Just like the Full Moon party in Koh Pangan, the Boracay trip has inched a few notches up in my bucket list. I feel a sense of guilt when I travel to other countries and meet other backpackers who brag about the beauty of Boracay. My typical reply is, “Oh really? I haven’t been there.”
I stayed 5 days in the island. My friend Tania joined me in this trip. We also joined two different groups of friends during our stay. I would say that this adventure was hanging on the expensive scale of my usual adventures.
Day 1 – Walk around the beach and watch the sunset
Day 2 – Try the famous fruit shakes, calamansi muffins and buffets, pubcrawl!
Day 3 – Island hopping, souvenir shopping
Day 4 – ATV, Zorb, Parasailing and Helmet Diving
Day 5 – Go home
How To Go There
If you’re taking an international flight, you’ll probably be arriving at Kalibo International Airport.
From Kalibo International Airport:
1. Take the van/bus and boat package to Tabon Port – PHP250.00 (~$5), 1.5 hours
2. From the Tabon port, there’s a boat going to Tambisan Port in the island of Boracay – ticket is already included in item 1, 15-2o minutes
3. At the Tambisan port, pay the following fees:
a. Environmental Fee – PHP75.00
b. Terminal Fee – PHP25.00
4. Take a tricycle to your hotel/resort – chartered costs PHP100 – PHP150.00 but if you have time to wait for other passengers, you can pay only PHP20 – PHP25.00.
Departing from the Island
1. Take a tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to the port where the boats are CURRENTLY docking. This is important because there are two ports and normally the tricycle driver will not tell you which port is open. When I was there, I asked the driver to bring me to the port. I didn’t specify which port, I only said “port” only to find out that it had been closed for the day and the operation was moved to the other port! I had to pay twice!
2. Pay the same environment and terminal fees.
3. Purchase a boat/van/bus package for PHP 250.00
4. Domestic airport terminal fee – PHP150.00
International airport terminal fee – PHP500.00
There are a lot of choices with dishes ranging from Korean to Western to Italian. I’m surprised that the prices of the food here are quite expensive compared to the rest of the Southeast asian countries (except Singapore). The must-try food are:
Fruit shakes in Singapore are quite expensive that’s why I indulged myself daily with smoothies here. Jonah’s is the original and most famous place for the shakes. My favorites are the avocado banana, avocado mango and banana mango. It costs on average, PHP110.00 (~SGD$3)
Silog (Fried rice with sunny side up eggs)
There’s quite a number of restaurants selling “Silogs”. The ones I’ve tried are from Jonah’s and 928 Cafe and Grill. If you’re on a budget, you may want to try the 928 Cafe and Grill. I would have tried Andok’s if I spent more days there.
There’s a ton of buffet restaurants there. You may choose from seafood to international buffet. I’ve tried the one from Bamboo Beach Resort Bar and Restaurant (PHP295.00) and Boracay Victory Beach Resort (PHP285.00). The seafood buffet from Boracay Victory Beach Resort is much better than Bamboo Beach although its location isn’t as visible as Bamboo’s. They had cooked oysters, fish, snail, among others.
If you have a lot of time but not a lot of money, you can try the free buffets offered by Astor or by Crown Regency. The only caveat is that you will have to listen to their sales talk regarding their vacation packages, which isn’t that bad if you have too much time to waste–just learn the art of saying No!. 🙂
When Tania was reading a few blogs about restaurants in Boracay, she always see this place in the list. For some reason, its taste and its price appeals to the tourists although it’s still relatively expensive for me. It didn’t take us much convincing to try it. They have two branches in Boracay. The one in d’mall is easier to find than the one in the market. Typically the one in d’ mall is crowded so I suggest that you go to the one in the market. One of their bestsellers (according to one of the staff) is Beef Salpicao. It’s a little bit spicy but it’s reasonably good. I paid PHP170.00 for this (almost $6 SGD!! expensive!)
Calamansi (Lime) Muffin
This is famous in Boracay because this is where it all started. You need to look for the Real Coffee and Tea Cafe. It is the home of the original Calamansi muffin! I don’t fancy the taste, but it’s worth the try. It costs around PHP65.00 if I’m not mistaken.
Of course, your trip to the Philippines wouldn’t be complete if you don’t try the famous street food! My favorites are Isaw (skewered chicken/pig intestine), hotdog-on-stick and Balut (but our friend Rose doesn’t really fancy the “processed” foods!). Each stick typically costs PHP10-15.00. Do not forget to taste the Chori burger. It has been voted as the best burger in New York and it originated from Boracay (where else?!).
Where To Sleep?
There’s a wide range of hostels, hotels and resorts in Boracay. I’ve experienced the budget type, the average and the expensive one. We did some “room” hopping during our stay there.
My friend Carlo found this place through Airbnb. I think he paid $67SGD per night.
Pros: Clean, air-conditioned; provides extra bed; staff is accommodating; there’s a water heater
Cons: Wi-fi doesn’t reach the room; it is 15 minutes away from the beachfront; and the narrow street is dark at night.
We only paid PHP1200.00 for a room with two queen size beds. It’s cheaper because it’s low season and we’re lucky to have two queen size beds because the other room with two single beds are occupied.
Pros: Clean and big room; beachfront; the toilet is big; the staff are nice; location is 10-15 mins away from d’mall
Cons: the room is a bit gloomy (must be the lights!) and there’s a little bit of musty smell; the air condition needs some cleaning; the wi-fi works only in the morning; there’s no cellphone signal in the room.
This is the best place that we’ve stayed. It’s probably a 4-star hotel. The concept of the room is like a dormitory. There are six beds and the room is very spacious. There’s a 46-inch LED TV. There’s a fridge. The aircon is split-type and it’s clean! The toilet has all the accessories and toiletries a hotel would typically have, but the best part is their buffet breakfast! Each person paid around PHP1200.00 per night. Oh, the wi-fi is very fast (but don’t expect a gigabit speed)! They have a nice pool too! The only problem here is that it’s 5-10 minutes away from the beach.
There are a lot of bars along the shores of Stations 1, 2 and 3. The famous one in Station 1 is Coco Mangas. It’s one of the oldest bars in the island (26 years and counting) and is very popular for their Still Standing After 15, which is basically a drinking challenge where guests have to finish 15 shots of assorted booze.
My favorite bar would be Tribal cafe. The acoustic singer’s voice is very pleasant to the ears. A bucket of beer is not too expensive, they even have a 6+1 beer promo if you order before 10PM. A bucket of beer costs PHP365.00, a beer costs PHP65.00.
If you want to enjoy the music from Tribal Cafe, get a cheaper beer and still chill at the beach, you can do the following:
1. Go to the sari-sari store (grocery mart) near the Tribal Cafe and buy a PHP35.00 beer.
2. Buy a Sarong for PHP150.00
3. Lay the Sarong in front of Tribal Cafe and chill.
If you’re one of those people who wants to do bar-hopping, meet new friends and party all night, you can join Boracay Pub Crawl. A ticket costs PHP690.00 (for ladies) and PHP750.00 (for guys) and it includes the following:
- FREE entrance to 5 Bars & Clubs
- 10 FREE Shots & Shooters)
- 2 for Php100 PubCrawl Specials
- FREE Boracay PubCrawl T-Shirt
- FREE Shot Glass
- FREE Ballerband
- Funny and fun Get-To-Know Games
There are a lot of water sports you can explore in the island. A few that we’ve tried are:
Island Hopping (PHP800.00) – this includes lunch, snorkelling and a trip into Crystal Cove
ATV & Zorb (PHP800.00)
Helmet Diving (PHP400.00)
Parasailing (PHP800.00) – hanging up in the air for 15 minutes
When we went there, it was monsoon season so the sites where we had snorkelling and helmet diving were not that impressive. The part where I enjoyed most is probably parasailing–I have acrophobia and I love the feeling of overcoming it. I even instagram-ed while I was on top although you should only do that if you don’t mind losing your phone in case your drop it. If the island hopping activity included a trip to Puka Shell beach, I would recommend it as well.
If you need a tour guide/contact to arrange the activities, please send a SMS to Arnel. He was very accommodating and friendly.
Name: Arnel Pineda
Contact no.: +63-949-927-8357
Lying on the beach, appreciating the waves, the fine white sand, and feeling the breeze is more than enough to enjoy your trip in Boracay. I can’t wait to promote this island when I travel overseas (but most probably, they’ve already heard of this magnificent island!).