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Their Boracay Stories: Marc Nelson and Maggie Wilson Share Personal Bora Memories

Boracay has meant many things to many people over the years—for many of us, it’s been our gateway beach to other pockets of paradise scattered around our archipelago. Before we knew there was a Palawan or a Siargao, we had already been to Boracay. As far as beaches went, it was our first love—and you never forget your first love. The sunsets will always be more vivid, the cocktails more luscious. Boracay’s waters will always be clearer, bluer, and speckled more magically at noon. For locals, the island meant making a good living during off-season, and a great living during tourist season. You could be a tricycle driver in Boracay, and during peak season, you could earn a corporate salary. As Boracay enters a six-month closure, there’s been a certain wistfulness that’s overcome us that almost seems to overshadow the real questions behind such a move. Call it one of those Filipino traits, but we’re talking about Boracay here—the island that put the Philippines on the map.

Boracay was for everyone: thrill seekers, honeymooners, families from all corners of the globe and our very own shores. Host and model Marc Nelson has been to Boracay more than a hundred times over the years and has engaged in every kind of thrill imaginable. “I’ve probably visited the island over 150 times and had the good fortune of experiencing most of the memories that one is able to have there,” he says. “Amazing sunsets? Check. Swimming, diving, paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing in the beautiful, azure waters? Check.” To the list he also adds joining dragon boat, kiteboarding, ultimate disc and adventure races. He even dove headfirst off a 40-foot platform when they opened Ariel’s point. “There’s really too many memories to list, and almost too many to remember, although they’ve all been beautiful”.

Marc is a physical guy, known for his brawn, love of adventure, and wild thrill-seeking. He knows how to make a mean smoothie, but he can also sexy dance at weddings. He’s also experienced Boracay in so many different ways since his first visit in 2001—first as a laid-back tropical island, then as a party place, and eventually as the location of various sporting events. He calls it his second home, and adds that there’s a certain inexplicable magic to the beach—something inherited from the first settlers who really welcomed fellow travellers with open arms, and who brought a certain rustic feel to the island. “There was a time I’d visit the island between twelve to twenty times a year, so I’ve seen the changes both good and bad. There are still pockets of magic that remain, but they’ve become harder and harder to find, and I hope the Boracay of the future will be able to find and nurture some of it back.”

For model and classic beach girl Maggie Wilson, who has looks practically designed for sultry climate—cheekbones high enough to hold the sun’s rays and skin that tans just the right tone of olive, enough to render any IG filter superfluous— Boracay was the place that sealed her relationship with her husband; it was the first place they flew to together. “[There were] a lot less hotels, less tourists, less options to eat and things to do, but it was a lot more charming and beautiful. It’s the way I like to remember Boracay, touched but respected.” Like Mark, Boracay has a special place in Maggie’s heart. “Boracay holds a lot of memories near and dear to me,” she says. “It used to be an escape for me when I was single. So much so that I’ve made some local friends and have met people on the island who have become some of my closest friends.”

In the first episode of Beached, Marc and Maggie take Boracay by surf and tide, and engage in various escapades that involve jumping off a cliff, mermaid swimming and restoring corals. Join them for the pilot episode which premieres on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 9 pm on the Metro Channel.