Our (my parents and I) first time spending vacation in Boracay Island from July 5 to 7 was indeed memorable for all of us, but I must admit that it was also a tough one.
Being with senior citizens, I had to bring a lot of patience and utmost care.
First of all, we had to consider how much we should spend for our stay there, no matter how much I was willing to spend everything just to have a good time and to somehow help in boosting the island paradise’s economy.
My parents are the kind that will take note of all the expenses, and would freak out why so much was spent. But being Boracay, we spent a whopping P22,000 in three days for everything – plane tickets, tricycle and boat rides, outdoor activities, takeaway goodies (pasalubong), every meal we ate, tips.
In every purchase, our parents made sure their senior citizen cards would be used to get discounts since it’s their privilege. We even had to negotiate some of the purchases just so we could pay less – in Filipino, tawad – and luckily we were granted low prices to some of them like the island hopping package (from P800 to P500) and of course, pasalubong.
Also, dealing with my parents was a kind of dealing with the extremes. They would get either so excited or so tired to do anything so balance of interest (???) is required on my part.
Despite having minor surgeries on both his knees, Papa was more willing to do outdoor activities. In fact, he tried snorkeling, and even joined me in parasailing (apparently, at least two people, not only one, should do parasailing).
Mama meanwhile is the laidback kind, who just wanted to stroll or go shopping, sit or lie when tired, and browse for updates on her Facebook account.
Papa tended to get so excited he would become the director when we get the chance to take photos, while Mama gets irritated with the idea. Mama would also object whenever I wanted to go out for a stroll or Papa would buy a bottle of his favorite beer. Things would get too tiring for them they would just want to lie on their bed and check on their Facebook accounts, while I would insist on going out haha.
It was so hard resolving such issues we just had to let go of some of them, since all of us (especially me who wanted to do a lot of outdoor activities) had our individual interests to think about. Hence, we did not avoid getting annoyed and arguing at the pettiest of things.
Traveling with parents, or anyone of old age, would require lots of considerations to take, including their age of course, health condition and their wants and needs.
A vacation with them would be more fun when we all: agree to things that need to be resolved; understand what each of us wants or needs; and make sure no one gets hurt and left behind.
Thus, as in any other relationship or activity, openness is key to enjoyment to the fullest.
I hope we allot time to take our parents to a vacation they truly deserve.
- ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD. Use the time to consider what older people want or need before going on a vacation; that way, everything will be agreed upon.
- Since both my parents are hypertensive and underwent minor surgeries on their knees, we had to make sure that every outdoor activity we would join into would not cause any problems on their health. Well, aside from the long walk from the main road to the hotel as the tricycle dropped us off on the wrong landmark, everything turned out fine (Papa enjoyed snorkeling as he said swimming could have relieved the pain on his knees, while Mama did not suffer from dizziness during our boat rides).
- Ask for their consent first before going somewhere or doing something. Being parents, they will always think about your safety.
- Plan your itinerary and budget. Too bad we just listed all activities that we could enjoy during our stay there, will less thought on the budget. Make sure to allot enough time for rest as they might get too tired and not keep up anymore. Also, negotiate for the prices of practically everything by either tawad, just like what we did before we joined an island-hopping activity as mentioned earlier, or the use of senior citizen’s cards. Lesson learned: Make sure na sa susunod na bakasyon ay hindi na uli aabot o hihigit sa P22,000 ang gastos!!!
- For outdoor activities with seniors, I would recommend:
- A dip at the crystal clear waters of this world-famous white sand beach!!!
- Island hopping (For much much emphasis, you can negotiate the prices haha. We spent only P500 per person for this instead of P800, hehe, or maybe this is a group discount hehe.)
- Helmet diving (Included in island hopping itinerary, but has a separate fee. You can enjoy this at Crystal Cove, which we never did because we all got tired.)
- Snorkeling (Included in island hopping itinerary. Snorkels are free, but P40 per person must be paid as environment fee.)
- Parasailing (Depends on health condition; am so grateful Papa joined me here. Our hotel offered this for P1,500 per person, minimum of two persons will be allowed for the ride. Sadly, no senior citizen privilege.)
- Strolls at early morning (like 5 am) and late night (like 10 pm), eating out (Be warned, restos along the beachfront offer food for as much as P200 up! Too bad we learned about the seafood market only on our way home.) and shopping
- Watching various acts along the beachfront, especially the fire dancers
- Visiting any quiet place, like the Holy Rosary Parish (near the plaza of Barangay Balabag, or straight ahead to the main road passing through Willy’s at Station 1, near the grotto of Mama Mary)
- Watching the marvelous Boracay sunset