The transformation from day to night at White Beach, Station Two on Boracay Island is nothing short of phenomenal. Several kilometers of powder soft, white sand beach are flipped around every single afternoon, just after sunset.
I've dedicated an entire post just to focus on the pre-dinner scene. As tourists wash off the sand and get primped and dressed for the evening's activities in their hotel rooms, large teams of Filipinos work diligently to create night scenes that inspire... drinking. Check out the images I've shot on this transformation, before the crowds arrive.
Sometimes, there is no replacing manpower. When you need to transform a beach full of chaise lounges and umbrellas into a temporary, beachfront restaurant or an outdoor nightclub with only minutes to spare, only a large number of hands will do.
Its not just the larger resorts on White Beach (like Hennan or Phoenix) that have a full crew on staff, even the smaller hotels and results employ a team of people to shuffle the beachfront once the sun has begun to set. For many of them, time is of the essence as they prepare to accept a thirsty happy hour crowd. You know that happy hour is big business because most 'sand bars' have (several) hosts and hostesses along the walking path, attempting to recruit tourists to join in on the drinking.
While the happy hour drinks are certainly big business, the majority of places start with dinner. Getting people in, and getting them to stay and drink afterwards is the goal. They are often wooed with live entertainment that ranges from fire dancers, DJs, solo acoustic shows, to full cover bands, and they typically go all night.
The scene is electric... literally.
Ungrounded wires in unsealed, plastic tubes run underneath the walking path and wind up the palm trees to feed the strings of lights, lanterns and speakers. It is really not too surprising that Boracay suffers from occasional brown outs during peak evening hours. Imagine the entire beach going dark, without warning. The lights disappear and the music suddenly stops, replaced by a synchronized moan of disbelief from the tourist crowd, as their eyes re-adjust to the moonlight. With any luck, it is only a matter of minutes before the power is restored, but the party never stops, it just gets a little quieter for a bit.
Once the crowds have died down, another transformation takes place. Tables are cleaned, cleared, and locked away for the night; making room for the chaise lounges and beach umbrellas once again.