Guide to Boracay, Philippines
Over the past few years, Boracay, a little island off shore of Philippines has ridden a global wave of media attention to become one of the world’s top island destinations. You may have been to beaches around Asia, but assuredly, Boracay is among the prettiest.
The picturesque island makes for an ideal getaway, and the locals are hospitable and welcoming. However, in light of the increasing popularity of the island, visitors are often presented with a challenge: what to eat, where to stay, what to do. Here is a Boracay guide that will help you sieve through the endless research and plan a splendid vacation!
=How to Get There=
You can reach Boracay either by plane or boat, passing through the small Malay town on Panay Island. Outrigger boats leave every few minutes from Caticlan jetty. There are two airports located nearest to Boracay, namely Caticlan and Kalibo International Airport. There are minivans, vans, coaches and buses that serve travellers from Calibo International Airport to Caticlan Jetty. You can alternatively contact your hotel to arrange a transport for you from Caticlan. Most hotels provide such services.
=What to Do=
Most people go to Boracay for the beach, particularly the main White Beach. The sand is incredibly smooth and soft. The White Beach is the centre of action in Boracay and the only sight most visitors will ever see. There are other beaches along the island, such as Diniwid Beach and Bulabog Beach.
Head over to Diniwid Beach when you are feeling tired and burnt out on White Beach. It is less crowded yet boasts the same scenery, soft sand and crystal clear sea.
Bulabog Beach is the other main attraction and an alternative to White Beach. It is the island’s watersports capital and has a laid-back community vibe. If windsurfing and kitesurfing interest you, this is definitely the place you cannot miss. The beach is often referred to as the Number 1 kite boarding beach in Asia.
Below is a list of kiteboarding/kitesurfing companies you can use:
- Freestyle Academy Kitesurfing School, +63 915 559 3080 (phone), firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
- Habagat, +63 929 157 9871 (phone), email@example.com (email)
- Greenyard Kite School, +63 917 387 4402 (phone), firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the locals and expats head to station 3 of White Beach for snorkeling. The corals here are very active and you can get to see many different types of tropical fish. It is easy to book a boat ride either from the hotel or from the street paddlers on the beach.
Hundreds of small sailing boats can be rented at approximately $15/hour where you will be seated on a netting on the wing of the boat and watch the water go underneath you.
Take a tour down into the deep dark bat cave with a small ocean pool at the bottom where you can swim to get out into the vast ocean. To enter the cave, you must climb down huge boulders with flashlights, avoiding snakes and bats. This is an experience only for the adventurous.
Pamper yourself with a luxurious massage at the following spas after your strenuous water activities.
- Bella Isa Salon & Spa, Station 3 – Upscale décor and professional staff, also provides facials, and hair services.
- Ceasar’s, Station 3 – Specialises in Filipino and Thai massage at about $50 for 90 minutes.
- Tirta Spa, Sitio Malabunot, Manoc-Manoc area – Prices are slightly steep but provides excellent services in a stunning environment, a cordoned off area on the beach.
Boracay also has a vibrant nightlife, with the most notable Boracay Pub Crawl for the extroverts to party the night away.
- Area 51 Secret Party Facility
If you want your night to end with a bang, this is the place you need to go. The only underground party spot on the island. Here you will expect drinks, food stalls, music, more drinks, fire dancing, tribal drumming and more drinks again. The Secret Party Facility is definitely a place to experience the unique island vibe.
- Boracay Pub Crawl: Station 1 inside Tibraz Bar, +63 917 808 8433 (phone)
As with all bar hopping activities, you will be expected to form new friendship among participants. At P990 per person, you get a free tshirt, a baller, shot glass, free entrance to 3 bars and 2 clubs and 10 free shots. Walk home or crawl home, you decide your fate.
=What to Buy=
- Shell jewelry
Locally-made jewelry crafted from shells is common in Boracay.
They can be found at shops along Puka Beach and make the perfect souvenir for female friends back home.
- Jojo’s Christmas Cottage
Sampaguita Gardens is a boutique resort that is a 15-minute drive from Kalibo Airport. Owned by Sam Butcher, the creative genius behind the Precious Moments doll that has the signature teardrop eyes, Jojo’s Christmas Cottage is in the centre of this resort. Here, you can experience Christmas all year round. The cottage sells sweet-looking Christmas dolls and souvenir items.
=Where to Stay=
- Frendz Resort ($)
Address: Near Boat Station 1 Balabag main Beach, White Beach Path, Boracay (Aklan)
- Hangin Kite Resort ($$)
Address: Road 1A, Malay, Aklan, Boracay, 5608
- Blue Lagoon ($$$)
Address: Station 3, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
- Discovery Shores Boracay ($$$$$)
Address: Beachfront, Balabag, Malay, Aklan, 5608 Boracay, Philippines
- Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa ($$$$$)
Address: Barangay Yapak, Yapak, 5608 Boracay, Philippines
=What to Eat=
There are many local delicacies of Philippines that you have to try to know what the locals eat. Some of the more popular and exotic ones listed below and you can find them at any street side stalls:
- Sisig, crispy and sour – Chopped ear to jowl pork braised, fried and served on a sizzling plate
- Sinigang, fishy – Using the bony milkfish aka bangus, the broth based dish is flavoured with strained tamarind and stocked with okra, taro, eggplant, water spinach and string beans
- Lechon Kawali, salty and fatty – The deep-fried pork belly crackles as you bite into the salty skin and then the tender layers of fatty meat.
- Longganisa, sweet – Sweet sausage with an addicting garlic taste
=Where to Eat=
- The Sunny Side Café
Address: Station 3 Beachfront | Boracay Sands Hotel, Aklan Province 5608, Philippines
- I Love Backyard BBQ – Serves the best Baby Back ribs, smoky meat and variety of seafood
Address: D’ Mall, Boracay Station 2
- Mang Inasal – Affordable grilled chicken and local delicacies
Address: D’ Mall, Boracay Station 2
- Real Coffee & Tea Café – Well-known for their Calamansi Muffins
Address: Boracay Station 2, 2F, Sea World
- Dos Mestizos – Spanish tapas & paella, slightly pricey
Address: Calle Remedios, Aklan Province 5608, Philippines
With this short guide, you are now equipped to enjoy a fantastic beach vacation in Boracay during summer!