What was supposed to be a short 9-day vacation, from December 25, 2020 to January 2, 2021, turned into a more permanent stay as the Larrañaga family discovered the calm and peace they always craved in Boracay. Bianca, together with her husband Mikel and their 3-year old son Xabier, have been staying in the island for over half a year now and it has been a beautiful respite from their busy lives in Manila.
This family has always loved visiting Boracay for vacations. Bianca and Mikel even got married there in 2016! As a family, one of their most favorite bonding activities is traveling. In fact, Bianca and Mikel also run their own business that specializes in travel and everyday essentials. However, since quarantine started last year, they’ve been confined within the walls of their house much like the rest of us. Since their business is involved in the travel sector, they were faced with many problems to overcome in order to stay afloat and adapt.
When quarantine measures were a bit relaxed during the latter part of 2020, they decided to take the opportunity of going on a trip to Boracay for a breather. Bianca tells us that from the moment they landed, her son’s face lit up with pure joy.
Bianca then met another family from Manila who had already been staying in Boracay for a couple of months, that’s when she entertained the idea of doing the same thing. “I realized there are a lot of apartments here for longterm stay. We started checking out apartments. Our lease is until next year. We locked in the place already. We’re taking it six months at a time,” says Bianca.
Boracay has all the establishments they need to keep running their business remotely and to support their needs – banks, parcel services, schools, gyms, and the like. But beyond the necessities, living by the beach has made them realize what is truly essential for their family.
Bianca shares what Boracay has taught her so far. Read on!
As working parents, Bianca and Mikel lived on a hectic schedule. Their day-to-day routine is familiar to many of us–waking up at the crack of dawn to avoid (as much as possible) the morning rush hour, leaving their office at 5pm just to spend – hopefully – not more than two hours in traffic going back home. Thankfully, the perk of running their own company is that they are able to bring Xabier along everyday.
“Pre-pandemic I would work the whole day. It was such a hectic life,” Bianca muses. When quarantine began, things got even more stressful. “In Manila, it’s work, work work. There’s nothing else to do especially since you’re just inside the house. I thought I was a night person because I would work until 3am or 4am then wake up at 11am or 12nn,” she says.
But all that suddenly changed in Boracay. Bianca and her family found what work-life balance means for them.
Since their extended stay was quite a spontaneous decision, this family has been making the most out of only two weeks worth of clothes and items in their luggage. Having merely a few belongings made them realize they can truly live with less. Just the essentials are enough.
3-year old Xabier has also been enjoying spending time outside and making discoveries in nature. “The best learning is just to go out. For my son to touch the rocks, to go outside, to see the starfish,” says Bianca
Slower Paced Days
Bianca has always been a planner. As an entrepreneur, she is used to planning every step and decision she makes. In Boracay, she learned how to live in the moment, to stop and smell the roses, to step outside just to bask in the fresh breeze and sunlight without any other purpose or agenda. Their stay in Boracay has also been so meaningful especially for her husband, Mikel, who grew up in Spain which has a similar environment to that of the island.
Connecting with Others
What made adjusting to life in Boracay so easy for Bianca and her family is the welcoming community. They’re not the first family to move from Manila to the island, and they instantly made a number of friends. When you see the same familiar faces everyday while walking along the beach, it becomes natural to strike up a conversation.
Hope Outside Our Problems
Above all, the most valuable gift living in Boracay has given Bianca and her family is peace of mind. Though problems don’t just go away, and our reality is still about dealing with the pandemic, Bianca and her family choose to have hope despite difficult circumstances.