I’ve been to Boracay for a lot of times, but I still wanted to go back again and again for many reasons. I don’t really like the very silent beach because I get bored easily. Boracay has all the elements I wanted in a vacation place. It has the beautiful beach, great party environment, it has shopping centers for all souvenir hunters, food alley which offers international cuisines, great people, business centers and unlimited activities which will give variety to one’s vacation.
One of Philippine’s best, Boracay is a tropical island located approximately 315km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2km off the northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Boracay Island is located on the northwest corner of the island of Panay and belongs to the Western Visayas island-group, or Region 6, of the Philippines. The island is approximately seven kilometers long, dog-bone shaped with the narrowest spot being less than one kilometer wide, and has a total land area of 10.32 square kilometers. South-facing Cagban Beach is located across a small strait from the jetty port at Caticlan on Panay island, and the Cagban jetty port serves as Boracay’s main entry and exit point during most of the year. When wind and sea conditions dictate, east-facing Tambisaan Beach serves as an alternative entry and exit point.
White powdery Beach is the main tourist attraction of the Island. It is a bit over four kilometers long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses. In the central portion, for about two kilometers, there is a footpath known as the Beachfront Path separating the beach itself from the establishments located along it. North and south of the Beachfront Path, beachfront establishments do literally front along the beach itself. In past years, Boracay entry and exit was done through three boat stations located along the Beachfront Path, but that practice was discontinued in 2007 in favor of the single-point entry and exit mentioned above. Several roads and paths connect the Beachfront Path with Boracay’s Main Road, a vehicular road which runs the length of the island. At the extreme northern end of White Beach, a footpath runs around the headland there and connects White Beach with Diniwid Beach.
Across the island from White Beach is Bulabog Beach, a secondary tourism beach and Boracay’s main windsurfing and kiteboarding area.
Boracay was then called, “Land of the Atis or Aetas” because the first settlers of the island are the Negritos or Atis. The Negritos farmed and fished in Boracay for centuries. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the Boracaynons or the people of Boracay depended largely on fishing and coconut plantation. Copra, the dried meat of the coconut, was traded to businessmen from Aklan in exchange for rice and other goods and commodities.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Boracay became popular among families from Panay. When a German writer published a book about the Philippines in 1978, describing Boracay history and the beautiful island in details, the island was introduced to the world. This mark the beginning of tourist “boom” in the island.
Since then, The onset of tourism changed Boracay completely. As word of its exceptional beauty–specifically the immaculate white sands of White Beach spread, tourists began arriving. Suddenly, from a sleepy, sparsely populated island, Boracay was transformed into a major destination on the international travel circuit. There is always a debate of course as to whether the change was for the better or worse, but it was certainly a turning point in the history of Boracay Island.
Sun-worshippers love Boracay. Hundreds of people parade in their swimsuits at the shore of Boracay aiming to get their desired “summer tan look” or for ladies simply their “bikini tan lines”. The Island is where summer is sunnier, lovelier, and livelier.
Like in the most parts of the Philippines, Boracay enjoys a climate that is divided into two seasons, locally named as Amihan and Habagat. Amihan is a season when temperatures are modest and little rainfall is expected. Habagat, on the other hand, is a season when temperatures arise combined with frequent rain showers. Generally, Boracay experiences Amihan in September and May and Habagat for the rest of the year.
From March to June, the climate in Boracay is very hot with occasional rain showers to cool off. That is the main reason, this island getaway is almost a sold out during that period. Whenever it is sunny, people find the best opportunity to enjoy Boracay activities with no worries of any kind of interruptions from the climate.
Habagat is felt with more frequent thunderstorms especially from July to October, these months are considered as Boracay`s lean season. Very few people choose to brave the stormy climate that is why tourism is dull. If you decide to visit Boracay during, this time, your best edge is owning a cheap accommodation. Vacation rates at offseason are very pocket-friendly.
One of the best assets of every Filipino is there ability to speak English making any place in the Philippines tourist friendly and easy to access by any visitor.
Though Ati was originally used as a language in Boracay, the dominant language in Boracay today is Aklanon or Akeanon, spoken in the province of Aklan where Boracay Island is located. Most Boracay native folks use this daily. Next is Ilonggo, due to the proximity of Boracay to the Panay Islands. Filipino or Tagalog ( an archaic form of Filipino) is also widely used as a language in Boracay because many vacationers and visitors in the island come from Manila and the Tagalog provinces. Furthermore, Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, so more than 80 percent of the people scattered all over the archipelago speak it.
The Philippine peso is the official currency on the island of Boracay. Cash and traveler’s cheques can be exchanged in banks, at some shops, and at most hotels. Sterling and US dollars are the best currency to bring. Rates of exchange will differ between establishments, with the banks invariably offering the best deals. ATMs are available but scarce with machines located at Metrobank and D’Mall. Most foreign cards are accepted; cards endorsed or provided by American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa are the most readily accepted.
Because Boracay Island is one of the forefront tourist destinations, the island, therefore, provides an easy avenue to banks, money transfers, real estate brokers, office services and internet access, all for the convenience and necessity of its valued guests.
Anyone would love Boracay. The island offers more than 200 restaurants and food stations where one can sumptuously find a wide variety of assorted food from around the world and the Philippines. Restaurants at night offer a buffet dinner at a relatively reasonable prices with a great ambiance of an Island. Experience traditional Filipino dishes and other Asian cuisines ranging from Korean and Thai to Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. European dishes, including German, Swiss, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian are thus widely available on the island.
For a more adventurous person like myself or for those who are tired of dining in restaurants, then check out D`Talipapa, a wet market specializing in seafood and seasonal fresh fruits.
Name it Boracay has something to offer. Any travelers “must haves” items are found Boracay Island: beach-related items, such as beach wear, beach towels, slippers, T-shirts and bottles of sun-protective lotions. One can easily find shops selling all sorts of things, from raw and cooked food to beachwear and cool T-shirts, mostly representing Boracay Island. For clothes, accessories, footwear, home decors, lamps, native woodcarvings and even antique furniture, one can accessibly purchase these at an upscale mall, known as D`Mall, in Station 2. D`Mall also offers convenience stores for necessity shopping, money changers, ATM machines, pharmacies, internet cafes, WI-FI stations, airline ticketing offices, and travel agencies for flight confirmations and changes. As for seafood hunting, the D`Talipapa is the ideal place for it. It is now considered as the new wet market or ‘talipapa’ after the old talipapa in Station 3 turned into ashes from a fire accident in January 2005. Situated along the main road near Boat Station 2, D`Talipapa renders a wide range of raw ingredients, comprising of poultry, meat and seasonal fresh seafood and fruits.
Sunset is indeed the beginning of nightlife in Boracay. Almost every sunset is a spectacle by itself. Most restos and hotels even offer some shows for their guests. And afterward, one may shake oneself up over a relaxing massage or over a sumptuous dinner before heading out for the bar and other exciting night activities.
Where to Stay
Boracay has a wide array of places (Hotels, Resorts, Inns) of various standards for any guests according to their budget and personal preference. Here’s a list of various Hotels in Boracay (as of July 2016).
At the Airport
Don’t get lost especially for first-time travelers and for those coming from abroad. Three airport terminals in Manila are serving flights to Boracay:
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 – serves PAL flights except those operated by AirPhil Express (they have code share for Caticlan flights); also known as the Centennial Terminal.
NAIA 3 – Cebu Pacific and AirPhil Express flights; the newest terminal in front of Resorts World Manila.
Manila Domestic Airport – SEAIR and Zest Airways flights.
If you booked online, remember to bring your printed flight confirmation. You cannot enter the airport without this. NAIA 3 check-in counters Unlike with other countries, airport terminal fee in the Philippines is not yet included in the airfare. It needs to be paid separately in the airport before going to the boarding area. P200 at NAIA for domestic flights.
Upon arrival, take your appropriate ride to go to Caticlan Jetty Port.
From Caticlan Airport – There will be a tourist information sheet that needs to be filled up per group (yup, not per passenger). Outside the small airport, tricycles are waiting for you. It costs P50 per chartered trip and would only take a two or three-minute ride to reach the Caticlan Jetty Port.
From Kalibo Airport – Lots of vans are waiting outside the airport for P200 per head which already includes the pump boat ride from Caticlan Jetty Port to Boracay’s Cagban Port. The price of the van ride alone is P175. Travel time is more or less 1.5 hours; also, give a 30-minute allowance for some waiting time and unexpected delays just to be sure. Note: Most of the vans are kinda crappy. Another option is to ride the South West Tours bus for P250.
From Iloilo Airport – I haven’t tried this route yet but I read in online forums that it would be a six-hour land travel via Ceres bus to Caticlan Jetty Port.
Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Port
The fees and boat ticket booths are located outside Caticlan Jetty Port. There are two common options for the boat ride: the more popular pump boat (P25) which departs every five minutes and the air-conditioned Montenegro fast craft (P30). The latter seems to offer a more comfy ride but is very limited and has 30 (?) or so minutes of interval. Other fees include an environmental fee of P75 and terminal fee of P50. The pump boat, environmental and terminal fees are to be paid in Windows 2 and 3 located on the left side of the port (facing the port). Montenegro fast craft (Window 1) is located on the right side. Enter the port and have your bags and tickets inspected. Before boarding the boat, you have to list down your name on the boat manifest. a short 7 to 10-minute pump boat ride to Boracay’s Cagban Port
Tricycles are already waiting for you at the Cagban Port. The fare per head depends on where you’ll alight (ask your hotel/guesthouse); it normally costs P20 per head. For comfort, we prefer a chartered ride at P100 per trip