Part 3: What to do in Boracay

“When in Boracay, do as the locals do!,” a middle-aged lady selling souvenirs in Talipapa said this to us in the vernacular. She said that in Boracay, one is free to do what he wishes to do (as long as it’s legal) or wear what suits his taste, and nobody will care about you. That adage, I reckon, yet applies to almost every locality.

During our vacation, I found out that one will never run out of things to do in this island. Most of which are for free. Here is a list of what we did in Boracay:

1. Beach Bum

This is the most logical thing to do here because you are in a beach. We would wake up early and have breakfast, then do nothing but frolic in the water for the whole morning.

11745558_857069884368700_5110172187463573562_nOur favorite thing to do is to leisurely spend the whole morning on the beach

2. Take long walks along the beach

What better way to explore this small island than to take long walks along the beach. Walking allowed us to see the island in details – its people, the way of life and the attractions.

From Boracay Regency, we walked all the way to Talipapa Market in Station 3 and from there, to Willy’s Rock near Station 1. On our Second evening, we walked from Discovery shores in Station 1 up to Boracay Regency.

11264807_857081184367570_4939935849410193760_nWalking along the pristine waters

11705194_857071067701915_4757895035177502484_nOn the way to Station 1

11781739_857068467702175_1921438832114784172_nOn our way to Station 3

11695919_857081961034159_267325202196175775_nWalking inside D’ Mall

22081_857072577701764_1876175171251111214_nOn our way back to Station 2

3. Try fruit shakes at Jonah’s

This snack bar has become famous among tourists because of its fruit shakes. I tried the avocado their shake and it was very good. It had a very thick consistency and tasted of rich avocado and milk. It’s a perfect cooler after a long walk under the sun.

Picture 162Avocado shake at Jonah’s

4. Eat in a buffet restaurant

My wife and I are fans of buffet restaurants. While we were in Boracay, we saw a lot of restaurants offering buffet but we could not make a decision because the selections were unexceptional. One evening, we passed by Victory Divers Beach Resort and our attention was caught by their sign offering unlimited seafood for around P298. We were already famished from our day-long activity so we decided to check it out. What we saw was a huge spread of clams, mussels, shrimps, pancit, oysters, crabs and tuna. Rice and iced tea are also unlimited. We thought it was a good deal so we decided to try it. It was a good decision because the seafood was very fresh, cooked well and tasted really good. We indulged in the steamed oysters and shrimps.

5. Visit Talipapa Market and D’ Talipapa Market

Head out to Talipapa Market for your souvenirs and pasalubongs. We found out that there is also a D’ Talipapa Market where they sell fresh seafood like crabs, lobsters, clams and fish. There are also numerous stalls here selling native products and knick-knacks. As with many similar marketplaces, always haggle for the lowest price!

11750604_857076547701367_4162250454691116295_nPoor frogs

11751755_857076271034728_5546118663134957928_nTrinkets everywhere

6. Go island hopping

Island hopping tour packages are arranged by locals for around P1,000. When we asked one gentlemen offering us a tour, he told us that it was the standard rate among all operators and that it was regulated to ensure fairness. However, when we inquired from Boracay Regency, they offered island hopping tours for only P800 per person. It was a steal so we booked right away. The tour included a one hour stopover at the well-known Crystal Cove, a buffet lunch of crispy shrimps, barbeque and fruits, a visit to Puka Beach and 30 minutes of snorkeling in the open sea.

Crystal Cove Island Resort had a P200 entrance fee but it was well worth it. We explored the tiny island on foot. On its highest peak, you can see for 360 degrees the vast cerulean sea and the ferocious waves crashing against the islands rocky edges. The island is also abundant with small trees and vegetation so the heat from the mid-day sun became somewhat bearable.

On a different note, I like it that the no smoking policy is being strictly implemented and adhered to in Boracay. I heard our island hopping tour guide politely tell an Australian gentleman that smoking was prohibited in the beach and he readily complied.

11745339_857073841034971_2903225413729943200_nAt Crystal Cove

11143416_857074091034946_3313468436875424266_nThe view from Crystal Cove is amazing

7. Catch the Boracay sunset

This is probably one of our most favorite thing to do in Boracay. By 4:30 PM, we would nonchalantly slump on the sand with our drinks and wait for the sun to sink over the horizon. Until darkness envelops the beach. Boracay at dusk is just as beautiful as it is during daybreak.

11705202_857072841035071_1097390608435434155_nBeautiful Boracay sunset

8. Have your photo taken at Willy’s Rock

You cannot say that you have been to Boracay if you have not yet visited Willy’s Rock. This iconic landmark is a rocky islet with a grotto perched on top of it. It is easily accessible by foot during low tide. Take a picture here as proof that you’ve been there.

11751453_857071314368557_5684826505097811851_nOur photo at Willy’s Rock

Up next is my post on Boracay Regency, our home in Boracay, and Discovery Shores where we celebrated our first wedding anniversary dinner.

Part 2: Boracay through the eyes of a first-timer

Picture 120

For a while, I thought I was indeed dreaming

We woke up early to catch the Boracay sunshine. We got dressed and immediately headed out to find breakfast. From the multitude of restaurants that dot D’ Mall, we settled for Jammers because there were just a few diners plus it looked affordable. My first breakfast in Boracay was American – two slices of toast, two sunny side up eggs, three strips of bacon, sausage and coffee. My wife, meanwhile, ordered longanisa with egg and rice.

Picture 128We had our first breakfast here

Picture 003My first breakfast in Boracay

After our quick meal, we took a stroll along the beach front. The Boracay in front of me now was much different than the previous night’s milieu. It was more laid back and much more alluring. The bright sunshine further brought out the brilliant turquoise hue of the sea. Now I know why it is still considered as one of the best beaches in the world despite the commercialism. Never mind the green algal bloom, it was still magnificent. The people, meanwhile, were leisurely enjoying the sun and the clear water. Nobody was in a hurry, nor was there anybody who seemed anxious.

Picture 031Never go hungry in Boracay

Picture 151Stopping by to photograph our feet

Picture 268I would rather remove my slippers and feel the fine sand

Picture 016Random shot while walking

Picture 013People enjoying the water despite the green algae

Picture 038The water is a deep turquoise

Picture 040A sign in one of the establishments

The powdery white sand also felt nice under my feet. Thus, most of the time, I would rather walk without my slippers.

We took a long walk towards Station 3 until our feet brought us to Talipapa market. We went around and checked out the different pasalubong and souvenir items being sold – shirts, ref magnets, coin purses and all.

Picture 051Various souvenir items

Picture 085No excuse for not buying pasalubong

Picture 061Shirts and sandals

Picture 083Slippers

After a few minutes of walking around, we went back to Alamo Bay Inn to check out and transfer to Boracay Regency, which will be our home for the next few days.

Once we have checked in at Boracay Regency, we rested for about 30 minutes then headed out. Our first activity for the day, of course, was to take a dip in the aquamarine water. Despite the bright sun, the water was still very cold.

Afterwards, we took a long walk going to the direction of Station 1. What better way to enjoy the sights and sceneries of Boracay, or any place in general, than to travel on foot. Along the way, we tried fresh fruit shakes and isaw from roadside stands.

Picture 201Sandcastle

Picture 135More compact sand on the left, loose sand on the right

Picture 144Sun shining brightly

We saw one of Boracay’s iconic landmarks, Willy’s Rock. It is a small rock formation a few hundred meters from the beach near Station 1. On top of it was a statue of the Virgin Mary. It was already low tide when we got there so we took the opportunity to take photographs near the islet.

Picture 157At Willy’s Rock

Several photographs later, we decided to go back to Station 2 and wait for the sunset. On our way back, we saw the famous Jonah’s, a popular snack bar in the island that is best known for their rich and thick fruit shakes. We thought it best to take advantage of the opportunity to try their shakes. I got my favorite avocado shake with evaporated milk while my wife got a banana-pineapple combination. Indeed, the concoction was thick and tasted generously of fresh fruit. The milk lent this drink with added richness.

Picture 162My bottle of avocado shake from Jonah’s

By mid-afternoon, we could already see a lot colorful sailboats or paraw. A paraw is a small boat with two outriggers and two sails. If one would want to try paraw sailing, there are vessels for rent for 30 minutes. Price is dependent on the size and capacity of the boat.

Picture 133Colorful sailboats or paraw

Not having walked very far, we thought of lounging on the beach and catch the sunset. We took out our sarong, spread it on the white sand and unabashedly slumped. We could already see the sun quickly plummeting in the horizon. This whole spectacle painted the Boracay skyline with hues of yellow orange, slate blue and dark gray. We beheld this mélange of colors as if it were a beautiful work of art.

Picture 272Breathtaking Boracay sunset

By early evening, we were back in our hotel and getting dressed. It was our first wedding anniversary and we were to celebrate it at Fridays Boracay.

Around 7:00 PM, we hailed a tricycle and sked to be dropped off at Fridays in Station 1. Fridays is a 48-room resort, best-known for its nipa-hut inspired accommodations. Unfortunately, the restaurant only offered buffet that evening. We thought buffet was too much for us so we transferred to Discovery Shores. The hotel staff were very accommodating to allow us to have our dinner in one of the tables on the beachfront. In a very romantic fashion, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary dinner on the beachfront.

Picture 182Welcome drink, courtesy of Discovery Shores

After our light dinner, we had another crazy idea of walking all the way back to Boracay Regency. Tired from a day full of activities, we went to bed early excited for what’s in store for us the next day.

Up next, Part 3: What to do in Boracay

Part 1: The Road to Boracay

Picture 340Welcome to the beach!

I came to Boracay without much expectation because of the many negative things I keep on hearing about it. Oftentimes, adjectives like commercialized, overcrowded and polluted seem to abound when people talk about Boracay. But I had to go because I felt it was obligatory; everybody’s been there except me. I wouldn’t want to be left out during conversations about this famed island. Weeks before we went there, I was pondering why I haven’t been to Boracay. I could think of several reasons – lack of time and budget, too lazy to plan my trip or just disinterested. However, I really could not pinpoint a good explanation why.

The idea of visiting Boracay popped up when my wife and I were planning our first anniversary celebration. It was actually the only destination that came to my mind. I was not really excited, only incredibly curious to see and feel the powdery white sand on my feet.

Picture 267Finally got to feel the powder fineness of Boracay sand

We arrived in Kalibo International Airport a little past seven in the evening last April 05. When we got our luggage, my wife told me that we may either take a shuttle van or a bus to go to Caticlan. We chose the former. After a few minutes of waiting, our vehicle was bound for Caticlan. It was a two hour journey through a meandering highway. Thankfully, it was a smooth and comfortable ride.

When we got to Caticlan, we had to pay for our ferry ride as well as environmental fee. From Caticlan jetty port, it was a short 15 minute journey to Boracay jetty port. Upon disembarking, we hailed a tricycle and asked to be dropped off to D’ Mall at station 2. After around 10 minutes on the road, we were already inside D’ Mall looking for Alamo Bay Inn, our accommodation that evening. Admittedly, I was quite taken aback by the thick crowd inside D’ Mall. Not being used to large crowds, I initially felt suffocated but I soon warmed up. After all, it was the beach crowd. The type that had nary a care in the world; just like us, they were there to relax and have fun.

After a fair amount of asking for directions, were finally able to find Alamo Bay Inn. It was a small accommodation with all the basic necessities – a bed, an air-conditioning unit, a small table, a television, and bathroom ad toilet. It was perfect for anybody on a budget or overnighters. We were hungry because of our long journey so we immediately changed clothes and headed out to get dinner. A few minutes of weaving through D’ Mall, we finally settled for a restaurant offering sizzling dishes. I ordered T-Bone steak and my wife got Salisbury steak. Food was actually good and very affordable at P250 and P180, respectively.

Picture 351Fire dancers abound in this island

Energized from and satisfied with dinner, we decided to take a stroll around. We went out to the beach front. There was music coming from every direction – reggae songs, pop songs, techno songs – with the people soaking themselves in every beat and note. It was a happy crowd, not the rowdy kind that one would normally expect in such a setting. On the contrary, a generally cheerful vibe was very palpable. It was then that I knew we made a good decision to go to Boracay.

Picture 288Evening scene in Boracay

i knew as well that our succeeding days in this island will surely be enjoyable and memorable. We went to bed early, excited for what’s in store for us the next day.

Up next,Part 2: Boracay through the eyes of a first-timer