Babies of Boracay (B.O.B): Boracay’s Best Secret
When in Manila…
Sorry, but nope!
If you’re looking for the beautiful babes of Boracay, you have clicked the wrong link. This one says ‘babies’ – as in actual tiny people. Go on, then, I’ll give you time to move your cursor over to something more your speed.
Done? Still here?
Great. I probably don’t need to tell you about Boracay – there are enough of those going around in blogs and online review sites (the best one being where you are right now) and travel magazines. Instead, allow me to introduce you to this tremendous undertaking called Babies of Boracay (B.O.B).
Months before, I knew a Boracay trip was looming over my calendar. States-based family members were visiting for about 2 weeks in May 2014, and that could only mean a sidetrip to Boracay for sunshine, sand, and silliness.
And while I enjoy the occasional beach trip, at this point in my life I’ve discovered that I’m not a beach person. If you were to make me pick between a beach trip or a day in an orphanage/community center, I’d jump at the latter.
A day or two before my brother and I left for Boracay, I scoured the internet for a possible organization to visit, and out popped Babies of Boracay on trusty old Facebook. Hurriedly, I sent a bumbling PM, hoping against hope that someone would respond to me.
Long story short – that is exactly what happened.
In a span of 4 days in Boracay, I was able to visit B.O.B with my brother (first trip) and then two of my cousins (second trip).
It was ridiculous how much I loved B.O.B. Even in the sweltering heat, no party will ever be able to compare to the underground trill of change. This is where lives are transforming. Futures are being shaped. Empowerment is happening.
Chelsey Hall, pioneer and founder, was generous enough to give us a rundown of how this organization started, what it took to actually get it up and running, and how far it has come in a span of months. A native of England, Chelsey‘s tenacity and passion shine through this little haven in Tambisaan Village. You cannot get her to stop gushing about how well the children are doing. Catering to babies ages 0-5 years old, Babies of Boracay is a safe place for meals and education and love.
The trip from White Beach to Babies of Boracay takes about 10-15 minutes via tricycle. When you get there, Chelsey will need to meet you by the main road to walk you in since Babies of Boracay is nestled within the center of the local community. (She’s sort of an adoptive local already!)
Once there, you’ll be met with a quaint house properly labeled B.O.B.
Eleni Christidou (teacher + coordinator), Chelsey Hall (founder), my cousins Bernice Reyes and Matt Chua
Upon entering, the kids will welcome you in a chorus (and soon you’ll discover that they love having visitors over!) and then you will have the pleasure of seeing Chelsey in her element. She asks questions like “What’s the weather like today?” or “What day is it today?” and I was very happily singing along with her as she sang popular English nursery rhymes. There was also a bit of story-telling, my favorite part.
“The kids are like sponges, Najee,” she tells me. “When we first started, they didn’t know any of the songs I was teaching them, they didn’t know their ABC’s, and now look. They know each song by heart. They have the discipline of listening to the teacher. They know it’s important to wait and behave while sitting down. It’s just songs and playtime, but I know it’ll prepare them for when they start going to regular school.”
Babies of Boracay is a communal effort. Chelsey was beaming when she introduced me to the local mothers who ran the daily operations of the center. They cooked meals, helped with the translation from English to the local dialect, participated in the games, and looked after some children who were deposited in B.O.B while their parents worked outside.
She also introduced me to Arwin (the guy carrying the baby in the photo above), who basically built Babies of Boracay from the ground up with his bare hands. He told me stories of designing the house, and showed me some of the work he has made. It was a gift for me to see and appreciate all of the work that has been put into this organization.
I’m really glad I took the time to visit. It was a time of inspiration for me, seeing everything that’s been laid out. Chelsey still has a beautiful vision ahead for Babies of Boracay; but I believe that even in its starting months, it’s already a wonderful dream realized.
So, if you ever find yourself in the glitz and glamour of Boracay, in its tourism and parties and shopping; don’t forget that there’s a place not far from the beach that (in my personal opinion) is shining brighter, even though it’s hidden from the public eye.
Babies of Boracay is really the island’s best secret.
My cousins enjoying their fresh buko juice. Filipino hospitality wins over excessive heat! 🙂
Playtime with the kiddos. Matt‘s being a real-life basketball hoop.
Contact Babies of Boracay now and see Boracay like you’ve never before. 🙂
Before leaving, I spoke to Chelsey and gave her a modest donation. This is work I believe in, and work I’d invest in. Some people find God in nature, in scripture, in church. These are all true and well and good, but there are days when I see God best when people love other people. There’s really something about giving your time and effort to something that’s outside of your own pleasure. This is what makes love tangible.
And now, on to the babies!
Tell me what your visit to Babies of Boracay is like, okay? I know they’d love to have you over.
For more information about this gem of a place, see the links below. 🙂
BABIES OF BORACAY
LOCATION || Tambisaan Village, Boracay Island, Aklan
EMAIL || firstname.lastname@example.org