Summers don’t really feel the same post-graduation. The anticipation is almost non-existent and the actual vacation even more so. And though the New Year already rakes in beach #TBTs, the only clear signs of summer’s arrival are the scorching heat and subsequent sweat-soaked garments (or maybe that’s just me).

This summer was a little different. I found myself on a two-week coat-laden vacation in Europe that felt a little less ‘summer break’ and mostly just ‘break.’ But the tales of cold in April are set for different posts.

What seems to be my summer constant though – something I always look forward to – is a trip to Boracay- #Laboracay to be exact. I’m so thankful I was able to go with Smart again this year to what may be my absolute favorite Laboracay to date (and with a 3-year track record, I think that statement bears much weight.)

Last year, I was introduced to the concept of Living All Out c/o the ubiquitous Smart hashtag and care of the Smart team. If you need a guide of how to #LAO (a more responsible version of #YOLO) in Boracay, or any other beach for that matter, I suggest you check out the post. In a nutshell: eat amazing food, book an amazing room with amazing roommates, always make sure your hand is holding a full cup, strut your stuff in your swimwear of choice and try things you’ve never done before. All of which, I happily ticked off this trip.

I’ve already mentioned several times that what I love most about going to a #SmartLiveAllOut trip is the mentality that permeates the entire journey – experiencing things fully, jumping in no holds barred. This mindset has been drilled so deep in my head with a full year of being with Smart (not to mention using their products incessantly) that without bias I think every single trip of mine has been experienced with a whole new #LiveAllOut filter – in my head if not on Instagram.

What differed this year was the fact that ways to live all out were handed to me as opposed to me actively hunting them down. There were so many parties that were brought to us by Smart – foam parties at Tides, packed sunset parties at White house and our nightly nightcap, Sunkissed at Pearl of the Pacific. There were lots of activities to choose from – volleyball, water sports, sleeping and eating and much, much more. Always true to our hashtag, we kind of tried them all.

But let me share some memorable firsts for this trip.


1. Attending a foam party. In my wildest dreams (aka a Frat/Sorority movie), foam parties involved slides and pools and a bunch of other Greek house stuff. In Boracay, I was submerged in what I can only describe as a foam waterfall – half of the time partying, the other half figuring out exactly what mixture it was made out of. The texture felt eerily fascinating.


2. Throwing (fun) things at party-goers. I’ve never tried attacking people with anything before – water guns (which may or may not have contained something other than water. Poor unknowing recipients), alcohol (never tried making people take shots before because, hello, budget) or even try throwing merchandise at an eager crowd. I think I liked throwing a shirt best. I don’t think it could compare to the clichéd eagerness of single girls at a wedding’s bouquet-throwing but it was pretty cool still.


3.a. Water sports. Paraw-sailing I have tried before. It requires very little from my end that it’s the most non-committal activity available. Paraw-sailing with matching swimming in the water that was supposedly 5-feet according to our rower that ended up being a little less shallow than promised (more than double the depth actually), was a first. Patting myself on the back for not feeling brave enough to try to jump without a life vest. Coward’s intuition.

3.b. Water sports Part 2. I’ve always wanted to try Flying Fish – where a big floating device is latched onto a speedboat designed to literally make the device flap like a flying fish with the riders (aka us) flying out. I didn’t realize it required muscle strength and an unparalleled amount of determination but I held on tight and didn’t flail. My technique stays with me though, I’m sorry.


4. Spending quality time with awesome people. Not that it’s a first but there’s always something new to learn, share and laugh about so I’m including it still. Especially since bonding moments were often incited by group trips to the bathroom. #girls.

By now I’m pretty sure you know what I would like to preach – that you should Live All Out too no matter where you are or who you’re with. But I’ve written about that so many times I want to zoom in on something else this time.

Throughout the trip we’ve been seeing a bunch of people with Smart t-shirts (similar to the one I threw at the crowd) that say, “Every Summer Has A Story.” I realized, after decidedly wanting a shirt but not being able to get one, that I completely agree.

I figured the whole notion of living all out is but a means to an end – the end being a beautifully crafted story; #LiveAllOut: a lens or filter if you may, in which you choose to edit certain experiences and say yes to those you otherwise would’ve let pass; A lens in which you string together a series of memories so beautiful, funny, captivating, unique, sometimes even not-so-awesome, to remember an experience by.

And because the summer experience is so hard to come by (vacation leaves are a pain), writing a summer story becomes much more precious. With Boracay now out of the picture, I promise to continue crafting my summer story – beach or no beach (although preferably with one) – in the frame of mind of my favorite hashtag.

I’m flying out tomorrow for Vietnam and am extremely excited to paint the second (or third?) part of my summer story.

Now that I’ve shared mine (or at least a chunk of it), tell me, what’s your #SmartSummer story?

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Thank you for another AMAZING trip @SmartCares – Abbie Real, Tob Castaneda, Chrissy Liwag – and for taking such good care of us. My summers are filled with beautiful stories thanks to you. ‘Til the next!