New friends, new families
One week was all I had to take a trip to Aklan better known for it’s Boracay Island. It was a very fulfilling and unforgettable travel experience for me because I reaped laurels in Kalibo due to the National Schools Press Conference, and at the same time, had a leisure trip to the tourist attractions of Aklan, especially, what else? Boracay! The sand and the smell of the sea was overwhelming. But I am most thankful for the tour guides and co-contestants in the NSPC who have become my buddies in my vacation-cum-contest. Everything’s worth it!
1st Day: I don’t love airports
I was so excited when I boarded the PAL plane bound for Kalibo at 3:00 pm. My adrenaline is surged up and I had a lot of misfortunes and adventures before I got the chance to go to Aklan for free. I won a Metro Manila journalism contest where the winners will compete in the national levels which will be held in Kalibo, Aklan for three days. The other days left will be for travel and leisure for us. So DepEd and my school sent me to Aklan together with another participant to bring back to Manila the much needed victory in the field of journalism.
The flight ran smoothly for us. After about 45 minutes the plane landed the borders of Kalibo Airport where the little hassles began. When we arrived, there was a blackout in the airport! It was drizzling and the machines used for scanning the baggages were not working. After a few moments, we saw our bags being drenched in the rain and were just piled up in a corner of the airport and we rushed to take our luggage! It gave me a headache. But that’s where the troubles end. We were welcomed in the airport by my adviser’s friends who served as our tour guides during our one week in Aklan. They drove us to our billeting area in Kalibo Pilot Elementary School. Unbelievably, their public schools are nice. We had dinner in a barbecue house near the school and unpacked our stuff. Everything is neat.
2nd Day and 3rd Day: Love the weather, hate the tension
On Sunday, we went to Aklan Baptist Church to pray for the upcoming contest and meet some people whom my adviser knew. They served us a sumptuous lunch and gave us a warm welcome. Hospitality reigns in their culture.
Monday was the official start of the NSPC. There was a popular ati-atihan dance (dance for a feast in honor of Santo Niño) and we enjoyed the warm welcome of Kalibo people. It was my first time to see it and I my curiosity became satisfied. I’m beginning to adjust to the weather, which is really cold, and meet my new friends. Cristina, a senior, jogs around the school every morning when she wakes up and invites me to join her. The cool smell of fresh air soothed my lungs. It was a welcome breath after living in Manila for 15 years.
Despite the good events, the tension in my heart has started rising up. Wednesday was the schedule of my contest for Copyreading and Headline Writing. It doesn’t help that I’m having fun the whole time.
4th Day and 5th Day: I Love Precious Moments, Bakawans, and awards
Wednesday was the day of the contests for my category. It was also the day our school principal arrived to join us for the contest and awarding. I did my best in writing a headline and my comrade already won an award for winning in Radio Broadcasting. What I cannot believe was when I heard my name being called for winning 4th place in the nationals! My Aklan trip was already well-paid. Our school principal was so happy about my win. My co-student also won third place in a different category.
Travel-wise, on Wednesday and Thursday, we strolled arround Aklan. We went to the museum of Precious Moments, dolls which are made by an American national based in Aklan. There were lots of dolls inside the museum which looks like a huge doll house, and I saw all the limited edition Precious Moments dolls. They were so cute. After that tour, I started to love the dolls with the trademark teardrop shaped eyes. We also went to a Bakawan park and marvelled at the aquatic trees. Of course we ate and ate during the tour, and probably gained weight. When night fell, we started packing up to get ready for tomorrow’s travel to Boracay Island!
6th Day and 7th Day: I’m in love
I never thought that Boracay is far from Kalibo. Our “tour guides” who are actually the best guides ever, drove us in a van from Kalibo all the way to Malay, Aklan for about 2 hours. During the travel, we saw lots of coconut trees and a view of the ocean of the province. It was beautiful. I have already fallen in love with Aklan, and I actually didn’t want to end my trip. After the long ride to Malay, we took a 30-minute boat ride to Boracay island.
When we arrived at Boracay, I immediately jumped off the boat and admired the fine white sand. I even put some sand into a mineral water bottle and took it home. We checked-in to a hotel and started swimming in the blue water of the sea. There were not much tourists because it was February, and I liked the serenity of the place. The only problem when you swim in February is that there were moss and seaweed around the shores. But then, I enjoyed every second of being there. I loved their green mango shake and mongolian buffet! Yum! But the best thing in Boracay is its sunset. Lovely is an understatement for describing it.
To wrap it up, Aklan is a province rich in culture, hospitality, and biodiversity. It’s people, attractions, and festivals are the reasons why tourists swarm the province. And I will never forget the moment I fell in love with it.