It was in 2012 when I first experienced falling in love with a stranger. It was a weird feeling, beautiful and unexpected. It was the kind of feeling that despite the pain, you’d still want to experience it again.
and again and again.
That’s Boracay for me.
It’s the kind of addiction I don’t ever want to go away. It’s the kind of place I could stay for months and just chill out because that’s exactly what Boracay is for – chilling out.
The beach, the hot people and the awesome parties are just bonuses that make Boracay the island paradise it is.
To help you plan for your unforgettable Boracay trip, here is your guide.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT BORACAY
The infamous, long, white beach is divided into boat stations – ports that fishermen used way, way back. There is a Station 1, 2 and 3 that divides the White Beach and Angol Beach just before Station 3. Station 3 is the beach nearest to the Cagban Port, so you’ll pass by it first. Station 1 is the furthest, just before the other private beaches (Fairways and Bluewater) and Diniwid Beach, which is a smaller, but up and coming beach that also shelters beautiful, white sand. Bulabog Beach is at the other side of the island, right behind White Beach. The sand is black, there are lots of rocks, but it is perfect for kitesurfing.
HOW TO GET TO BORACAY
There are a few ways to get to Boracay.
From Manila, you can take a plane to Caticlan. Caticlan is the jump off point to Boracay. From the airport, you can take a tricycle to the Caticlan Jetty Port. At the Jetty Port, you have to pay P100 for the terminal fee (and yes, that’s back and forth) and P75 for the environmental fee. The boat fee is P25. The boat to Boracay is only about 10 minutes. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have flights to Caticlan.
You can also fly to Kalibo International Airport, which is always a much cheaper option because the airport caters to airbuses that are cheaper to fly compared to the small planes to Caticlan. Fares going to Kalibo are about 50% cheaper all the time, so its easy to get flights there. From Kalibo, right outside the airport is a terminal going to Boracay. Just head straight there and tell them you’re going to Boracay. The travel time to Caticlan is 1 and a half hour (unless you take the Southwest bus and it’ll take 2 hours, because of the 20 min stop).
Fare costs P250, inclusive of terminal fee, environmental fee and boat fee. Unfortunately, this terminal is now Southwest’s and I hate their fastcraft, because it’s not exactly fast. Instead of getting to Boracay in 10 minutes, you have to wait for 30 minutes for the boat to fill up and it’s just a hassle. If I were you, I’d skip their fastcraft and buy a ticket separately at the window. But I’m impatient. So that’s just me.
2Go also has a boat from Batangas to Caticlan. It takes about 8 hours with various options for a bed.
WHERE TO STAY
For budgeted travelers
Never have I been disappointed when staying at Frendz Resort Hostel. Frendz has everything I want in a place to stay in Boracay. Comfortable bed, cheap rate at P600 per night, good food (their mango chicken is to die for!), a great common room and mojito parties from time to time. Who doesn’t want that? I usually book my stays at HostelBookers, but you can also book through their site. If you’re traveling alone, this is also a great place to stay and meet other people. Dorms usually consist of 6-8 pax, the CR is clean too. There are also private rooms that range from P1200 – P2400 for aircon.
Station 2, just near Starbucks and Steakhouse Boracay.
My friend, Mica of Senyorita.net stayed here once when we went to Boracay separately. I’m sure it’s an okay place to stay because she did stay there for some time. The only problem is – it was located much too far! At Station 3.5, she had to walk so long just to get there. And when you party hard at night, you shouldn’t have to walk too far to get a good sleep. However, at an unbeatable price of P250 – P300 per bed, you can definitely save a lot of money.
Check their Facebook Page here.
MNL Boutique Boracay Hostel
Another cheap and viable option is the MNL Boutique Boracay Hostel. A bed there costs P650 with breakfast (according to a friend). I’ve never stayed there, so I can’t exactly tell you if its good. The place is located in Bulabog Beach though, so you’d have to walk across the main street and some more just to get there.
Mango Ray Resort and Hotel
I love a resort that doesn’t look like a formal, boring building. I love resorts that have personality and charm. In all of the places I’ve stayed at in Boracay, Mango Ray is the mid-luxury hotel that can offer you utmost privacy (with their private beach front that only guests can lounge in), their adorable little garden restaurant and the super spacious rooms. Have I mentioned their super spacious rooms? For P4500 a night, you get a room that you can seriously tumble in. The design is also unique and the wooden floors make the room quite cool during the day. They also have another room at the same price that has a kitchen inside. Yes, if I had a budget every time I went to Boracay, I’d stay here.
Station 2, 2 mins to DMall, beach front.
Tides Resort and Hotel
Located in the middle of D’mall, Tides has the slightly “common” hotel look from the outside. However, I can’t deny that their rooms are utterly comfortable. Despite the lack of space (especially when there are two of you who have so many marketing materials), it was still a very comfortable place to stay. Rooms cost P4500 – P10,000. Ooh, did I mention they have really awesome foam parties at their rooftop pool bar?
Microtel Resorts and Hotel
When I first went to Boracay in 2010, I stayed in Microtel Resorts and Hotel. Despite being located in Diniwid Beach (about P100 tricycle or a long walk from Station 2, across the cliffs at Station 1), it was a pretty good place to stay. Back then, the resort was small, but the rooms were very comfortable too. When I saw the resort last January 2014, I noticed they had lawn chairs all the way over the beach. I’m sure they’ve renovated a lot already. Rates range from P2500 – P6000.
La Carmela Resort and Hotel
The truth is, I don’t really wanna recommend this resort to anyone because of private reasons (not really related to the hotel or their services, don’t worry). But just in case, you really need another place to stay, well, go right ahead. Rates range from P2100 (low season) – P13500 (super peak season). This resort is located in the middle of Station 2 and Station 3 (at the border, actually). Walk from D’Mall is about 15 – 30 minutes, leisure.
Pearl of the Pacific Hotel
Once upon a time, I stayed at Pearl of the Pacific Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel, with lots of renovations to be done, because it’s a little old already. However, the beach front is one of the best along White Beach. During low tide, the beach stretches all the way and people would start football games on the sand. The room we got was okay, but because it was located so far up the hill, it was tiring to go up and down. If I do stay here again, I’d rather a room near the beach or even at the first floor.
Discovery Shores Boracay
Due to my airline connections before, I was able to get a tour of Discovery Shores in Boracay. At about P18,000 a night, one of their luxury rooms has a huge suite bedroom, complete with free massages and drinks. Now that’s luxury.
WHAT TO DO
I’ve honestly toured several of my friends in Boracay and I can definitely say that none of them were disappointed. When you’ve been to Boracay so many times, you master the awesome things to do.
Watch the Solara Fire dancers at Sandbar
I would never. NEVER. never go to Boracay without spending a night or two watching the awesome Solara Fire Dancers in Sandbar. And I don’t just mean you watch from outside. You have to go inside and sit in one of their comfortable beach sofas. There may be an entrance fee of about P285, but this is consumable, so you can drink until you make the entrance fee worth it. I assure you, these dancers are amazing. They are worth every penny. Spend a night there and I dare you to come back and tell me you didn’t enjoy it. Sandbar is located right in front of Bamboo Lounge, a few bars away from Tibraz and the District.
Get jiggy with the drummers at Exit Bar
Love a little bit of hippie music? The adorable kid that plays with the professional drummers is as impressive as the music that plays there. Beer is cheap and there is a pool table at the back. Exit Bar is near Bom Bom and Phat’s Bar.
Test your alcohol tolerance with the Rike-otso at Bom Bom Bar
Recently, a friend introduced me to this drink at Bom Bom Bar, just in front of Phat’s Bar. Ask them for a Rike-Otso and follow the instructions by the bartender. I’ve taken a few friends to taste this drink and their reactions are quite memorable and freakin’ hilarious. Uhm…if you need a clue, the drink involves fire. Yes. Fire. The drink costs P150-P200 I think.
Do the Boracay Pubcrawl
Are you alone? With a bunch of friends? Nothing to do tonight? Nowhere to go? Do the Boracay Pubcrawl! This event starts at TiBraz. It costs P990 if you buy on spot and this includes a t-shirt (limited) and a shotglass. Doing the Boracay Pubcrawl gives you access to free parties and cheap P50 beers.
Go sunset sailing
What is Boracay without its infamous sunset? Grab some friends, buy cheap beer at a store along the road and take them with you as you sail in front of White Beach, while watching the sun set. It’s romantic and relaxing. Boat costs P1200 for 4 pax for three hours.
Get some romance on at Spiderhouse in Diniwid Beach
I have a thing for sunsets. One of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed was at Spiderhouse Boracay in Diniwid Beach. They have an amazing view of Diniwid Beach, a really nice floating raft and a corner where you can watch the sun set with some beers and special friends.
Go island hopping
Just like any island, Boracay has its neighboring islands. Consists of a few other islands, the island hopping tour takes about 1 day or less, if you’re in a hurry. I did this while raining so we didn’t exactly enjoy it much. Our last stop was the alluring Puka Beach that has pretty deep sand for swimming, with creamy white sand. Island hopping costs about P1500 – P2000 per boat.
Go on the Mellow Yellow Sunset Cruise
I’ve never done this so I can’t really tell you what’s special about it. However, anything with “Yellow” and “sunset cruise” in it ought to be pretty cool. I kid. According to friends, the Mellow Yellow Boat Cruise costs P500, with two beers on a yellow boat that cruises from 2pm – 6pm. It’s a party boat. And you can jump from one of their ledges. I think. Hopefully, when I get back to Boracay, I get to experience them.
For more information, check their Facebook page.
Do the Manic Monkey Jungle Party
I’ve never done the Jungle Party either! Also recently discovered, the Jungle Party costs about P2000 and it will last the entire day. The boat will take you out to a resort somewhere in Aklan where you can drink and party all day.
Check their Facebook here.
Do the Ariel’s Point
Ariel’s Point is for those who are alcohol-hungry and crazy adventurous. For P1500, you get unlimited alcohol and food at 11am – 5pm. There is also the ledge where you can jump once you’ve taken out the nerves with lots of booze. Usually, when I see people come back at 5pm at the hostel and they are crazy drunk, I know where they came from.
The best thing about Boracay is that you don’t have to do anything! It’s the best place to just lay around, forget all your problems and enjoy your not doing anything.
WHERE TO EAT
This Greek restaurant just went under renovation. But their Mati Chocolate Sin is still in their menu and thank goodness for that, because I’d go back to Boracay just to eat it. Delicious. Seriously delicious. Mati Chocolate Sin costs P280, I think. Or P230.
On a budget? Smoke Restaurant must be one of the most popular cheap restaurants around. It’s located in D’Mall. Price ranges from P75 – P200.
My favorite place to eat after a hangover. Their chicken parmesan is absolutely delicious. They are open 24 hours. Located right next to Epic Bar. Burgers are also good, but I usually just order the chicken parmesan. Price ranges from P100 – P300.
Deco’s La Paz Batchoy.
Located a little farther down the beach going to Station 3, just before La Carmela is Deco’s, a great place to eat batchoy (a local dish from Iloilo). The food is also pretty cheap. Batchoy is like P100 and their breakfast ranges from P75 – P150 – that’s super cheap for a beachfront restaurant.
I’ve met so many foreign friends who love Andok’s. It’s cheap, the chicken is delicious and it’s open all day and night. Located at D’Mall.
SAMPLE 3D2N ITINERARY
10am – ETA in Kalibo
11.30am – ETA in Caticlan
12pm – ETA in hotel. Check in, drop bags
12.30pm – Go out for lunch
2pm – Back to the hotel to fix bags.
3pm – Sunset cruise
6pm – back to island and resort to get dressed.
8pm – dinner
9.30pm – Exit Bar for their drummer show
10pm – Sandbar for the firedancers
12midnight – go to Bom Bom’s for a rike-otso, stay at Phat’s bar for the final leg of their band’s show.
1.30am – look for a bar or club to finish off the night.
9am – breakfast
10am – island hopping
4pm – ETA from island hopping, head to Diniwid Beach
4.30pm – go to Spiderhouse Boracay for the sunset
7pm – go back to resort
8pm – dinner
9pm – join Boracay Pubcrawl and party till you drop
9am – breakfast
11am – head out for Ariel’s Point
5pm – ETA
7pm – Check out, head for Cagban Port and Kalibo Airport
10pm – ETD from Kalibo Airport.
1. Try to go on a full moon. It’s amazing to watch the full moon set over the waters on White Beach.
2. Sometimes, when the water is high tide during the night, there is no beach front in front of Giligan’s and Club Paraw.
3. A solo tricycle from Cagban Port to the resort is about P100 – P150. If you tell the driver that he can take someone else with you on the tricycle, you should only pay P20.
4. If you really want cheap stuff, stay at Station 3 or Angol Beach. It may be far from all the party places, but the prices for the accommodation, the beer and the food there is unbeatable.
5. If you really like swimming, stay at Station 3 because the water there is much more swimmable than it is in Station 2 or 1. During low tide, the water pushes back so far that you have to walk just to get deeper into the waters.
6. The stations are slightly divided by range of price. Station 1 is usually for luxury hotels and resorts, Station 2 has mid-range and Station 3 is relatively cheap.
7. All watersports are cheaper during low season. As in seriously cheaper. Parasailing can go as low as P500 during July – September.
8. Surprisingly, the beach is incredibly beautiful during July – August and November – January.
9. It’s not that hard to find a boatman. Just step out on the beach, look like a tourist and several of them will flock you.
10. It is illegal to bring back home sand, corals, starfish and even shells from Boracay. Not only that, it is harmful to the environment. Please do not bring them home. Home for these things is Boracay and not your aquarium.