By Jen Freeman and Trudy Allen
Hosted by Villa Caemilla Boutique Hotel
Boracay Sun News (BSN) gathers five empowered single ladies for a no-holds-barred discussion on the ins and outs of being single in Boracay. To all the single ladies: Tune in and learn a thing or two… Single men: Pay attention!
WITH SWAYING PALM TREES, azure waters and gleaming white sand, Boracay truly epitomizes the romantic, beach paradise destination, and every year thousands of couples flock to the island’s shores, either to marry, enjoy their honeymoon, or simply to experience a dream vacation with their special someone.
For single travelers too, the combination of stunning beaches, a hedonistic nightlife scene, and bikini-clad sun-worshipers aplenty is fairly irresistible, with the general sense of party spirit and escapism further adding to the allure.
“What happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay!” has long been the catchphrase here, and for many visitors, there’s a sense that “anything goes”, and that their exploits, along with their foot prints, will be left safely behind once they return home.
But is it really possible to find lasting love here on the island? Is Boracay the cure for a broken heart?
A group of island-based single ladies came together over cocktails and nachos for a frank, no-holds-barred discussion on what Boracay’s dating scene is all about, along with the pitfalls and advantages of being single in “paradise”.
Names have been changed to protect the guilty!
Beth, 48, Content Writer, 9 years single, 8 years on Boracay – electively single
Anna, 55, Hotel Owner, 2 years single, 5 years on Boracay – selectively Single
Lyn, 25, Resort Manager, 1.5 years single, grew up on Boracay – selectively single
Rhea, 22, Student, grew up on Boracay – It’s complicated
Maria, 48, Local Business Woman, 30 years on Boracay – secret!
BSN: Are you selectively single, actively looking, or recently single, and what are your reasons?
Anna: Selectively single, enjoying single life; I’ve raised my children, opened and run a business and it’s time for me now.
Lyn: What is actively dating anyway? If someone comes along and we click, then great. Am I actively looking out for someone to date? No. Although sometimes it feels like everyone else is looking out for someone for me to date.
Beth: I’m electively single. I think selectively single sounds like you’re single because you have high expectations that no-one can meet. I am content to be single. I don’t feel the need to have someone in my life; it’s perfectly fabulous as it is. I wasn’t always like that, my greatest fear was to be alone, to split from my long-term partner. That happened anyway and I survived and then flourished.
Maria: I’m open to being single but it doesn’t really apply because I meet new people all the time. I have a very free life, I can travel, I can be with friends, do things for myself...
On breakups and broken hearts…
BSN: Are you recovering from heartbreak? Is there a “cure” for a broken heart? How does one move on?
Lyn: I’m not single because I’m heartbroken. My life is like a wave; sometimes I date someone, then sometimes I’m not dating someone.
Anna: The cure for a broken heart is Boracay. Come here and within 2 weeks you’re good again!
BSN: All agreed that Boracay is good for your soul and break-ups; there’s so many people around all the time which is great for companionship and you’re never lonely.
Maria: I distract myself with friends and doing things that make me feel good about myself.
Lyn: You go one of two ways when you’re getting over a break up; either full-on party mode or full-on health kick mode.
Beth: I’m not single because of a broken heart; I’m single because I see no reason to change my life at the moment. I’m perfectly content; I’m not lonely, my time is my time.
Lyn: Some people go out and meet new people; it’s the “to get over someone, get under someone else,” attitude!
Beth: I didn’t get under someone for 3 years; the thought of getting naked and intimate with someone new, after 17 years with one person – I just couldn’t.
BSN: Everyone agreed that when you split up with someone it’s important to make time, and do something for yourself. It might be taking up a hobby or returning to an exercise class you had dropped while in a relationship, or trying something new that you’ve always wanted to do.
Beth: I booked Argentine Tango classes which was amazing, and I was so proud of myself on my first cinema excursion on my own; it was a film my mates didn’t want to see and I did. I can’t even remember the film but I remember the achievement of watching a film solo-mode.
Rhea: The best things to do are things that don’t allow you to think so much. With running or weights, your mind is still free to wander and go over the break up, but with cooking, kiting, dancing or diving, these are things that distract your thoughts, you have to focus.
Maria: And pampering yourself, treating yourself to a bit of luxury.
Anna: Women, when they start to heal, they glow.
BSN: Phases are unavoidable, it can be sadness, despair, relief, shock; when it’s a complete shock, and you didn’t see it coming, it’s hard.
Beth: When you hit the angry phase, it can be easier to let go.
BSN: How does it affect your eating?
Lyn: If you’re just sad you turn to comfort food but when you’re really devastated you don’t eat at all; you just can’t face food.
BSN: Do you seek out sad music or films to help you vent?
All agreed they don’t, they seek out happy music and films as it improves their mood.
Lyn: I once binge-watched the entire season of “Friends”!
BSN: How long does it take you to recover?
Beth: I think, in some respects, I’m still in recovery-mode sometimes.
Anna: Mostly 6 months for me, but full recovery was probably 1 year.
Lyn & Rhea: About 3 months.
Maria: A few days, ha ha!
BSN: On being happily single…
Beth: Realizing that I could be alone and perfectly happy... It had been my greatest fear that one day he’d leave and I wouldn’t cope on my own. It was easy to share things together, whether it was the responsibility of a home and bills, socializing etc., plus I had a long-term illness at the time. But I survived. In fact, I didn’t just survive, I flourished on my own.
BSN: For many, returning to Boracay helped…
Lyn: Having dual heritage I almost have two lives, with different expectations and experiences. Once I was single, I started to think about my Boracay life – everything that I have and do here. So, I came back to Boracay almost immediately.
Maria, Anna, Lyn: It took two weeks of being back on the island to reach a turning point.
BSN: No one got lonely; they socialized with friends although two of our ladies mentioned that they just missed having access to sex.
BSN: What assumptions are made about you, as a single woman?
Beth: I’ve had so many men, and some women that I know, ask me outright if I’m gay because they don’t see me out dating or hooking up. Why? They haven’t seen me out or hooking up with women either?! I have had “relationships” here except it turned out every one of them, who’d assured me they were single, turned out to be married, engaged or living with someone… and one gave-off a player vibe fairly quickly into the “dating.” All were ditched very quickly. But so many people are confused about why I’m single, like I’ve forgotten to get myself a man or something! Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m spectacularly bad at flirting or realizing when I’m being flirted with.
Anna: It’s about perception of women here, a lot of the time too. People think you can’t be on your own, that you’re only defined as a wife and mother and if you’re neither you’re not fulfilled.
Lyn: I’d rather be single than with the wrong person, just for the sake of it. I know some people who don’t know how to be alone. As soon as one relationship is over, they’re on to the next one.
BSN: Boracay is great for short-term romances but not if you’re someone who is looking for a long-term relationship. You can make some great connections here with visitors, it can be a really intense and concentrated time together because you’re in one place. Unlike other cities or countries where you could be dating but only see the person once a week or once every two weeks.
BSN: Do you think female tourists have an impact on your ability to find someone on the island?
Beth: It’s kind of a phenomenon with some women traveling alone or with friends, the “I can be whoever I want to be here, no one knows me, so it doesn’t matter / life is too short” attitude. That’s very freeing but it can also have consequences; I’ve seen visiting females intentionally targeting men who are married or clearly have a girlfriend / wife because they’ve decided they want them, causing break ups and heartaches for island girls.
All: Yes, it’s very easy for anyone to cheat here!
Maria & Anna: But there’s also a perception about Filipinas; that they’re looking for someone to rescue them from poverty or support them – I can support myself thanks!
Rhea: Yeah, I was in a relationship where it was me who was mostly paying for everything, so that’s not true.
Anna: Women are treated differently here; If a married woman is found with a man that’s not her husband, that’s “adultery” and carries a six-year sentence, but if a married man is found with a woman that’s not his wife that’s only “concubinage” and carries a much lesser sentence.
Beth: Also, you meet older men here, either on holiday or living here, who’ve gone through divorce and are all bitter because their ex-wife “Took them to the cleaners” (took half of everything), so when I tell them that for me it was the other way round and it was my ex, who essentially spent 80,000 English Pounds and nearly left me homeless and bankrupt, that surprises them.
BSN: All agreed that Boracay is a great place to be single; there’s lots to do and lots of people around all the time, so you can live a really good life.
Stay tuned for Part 2 (on finding love, romance and the dating game) in our March 2020 issue!
Editor’s note: Weigh in on this conversation by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook Messenger: Boracay Sun News.
The beachfront bar and restaurant at Villa Caemilla was the perfect location for our sunset get-together, with a varied selection of creative cocktails and appetizers on offer, and a generous happy hour from 12 to 6 p.m.
To reserve a spot for your own hen party, contact the Villa Caemilla Front Office at (+63 917) 526 9449.
BSN would like to thank Ryan Singh for accommodating us.
Photo: Courtesy of Villa Caemilla Boutique Hotel