Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
The island of Boracay has been in the news a lot recently and the picture they paint is always a grim one. Overpopulation and a surge of unregistered hotels and businesses have caused massive stress on the island, most notably evident in the failing sewage system. Right now the government is on the verge of shutting down the island for rehabilitation, closing it off to tourists for what could be more than half a year.
You'd think that on a visit to Boracay it would be all bad but you would be mistaken. If you haven't been back to Boracay in the past 5 years or so, you'll realize that a lot has changed. The backpacker experience of the 90's and 2000s has made way to present-day luxury resorts, new high-end residential developments, rapid airport transfers, new roads to get around and explore the island, any cuisine of your choosing, and a more diverse profile of international visitors. All these of course have come at a price and its curious to see if the scheduled rehabilitation will be able to improve the systems that make Boracay tick.
Of course, in spite of all the issues the island faces, one glimpse at the sand, sun, and the clear blue waters and you'll come to realize (or remember) why Boracay is a place like no other. Much has been said about what makes Boracay beautiful, all of which are also the reasons why saving Boracay is important. Even with all the negative talk regarding The island, it's still home to friendly people, a fun inviting atmosphere and of course a jaw-dropping beach that can't be beat.
One can only hope that the worst is over and that the businesses, the locals, all the people working there, and the island itself all come out ahead after the rehabilitation and we continue to see Boracay live up to its potential as a world-class tourist destination. It may not be the Boracay you remember in the past, but hopefully it continues to look ahead to the future.
Godofredo P. Ramos Airport
Since the improvements to Caticlan Airport, flight expansion from AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific has doubled. The airport is currently being expanded and will definitely add more international flights in the near future.
Upon arrival, Southwest offers travellers a painless door-to-door transfer service. It’s an all-in package that includes terminal fees to the port, environmental fees, and all transportation necessities. You are comfortably taken to your resort via bus, speedboat, and van with their staff carrying your bags for you.
The main beach on the island and the center of all Boracay’s attractions, this is where you’ll see all the tourists, restaurants, and big resorts. This area is great for activities, food, and partying. This is the beach for you if you want big crowds and enjoy interacting with people.
It might be overpopulated, but the stunning blue water and the fine white sand will never cease to take your breath away.
- Willy's Rock -
Located in station 1, this is probably the most prominent landmark on the island. If you’re visiting the island for the first time there’s no harm in checking out this rock formation since it’s located close by just in the middle of White Beach’s coastline.
- Real Coffee & Tea Cafe -
Home of the famous calamansi muffin. This café has been around since 1996. A great place if you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy your coffee or tea. They also have great seats for people watching and looking at the ocean.
- Hoy Panga! -
They offer moderately priced tuna and grilled dishes. You can also get some freshly squeezed juices, cocktails and other refreshing drinks. The restaurant has a great beachfront view and very accommodating staff.
- Jonah's Fruit shake & snack bar-
A classic staple in Boracay, they offer a lot of delicious shakes that are perfect for beating the heat after a long day of sun bathing. A nice and sweet afternoon treat. Be sure to try one of the favorites: banana chocolate peanut.
A chic hotel located in the beach front of station 2 with an awesome bar outside. Cha Cha's has both amazing food and drinks too! Make sure you’re there for the happy hour!
- D*Mall -
One way or another you’ll reach D'Mall at some point in your stay. A small commercial open area where you’ll find pharmacies, bakeshops, small shops selling clothes, souvenirs, and other beach essentials. There are also many good restaurants and bars located here.
Halo Mango serves mango soft-served ice cream and a lot of crushed ice snacks with different choices for toppings. Just pass through D'Mall and look for the long line of tourists. Their bestsellers are the Couple Mango and the Mangoholic. A tasty and creamy treat especially for those who can’t get enough of mangoes.
A quirky yet sophisticated food hall located away from the main beach path, but still close to beach. It is located inside the Hue hotel and is a great place to hangout with friends, get a bite, and escape the busyness of the beach. It definitely has potential as the setting of your next Instagram post. The food hall features restaurants that offer a lot of international cuisines to suit all tastes. A relatively new place to check out on your next food trip!
If you’re looking for fried, pan-seared, smoked, grilled, broiled, or raw seafood dishes, eat here to get your fix.
If you’re passionate about supporting local goods, you can find some different local brands being sold here
Pink, pink and more pink. And oh ya, Chinese food too.
- Tom N Toms Coffee -
Tom N Toms Coffee is a coffeehouse chain based in South Korea. They offer different types of coffee in addition to non-coffee beverages and desserts. In my opinion, this is where you should go to get the best view of the beach and to people watch.
- Chori Burger -
One of the popular street foods in Boracay. It is made up of grilled chorizo sausages, a grilled bun and some sweet barbecue sauce. Definitely a yummy and cheap treat when you’re in Boracay!
- Sea Breeze Café -
If you’re looking for a variety of food to eat, Hennan Regency Resorts and Spa offers a moderately good buffet spread. They have options from sushi, grilled meats, salads and a dessert station.
Meet Welter, the resident baby-walking dog. Chances are you’ll bump into him doing his rounds along White Beach at sunset.
Boracay comes alive at night time. Station 2 has a lot of night spots that you can go to. Exit Bar, Summerplace, and Prisma are just one of the many places to have drinks and hang out with other travellers and tourists. Join the Boracay Pub Crawl if you want to meet and connect with new friends.
Centrally located in station 2, this Airbnb is very convenient and comfortable to stay at. It has modern interior and great facilities. Click here to know more about this listing.
- Grilled Delights-
At night time local vendors come out with their stalls and serve some grilled delights to customers.
Many stalls that are littered around the island offer a variety of affordable items that include arts and crafts, keychains, ref magnets, and shirts among others. Cat for display only.
Located at the far end of station 1 of White Beach, it is a 15-20 minute walk to get there. It is easy to walk around the path at the cliff edge to get to Diniwid.
Diniwid is nice and secluded, away from the center attractions. You will see more locals go there to lounge on the beach.
A less developed beach with fewer vendors, commercial restaurants and minimal crowds. The water here is rougher compared to White beach.
By the entrance to the beach you’ll see some small restaurants and souvenir shops. Puka beach is also known as the shell beach as the shore is filled with shells.
This is the spot where people go kite surfing. Bulabog beach is very rocky and windy and might not be suitable for swimming. If you enjoy kitesurfing or sitting, relaxing and watching people kite surf then this is the beach for you.
There are a few restaurants and lots of kite surfing places that can give you lessons or rent you kite surfboards on this side of the island. Don’t expect this beach to be as clean as the others but it’s worth a visit.
A beautiful and quiet place to swim, hang out and enjoy the scenery. You have to take a chartered tricyle to get to Ilig-Iligan but the beautiful secluded beach is worth the trip. There are no restaurants and vendors so be sure to bring what you need before heading there.
Photos property of Lívph