Chillin’ in one of The Auhana’s suites with a view of the sea and the Chapel of All Blessed.
Photo by Joanne Rae Ramirez
Boracay when it pours
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2019 - 12:00am

To count the ways one loves Boracay when it’s sunny is a breeze. But how to love it when it rains — when the powdery white sand of its beaches cannot be trod, or its multi-hued waters (from celadon green to deep sapphire, depending on the depth) cannot be sliced… how does one count the ways?

For one, the view is just as stunning, with the winds fanning the ocean, creating a multitude of frothy waves that look like whipped cream from a distance. I love people, but when the sea becomes a loner, without bobbing heads and even the sexiest of bods, the view looks like a Van Gogh seascape. And when only crabs crawl on the white sand, with the fronds of coconut trees feverishly waving at them from above, the beach looks like talcum powder was poured on it for miles and miles, undisturbed but by the hissing wind.

Secondly, I was in a resort that made the word “staycation” synonymous with “chill,” the way millennials define it (i.e., “relaxed”).

Boracay on a rainy day looks like a Van Gogh seascape. Photo by Joanne Rae Ramirez

*   *   *

My colleagues and I were in Boracay last week, and island-hopping and sun-tanning were definitely part of the agenda. But the trip was planned way before the temperamental habagat visited the island, and so we were confined indoors for a day.

I couldn’t chant, like a child, the nursery rhyme, “Rain, rain, go away…” because staying indoors at The Auhana resort on Station 3 in Boracay was a vacation in itself.

Auhana rises like a palace on the hills of Boracay’s Station 3, five minutes away from the new jetty. Its owners wanted it to be colonial in design, and from the minute the majestic wrought-iron gates swung open when we pulled up its winding driveway, I already felt privileged.

The Auhana’s highceilinged lobby. Photo by Maica Maglipon

The lobby reminds me of the Manila Hotel with all its marbled, high-ceilinged splendor. Prized paintings are the backdrop of the front desks, on which are perched porcelain Italian table lamps. Further down is a bar and lounge with a view, which open up to a terrace with an even more panoramic view. Decorative cement tiles imported from Spain carpet the floors, without cutting corners.

Because the owners are doting grandparents, there is an entire lobby also dedicated to kids — an indoor play area for them adjacent but separate from the main lobby. A floor down is a ballroom that can accommodate 500 people, with chandeliers befitting Malacañang Palace. To the right of the stairs is an al fresco dining area, whose pillars look like they were wallpapered. We were to learn from the staff that each of the pillars (there are at least a dozen of them) was handpainted by an artist from General Santos City, so that no two pillars are exactly the same.

*   *   *

But the piece de resistance for me was my suite.

Like the smaller rooms, even the corridors, of the hotel, my suite’s finishing was seamless. Our carpenters call that kind of finish, pulido. I felt like I was in a newly built home in Forbes Park, except that my suite had a 180-degree view of the sea and the sky, and instead of McKinley Road or EDSA bordering my fences, it was the beach; and the only sounds of the rush hour you could hear were the sounds of the waves rushing to the shore. Auhana has 330 meters of beachfront, reportedly the widest for a single resort on the island.

Auhana’s lady boss has a passion for design, and so she made sure all 496 rooms of the hotel were not only built well, they also looked magazine perfect. Even the bases of my bedside lamps were pieces of sculpture, I kid thee not! My bed was a four-poster king-sized bed with immaculate beddings. Even the bathroom had a view — the bedroom, and if you swung open the curtains of the bedroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows, you could soak in the view outside as you soaked in your tub.

The PeopleAsia team in Auhana. (First row) Lenwell Ducut, Princess Ocampo and Ricky Mercado; (second row, from left) Bryle Suralta, Büm Tenorio Jr., Alex Vergara and Gian Carla Guerrero; (third row, from left) Flor Alvarez, Maica Maglipon, Jose Paolo dela Cruz, the author, Ramon Ruiz and Hermes Joy Tunac.

My suite had a wrap-around terrace, and to one side you could see the red-roofed Chapel of All Blessed amidst the palm trees. Auhana is the only resort in Boracay with its own chapel.

During the height of the rains during our staycation, I would look out my window and see the chapel standing majestically and defiantly, and immediately felt warm and protected. My faith is my safe harbor in the storm, indeed.

After chillin’ and believin’ on the terrace with this sublime view in front of me — of sanctity, sand and sea —  I returned to my room for more chillin’. This time, with a glass of Chardonnay, grateful for life’s blessings in the sun and the rain.

(The Auhana is located at Sitio Cagban, Brgy. Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. For more information, call 036-286-3900, e-mail reservations@auhana.ph or visit www.auhana.ph.)

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

AUHANA BORACAY
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