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Find your perfect swimwear in Boracay
Source: Inquirer
Author: Jules Alcantara
Date: 2001-05-02
TWO nights before we left for Boracay, Maui, our

resident music fanatic, texted me.

"Hey! How many suits r u bringing 2 Bora?" she

asked. My reply--"4 two-pc Mau. Y? "--for some reason pushed Maui’s

panic button. It sent her and her mom on a shopping frenzy.

Our text exchanges after that revolved around the most important question

(especially for girls) of the summer. Where to find the most happening, the

most fashionable, the sexiest--that will at the same time hide all sorts of flaws

both real and imagined--and the most affordable vavavoom two-piece suit to

wear for a romp at the beach.

The "itsy-bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini" is no longer such a

novelty since Filipino women, both young and old, have shed most of their

inhibitions about their bodies. It is no longer unusual to see long queues of

women buying bathing suits, especially a two-piece ensemble. Shops that

carry swimwear like Nothing But Water, Rustan’s, Cinderella and Speedo

are definite pre-beach destinations.

You simply can’t go to the beach and not bring swimwear, right?

Hmmm… maybe. Maybe not.

When the people from Smart asked us where we wanted to go, talipapa

was the unanimous answer. And since they pretty much let us do what we

wanted to do (the only schedule we had to strictly follow was mealtime) we

took a bumpy tricycle ride to the famous Boracay market.

Unassuming little store

We chanced upon the Paulo Collection, a must for those who want to buy

pasalubong. What we wanted to check out primarily were the sarongs and

beads and other trinkets.

Little did we know that we would find some of the best swimwear in an

unassuming little store that could easily be missed. An unusually designed

sarong hanging by the entrance of the store drew us inside to check out the

rest of the merchandise.

It was, to say the least, swimwear paradise.

Bikini tops ranged from the tankini to the bra-type (with underwire and

pads), from the bandeau to the triangle bikini top for the more daring.

Boylegs and high-cut bikinis could also be found in the store. The two-piece

suits came in cool colors and designs. Their suits were a nice combination of

trendy and classic cuts. The owners, we found out, buy the suits in Hong

Kong. Only a limited number of suits per design are ordered to minimize the

possibility of similarly clad people running into each other as they prance

around the beach.

Ruth of Smart, Happy David and yours truly spent a lot of time trying on

suits. Buying a suit, as you very well know, requires a lot of consultation,

assessment, concentration--in other words, it requires a whole lot of preening

and posing in front of the mirror. In fact, the best way to test if a mirror will

really crack if you look at your self too long is when you are trying on a


The assistants in the talipapa branch were more than helpful in our almost

unending quest for that elusive perfect two-piece. (It was another story when

we visited the store’s branch by the beach--the tindera was a little bit

spaced out and grouchy.) Ruth got her hands on a floral blue two-piece set

that would have cost three times as much if she bought it in Manila. A pair of

yellow board shorts also caught her attention. And since Ruth has a thing for

coordination, she also bought a yellow two-piece suit to go with the shorts.

I fell in love with an aqua and yellow floral two-piece but could not find one

that fit well. Maui, who is still not allowed to wear skimpy two-piece suits

(thus she had to settle for the much safer tankini), worked out her frustration

by trying on suits that caught her fancy. "Can someone take my picture while

I’m wearing this?" she asked us while checking herself out in the dressing


Boracay is sarong world. Most of the stores in the talipapa carry the same

designs, especially for the sarongs. But the sarong prints in Paulo Collection

were very unique and unusual. Buying a sarong in this store minimizes the risk

of bumping into someone wearing a similar if not the exact print. They also

sell wooden clips that help make the sarong one of the most flexible pieces of

cloth to have even been invented.

Not just swimsuits

Paulo Collection does not just offer swimsuits. It carries board shorts for

both gals and guys and summer shirts for men like tie-dyes and Hawaiian

designs. Summer outfits such as sundresses and tank tops can also be found

in the store. Mon Isberto, one of Smart’s head honchos, bought a lovely blue

summer shirt, which he immediately donned for the MTV party. A pair of

white drawstring cotton pants caught our attention but obviously it was in

demand since they had no medium sizes left.

The store also carries beaded necklaces and bracelets. They are a bit pricey

compared to those sold in the other stalls in the talipapa and by the beach.

But then again they are not the usual run-of-the-mill accessories--you can tell

by the materials that they use and, of course, their designs. Pam, our lead

correspondent, fell in love and immediately bought a pair of silver hoops.

Apart from summer ensembles, the store also carries décor items like

mirrors, masks, wall hangers and other lovely trinkets.

All the items found in the store, especially the swimsuits, are relatively

affordable, especially if you compare them to the prices here in Manila.

So if you are headed for the lovely azure beaches of Boracay and could not

find the perfect two-piece, then 2bU! highly recommends that you buy your

dream swimwear there. Make sure you head straight to one particular store

in Boracay that sells, among other things, glorious swimwear—Paulo

Collection. It’s worth the bumpy tricycle ride.

I should know. I now have a classic black two-piece triangle top bikini (à la

Bo Derek) as one of my most favorite recent acquisitions. And it will hold a

special place in my closet, where it shall stay unused for a long time. Unless

of course modern technology enables me to fill it in the right places.

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