Jullie Y. Daza

Away we go from crowded NCR to a few beautiful places, no passport required.

Once again Boracay has been picked as one of the most beautiful spots on earth. What the international media haven’t mentioned about Boracay is how romantic it looks in the rain, a gentle soft rain that evokes poetry and empty streets, my personal opinion that too many people spoil the view. They may be beautiful people, but when too many heads and shoulders and torsos obstruct the scenery and frustrate one’s expectations of quietude and serenity, there goes your island.

Fortunately, most people don’t mind other people. The publicity-shy owner of a “small” resort hotel with 50 rooms, Boracay Summer Palace, and his friends, Mr. and Mrs. William Ang, can’t say enough about “the beach, its powdery white sand and its sunsets.”

Ching and Philip Cruz, who behave like honeymooners whenever they’re alone, preferably away from maddening MManila, “also like Boracay.” It means Boracay is only their second choice, Palawan being their favorite No. 1 most beautiful. So beautiful that Ching has found herself a hideaway there. These are the couple’s reasons: “Palawan’s magnificent charms include beaches, underwater and over-water scenery. Dramatic rock formations invite you to go island-hopping. A feast of seafood opens your eyes wide and wakes up your appetite. The best part may be when you surrender to solitude, waiting for nirvana.”

I like Palawan for its fireflies and its being so detached from the archipelago that no earthquakes are allowed there.

Batanes is spectacular for its raw beauty it’s a wonder Filipino moviemakers have not used it the way Armida Siguion-Reyna “discovered” Ilocos Norte. There’s a wildness about Batanes, its rough silhouettes and angles carved by centuries of wind and typhoons. Lighthouses, each of them visible from the entrance to any church standing on a hill, are a symbol as unique as it is essential. Where are those postcards?

Boracay, Palawan, Batanes, certainly more exotic than Baguio, the city of pines and God’s special climate for Filipinos. Baguio, beautiful? The usual urban challenges – congestion, pollution, traffic – aren’t enough to diminish its promise as a garden city waiting to bloom  whenever spring comes calling again in December, or April, June or July.