Boracay Island

A great escape!
Boracay Island is the Southeast Asia’s most popular beach destination. The name Boracay is attributed to different origins. One story says that it is derived from the local word “borac” which means white cotton with characteristics close to the color and texture of Boracay’s white sugary and powdery sand. Another credits the name to local words “bora,” meaning bubbles, and “bocay,” meaning white. Yet another version dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from “sagay,” the word for a shell, and “boray,” the word for seed.

The first settlers of Boracay were a Negrito people called the Ati, and who spoke a Visayan language called Inati.

Boracay’s 3 primary tourist beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach, are located on opposite sides of the island’s narrow central area and Puka Shell Beach.

  • Whitebeachthe main tourist beach, is about four kilometers long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses.

  • Puka Shell Beach is one of the most visited places in Boracay. It is the place where inhabitants meet to collect Puka shells which are where the name of the beach came from. This part of the island has grainy sand and more silica. You can only hear the sound of soft and gentle waves touching the white sand of the beach as compared to other beaches, making it more tranquil.

You can take a tricycle (a motorcycle with a covered sidecar) by land. For those thrill seekers, you can rent an all-terrain vehicle, bicycle or motorbike to reach the beach. If you would like to see more of the island’s fascinating views, you can rent a banca or paraw which is a canoe-type boat that people can paddle.

  • Bulabog Beach, across the island from White Beach, is the second most popular tourist beach on the island and Boracay’s main windsurfing and kiteboarding area. (Not yet been here but will update this on summer.) Discovery course starts at Php 3,000 for 1.5 hours. However, it’s quite far from the Whitebeach, it’s a 20-min walk or 10 min trike ride.

Stations

  • Station 1 Upscale and Luxury Resorts 

This is where you will find the higher end hotels in Boracay. It is expected that you a high budget if you are planning to stay in this area because hotels are very expensive.

  • Station 2 Shops, Restaurants and Night Life

It is the busiest and the most convenient station among the 3. Most of the restaurants are found here, budget or not. This is where D’mall, (souvenir shops, restaurants, convenience stores) is located.

  • Station 3 Backpackers Area

In this area, you will see most of the backpackers or commonly referred as the budget travelers because most of its accommodations are definitely cheaper compared to the other 2 stations. Station 3 is laid back, fewer people, very few restaurants, etc.

Activities

  • Parasailing is one of the most exciting activities in the island wherein a person is towed behind a boat while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that reminds one of a parachute known as parasail wing. The boat then drives off, carrying the wing and person into the air.
Parasailing ranges Php 1700 – Php2300.

  • Island Hopping at Crystal Cove Island, Crocodile Island, Puka Beach, Hinugtan Beach and Ariel’s Point.
Island Hopping ranges from Php 1500 – Php 4500.
  • Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is also known as “Beach Boy Surfing”, a quicker and more fun way of getting from one station to another. All you have to do is simply stands still and holds a paddle at your side, slowly paddling the board along while remaining in the standing position and enjoying the scenery.
Rental is Php 500.00 per hour.
  • Fly Fish is like riding a wild horse over the water. The specific design of this kind of device causes that the boat’s speed added to the wind force and the waves it comes out of the water making big jumps, like a flying fish, which gives him the name. Discharge the adrenalin with an exciting activity you can share with your friends and you will never forget!
Fly Fish ranges from Php 150 – Php 500 per pax.
  • Paraw Sailing is a local sailboat activity. The boats use two outriggers and two sails. If you schedule your activity for later in the afternoon, you can take advantage of the incredible sunset while relaxing on the boat for half an hour. Seasickness? Usually, not a problem as the boats tend to stay closer to the shore and cut through the waves very well.  Paraw sailing around Boracay is probably a really good way to ease yourself into the sea and find out how much you like it.
Paraw Sailing ranges from Php 700.00 – Php 1000.00 per hour.
  • Helmet Diving allows you to climb down a ladder until you reach a seabed (around 10 ft. below the surface) while wearing a helmet made of glass plates. The helmet makes it possible for you to breathe underwater while marveling at Boracay’s colorful sea floor with an abundance of tropical fish!
Helmet Diving ranges from Php 500.00 – Php 1500.00.

Where to eat? – Satisfy your urge!!!

  • Don Vito Ristorante Italiano is the in-house restaurant of Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel, nestled in the middle of Boracay’s White Beach. Don Vito Boracay is one of the Best Restaurant of 2011 according to Philippine Tatler. There are two seating areas, one indoor and one outdoor which at this time was covered under a tent to protect diners from the occasional rain. A lot of people stop by the place, drawn by the big display of rainbow colored gelato, enticing people young and old.

  • Kuya J is a perfect balance of affordability and luxury. The place is very modern and very close to the beach right at the center of station 2.

  • Kolai Mangyan Fudhaus serves appetizing and unique meals such as their Budbud All-Mix, Sisig Regular, and Carasilog (Carabao Meat). Highly recommended for those who are looking for budget-friendly restaurants.

  • Gerry’s Grill serves only the freshest food ranging from Filipino favorites.

  • Lanz Box at D’Mall Palengke is a restaurant that cooks great tasting meals at very affordable price. I guarantee you tho!

  • Hama Japanese is Boracay’s premier Japanese restaurant is a culinary mix of time-honored tradition and contemporary innovation. With delectable and memorable dishes that beckons one to come back for more, HAMA has become a customer favorite and “must-try” for anyone vacationing on the country’s most popular tourist destination.

  • Jeepney Stop is an iconic Filipino restaurant that is sure to be a favorite for many of Boracay’s inhabitants. It is also an affordable go-to for Filipino food that’s perfect for all.

  • Real Coffee and Tea Cafe is known to be the Home of the Original Calamansi Muffin. Best sellers are Pastries Breakfast, Calamansi Muffin Jack’s Omelet and Banana with Walnut Jack A-leen Omelet.

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Where to stay?

Budget Room Accommodation

  • Morning Star Beach Resort is a beachfront resort in Station 3, and you can book the Fan Room for 2 persons at Php 425.00 per head, per night.
  • Bamboo Beach Resort is also a beachfront resort in Station 3, ideal for large groups. You can book the Grand Family Room for 8 persons Php 447.00 per head, per night.
  • Casa Pilar Beach Resort is another beachfront resort in Station 3, you can book their Fan Room for 2 persons at Php 471.00 per head per night.
  • MNL Beach Hostel is a cool hostel on the island, located in Bulabog. You can book a bed in their air conditioned Dorm at Php 451.00 per head per night.
    Shopping

Mid Budget Room Accommodation

  • Taj Guesthouse is affordable, near the beach, and near enough to station 2′s D’mall to be convenient but still quiet enough for you to get some sleep at night?  Then Taj Guest House suggest you stay.  The Taj Guest House has been recently renovated, and in my mind is probably one of the best places to stay on a budget.
  • Tans Guesthouse is Ideal if you’re looking for quality accommodation for large groups, with family or friends. Tans is a ‘very budget friendly inn with a lot of room options to choose from single occupancy to a group of 10 ( with kitchen). They have 2 buildings, the old one is just less than a minute walk from the beach, while the annex is less than a 5-minute walk.
  • Villa Simprosa is a beachfront resort that is situated on Station 2, where most of the actions in the island take place.

D’Mall is souvenir shops, convenience stores, restaurants, and a lot of happy hour establishments.

D’Talipapa is a small marketplace where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, and kinds of seafood.

How to get there:

By Air

Boracay is served by two airports in Aklan: the Kalibo International Airport and Godofredo P. Ramos Airport commonly referred to as the Caticlan airport.

  • Boracay Airport is also known as Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan. It is a quick ten-minute boat ride away and is the easiest, most accessible point of landing to the Island.
  • Kalibo Airport is approximately 60 minutes away from Caticlan by land. The flights are usually cheaper compared to the Boracay Airport because of the distance.

By Land

From Iloilo City, it is about 5 hours bus ride (Php 350.00) and also became one of the most recommendable routes for budget travelers.

Upon arrival at Caticlan Jetty Port, you have to pay a terminal fee (Php 100.00), environmental fee (Php 75.00) and boat (Php 25.00). It usually takes for 15 mins getting to Boracay port. Boracay Port to White Beach is about ten minutes, and the trip cost Php 100.00 per trike, more if you look like a foreigner. Hahaha!

 

Enjoy Boracay

 

References: Wikipedia, BoracayLive, Asiatravel, WatersportsLloret, Boracay Guide, Talesfromthetummy

 

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