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Monday, September 17, 2012

Fun Activities in Boracay Island

For travelers like us, beach is always our top choice in spending summer vacation, celebration, or if we just want a simple relaxation. Philippines have plenty of nice beaches where you can relax away from busy life in the city and Boracay Island is one of those. It is the most preferred best beach destination not only in the Philippines, in Asia, but also ranked number one in U.S based magazine as the Worlds best islands. Our group was lucky enough to experience the beauty of a paradise in Boracay Island last February 2011 and we really enjoyed our vacation. Some of you may be wondering what’s with this island that people keep talking about to make it notable in the world. All I can say is there’s something unexplainable about Boracay’s charm why everybody keeps coming back to this wonderful place. We consider Boracay as a complete and perfect vacation to everyone because it boasts long stretch of sugary white sand, azure blue waters, and filled with fun activities you will never forget.

Boracay Island

One will certainly enjoy his stay in Boracay because of different adventures and fun activities in the island that will bring out the kid in you. Some of these activities that we truly enjoyed are as follows:

Have your Henna or colored tattoo

Going to the beach wouldn’t be complete if you haven’t tried henna tattooing. In Boracay Island there are so many stall offering henna tattoos in the beach area and always ready to show you their tattoo portfolio which serves as reference for the designs, but you can always request for some modification. You may also try the new hippest trend in Boracay, colored tattooing with great designs yet affordable prices as the black henna. Price of henna tattoo costs from 150 to 500php per person depending on the size and the complexity of design, but you can always haggle for lower cost especially if you come in group.  

Henna Tattooing in Boracay

Try ATV or Buggy ride

If you want an extraordinary adventure on the island, try ATV or Buggy ride. Automatic Terrain Vehicle is a single motorbike that you can rent to drive around an overlooking area up to Mt. Luho viewing point which has a beautiful view of the whole island. Renting ATV or Buggy ranges from 500 to 1500 including entrance and two stops on your way going up. Since our visit to Boracay falls into off peak season we got our ride for 350 pesos per head per hour. Fixers offering different activities such as ATV in Boracay are everywhere so you can always haggle for lowest price depending on your budget. Before starting out the adventurous ride, there will be a briefing for 5 minutes on right usage, demonstration, testing, stopover, and safety precautions in driving. 

Buggy ride to Mt. Luho - Boracay Island

Stop over to Mt. Luho view point Boracay

Photo Op- at Boracay Sandcastles

When visiting Boracay, try not to forget having photo opportunity to greatly sculpted sand castles placed on White Beach. It’s a good souvenir because local artist/builder will engrave your name together with the date on the sand castles. Just don't forget a little donation for their labor. Boracay locals and builders of the sandcastles are very creative in having the skills of sculpting few feet high sandcastles and maintaining it all day by spraying water every once in a while. Boracay Sandcastles transform into a beautiful art piece when darkness strikes as locals lay some gas lamps or candles into it giving that warm gleam making them more lovely and captivating.

Boracay Island Sand Castle

Helmet Diving / Reef walking

Of all activities in Boracay, Reef walking or Helmet Diving is the most thrilling and enjoyable. It is one of the most popular water activities in Boracay. It allows you to walk on the reef and view the amazing creature 20 ft below sea level. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to swim because it’s not required at all. One of the dive center that offers worry free helmet diving is the Boracay White Blue Scuba Diving Service located in Station 3. Their regular price for Helmet Diving is 1000 and goes up during peak season. Included in the price is a professional diver which will act as your photographer, unlimited high quality pictures and video that will be saved on a compact disc.  Since we are group of 6 we used our convincing power to haggle and drop the price to 600php which was really a great deal for us.

From speedboat to a platform staging area - prepping for Helmet Diving Boracay

 Boracay White Blue Scuba Diving -     +6336 288-5349      

Before heading to a platform that stands on the sea, we signed first a waiver that builds hesitation to us but still we conquered our fear and decided to continue. Once on the platform, an orientation will take place to discuss safety measures and hand-signal instruction that we will be using underwater.  After the orientation, we wore a 35-kg oxygen helmet which will become weightless underwater. Our accompanied diver assisted us in climbing down the steel ladder until we reached the seabed. He also gave us bread to feed the fish and in a matter of seconds, colorful fishes started to swim towards us. It was an incredible experience of a lifetime as we were amazed seeing through the clear water, walking through the reef, close encounter with sea creatures, seeing live corals, feeding the fish and playing with them. Extraordinary joyful feeling you shouldn’t miss when visiting the island.

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving in Boracay

Perfect Stroll at the white beach 

There are numerous fun activities in Boracay that you will surely enjoy.  But if you’re not the adventurous type, a simple stroll at the white beach is just simply perfect. You can stroll at White Beach from Station 1 to 3 and be becharmed by the beauty of four kilometers cool and sugary fine white sand matched with crystal clear blue waters. Perhaps, you can stop for a picnic on uncrowded and secluded beach under the shade of trees and enjoy the beauty of nature. To make it more relaxing you can put a beach blanket and go for tan while others go swimming at an enough distance from the shore.

Boracay Island

Boracay Beach

Boracay Station 1 powdery sand 

Majestic Sunset of Boracay

I have seen different sunsets in several places and provinces in the Philippines but for me, witnessing the majestic sunset in Boracay is the most prettiest. Everyone in Boracay including tourists and locals await this beautiful sunset daily. One can`t leave Boracay without taking beautiful pictures of the breathtaking sunsets that’s why it’s perfect for Photography hotspots. The most captivating that adds drama to this sunset scene is different paraws that sail across the sea while the sky gradually changes its color. I assure you the view is spectacular while witnessing the sky as it changes its colors from deep blue to red to full orange.  Just make sure you have your camera ready to get a perfect shot because it  only takes 15 minutes till the sun fully sink into the ocean. A splendid event you shouldn’t miss in Boracay!

Boracay Island

Boracay Sunset

Paraw and Boracay Sunset

Majestic Boracay Sunset

Orange sky adds the drama on Boracay Sunset

Silhouette and sky - Boracay Sunset

Other fun activities in Boracay

Snorkeling – enthralled with the colorful beauty of marine life.
Poi Fire dancing – watch Poi dancing in Sandbar Boracay that usually starts at 8pm and be amazed on how performers apply tricks while playing with fire.
Island Hopping – There are lot of fixers at the beach that will offer you island hopping with snorkeling at the nearby puka or bulabog beach.
Boracay Night life – There are lot of establishment in Boracay Island that offers drinks, dancing, karaoke and other entertainment depending on your mood and taste.
Beach Massage – After trying different activities in Boracay, relax and reward yourself by a massage by the beach with affordable price of 300 to 500 pesos.
Zorb – for some adventurous type, trying this sport of rolling downhill in an orb (giant inflatable ball) will bring out the adrenalin rush in you. Cost is usually 500 – and up.
Paraw Sailing - one of the most popular water sports in Boracay. Paraw is a small boat where two floaters or logs on the side act as outriggers to help balance the boat. Enjoy different designs of Paraws with very colorful and creatively done sails that signify a lot about the paraw owners. Paraw ride price ranges from 500 and up per person per hour.  Paraw Sailing in Boracay is best done on sunset....Enjoy Sun, Sea, Sky, and Sights.

Hanging out at Boracay beach is always an enjoyable experience that will bring out the kid in you. It’s a place of healing, relaxation, adventure and happiness. It’s always a wonderful feeling when sun kisses your skin with its warmth and the sound of the ocean wave that plays as music to your ear. The feeling is so great that you may wanna stay in this paradise forever and you may perfectly say that truly Life really is a Beach!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taste of Paradise: Boracay Island

Early 2012, Boracay was named best beach in Asia and ranked second in the world from a travel website. Aside from this, July of same year when Boracay was also included in the 2012 edition of the U.S.-based magazine Travel + Leisure's annual "World's Best Awards." Boracay is ranked No. 1 in its Top 10 list of the "World's Best Islands" – One big thing that we Filipinos should be proud of.

Boracay Islands is situated at the north-western tip of Panay Island in the province of Aklan. This beautiful island is much like a bone-shaped terra firma with approximately 7 kilometers long white beach perfect for swimming, relaxing and water activities. Boracay has become one of the favorite amongst white beaches in the country and tourists from all over the globe visit our country just to witness its alluring beauty.

Boracay beach

Our group was lucky enough last February 2011 when we visited Boracay Island and experienced its beauty. Thanks to Cebu Pacific seat sale promo (Manila to Kalibo) we’ve been able to enjoy beach life in the wonderful paradise of Boracay.

There are 2 flights you can consider in visiting Island of Boracay. First, Manila to Caticlan which is the easiest way and Manila to Kalibo wherein you need to travel 1 and ½ to 2 hours by van to Caticlan jetty port (van fare is 200php including environmental fee and ferry ride).  From Caticlan jetty port you need to ride a motorized outrigger boat for about 15 minutes to the island. Arriving at the Island, there are shuttles and trikes that will take you to white beach or to any resort/hotel you preferred staying. Moreover, Boracay is divided into 3 stations to wit Station 1 where the high class & 5 star resorts are located, Station 2 a combination of high & middle class resorts where nightlife comes alive, and Station 3 where you will find good deal for some inns & budget resorts.

Kalibo International Airport with Cebu Pacific Airline

Motorized outrigger boat from Caticlan Jetty Port

And because we’re on a budget travel, we preferred staying at Ocean Breeze Inn in Station 3.  Aside from having a very affordable rate, they also offered rooms for big groups and allows you to cook in their centralized kitchen. Staying at OBI is like staying  in your own home with comfort and relaxing views. Their room amenities include air-conditioned Bedrooms, television, private bath and shower.  We also notice that in Ocean Breeze mostly their tenants are foreigners and backpackers, and we really enjoyed greeting them with Ola, Ciao and Bon Diorno, especially in the morning. Tourists keep coming back to OBI because they are enjoying the relaxing, peaceful place and the friendly staffs.

Ocean Breeze Inn : +639278518604; +63 36 2881680

Ocean Breeze Inn room

white orchid on Ocean Breeze Inn garden

Cutesy Fuschia Flower on Ocean Breeze Inn Garden

Ocean Breeze Inn's friendly black cat.

Here is Ocean Breeze Inn’s pricelist for your reference:

Rooms & Prices

Room Type (Rate for 2 guests occupancy)
Low Season

June 1 - Oct 31
High Season

Nov 1 - May 31
Peak Season
Dec.15 - Jan 04
Jan14- Jan 26
March 31 - April 9
Nipa Hut Cottage
Queen size bed, ventilator, Cable TV, radio, private shower/CR, balcony
590 PHP
890 PHP
1190 HP
Guesthouse groundfloor center room
Double bed + double deck bed, Aircon, Cable TV, radio, hot/cold water shower
890 PHP
Guesthouse groundfloor smaller extension room
Single/Sofa bed, Aircon, Cable TV, radio, hot/cold water shower
790 PHP
Guesthouse upper right room/s
Double bed + double deck (bunk) bed, Aircon, Cable TV, clock radio, DVD Player, Safety deposit box,
Refrigerator, hot/cold water shower. Sleeping room, bath room, living room + verandah
Guesthouse 1st and 2nd floor A room
Double bed, Aircon, Cable TV, HiFi mini components, clock radio, DVD Player, Safety deposit box, Refrigerator, hot/cold water shower, balcony
Guesthouse 1st and 2nd floor B room
Double bed or 2 single beds or single bed + bunk/double deck bed, Aircon, TV, radio, hot/cold water shower, balcony
990 PHP

Additional guests; (children below age of 6 years, no charge)

Nipa Hut Cottage
150 PHP
200 PHP
250 PHP
Guesthouse room
200 PHP
250 PHP
300 PHP

For other good resorts in Boracay Island, here are some of them:

Station 1

Waling Waling Villa

Fridays - +63 2 892-9283; +63 2 810-1027 +63 2 810-2101

Ambassador in paradise - +63 36 288-1541

Astoria - +63 2 687-1111; +63 2 910-0270  

Boracay Beach Club - +63 36 288-6770

Royal Park Hotel Boracay - +63 36 288-6666

Station 2

Boracay Regency - +63 36 288-6111 to 117

Regency Lagoon - +63 2 353 7273

La Carmela de Boracay - +63 36 288 5423

Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel – +63 36 288 3444

Red Coconut - +63 36 288 3758

Boracay Garden Resort – +63 2 353 1111

Boracay Topics - +63 36 288 4034

Boracay Holiday Resort - +63 36 288 4085

Station 3

Mandala Spa and Villas - +63 36 288 5858

Boracay Ocean Club - +63 36 288 5053

Boracay Crown Regency - +63 36 288 1088

Tonglen -   +63 36 288 3457 or 5190

Tans Guest house - +63 36 288 6878; +63920 2481

If you’re traveling on a shoestring like us, it is advisable to get a room with just basic amenities, perhaps you’ll go to Boracay for its beach and water activities. You need your room for just resting and sleeping. For budget food, there are food chains on station 2 (D’ Mall) that will suit your pocket including Andoks, Mang Inasal, and even Paluto restaurant in D’ Talipapa where you can buy your meat or seafood on wet market then let the restaurant cook it for you with minimal charges. You can also invite as many friends you want to lessen the contribution especially on room rates. Moreover, you need to watch out for best deal on airfare like Cebu Pacific’s piso fare for big savings. Just don’t forget to haggle on water activities particularly if you’re in a group that will lessen the price.  With an effective & efficient planning, you will surely enjoy your Boracay experience without hurting your pocket! So what are you waiting for? Plan ahead of time to experience this kind of paradise. Enjoy Boracay! ^_^

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