Monday, April 7, 2008

Boracay Beach Top Events

Boracay beach

By Rowell B. Capuz

In Boracay, once a nearly deserted stretch of beach now a teeming vacation and leisure spot for up scale tourists from all parts of the world, summer’s big events are all happening.

Why not? Workaholics from the city suddenly become sun worshippers, from the moment their feet are drenched in the crystal-clear water. These are the same people you see bathing on the shore, sipping their margaritas and other cocktail drinks in bars, feasting on succulent seafood in Mediterranean-themed resorts, or simply having their henna tattoo done on the sand (side) walk. The allure of Boracay does not simply end on its white, powder-soft sand.

Now what better way to beat the summer heat—which, by the way, rose to as high as 39o Celsius in some parts of the metro—than to head to Boracay and hit the beach?

For the past nine years, the Nestea Beach Volley has been making a splash on the island, making things cool and hot at the same time. It is truly one of the most-awaited spectacles every summer.

Beach volleyball at its best

This year’s Nestea Beach Volley began early April at La Salle Greenhills with 72 teams from 44 colleges and universities nationwide.

It took several rounds of intense beach volley action to determine the teams that would have the chance to claim the coveted Nestea title. Twenty-four teams from 18 schools have emerged victorious, but only for a moment. For they still had to battle it out on the sands of Boracay until the best teams were left standing.

In the men’s division, the contingent included the winning teams from Luzon (Adamson University, College of St. Benilde, Far Eastern University, and St. Francis of Assisi College), Visayas (University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, University of San Carlos, defending Champion University of San Jose Recoletos, and University of Southern Philippines), and Mindanao (Ateneo de Davao University, Mindanao State University, University of Mindanao-Tagum).

For the women’s division, Luzon’s College of St. Benilde, Far Eastern University, Philippine Christian University-Manila, and University of Baguio; Visaya’s Foundation University, two-time defending champion Southwestern University, University of San Juan Recoletos, and runnerup University of the Visayas; and Mindanao’s Holy Cross of Davao College, Mindanao State University, University of Mindanao-Davao, and University of Mindanao-Tagum hit the Boracay sand court.

Lords of the sand

The continued and overwhelming success of the previous games continues to inspire us to hold the Nestea Beach Volley each year,” said Nestlé AVP and Nestea brand manager Tina Samaco.

This year’s tournament was even more challenging and exciting with over half a million in cash and prizes given away. As familiar faces from last year’s games returned, it only goes to show that the Nestea Beach Volley is not just a fun game—pride and honor (both for the school and the players) were at stake. Among those who came back to reclaim their place on the sand were crowd favorite Jayjay Tuazon of Ateneo de Davao, Janley Patrona of College of St. Benilde (he represented DeLaSalle University last year), University of San Juan-Recoletos’ Jonrey Sasing (who, together with Joseph Alguno, won the crown in 2004), and the tandems of Southwestern University (Florian Gutierrez and Marites Natad) and University of the Visayas (Janez Armie Igot and Joyce Nuñez), which met at the finals last year.

After a dramatic semifinals and finals, College of St. Benilde’s Arnold Laniog and Janley Patrona and Southwestern University’s Florian Gutierrez and Marites Natad were crowned the ultimate champion in the men’s and women’s category, respectively.

Winning teams brought home P100,000 and a trophy each, with their schools receiving a trophy and a P50,000 worth of sports equipment.

Unseen beauty

Some people say that if you opt for true relaxation, then Boracay is not the place you would want to go. The island is teeming with life, there are parties and events from stations one to three. Reggae beat seems to surround the island. Privacy may have been lost with the deluge of visitors it attracts every year. But then again, this is the only face of Boracay that most of us know.

A 10-minute boat ride from Station two, and you’ll reach Puka Beach, the north coast of the island. The serene ambience of the place commands respect and this allows for true relaxation and some semblance of privacy, too, since there are no loud commotions aside from lapping of the waves and the distant drone of the occasional motorboat. And as an added bonus, especially for thrill-seekers, the beach has a small cave on the beachfront that welcomes whosoever dares to go inside its pitch-black core.

Staying at Puka Beach, one might have a clear view of what Boracay used to look like—minus the tourists, bars and restaurants, hotels, and resorts. While its white coral sand may not be as fine as that of the island’s west coast, its stillness as well as its raw beauty is invaluable.

Our boat headed east and reached Crocodile Island, a small stretch of rugged coast that looks like a sleeping crocodile (hence, the name). Five to six kilometers from the shore is a snorkelling spot. The water is so clear you can see the corals that are 10 to 15 feet below sea surface.

Party till sunup

Nestea Beach Volley would not be complete without fun games, parties, and more parties, which were graced by tinseltown’s hottest people.

On the contingent’s second night, they were treated to a unique kind of alternative rock, courtesy of the band who calls themselves Makata (Bamboo’s Nathan Azarcon, Ira Cruz, and Vic Mercado with Gio Alvarez and Ronnie Quizon as vocalists.)

The fun games saw some celebrities and top models from Professional Models Association of the Philippines or PMAP like Rissa Samson, Nicolette Bell, Marilen Faustino, Fortune Santos, Manila’s current “it” girl Bubbles Paraiso, Ornusa Cadness, Robbie Mananquil, Valerie de los Santos, Luke Jickain, and Brent Javier (who is also a Nestea model). Rich Herrera and Celine de Neindre, the faces you see on the big posters of Nestea, were nowhere near the island. (But hey, we saw them on posters, anyway!)

Of course, celebrities were not left behind. Among them were VJ Luis Manzano, Epi Quizon and Vandolph (who was always seen with his girlfriend Jenny), Nancy Castiglione, Borgy Manotoc, Ariel and Maverick, Geoff Rodriguez, beauty queen Tisha Silang, among many others.

Capping the Nestea experience was a victory party that lasted till dawn. It started with a fashion show featuring the PMAP models who, earlier, were sweating it out on the sand court. Then as beach mannequins hit the makeshift catwalk, dancers provided the night with a dance and fire show (imagine someone dancing while swinging two burning slingshots in all directions and you’ll know what I mean).

Bamboo rocked the house down as the beachfront of Hey Jude suddenly turned into a Woodstock concert. The band belted out their hits, including some from Nathan and Bamboo’s previous band RiverMaya like “Awit ng Kabataan,” “Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo,” and “Elesi,” at the same time playing their own hits like “Masaya,” “Mr. Clay,” and “Noypi.” After the concert, then came the house party with DJ Manolet Dario (who is always seen with Rachel Lobangco) providing house anthem music. Party people danced the night away like there was no tomorrow.


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