Remember Boracay? Sun-drenched days with Neil by my side, we’d disappear into hidden cafes, little sanctuaries with windows that framed the beach like a breathtaking painting. We were content to be silent observers, sipping on black coffee and watching in amusement as tourists, faces lit by a golden glow, marveled at Boracay’s legendary sunsets. Hand-in-hand, we’d eventually join the beachfront parade, chasing the fiery orange embers that melted into the horizon.

This return trip, however, became a whole new adventure. Cyd, bursting with boundless energy, became the newest member of our crew. “Frugal” became a distant memory, replaced by the joyful chaos of catering to a tiny explorer’s needs. But relaxation remained a top priority for everyone. Even if it meant lugging a little more gear, the promise of lazy days spent creating memories with Cyd outweighed any inconvenience.

On this trip, we swapped the budget hotels of Station 3 for a beachfront haven in the calmer Station 1. We prioritized three things: a good on-site restaurant (i.e.Nalka Seafood Restaurant), a room with a breakfast view of the beach, and a price point under P5,000 per night including breakfast. Luckily, The Muse ticked all the boxes!

This longer stay (7 days!) was a stark contrast to our previous whirlwind 3-day Boracay adventure. We wanted to savor some quality family time before the rest of the extended family joined us.

Can you guess who’s the real mastermind behind this Boracay escape?

This goes beyond our small family unit. My siblings and I decided to celebrate our father’s birthday on the powdery shores of Boracay. The stuff of dreams, if you ask the 6-year-old me. 

The Logistics of Family Chaos (and Love)

Experts advise planning a year ahead for a multi-generational destination reunion, but we’d been plotting since 2022. In December 2023, we finally booked flights for the entire family—30 of us! Two sprightly seniors, enthusiastic teens, curious toddlers — the whole chaotic, lovable crew.

Finding a place to house our entire family was a mission in itself. Airbnbs sounded perfect, but not quite perfect enough for 16+ adults and a gaggle of 10 enthusiastic kids (most of them still rocking diapers!), and our ever-expanding needs. We ended up scattered around a few spots near Station 1, but no worries— all roads led to the White Beach, our nightly meeting spot for evening ukulele sessions, Volleyball competitions, and laughter-filled reunions.

The journey to the island was an adventure of its own. Caticlan to Boracay used to be a breeze pre-toddler. Now, with impatient little ones and the ever-present dilemma of cash versus convenience, it felt like an obstacle course. Herding everyone onto the boat and navigating the tricycle ride to our accommodations was a test of patience and strategic snack distribution. But we conquered it, and let me tell you, the reward was unreal.

Boracay’s famed white sand stretched out endlessly, a stark contrast to the crowded memories of our previous trip. 

The kids were out of control (in the best way possible) on that powdery sand. Tiny footprints everywhere! We practically had to wrestle them out of the ocean every day. But hey, after building sandcastles and chasing waves all day, even the craziest little ones were out like lights by bedtime. 

Forget leisurely walks on the beach, this trip was all about building sandcastle empires, epic splash fights that left everyone (including some unsuspecting parents!) drenched, and the occasional tearful tantrum triggered by the 6pm beach swimming curfew enforced by the lifeguards.

Adventures on the Island

Forget splurging on a fancy resort meal! Neil and I realized for the same price, we could treat everyone to a Boracay island-hopping trip, complete with a delicious buffet lunch! So, on a whim (and a serious budget watch), I suggested this adventure, and the answer was a unanimous “Yeah, let’s do it!

The next day, our island-hopping adventure began! The excitement was electric, but the queue for the boat was a different story. It was a tangled mess of sunburnt tourists and overeager children, a scene from a travel comedy. Keeping the little ones entertained felt like wrestling a pride of kittens! But amid the sunscreen, and the shrieks of laughter echoing across the salty breeze, we were all looking forward to boarding our private boat (we’re 30 in total so we could fill the entire boat) and exploring nearby islands.

Our island-hopping adventure kicked off at Puka Shell Beach! We snapped tons of souvenir photos, and while my siblings and their partners took turns experiencing the Boracay Crystal Kayak Photo-op (sounds amazing!), the rest of us wrangled the kids who were already diving off the deck like little show-offs (looking at you, Raphael!).

Next up was a snorkeling extravaganza! We all took turns donning the gear and exploring the crystal-clear waters around Boracay. The tour included stops at several scenic diving spots, where we could jump off the deck, free dive, and soak up the tranquility of the ocean breeze and breathtaking scenery. After all that activity, everyone was ready to refuel.

The tour provided a delicious seafood and BBQ buffet lunch at Tambisaan Beach, which was a huge hit. Originally, the plan was to visit other islands, but with tired kids (and let’s be honest, tired adults too!), we decided to call it a day and head back to Boracay for some relaxation.

The Night Before Goodbyes

We planned on having fancy drinks the night before we left, but we couldn’t stay in the hot Airbnb, thanks to a power outage. But hey, moms are resourceful! We serenaded the beach (Gohan, my 3-year-old nephew, slept through it, bless him) while the rest played a hilarious, light-challenged volleyball match. Forget perfect sets; it was pure flailing fun under the stars. Power out? Party on!

Who knew that last year’s beach daydreams in Pangasinan would land us here? Crazy how this white sand paradise became a reality for the whole crew. I guess there’s some real magic in family wishes coming true.

Fast forward a few weeks, and guess what? My sister caught my father glued to his phone, reliving the trip through a million videos. With their constant filming, it turns out the teens had taken so many photos and videos of the trip. There he was, a goofy grin plastered on his face, a reminder that this reunion was more than just a beach trip. It was a celebration of family, of togetherness, of creating memories that transcend generations. 

Boracay, once a place of carefree adventures, became a symbol of something much bigger – the power of bringing everyone together, from toddlers to grandparents, under the warm embrace of the sun and the endless blue horizon.

By Issa

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