Boracay’s Closure: A Day’s Memoir of the Rehabilitation, By a Local

By Maria from Boracay

There’s no sound — I’ve passed Aria, an Italian restaurant (the Italian restaurant) located along White Beach and there’s no sound. Aria is a survivor, when the premier restaurants hibernated one-by-one during this closure, Aria remained open. They waived their service charge and the menu is discounted to entice the remaining locals. It doesn’t look like it’s working.

I peered through the giant frames of sand protectors; the crew is lighting the elegant lanterns for the dinner service and there is one patron, an American – he occupied one of the long tables with his sundry office equipment, no doubt taking advantage of the free wifi.

I shuffled away to continue my walk to Willy’s Rock when a waitress made eye-contact with me. I smiled, she walked towards me and told me their operating hours, in case I want to have dinner there tonight. Now I damn well knew that I couldn’t afford to eat there without my parents’ credit card, but I pretended to listen and consider it. I even nodded slightly for effect, just for morale’s sake, and that seemed to make her happy.

I continued my walk, the air was so heavy with moisture and the violet clouds looked like they were five feet away, I should not have worn my only nice dress, but I was hoping to impress the non-existent hot men that I expected would parade the beach during sunset.

It’s my first time visiting the beach ever since coming home, freshly resigned from the tech company that tortured me since graduation. My mother invited me back to Boracay to live in our house for three months while they visit Australia, and I accepted with no hesitation.

I tried looking at my reflection on the clear waters, but the clouds had obscured the orange sunset and it has begun getting dark and cool. I continued forward, wading through the water. I didn’t know why I wanted to go to that big rock but I did. At this point the hem of my dress is drenched and the clouds are warning everyone with grumbles of thunder.

I made it to the top of Willy’s Rock and saw two children who were playing on its slippery-sharp surface, unfazed by the weather. Looking back I should’ve been more worried for my self, and how close I was to the edge of this rock.

I looked around and observed the beach in the dark, seeing cyclers taking advantage of the clear beach, dog walkers, foreign expats that are inexplicably still on the island, and a couple of construction workers using the beach as a shortcut here and there.

Thankfully both I and the kids got down the rock safely when fat raindrops began pelting us.

I protected my phone and ran towards the direction of the flickering lanterns from Aria, whence I came from. It served as a beacon for me in the dark. When I was inside the tricycle on my way home, getting shaken by the expert maneuvering of the driver around the giant temporary potholes, I remembered Aria and wept. When the three months is up, I would have whatever remains of my severance pay, much like Boracay my future is in question.

But Aria is surviving in the midst of uncertainty and so will I.