In 2012, the renowned international travel magazine Travel + Leisure, named Boracay as the best island in the world, beating Bali, Santorini, and the islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
Tourists from all around the world walk in their bare feet and tanned skin, enjoying the laid-back influence the island bestows upon its visitors.
This idyllic paradise in Aklan, Western Visayas, located approximately 315 kilometres south of Manila in the Philippines, is known for its powdery and sugary white sand beaches that are conveniently lined with resorts, hotels, restaurants, lodging houses, bars and other tourism-related businesses.
Planeloads of holidaymakers visit Boracay for the verve it gives – sun, sea, windsurfing, kiteboarding, parasailing and the endless possibility of fun activities.
The charm Boracay has is intoxicating. The choice of hotels, resorts, restaurants, gift shops that visitors have is incredible. Tourists from all around the world walk in their bare feet and tanned skin, enjoying the laid-back influence the island bestows upon its visitors.
Boracay started to develop its prestige in the ‘80s when it transformed itself from being a quiet little island into a place where most of the Philippine’s exciting summer events happen; making it a favourite destination for those who love the beach but would also like to experience some bar-hopping, dining and shopping.
With lots of things happening, there is never a dull moment.
During the day visitors are busy going from one water activity to another, whether it is swimming, island+hopping or sightseeing. As night comes, boom boxes start to play loud music, friends gather together for some al-fresco dining by the sea with candles and pretty lights. It is then the perfect time for fire dancers to do their vivacious performances, sometimes adding a hint of hilarity to wow the crowd.
With lots of things happening, there is never a dull moment. Aside from all of the fun and excitement, the simple act of basking in the breeze while waiting for the sunset is enjoyable in the island.
Boracay is divided into three stations. Station 1 is where the upscale hotels are located. It is quieter and classier and this is where the sand is at its finest in signature white. About a 10 minute walk away from Station 1 is Station 2, the hub of all things loud. Bars, restaurants and shops are everywhere in this station. Station 3 is where you can get the cheapest accommodation as backpacker inns stand beside each other.
Finding accommodation may be difficult during the peak season of January- March.
The fastest way to get to Boracay is to fly from Manila to Caticlan Airport on Panay Island, which takes approximately 50 minutes. You can also take the Manila-Kalibo flight, but this includes an hour and a half of bus travel to get to Caticlan where Boracay is located.
Things you shouldn’t miss
Island Hopping – You wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing the best of Boracay. There are many travel agents offering island hopping per head at around 500.00 Php inclusive of
lunch. Normally, their route would include snorkelling and fish feeding, the Cove, Puka Beach, and Balinghai Beach.
Paraw Sailing – another adventure you shouldn’t miss. A “paraw” is a double outrigger sail boat native to the Visayas region of the Philippines.
Take a trip to Mt. Luho – Trikes are available for you to get to Mt. Luho, the highest point in Boracay, which offers you a staggering 360 degree view of the whole island.
Visit Ariel’s Point – a favourite spot for cliff divers.
Do the Boracay Walk. Walk the 7-km beach from your hotel to Diniwid Beach at the farthest end north of Boracay. It’s a quiet, secluded beach away from the crowd which would give you wonderful time to relax and unwind.
Open air dinner – there are lots of all-you-can-eat restaurants in Boracay offering fresh sea food and delicious local foods. Many restaurants have their own fire dancers to provide entertainment as you dine.
Bar hopping – Check out Boracay’s nightlife scene!
Published: Tianjin Plus Magazine, July 2014
Photography: Cathy Perez