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Island Girl Chronicles: What Makes You Stay


Girl sat by the pool at sunset

Having lived in Boracay for five years now, and counting, I can say it isn’t just its name that appeals to people who choose to forego city life. Most people would say it probably is for the island parties, but in reality they have just begun to come back, after about six years of quiet. Others claim it is where lost souls go, to go reset, or to find their other halves, and while it may ring true for only a handful, it really isn’t the case for most. A few have been enticed to try island living, by seeing how their other friends have coped so well with their own transitions, and have stayed here since.  


My own journey here was not incidental. It was a career and overall health choice. Back in my home city, I worked for a government agency, paid so poorly and in a very untimely fashion that I found myself in a little debt in only seven months of working there. Prior to that, I was in a high pressure-driven, fast-paced workplace, and I barely noticed the toll it’s taken on me. I almost got hospitalized. So once I got the job offer to come back to Boracay, I did. 


A friend was here to spend a couple of weeks, to get out of Manila, supposedly only for revenge travel, after the 2020 COVID lockdown. However, he and some other friends got stuck on the island, as we went into the second lockdown of 2021. Fast forward to 2024, he is now a business owner and partner and a resident, too, of the island. He only flies out to the city when needed or requested to personally attend a meeting or conference, and he always is in a hurry to come back to the island.


Even some celebrities have taken refuge here, to be away from perhaps the traffic, toxicity, or pace of the city life. Some has sold everything they had in Manila and opted for a laidback minimalist beach house life. What a change, right?


I have been asked over and over, what makes one go island living, especially in Boracay? Is it the status that comes with it? Or is it maybe the notion that one can up their chances to finding their significant others here? Or could it be the Well, let me share with you some insights from myself and other visitors-turned-migrants.


Vitamin Sea

Some studies suggest that we humans are wired to seek for the ocean, or any body of water, to help us relax and de-stress. As opposed to a concrete jungle, even when you do have a gorgeous view of the city, island living gives you the option to take a quick break, perhaps even a dip, or just get into a relaxing trance simply by staring out into the waves. 


Being by or in the ocean naturally takes away the weight of any hard day. Also, did you know that some studies show that swimming in the ocean helps delay dementia? Even just the sound of the waves relaxes the brain, especially when we have so much environmental or mental noise going on. Personally, this is my top reason for wanting to stay in the island. 


Grounding

Wonder why some people take time to go barefoot when they are outdoors? This is called grounding. It is basically about feeling the earth through your feet or your body, getting you connected to nature, and realigning your health in the process. 


From an article on healthline.com, “Blood measurements were taken before and after grounding to determine any changes in red blood cell fluidity, which plays a role in heart health. The results indicated significantly less red blood cell clumping after grounding, which suggests benefits for cardiovascular health.” Other benefits of grounding include reduced stress, fatigue, depression, and even pain.


So perhaps walking down the beach barefoot, or making sand angels on your back, or submerging in water for a few seconds, may just be all the therapy you needed, after all. Here in the island, you can do any of that even just on your break time.


Vitamin D

One of the most accessible vitamins we can get is D, simply by stepping out into the sun. Of course, we have to take caution of what time we should wander out. (Before nine it’s a good tan. But ten after is skin cancer.) Also, remember to slather on sunscreen anytime you’re catching sunlight. The adverse effects of UV rays may outweigh the vitamin D benefits you want to get. 


Here in the lovely Philippines where we are blessed to be just a bit above the equator, we have the sun all year round. Taking a quick early morning or late afternoon walk can up your immune system and better the mood you start your day in. Island living offers this daily, even when the southwest monsoon hits, and we simply have to go out and grab it; yet another wonderful reason to keep staying in Boracay, along with its gentle slope and fine sand, easy on the feet and joints. ;)


No Off Season

Most people think that there is a peak and an off-peak season in Boracay, however, there truly is none. 

During Amihan season, we enjoy the long stretch of the White Beach. Try Diniwid or Angol for a new and unique experience, if you haven’t already. Walk through Bolabog beach and enjoy the kite surfing and kite boarding and other sea wind sports. 


The Beach Is Your Gym

Living near the beach makes you so close to all sorts of wonderful activities that help keep you sharp and fit. Walk, jog, or run. Take up beach tennis, volleyball, or football. Join Frisbee or freedive sessions. Have a yoga hour alone or with friends. Swim or snorkel! These are just a few things to keep you healthy that do not break the bank. This is my second top reason for choosing the island life and I just can’t get enough of it. 


The People

By striking up either small talk or real conversation with residents, or fellow migrants, the common ground we find is what makes it all so much warmer and welcoming to stay. The adversities, challenges, as well as victories, we can all relate to, especially that a lot of us were bound by the events of the past years in the island – from the closure during rehabilitation, to the typhoon that left us with little to no power, the pandemic, and now to the re-opening, slowly bringing back the island to its glory days once more. Perhaps this is what truly makes us stay. The community. <3

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