Boracay

In contrast to Cebu and Manila is Boracay Island – unclogged without cars, busses, Jeepney’s or planes. The island is clean, peaceful, and exotically beautiful. One hour of flight time from Manila or Cebu’s Mactan airport, this holiday island is 4 miles long while surrounded by magnificent beaches. The most popular “White Beach” is over 3 miles long and features soft-powdered white sand.

The tropical beach handbook rated this beach as one of the top ten in the world. This beach is palm fringed and endowed by crystal clear turquoise water that has to be seen to believe. There is no airport on this island and visitors are ferried from the neighboring island to your hotels beach location. At night it is a continuous party with discos, bars, restaurants, and loads of honeymooners. Every star created can be seen at night and with the soft tropical breezes blowing keeping you cool, this is paradise! Getting to Boracay is a little difficult. PAL Express and Cebu Pacific Air arrive at the small town at the northern tip of Panay Island, take a two hour bus trip to Caticlan, where you catch a small boat for the twenty minute crossing to Boracay. The boat takes you directly to your hotel’s beach (if you have made reservations in Manila) or drops you off in the center of White Beach, where a beach boy and his motor bike will hotel shop with you until you find your perfect spot.

boat station 3

Just before sunset low tide starts to create a wide walking path as the Ocean gives way. Very romantic way to spend afternoons walking on White Beach

A second option to Boracay is with the local carriers of  SEA Air or Zest. They fly 19 seater turboprops daily direct to the small runway in Caticlan from Manila or Cebu. Any travel agent in Manila or Cebu can make these reservations but the tickets are twice the price of the PAL flights (around $150.00 r/t). The obvious advantage is that you miss that boring two hour bus ride. The disadvantage is these smaller planes don’t turn the A/C till airborne ( I sat and sweltered for fifteen minutes before take-off) and can be a little bumpy.

Romance: On the romantic island of Boracay your selection of night-time fun isn’t as diverse as Cebu but it is just as rewarding and perhaps more fun. There are no Karaokes, strip bars, or girls in bikinis on stage. The main entertainment are simple, open-air, starry night covered discos. The best are the Beachcomber, close to Fridays Hotel and the most popular is Bazura Bar & Disco which and centrally located in the middle of White Sand Beach. Here are local and non-aggressive girls, all looking to make new friends to dance with or perhaps someone to help with their family grocery shopping for the following morning. You must ask them to dance or offer to join them at their table for a drink — from here on it’s up to you on how long you want your new friend to stay with you.

Any other activities: The night life isvery subdue. The biggest event of the early evening is the sunset. After watching the day end it’s time for dinner. There are German, Italian, Filipino, Chinese, American, or French restaurants all lined up along White Beach. By the time you inspect all the intriguing menus, pick out a favorite, zip a glass of wine, and have your main course it will be time for the discos to begin. Besides the late time music bars, there is not much else to do… but maybe that’s why you are here!

Where to stay? On Boracy all the hotels lay along White Sand Beach and moving among them is as simple as packing your bag and visiting your next store neighbor. Most of the hotel are beach bungalows and once the boat drops you off at beach center, there are 50 or more to choose from. Prices will range from 1000 Piso to 30,000 Piso and remember you get what you pay for. There are two semi-deluxe establishments, each with private pool, restaurants and evening entertainment. First is the Paradise Garden Resort which is centrally located and while not beach front it is set in lush tropical gardens, and every room is A/C. There are luxury condominium located on the mountain hill in the center of the island.

On Boracay, the main sight is the beach. White Beach is magnificent and to see the other 30 beaches or the lush countryside you hire a motor bike. On Boracay there are no cabs: you can flag down a trike. For less than 300 Piso you can hire a bike and driver for the entire morning. Of course there is wind-surfing, fishing, and speed boat service to explore the other islands, but the best thing to do on Boracay is nothing but bask in the warm sun and cool off in the crystal clear water. Spoil yourself and have one of the local beach girls give you a massage ($5.00) which includes a nail cut and a manicure … life could be worse.

Bring a good umbrella and a strong flashlight. At night, it can be very dark and electricity is very erratic. Tropical storms can appear in a few minutes and nothing is worse than walking home in total darkness during a torrential rain storm. Other than that, it’s a fabulous place to enjoy the Philippines.

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