Backpacks, nipa huts, and mosquito nets; Dusty bus rides, uninhabited islands, and sunken ships.
This might sound like the making of the next Survivor season, but it’s exactly how I enjoy my time here in the Philippines; surrounded by friends and drenched in sunlight and laughter. It’s the simple things, really.
We took a one hour flight, five hour bus ride, and thirty minute banca boat adventure to reach Sipalay’s Sugar Beach. Accessible only by boat or a perilous hike through thick vegetation, its white sand beaches are untouched by modern developers. And the locals wouldn’t have it any other way. Protected by Philippine law and those who fight to preserve its natural beauty, here, you’ll find no fashionable resort wear, sprawling golf courses, infinity pools, jet ski rentals or exclusive spas. There’s not even a general store or ATM machine. Everything that arrives on that island – from tourists to building materials to restaurant supplies – must do so by the sea, one by one. And so, one by one, we hopped out of our banca and onto the shores of Sugar Beach.
We spent the weekend exploring the cove, snorkeling near a sunken WWII ship, and one by one, dozing off in hammocks. One by one we added to our group when a lone traveler from Washington and then a solo island hopper from France wandered our way. We swapped stories and relished in our hidden paradise, wishfully comparing our trip to The Beach. We even made friends with the manager of Big Bam Boo, our resort for people who don’t like resorts.
As all good getaways go, our weekend trip came to an end too soon and it was time to pack up, say our goodbyes, and load back into our banca.
One week later, as I sit in my air-conditioned office, hurried and hassled by the day’s demands, the trip is already a distant memory. Our new friends are long gone and we’ve settled back into our routines. One by one I scroll through my photos. I’ve left a part of myself back on Sugar Beach, where I’m still sipping on a mango shake, swaying in a hammock and laughing alongside my friends. That perfect moment will live on forever, as the rest of me moves on to collect new memories, one by one.
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