Located off the northwest corner of the Panay Island, the small island Boracay won the best island in the world award in 2012 and since then the popularity of this island grows exponentially. We were lured by its great white beaches and spent three nights on the island.
For accommodation we chose the Frendz Hostel (Near Boat Station 1 Balabag main Beach, White Beach Path, Boracay (Aklan), 2002, http://www.frendzresortboracay.com/) and can definitely recommended this place to stay at. The staff is very friendly and the atmosphere is youthful and funny. The food and the drinks are tasty and the program in the evening is great!
You cannot fly to Boracay directly: you either fly to Kalibo (there are more flights to this airport) or to Caticlan (this airport is closer to the island) and then take a boat.
We flew to Kalibo and then took a bus for 250 PHP to Caticlan Jetty Port. The ride took about 2 hours. At the port we paid 100 PHP for the boat transfer (75 PHP environmental fee an 25 terminal fee).
From Boracay we were supposed to fly from Caticlan (but didn’t. The reason is mentioned at the end of this post). We went by boat (55 PHP, buy the ticket at the desk and not on the street) and then by a taxi (80 PHP).
As we were on Philippines during the rainy season and a nasty hurricane went above the Philippines and brought even more rain, we had to come up with some solutions how to escape from the rain. We had bars, restaurants, board games on the list. Once we had the best timing getting a massage during the shower. By the way, we were very satisfied with ours at Yenyen Spa (contact (036)2882779 Rosemarie), which we got for 300 PHP in very decent conditions.
In the evening, on the White Beach you will see many Sand Castles, which were built by the local kids and craftsmen. Beware: you have to pay the creator to take a picture of the castle. By the way, every morning these castles are destroyed by the flood and built again from the scratch in the evening.
Though Boracay has its immensely beautiful deserted corners, the island became incredibly touristy: the White Beach of Boracay can be (almost) solitary only early in the morning.
In the evening, before the sunset, many people go with a boat to the sea (ask for an organized tour or hire a private boat if you are interested) to enjoy the beauty of the sun getting down directly into the sea. Beware, in the rainy season the probability of a shower is pretty high at that time of a day.
A good idea for an entertainment during the day is to visit the Mount Luho – the highest peak on Boracay with a great observation platform on the top. It is very easy to reach (and to climb), you can even walk there from the White Beach.
After climbing the Mount Luho, we took a tricycle to the Virgin Yapak beach called now Puka Beach. The name came from the shells and corals which cover it (remember, you are not allowed to take any of them with you). Don’t worry, they are not sharp. They only make the powdery white sand more beautiful and natural. The crystal clear azure water completes the idyllic picture.
We wanted to visit Ilig Iligan Beach as well, but we were told that this one is private.
Another activity we tried and can recommend is to take a half day boat tour around the island. This tour includes climb diving from three different heights. Even the raid couldn’t spoil that fun!
Places to eat:
Sunny side café (Station 3 Beachfront, Boracay Sands Hotel, http://www.thesunnysideboracay.com/) is a great breakfast place. I chose Champorado and this was probably one of the most unordinary breakfasts I’ve ever had. It’s chocolate rice porridge with mango and caramelized bacon.
Pamana – an amazing restaurant with a long family tradition. We have tried Bawang Pata, Sinanglay, Seafood Paella and Calamansi. The food is delicious, the service is quick and friendly. Highly recommended!
To do in Kalibo:
Our flight from Caticlan was cancelled and we were re-routed to Kalibo for a flight 5 hours later. Interestingly, in Internet the flight was in time. So we first knew about that at the airport. However, we made the best use of this time: we went to the eco-park Bakhawan Mangrove Forest (http://www.bakhawanmangroveforest.com/). Taxi there costs about 80 – 100 PHP. The entrance fee is 150 PHP.
You get a great chance to see the unique clam cultures, read: little crabs with huge claws funnily walking around the mangroves and fighting for the food (or crab females?).
At the end of the 1 km walk, you will be rewarded with a beautiful wooden pathway (and a little beach bar where some beer and soft drinks are sold). You can rent a kayak there (and a raft in the high season) as well and explore the surroundings.
After the eco-park, we had a diner at Roz and Angelique’s: delicious, exotic and huge portions and very fair prices. As we already visited a crab farm, we ordered crab meat, fried rice (the portion is enough for at least 4 people) and fried pork.
To sum up, though Boracay can be very beautiful, at the same time, it turned to be too touristy for us. I liked El Nido much more. The next blog entry will be about this amazing island. Stay tuned!