The mention of Boracay instantly calls to mind the picture of a long beach lined with white, powder-like sand, towering palm trees, and crystal-blue waters that gently crash onto the picturesque shoreline. In my three decades of existence, I have never been able to set foot on the island. No, I never got to go on a pilgrimage to celebrate the revered college-boy holiday of “LaBoracay.” Sad, I know.
And so, the scene I painted above was the image I held of what Boracay was for a very long time. I thought that was all there was to this summer destination—that is, until last week when I was finally able to see Boracay in the flesh.
The sand is unbelievably white and unrealistically fine. The water is clear and refreshingly cool even under the summer heat. The palm trees are as majestic as I expected. But beyond the palm trees—behind the lavish resorts—lives a quaint rural community that I was never made aware of.
There I was together with my son, my wife, and her family—with skin golden like the crust of freshly toasted bread, basking in the warmth of the sun, fully immersed in the youthful tropical atmosphere.
But something was bothering me. Deep down, I knew what it was. I was going to miss Ducati’s “Let’s Ride As One” unity ride happening the Saturday I got back to Manila. As a Ducatista, the fact that I was not going to be a part of this momentous event was causing me to roll around on the sliver of space allotted to me within the double bed my family of three shared.
All this came to a head on our penultimate night. My right wrist started itching to twist a throttle handle. I yearned for a quick fix, a tiny dose of adrenaline to satiate my compulsive need for some saddle time. Then a brilliant idea came to me: Maybe there are scooter rentals around the area?
I could explore the island and get to ride. Win-win. I scoured social media until I found MASCO Boracay Motorbike Rental, a page that rented tourists scooters and offered guided tours of the island. I immediately sent the link to my wife’s brother (he is usually my partner in crime) who raised the idea to the group, and to my surprise, everyone was onboard. The next day, a total of five Yamaha Aerox scooters arrived at our hotel, and away we went.
Our first stop was at a beach called Tambisaan. Because of its proximity to the ports of the Island, Tambisaan became a dock for the bangkas the locals would use to get to the mainland of Aklan or to ferry tourists on island-hopping trips. But even if this was just basically boat parking, the beach still had the same white sand, clear waters, and breathtaking views of the horizon.
The visit there was like a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of the local people who keep tourism on the island alive. After walking down the rock formations in the area and taking a few photos, we set off for our next stop.
A quick ride led us to another beach located on the opposite side of the island from White Beach (where Stations 1, 2 and 3 are). The currents are much stronger here, which makes it a great place for surfing and other more extreme water sports. This is also where the famous palm tree that extends horizontally into the ocean lives. We took turns trying to walk as far into the trunk as we could, walked the beach for a bit, and headed out.
Our final stop was at this quiet, secluded beach that locals are calling Boracay New Coast. We spent the afternoon swimming, eating tusok-tusok at the food stalls and biding our time to watch the sunset. We headed for dinner at a simple dampa-style restaurant, and went back to our hotel.
I rode one bike with my son, while my wife rode and drove her own scooter. My in-laws, who I never thought I would ever see on motorcycles, went on the tour, too. My father-in-law drove, and my mother-in-law rode pillion. My wife’s uncle drove one as well with her aunt in the passenger seat. And, of course, my brother-in-law also did with his wife.
All those who drove that day had ridden a motorcycle at least a few times in their lives, but weren’t bikers by any means. Even then, the streets of Boracay were safe enough for all of us.
Traffic was nonexistent, giving us plenty of space to soak up everything the island had to offer. We went up mountains to see panoramic views of the shoreline, rode through residential villages, and explored places we never would have gotten to without those scooters. We ended the tour with a deeper understanding of Boracay not just as our favorite vacation destination, but as a place people call home.
After hopping off the bikes, we headed straight for the hotel pool to wind down for the day, and every single member of our small family had great memories to recount and funny stories to tell of our little adventure.
Motorcycles are usually painted in a negative light—thought of as killing machines with their riders typecast as either kamote or suicidal. But moments like these will show you exactly why it’s so easy to fall in love with a motorcycle. Try it out for yourself. My wife has been bugging me for her own Vespa ever since.
MASCO Boracay Motorbike Rental can be reached via its Facebook page. Rental rates start at P800 for two hours on what they call a small bike (below 150cc) and P1,000 for two hours on a big bike (above 150cc).