by Ellen Joy Anastacio
Looking for a beach vacation this summer? The allure of Boracay's incredible powder-fine white sand beaches, azure water, laidback lifestyle, and fun activities has definitely not dimmed. Still considered by many as one of the best beaches in the world, it is but a plane, bus, and boat ride away from Manila. If that seems like a lot, you will definitely feel that it is worth it the moment you feel your toes buried in the flourlike sand in White Beach.
Seeing the island from your ferry ride to Caticlan is enough to excite anyone about the fun days ahead, and stepping onto the island itself is definitely not a disappointment. Whether you're into swimming, watersports, sightseeing, or just simply lazing around, Boracay is a wonderful place to be.
WHAT TO DO
Island Hopping. Take a 3-hour trip that will take you to neighboring islands like Crocodile, Crystal Cove, etc, for around P200 per person, minimum of 4 people per trip. After exploring the islands, you may snorkel somewhere in the middle of the sea for a P20 snorkeling fee, and you'll be able to see marine life like corals and fish from above. Not a bad deal at all!
Water sports. If you love the water and have a taste for adventure, you can try the banana boat (P150), flying fish (P500), parasailing ($45) or jetskiing (P1,200/30 minutes). Ride the banana boat and experience being dumped into the water several times as the boat is being pulled by a speed boat. Meanwhile, jump all across the sea through the flying fish, as your body coasts on top of the bumpy water while the flying fish is towed at high speeds!
Eat. Try the veritable variety of gastronomic delights from among the casual beachfront restaurants, grills, cafes, and what not. You can literally have your choice of anything you feel like having. From crepes (Café Breizh) to pancakes (English Bakery and Tea Room), coffee (Stables Real Coffee, Café del Sol, etc), homemade cakes (Stables again), Thai food (Thai Castles), Chinese Food (Mrs. Moon), Japanese food, Indian food,
Spanish food (El Toro), steaks, pizza (Hey Jude), seafood, grilled food, barbecues, halo-halo (only P20! All along the island!), Italian food (Aria), to incredible buffets (try the
seafood dinner buffet at Seawind hotel near the Northern tip of White Beach.
Unlimited seafood like prawns, tanguigue, blue marlin, oysters, etc.
for only P450; it's definitely a steal). And of course, don't forget to have at least one tall glass of fruit shake at Jonah's.
You can also have dinner at the talipapa, where they hawk fresh seafood like prawns, squid, fish, shrimps, etc, that you may ask to be cooked a certain way. Alternately, you may also choose from among the set meals prominently displayed outside the
carinderia. For P375, you can have a set meal for four that includes spicy squid, grilled pork chop,
sinigang na hipon, grilled fish, plus four cups of rice and a bottle of ice cold Coca Cola! Yummy, eh?
Shop. Aside from the numerous stalls along the beach that sells beads, sarongs, bikinis, etc, D'Mall D'Boracay, more popularly referred to as just D'Mall, near Station Two, is one of two major shopping spots in Boracay. Don't be misled by the name; it's not the kind of mall that we're used to. Little open-air alleys with little shops that sell charming knick knacks, clothes, etc could be found behind the beachfront part filled with cafes, ice cream shops, and other food
stalls. Interesting pasalubong can be bought here, but for cheaper buys, go to the
talipapa near Station Three, which is basically one long road packed with small stores that sell sarongs, shirts, bags, beads, cloth lamps, and all the souvenirs you can connect with Boracay.
Relax. Take a cool dip, stroll along the beach, and watch the sunset with friends, old and new, as you sip luscious tropical fruit shakes. Relish a one-hour massage (P200) by the beach by any one of the skilled masseuses around Boracay. View the intricate sand castles at night that local kids start building during the day for a small donation. Enjoy the island's vibrant nightlife at places like Cocomangas, Bazura, or at any of the beachfront restaurants that come alive at night with good music, good food, and good company.
On your way to Boracay, make sure you're wearing shorts and comfortable beach slippers, as you will definitely be going into the water as you go down from the ferry.
Bring loads of cotton shirts, tank tops, bikinis, board shorts, beach slippers, water shoes and the like. Let your hair down and bring your most relaxing attire!
Relax. Adopt the laidback attitude of the island and feel all the stress
of urban life slip away.
Try something different! You may not be the most adventurous person in the world, but do try what the island has to offer, whether it's food, watersports, and the like.
Be sure to bring small bills or coins for tips. From the moment you are met by a porter at the Kalibo airport, to the porters at the Caticlan ferry port, to the porters who will carry your bags from the boat to your resort, you will be dishing out tips left and right for the help that they give you.
Don't forget to lather on sunblock. And lots of it! The water and sand will reflect the sun's rays so badly, you could end up being burned like anything. And believe me, even on an overcast day, you can get as red as a lobster with sunburn. So sunblock, sunblock, sunblock!
Mingle! Talk to people. With its relaxed setting, Boracay's the perfect place to meet people who are fun and friendly!
Don't forget to bring your camera. Beautiful pictures from the island will make you remember all the fun that you had when you go home.
And most of all, have fun!
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