Art does bring in money, ask the Boracay boys

BORACAY, Aklan — A small boy sits down on Boracay’s white beach, at the area more commonly referred to as Station 1, and starts digging a small hole with his spoon. “You know, you’re mom would be angry if she finds out you’re using your kitchen spoon to dig sand,” I told him in jest, “What’s your name?”

“Robert,” he said.

Apparently, his mom knows why they keep losing their spoons at home. Everyday, right after school, Robert, 11, rushes to the shores of Boracay Island, famous worldwide for its white powdery sand, to make small sand castles or sand art.

With every intricate stroke, he managed to form a big flower sand art. Tourists who want to take a picture of his masterpiece would give them donations, amounting from P5 to as much P20.

“Tomorrow, we will have baon for school,” Robert said, when we asked him what they do with the donations they have collected.

Robert is the 6th among 10 children. Both his mother and father earn primarily by catering to the tourists that flock the island of Boracay everyday. His father has a boat that tourists could rent for island hopping. Since they always come with their parents to the beach, they, too, soon learned how to earn money from tourists.

From merely watching what he considered as a “pro” in sand art, Robert and his playmates soon learned how to do small sand castles, engraving letters on a block of sand and even digging the sand to make carvings.

“You are going to make a fine architect someday,” my friend Shiela told Robert, amazed with his talent.

“But for now, I want to learn how to make beautiful nice castles,” he answered simply.

Of course, I thought to myself, his family might not have the resources to send him to school, what more to finish a degree. It would be such a waste if someone as talented as Robert would not be able to fulfill his dreams, be it an architect or whatever he wants in life.

Robert’s masterpiece is not really as grand as those sand art you can find at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. But knowing he poured his heart out with every small hole he made in the sand, his humble artwork becomes even more beautiful if not meaningful.

His dreams, I hope, will one day become a reality.

As we were getting ready to leave, Robert and his playmate started to dig another hole, not far from his masterpiece. “What are you going to do next?” I asked.

Jolens (marble) po,” Robert said.

They are still children after all. (

Text and photos by Janess Ann J. Ellao

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  1. Truly inspirational. these children when properly motivated can make use of their gifts in arts and can go a long long way in life. I pray good people can find them so they can be guided and have a good life as well. God bless His children always.

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