Boracay Bohnanza

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Trafalgar Cottage

Flag of Philippines  , Western Visayas,
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Boracay is a small island (6.5 square miles) situated in the Visayas region of the Philippines, about a one hour flight from Manila. Up until the 1980s, it was a quiet, peaceful island filled with fisherman and coconut farmers, who traded their goods in neighboring Aklan for rice and other staple items. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, boasting beautiful beaches, activities such as windsurfing and jetskiing, and late night parties. No one is entirely sure how its transformation began: Some say it was discovered by a foreign film crew, others attribute it to the rave reviews given to Boracay by the German travel writer, Jans Peters. Either way, the main beach of Boracay (called White Beach) has become a two-mile string of over-priced restaurants, hotels, and a flurry of local 'Boracaynons' hawking various items from fake Ray Bans to sun hats to boat trips around the island. Normally this isn’t my cup of tea, but after living in sleepy Cabanatuan for two months, I was ready for some beach and party time, and I had heard that Boracay was the best place in the Philippines for this.

That said, it rained, and then it rained again, and then, just to change things up a bit, it rained yet again. I didn’t misspell "bonanza" in the title of this blog entry. Rather, my trip to Boracay was filled with a German bean-trading card game called Bohnanza (a clever play on words using the German word for bean, bohne). I first learned how to play Bohnanza (or bean game as I like to call it) when I was in Papua staying at my friend Tiffany’s house where she lived with her co-workers (mostly Europeans). Her German friend, Halli, taught me the game, and I was instantly hooked. Papua is riddled with “mati lampus” (blackouts), and I would sit in Tiffany’s house and pray for a mati lampu so that she and her co-workers couldn’t work and would be forced to play hours of bean game with me. When Tiffany met me in Thailand a few months later, she brought me the bean game – a gift from Halli. Now that you know how I came into possession of the glorious bean game, I shall return to Boracay...

So Allie and I met a British guy, Ian, in the Boracay airport (actually Caticlan) whom we invited to join us for the trek from the airport to our hotel, which involved a tricycle to a boat to another tricycle. We had found one of the cheapest hotels on the island, and he hadn’t yet booked a place, so this enticed him to join us (well, that and our dashing good looks of course). :) Since it was raining and we couldn’t spend our time at the beach, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to teach Allie and Ian how to play bean game. It only took one round for them to get hooked and, over the course of the next 5 days, we went from place to place sitting at restaurants, eating, playing bean game, and watching the rain just keep on coming. We found a place called Mario’s (near Boat Station 3 for those of you who may end up in Boracay at some point in your life), that had delicious pasta, a rare thing to find here in the Philippines. (They love putting tons of sugar in spaghetti sauce.) And we also spent a few nights partying at the night clubs, which was entertaining for its sheer ridiculousness, but fairly disappointing by Southeast Asian standards. On the last day it was slightly sunny and we went swimming in the ocean. But for the most part, Boracay can best be summarized with two words: bean game.
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Mom on

So when is the right time to visit this island?

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