Out of the City: What I Learned When I Moved to Boracay

What happens when you relocate to one of the country's most beautiful islands?
by | September 26, 2016

“I’m Roanna Jamir, signing off with much peace, love and light! Good night,” I said to the camera on my final newscast for CNN Philippines.

We would move out of our Ortigas apartment a few months later, selling off whatever we deemed we wouldn’t need to our friends. In Boracay, we stayed at a resort with a big discount from the owner—considering we were staying through the peak and lean seasons as well. Our accommodation was a one-bedroom, fully furnished house, with a full kitchen; about a three-minute walk to the beachfront of White Beach along Station One.

About a month after, we (my son, my husband and I) were fully locals. Here’s what I learned after departing the city for an island paradise.

Discard: You don’t need everything you think you need.


Many have a tendency to hoard. We buy things we don’t need. We collect clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets but end up wearing and using the same things. In six months, how many of your belongings have you actually used? I bet a ton. Moving to Boracay, we let go of the things we rarely used. It wasn’t easy, but had to be done. It’s been seven months and we now truly understand the value of minimalism.

Sans war paint: You’ll be comfortable in your own skin.


With my previous jobs, makeup was a must. Whether interviewing bands, hosting concerts or delivering the news, I had to wear makeup. Since moving, I‘m happy to say I’ve never felt this comfortable being makeup-free. Of course, there are occasions I got dolled up for a night out, but most days, I go gunk-free and feel okay about it.

Rotate: You won’t be ashamed to keep repeating outfits.


Back then, I’d take a mental note if I’d already worn the same thing going to the same club with the same set of friends; and if I did there was no way I’d do a repeat. I’ve discovered, this is quite the opposite living in Boracay. With only five “going out dresses” I’ve been rotating throughout the year, I soon realized I wasn’t the only one. The locals did the exact same thing!

Beach-ready: Your swimwear also make excellent underwear.

Not only do swimsuits look cute but they’re more comfortable than most underwear. Plus a swimsuit underneath means you’re literally beach-ready. No need to run to the restroom to change into your swimsuit, because you can just dive in any time you want. Convenience and comfort. For the more daring islanders…


Bikinis all day: Smaller clothes mean a smaller closet.


Doing so means you minimize clothes you need, and also minimize laundry costs. Of course not everyone can pull this off, but if you’re comfortable with your body, you can actually just live your days in an island wearing nothing but swimsuits. Imagine, how small of a closet you’ll need!

Ripped: You’ll gain an interest in fitness and health.


Being surrounded by nature is conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  Living away from the city means less time spent sitting in a car and more time to stroll along the beach.  A two-mile walk on EDSA may feel like hell, but the same distance along the beach, with the ocean’s breeze and soft, fine sand between your toes is heaven. The fact that you’ll also be wearing less clothes means there is more pressure to look fit. In the city it’s about who’s got the fancy shoes or the the expensive watch.  On an island, it’s about who looks fit and healthy. That’s very positive peer pressure right there!

Culture shock: You’ll find it easier to make friends on an island.


In the city, most everyone is in a hurry.  Someone is usually irritated about something, while someone else is on the brink of losing their temper. On an island flocked by tourists keen to have a great time, it’s natural you’d be surrounded by happy people. Most are in a good mood. Although, some may encounter an irritating situation, it’s easy to just take a dip in the cool, crystal clear waters of White Beach, and feel better again; something, the city can’t offer.

Chillest: Being far from the madding crowd means peace.


When you’re already tired from work, stuck in traffic and someone honks his horn at you, it’s easy to lose your temper. The city can be such a stressful place. On the beach you’re surrounded by nature. You’ve got fresh air, chirping birds and sunsets to watch.  It’s easier to learn patience and be calmer when you’re surrounded by nature’s glorious beauty.

We don’t know how long my family and I intend to reside in Boracay. Plans change as seasons do. But one thing’s for sure, if we ever do move back to the city, we will always aim to find our way back. Maybe Boracay, maybe another beach on another island?

What can I say, island living has left a mark in our hearts and the memories we’ve made here will never be washed away by the tide.

If you moved away from the city, where would you go? Tell us in the comments below!


Roanna Jamir was an anchor at CNN Philippines (when it was still Solar News in April 2014), until she left in November 2015. Two months later, prompted to escape the stress and hustle of the news industry she had just quit, she also decided to move her family out of the city and to Boracay Island.  

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