smile. “They want to be able to share them with other guests.”
Speaking of books, I packed a good one in my bag as a contingency to the bad weather. Catching up on my reading on the king-size bed of my luxurious suite for three days seemed like a plan—but only for a moment. Rain or shine, I decided to make the most of my stay in the world-famous white-sand beach.
With a colleague from another paper, I took a relaxing afternoon stroll from our hotel to the popular and nearby D’Mall and surveyed potential pasalubong as my companion took pictures of the lively commercial area.
Even with intermittent rains and huge, crashing waves, the beach attracted a fair share of swimmers and windsurfers. Vendors were also aplenty along the sandy strip, hawking everything from fresh lobsters and kitschy souvenirs to henna tattoos and a variety of massages.
D’Mall offers a range of dining options both unique and familiar (imagine Pancake House, Shakey’s and Starbucks in the sand), but Boracay Regency guests don’t even have to leave the resort to find good food.
Two of the restaurants we tried were the open-air, buffet-style Sea Breeze Café and the cozy Christina’s, but easily the most unforgettable meals were served right on the beach, under a sturdy, weather-resistant tarpaulin tent.
Introduced by the hotel in November 2010 and measuring a total of 600 meters, the tent, which is securely held together by aluminum beams, runs entirely on electricity from the hotel.
Of course, the tent can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. Chandeliers and a fancy table spread with gold-and-white motif were the appropriate accents for our first dinner, a six-course sit-down meal in a private, 100-square-meter section. The night before leaving the island, we savored a buffet of Pinoy favorites in a larger, more casual setting.
Our leisurely schedule had room for a massage at the hotel’s own Kai Regency Spa, whose thoroughly Asian interiors and subtle ambiance were enough to make you forget where you were.
My Kai Royal Thai Massage was so relaxing, I secretly wished my very capable therapist Elaine threw in more stretches during our 60-minute session. Meanwhile, the traditional Swedish massage everybody else signed up for had a similar effect. At least three colleagues promptly fell asleep as soon as their therapists began kneading their tired, tense muscles with lavender oil.
With much time in between the massage and our meals, we were free to do as we pleased. Some of us trooped back to D’Mall, Boracay Regency umbrellas in hand, to return for the gifts we had spotted the day before.
Others chose to stay in their rooms to nap, monitor the storm’s progress from the large, flat-screen TV, or catch up on work (and update their Facebook status) with the help of the hotel’s speedy WiFi system.
Even with the rains, it was still possible to indulge in typical beach activities. One or two colleagues couldn’t resist a dip in the stunning pool at the center of the wing where we were billeted, but braver souls can do what the trio of tourists did with every major downpour.
Clad in skimpy swimsuits, they charged wildly into the big, crashing waves on the beach, then padded contentedly back to their room once the sky cleared. One of two treadmills in the resort’s fully equipped gym kept me indoors, but I promised that I would run the 4-km stretch of white sand on my next visit.
A next visit, in fact, was what we were all talking about as we checked out of the resort days later. Family was the first on our minds: Boracay Regency’s rooms were spacious enough to share with loved ones, and with the Seair tie-up, transfer from Caticlan airport to the Station 2 resort would be quick and hassle-free. As to when we would book our next Boracay vacation, let’s just say we wouldn’t mind spending the holidays on the beach with the Russians.
For inquiries and reservations, call the Boracay Regency office in Manila at 5238707 and 5238708 or in Boracay at (63) (36) 2886777. Visit www.boracayregency.com.
For packages, call Seair Leisure Escape Packages at (632) 8437308. Join Seair Facebook Fan Page for updates on promos. Search “Seair” or “South East Asian Airlines” on Facebook to find the Seair Facebook Fan Page.