Boracay, Philippines – Ilig-Iligan Beach – Charlie, Marc and Caroline
Originally uploaded by Marc van der Chijs.
The most interesting person I met on Boracay so far is Charlie. I met him on our second day early in the morning at the beach. Charlie is about 60 years old, originally from Germany, and living full-time on Boracay. He lost his job in Germany 9 years ago, and because he could not find a new job he decided to move to Boracay. He bought himself a wooden (sail) trimaran, and now lives by sailing tourists around the island. Although Charlie is German, he looks more like a local. Spending every day on a sailing boat made his tan darker than the average Philippino, and his hair has been bleached by the sun.
I spend a day sailing with Charlie early during our honeymoon. His boat is one of the fastest on Boracay, and he even won a regatta around the island. I did not realize how famous he is locally, when a few days later when I was hiking with him on a nearby island, we met a farmer in the middle of the jungle who knew him and his boat. The name of his boat is “Sugar Brown Reggae”. Charlie told me that the name describes his whole life: he likes everything very sweet, loves brown women and reggea is his music. Charlie has a young daughter, Caroline, who always goes with him on all his trips. She is only 5 years old (almost 6), and she is very skilled running around and climbing in the jungle.
I like to meet people like Charlie and talking with them about their life philosophy. In a way I admire the decisions he made in his life. Most people would have probably stayed in Germany, and live off social benefits. But he decided to start all over again, and do what he likes to do. He is in a very good shape and looks much younger than his real age (I guess he is about 60 as he also has kids in Germany that are in their mid-30’s). He may not earn much, but it is enough to pay for a small house on the beach, a boat and enough to eat and drink (lots of) beer. He seems to enjoy life a lot more than many other people I know.
In case you should ever go to Boracay and are looking for a good sailing or jungle guide, go to the Paradise Bay Hotel and ask for Charlie. Another way to reach him is by going to the Red Pirates bar (on the south end of White Beach), where he normally has a beer after 8 PM. He does not have telephone. And don’t forget to send him my best regards!