All Manila residents like to get away every so often in order to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, and many will opt for the beautiful and tailor-made-for-pleasure island of Boracay; there are lots of reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s very easy to get to. The flight into Caticlan takes less than an hour, it takes less than ten minutes to collect your baggage and walk through customs, and then it takes a mere three minutes on a tricycle to get to the port. From there, after a little bit of queuing up to pay for the Environmental Fee and the Port Entrance Fee (which comes to around P200), you just jump onto the next banca setting off (there’ll be one every ten minutes or so) whereby a ten minute journey will take you onto the island. From the port there, a short tricycle ride will deliver you to the famed White Beach.
Booking a hotel is very easy due to the sheer amount of hotels available, from expensive and swanky to slightly more economical, the price largely depending on whether you want to be located right on the sand or not. You can just turn up and walk along the beach and will more often than not be accommodated pretty quickly, or book online before you go. Once people have been a couple of times, most tend to have their favorite hotel that they go back to time and again.
Once you’re there, it’s all laid on for you and everything you could possibly want is on your doorstep. There’s the idyllic white sand beach with lots of places for you to find a spot and lie in the sun all day while sipping on a cocktail or two, or, if you’re feeling energetic, there are plenty of water sports available, a zipline course and off road ATV adventures, and you even can go for a helicopter ride around the island.
And then there’s the kitesurfing. The east side of the island is a very famous kitesurfing spot and, from November through to May, is full with people learning or honing their skills. Even if you don’t want to try it yourself, spending a day watching the others whizz along back and forth, while you’re sipping on a beer or two and admiring a blue sky full of multi-colored kites, is a real pleasurable experience.
On the culinary front you have as much choice as a mini-London, with all sorts of restaurants offering everything from Filipino, Indian, Italian, Thai, Greek, Japanese, and anything else you might think of. At dusk, beach-front restaurants bring out the fresh fish and put it on display for you to peruse and choose, and then enjoy eating while sitting underneath those regal palm trees with your feet digging into the sand.
As far as drinking, again you have so much choice that you could spend every night just bar hopping. The most popular bars for people wanting to have fun are Red Coco, Exit and Nigi Nigi, while those wanting to carry on can dance the night away at Paraw, Summer Place or Epic. For those who want to chill out and relax, all the other places have seating on the sand where you can spend the night chatting and enjoying the ambiance. And this is all just on White Beach. There are more places on Diniwid at the end of White Beach, a few more on Bulabog Beach on the other side of the island, and quite a few more that are not on the beach at all.
Boracay, a fantastic destination that is still worth visiting, either to relax or to party – or both – and which still clings on to its beauty no matter how many tourists visit it and how many new hotels get built.