in central Philippines has been consistently voted as one of the world’s best islands, having one of the world’s best beaches. In 2012, it once again went to the top of such listing, Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Islands, only to be toppled to the second spot in 2013 by another Philippine island, Palawan. Nevertheless, Boracay still awes first time and repeat visitors alike especially during the best times to visit it, December to April. Even with numerous visits to Boracay, I am always amazed every time I am swimming in White Beach’s amazingly clear waters and lazing on White Beach’s powdery sand, the softest white sand I have ever seen.
I first visited Boracay in 1996. From then on, I have always come back to have a different experience of the famed island. Yes, I could say it is crowded nowadays compared to 10 or 15 years ago but its natural beauty still amazes me. So I have come up with my favorite Boracay experiences with matching snapshots taken during my different visits to the amazing island.
1. VIEWING BORACAY FROM ABOVE
Boracay can be reached from Kalibo where bigger planes can land after which you take a van or bus to travel to Caticlan jetty for 1.5-2.0 hours. The easier but usually fully booked and more expensive way is to take smaller planes to Caticlan airport directly from Manila. If you are in the right time, right seat and right side of the plane, you can view the island from above before landing.
The 4-mile beach of blindingly white, soft sand, just overwhelms me every time I get the chance to experience this view.
A closer look would reveal an almost saturated development but this does not stop me from enjoying Boracay.
2. CAPTURING PICTURESQUE SCENERIES OF WHITE BEACH
White Beach is Boracay’s gem. The beach has the softest and finest white sand most people would have seen. It keeps its cool even on hot summer days. The best time in the morning to take stunning photos of White Beach are from 9 am to 11am.
One of my favorite spots to take snapshots of White Beach is at the area in front of Pearl of the Pacific. It is just past Willy’s Rock where there is always a huge crowd gathered and before Discovery Shores which is also crowded most of the time. The area around Boracay Terraces after Friday’s is also not a bad option.
3. SUNSET WATCHING
Boracay has been listed as one of the world’s top places to watch sunsets. You can do anything you like during day time but by late afternoon, you ought to be at White Beach to watch the glorious sunsets. Bars and restaurants offer buy one take one drink promotions as early as 3p.m. until 8p.m.
My favorite spots to be sipping cocktails or ice cold beer at rock bottom prices while watching the sun disappears in the horizon are Friday’s, Jony’s (second level) and Discovery Shores (if not very crowded). You can actually just sit down on the shore along the 4-mile long beach but you have to battle your way through the sunset crowd to get the best spots. Of course, you can also opt to go up to Mount Luho as I did one time but personally, I still prefer to be on White beach during sunset.
4. LAZING AT PUKA BEACH
White Beach may have the crown but Puka Beach still gets my attention. Here, I would spend my time adding pages to my book alternating my drinks between fresh coconut juice and San Mig Light beer. This is also where I stay to get away from the madding crowd of White Beach. The sand is coarser and the beach slope is steeper but I always get the solitude I need on this beach. It is just a 15-min, 150-peso tricycle drive away from White Beach.
There are no resorts in Puka Beach and I only have my favorite restaurant, Puka Grande, there. A bar adjacent to it just recently opened. Also, a 10-min walk to the west, is a small kiosk selling drinks and peanuts in front of a huge area that is sometimes used by Shangri-la for its corporate events. There are beach huts and benches that are available for rent.
5. MASSAGE & TIRTA SPA
Sure, I would always enjoy every minute of the 300-peso, 60-min massage right on White Beach and I do not have problems with the experienced therapists who perform the traditional Filipino “hilot” on me. However, when I have the budget, I take one of the packages offered by the multi-awarded Tirta Spa Boracay. Yes, it is not one of those cheap spas and it is certainly more expensive than those beach massage but trust me, from the oil they use to the ambiance to the therapists, everything contributes to make an unforgettable experience and a service that is always impeccable and worth your bucks. I have visited the spa twice already and I have always come out refreshed. They have not been awarded for the third straight year as the Day Spa of the World for nothing.
You will be ushered into one of these villas where you will have a world of your own.
Choosing oil is an important part of the process as it will set the mood throughout the massage session.
An Egyptian milk bath in a tub filled with exotic flowers will prepare your skin for the massage.
Yes, you can have some banana fritters and kalamansi juice.
And it is time for that relaxing massage.
Whether is it the biggest burger in the island or the sumptuous Italian and Mediterranean dishes or the fresh seafood, I simply love the food in Boracay.
Just for experience I ordered the biggest burger in Boracay at Nigi Nigi and it was juicy and huge.
The seafood risotto at the Ambassador in Paradise also caught my attention.
The best dining experience for me would always be at the D’Talipapa where one can choose fresh seafoods to be cooked in one of the nearby restaurants. Fresh fish, lobster and prawns just amazingly abound.
The best fruit shakes are made by Jonah’s and probably Jony’s comes in a strong second.
Anyway, Jonah’s also offers delectable Filipino cuisine such as longsilog, tapsilog and all the other “-log”.
Finally, I would never visit Puka Beach without having lunch at the long standing restaurant in that area, Puka Beach Restaurant. I always order the reasonably -priced fried grouper and fresh coconut juice.
Boracay has been voted as one of the top party beaches in the world even beating perennial favorites like Ibiza in Spain, Kuta Beach in Bali and South Beach in Miami!
“When night falls, this incredible beach comes to life. There are amazing fire dance shows and fireworks, live bands and parties that last from dusk until dawn. There’s a great variety of clubs and bars along the beach, so no matter what kind of music you’re interested in, you’ll find a great place to hang out where the dance floor is never empty.” – Huffington Post
Top places to hangout at night in Boracay are Club Summer Place, Epic Bar and Club Paraw. There are also countless choices of acoustic bands playing pop, reggae and rock. Station 2 is the center of Boracay’s nightlife.
8. WATCHING WEDDINGS AT FRIDAYS
Boracay is a very popular wedding venue.
Since my friends and I watch sunset at Friday’s Boracay most of the time, we always had the chance to watch countless weddings took place in the resort.
9. SPENDING NEW YEAR’S EVE
This could be quite an expensive experience if this will not be planned a year or months earlier as most hotels are charging higher than any time during the year and flights are at its most expensive too. Thank God, even if my first New Year’s Eve trip to Boracay was hastily planned, my friend was able to secure a room at his friend’s place in Boracay and he was able to tag me along and oh yes, we wisely took a boat from Batangas pier direct to Caticlan for just less than a thousand pesos, one way. It was my first time to take the boat to Boracay and my first also to spend New Year’s Eve. It was absolutely amazing.
10. FALLING IN LOVE WITH BORACAY
Despite negative things being said about Boracay, I will always be coming back and loving this amazing island. I am always amazed at how beautiful the island is as if every time is always my first time.
Lately, concrete fences within 50 meters from the shore have been torn down to give a more natural beachfront ambiance. I just encourage everyone to be responsible in everything they do in the island as God has given us this amazing island to enjoy and not to destroy.