When in Boracay, one ought to kiss those henna tattoos or braids goodbye especially if it’s “forda” ‘gram.
Nothing compares to the classic vibrant bikinis, tanned skins, and generous curves in amassing heart reactions and fire emojis. But there’s a contemporary fourth element that just levels up the beach “awra”: a crystal kayak.
The transparent glass boat, which has already been a social media fixture over the past few months as a “challenge,” lets hubaderas channel their inner supermodel against the island’s clear skies and turquoise waters. The composition may also include white sand, lush trees, and sharp rocks.
One’s crystal kayak entry, however, can only be picture-perfect with the right phone. If yours isn’t up to date and lacks a few specifications, then manage your expectations in having a magazine cover kind of photoshoot. Moreover, prepare to be “judged” by… drumroll… Kuya Photographer.
That’s precisely what happened to MJ De Guzman, who booked a crystal kayak when he visited Boracay with his friends early this month.
In a Facebook post, MJ humorously recalled Kuya Photographer’s apparent disbelief upon learning that his phone has no “wide” lens feature (found in newer iPhones).
"’Ay sir, wala 'tong wide?’ “hirap talaga dito sa Bora, pati photographer alta alta,” MJ wrote in his post.
Instead of the expected shot that would’ve showcased the serene backdrop, he got a medium shot of himself seemingly lazing around (and perhaps contemplating about the nonchalant observation). But little did MJ know that his tolerable photo would crack up netizens.
"The goal was just to spread fun and good vibes. Surprisingly, maraming naka-relate,” MJ told News5. His post already has over 54,000 reactions (mostly “Haha”), 2,300 comments, and 8,200 shares to date.
He also told Pilipino Star Ngayon that he also went along and jokingly apologized to Kuya, saying “Next time baka afford ko na.” Both of them had a good laugh about the quirky moment, with Kuya explaining how the Wide lens feature would’ve provided better photos.
“Napansin kong parang too accustomed na si Kuya na laging latest model ng iPhone nagagamit niya lately, kaya nanibago,” he said.
MJ, however, was regretting how he forgot to ask the name of Kuya Photographer, who practically made him a social media sensation.
“Nagulat ako na marami nang engagements,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe, adding that he immediately called their tour guide to connect him to Kuya. Their tour guide, however, can’t also remember Kuya’s name. “Alam mo iyon, mas maganda kung may fair share siya ng recognition and hype.”
MJ, who works as a marketing coordinator and multimedia producer back in the metro, said he was really impressed with Kuya’s knowledge and diligence. MJ explained that in booking a crystal kayak, which costs P250 to P300, Kuya will bring a tourist to the most Instagrammable part of the sea, and then take shots as if he were a professional photographer.
“They always make sure na magaganda ang shots,” he said, adding how he also appreciates Kuya’s politeness and professionalism. Upon learning that his phone doesn’t have a Wide lens feature, MJ even recalled Kuya telling him, “Gagawan natin iyan ng paraan.”
MJ shared with PhilSTAR L!fe more crystal kayak photos he got during his vacation.
Though crystal kayak photos are relatively ubiquitous in social media, Kuya and others like him don’t make enough money.
That’s why with his post unexpectedly going viral, MJ is hoping it will serve as a means for him to reconnect with Kuya.
“Na-realize ko kung gaano ako ka-privileged sa buhay. Imagine, we were on the same boat, but for different reasons: I was there to enjoy. He was there to grind,” he said.
Should he learn about Kuya’s whereabouts, MJ vowed to help him in a small way.
“I don't want to overpromise,” he said, “pero if given the chance, I'll use my platform to promote their business.”
MJ is also mulling over selling self-published digital zines, which he once did to raise funds for those who were affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Asked if he’ll visit Boracay again, MJ said why not, but not so soon though especially since he has a demanding work schedule. But of course, he’ll make sure that there’s wide lens for his crystal kayak photo on that fateful day.
“Manghihiram lang ako ng phone sa friends ko. Hahaha!” he said. Kidding aside, he noted how the likes of Kuya have so much grit about what they do, but are limited by their material conditions.
“Imagine if they have the tools, resources, and enough means,” MJ said. “Ano pa kaya ang kaya nilang gawin?”