Thursday, November 22, 2012

Top Ten Things To Do In Boracay

Boracay sunset forever
In March, I got the chance to go to Boracay with my family. It was my 7th trip to the island, but it was the first time for dad and my brother, and the second time for my mom. Naturally, we had to try out all things that first timers in Boracay must do since it was our first time there as a family. The last three times I've been to Boracay was for work so it was so refreshing to be able to enjoy Boracay again as a leisure traveler. And since I was there with first timers, it was nice to actually appreciate the island as if it were my first time too.

I also came up with this guide on the TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN BORACAY based on what we did on our trip (and a few things from my previous visits) to help you out for your own Boracay itinerary, especially for first timers and those traveling with family:


1. Have fun with water sports
Boracay has so many water sport activities, from the cheap banana boat to parasailing, snorkeling, and diving. So many local guys are lined up along the beach and lurking outside hotels to offer all sorts of water sports for tourists.

My favorite water sport in Boracay is the Flyfish, where you get on an inflatable ride then hold on for dear life as you get dragged along by a speedboat (and where the ride will literally make you fly off the water, depending on your appetite for speed). Best thrill ride on water. EVER. Tried this for the first time in 2008 then went on again in 2012 and it's still as fun as ever.
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With the Flyfish costing at just P150-P200 per person (you can bargain away the price and they usually give big discounts for locals/Filipinos), the ride is really a deal. The jumping off point for the watersports activities is at the Station 2 area.

2. Go Helmet Diving/ Reef Walking

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With my family, I was finally able to experience helmet diving off the coast of Boracay. Originally priced at P450, I was able to haggle this for just P150/person (and our contact even admitted that they offer this for the shameless price of P4000/pax for Japanese tourists!).
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For just the P150, you go on a boat ride to a floating "house" just a few minutes from the beach, which houses all their equipment (complete with a desktop computer, where they transfer all you underwater pics on to a CD---and that's already included in the price).  Then you get a briefing on how to "breathe" or equalize under water. Be sure to listen to the orientation as you might have a hard time underwater if you don't equalize.
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The whole experience is very cheap, relatively safe, and altogether a quite extraordinary experience. You get to feed the fish underwater and get great photo ops, and be able to experience the feeling of being inside a giant aquarium. And did I say already that this was just for P150? :)
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3. Go on a Paraw Sunset Cruise
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The paraw is Boracay's local sailboat and along with the island's world-famous sunset, the paraw is part of Boracay's quintessential landmark/seascape. When I first went to Boracay back in 2003, you could only see blue and white sails on the paraws but now, during the summer months and with the increasing commercialization in the island, you can see the sails decorated with ads and brands.
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The first and only time I've tried paraw sailing was in 2010 when I was in Boracay with the Boyfriend. I distinctly looked for a paraw with only white or blue sails, as I wanted a more authentic, ad-free Boracay experience.
Boracay 2010 (9)
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The ride itself is both relaxing and exhilarating. You will marvel at the skill of the paraw captain as he maneuvers the boat without any motors, using only the sails and the winds. These paraw boats are scattered all over White Beach and you can bargain with the boatmen on the price (30 minutes on the paraw is good enough so you can get a lower price if you don't go on a full 1 hour ride).
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4. Learn Skimboarding & Bodyboarding
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Up and down White Beach, there are local boys offering to teach beachgoers how to bodyboard (especially nice during the habagat season) and to skimboard.
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I enjoyed bodyboarding but skimboarding is more challenging as it takes lots of balance and timing. But they're both great to try out in the endless beaches of Boracay. Prices for these lessons are negotiable, and can also come in 1 hour or 30-minute rates.
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5. Shop and Eat in D'Mall
D'Mall is an area in Station 2 of White Beach composed of shops and restaurants, and is really the central place in Boracay for shopping and fast food.
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Our family tried the pizza in Aria, a Boracay-based resto that's now in Manila.
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Other must-try food in D'Mall area are the ribs of Gasthof restaurant and the calamansi muffins from Real Coffee.

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Great finds: wooden bracelets at D'Mall
6. Paluto in D'Talipapa
D'Talipapa is an area along Boracay's White Beach near Station 3 where there are more shops (cheaper than those in D'Mall) and more importantly, there's a wet market and nearby restaurants where you can have the fresh food you bought cooked, which they call "paluto".
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There's a lot of fresh fish, seafood, and fruits in the talipapa.
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We bought fish and pork in the market then had them cooked in this resto:
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7. Jonah's Shakes

Jonah's Fruitshake (Station 1) definitely has the best shakes in Boracay and has already become a Boracay institution. No trip to Boracay is quite complete for me without ordering at least one of their fruit + milk combination shake.
Boracay in September (71)
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8. Seaside Buffet for Dinner 
A lot of Boracay's restaurants have nice set-ups for dinner by the beach (especially those along Station 2). There's a variety of selections for buffet, with prices ranging from P300-P600/person.

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For seafood buffet dinner, try Paradiso or Paraiso grill (they're almost next to each other along Station 2).  If you're not in the mood for buffet, other standout restos in Boracay: Spanish food in Dos Mestizos (Station 3), the Mongolian barbecue buffet in Seawind Resort (Station 1), the pizza in Don Vito Ristorante Italiano (at Boracay Mandarin hotel in Station 2), and the baby back ribs of Hawaiian Bar-B-Que (Station 2).

Boracay 2010 (1)

9. Enjoy the Boracay Nightlife 
While the what-happens-in-Boracay-stays-in-Boracay parties may be best left to the youngsters, it doesn't mean that families can't enjoy what Boracay's nightlife has to offer.  There will always be the super long happy-hour cocktails and the ubiquitous Boracay fire dancers, which can be enjoyed by kids of all ages ;).
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Boracay 2010 (15)
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10. Lounge Around, Marvel at the Boracay Sunset, and Take Nothing But Pictures   
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After 7 trips to Boracay, my first picture by the Boracay rock/ grotto
My first trip to Boracay was back in 2003 and it was not yet as commercialized and crowded as it is now, although the evidence of lack of  "urban planning" was already there. Nevertheless, with the crowd and all, Boracay remains to be a place where you can get away, enjoy nature, and yet you won't be far away from the creature comforts of your life. And of course, there's always the world-famous sunset and the powdery white sand (which I want to enjoy for as long as I can and as long as they're still there). And beach photo ops, of course.

I don't really know how many more Boracay trips it will take for me to put up my hands and say I've given up on Boracay or that I'm already tired of this island. For now, it's still a place that I like remembering and going back to.

I've been there with friends, with boyfriends, with co-workers, for work and for play, and recently, with family. And I've realized after seven trips and vacations that Boracay always has something for everyone and always holds its own magic. It can be the best place to be with friends, the best place to be a couple, or as I've discovered in my last trip to Boracay, the best place to simply be a family.


Boracay, April 2003
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Boracay, May 2008
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Boracay, May 2010
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Boracay, July and September 2011
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Boracay, March 2012: 
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Wishing you and your loved ones fabulous travels! Cheers! :)




27 comments:

  1. I miss Boracay! Can't help but noticed how slim you were in 2003, almost did not recognized you... but can I just say you look more gorgeous now than when you were younger!:)

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    1. Thanks so much for the compliment Tina :) For correct BMI purposes, I need to lose more weight though :) hehe

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  2. hi, can you give the name of the helmet dive and other water activites? where did you stay. ciao.

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    1. Hi Gay, we got the helmet dive from some random guy outside our hotel. But usually the prices of water activities are practically the same all over the beach, especially if you're not a foreigner (they give huge discounts for locals/Filipinos). Just be sure to haggle your way :) For our family's stay there, I chose Le Soleil de Boracay because it's right in the center at Station 2, which is quite important since we had first timers in our group. if you want a quieter vibe, Station 1 is better. But if you have first timers with you, the resorts along Station 2 area are the best to experience Boracay in all its glory :) Enjoy your trip!

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  3. hello, we're booked at serendipity resort at station 2, is the place ok? can we enjoy all the activities you have mentioned for 2 days? we will be in boracay on april 28 to 30 (via kalibo).. . thanks for ur help.. . .

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    1. I havent't stayed yet in Serendipity but if you haven't checked Tripadvisor yet, Serendipity has received great reviews over there. As for the activities, yes you can enjoy those in 2 full days :) try water sports early in the morning or in the afternoon, but be sure you have enough time for the sunset. April is a good time to go, although there will unavodably be the summer crowd. For some people, it's more fun that way. Enjoy your trip! :) do let us know here how it went :)

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  4. thank you for this very informative blog, Sunset Goddess.

    we are planning our family trip and it's up to me to strike a happy balance while staying well within the budget : the kids want to go to Palawan for snorkelling and to enjoy nature but the hubby wants to go to Boracay.

    oh well, one shiny coin may help settle the issue :)

    Now at least i have many ideas on what to do and where to go should the coin be for "Bora!"

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    1. That coin toss is indeed the best way to settle where your next destination will be :) While Palawan is more raw and unspoiled, the kids can still enjoy nature in Boracay. After you've done the ubiquitous Boracay activities described in this post, I suggest you also try going to the other side of the island and explore what activities you can do there. Try Puka beach, which will definitely have less crowds than White Beach, if at all. You can also try visiting hill top resorts (such as Alta Vista de Boracay) or attractions up on top of Boracay, to give you another perspective of the island :) I'm sure it's quieter over there and will give you a sense of being closer to nature :0 Do let us know how your trip goes. Cheers!

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  5. hi sunset Goddess im planning to go boracay this coming month can you give some good hotels and how much budget i must have on my trip 4 days and 3 nights thak you...

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    1. Oh there are so many good hotels, it really depends on your budget and location preference. For Station 1, I suggest Seawind, Boracay White House or Two Seasons. For Station 2 area, Boracay Garden or Boracay Regency are the big resorts but I also suggest Le Soleil de Boracay. If you want budget price but still a good area, try also Alice in Wonderland resort.

      As for the budget, it will really depend on your preferences for shopping, food, beach/water activities,and nightlife activities. At the barest minimum, allot maybe P1,500 to P2,000 per day per person. Hope this helps!

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  6. These are the things you shouldn't miss to do during your visit in Boracay with your family and friends. Great fun is waiting on you!!

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  7. ANY suggestion where i can get massaged by a nice stud

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    1. I don't know. Ask around when you get there!

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    2. Dear Anonymous,
      am a professional person that has all I want in life. I love the 2nd happy ending story because it identifies me all the way. I will say one thing to begin with “I love a good massage” and I pamper myself as much as I can. I have gone from place to place to experience the ultimate massage, different spas and different styles of massages from Massage Envy to top end, classy spas. The most curious experience I had is when when my best friend (Stella) told me about this guy that came to her house to perform massages. Of course being a woman (lol) my curiosity exploded and I ask her why she did not go to a Spa with me and have a good massage with me. I told her about the places I love going and she told me that she been in some of those places and they are good; but her masseuse was better. Now my head is spinning, better that the Spas I was going??? Now I was interested to find out why. Well she told me that her masseuse is a very nice guy that pampered her in every way and his massage style was unique and blah blah blah.the rest you have to experience to believe.He is 5feet 11,american italian olive skin.He has an apartment near red coconut with 2 room with a spa kinda ambience and decor.He will not give out his number until you have been in contact via e-mail.Has lots of local and korean ladys and also men who use him however is always low profile.can be contacted at adenny21@hotmail.com.

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  8. This a one helpful guide :D I've never been to boracay but is planning to go there with my cousins. And this is all I need :D Thanks! :D

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  9. Hi Sunset Goddess! thanks for the very informative blog.

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  10. I'm going to Boracay next week with my boyfriend, by any chance do you still have the name and contact number of the local tour guide that offered you the helmet diving and flyfish activity? thanks!

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    1. Hi Shiela, no sorry I don't have it at all. You will see the men offering the water sports activities either on White Beach or on Balabag beach (on the other side of White Beach where the water sports activities are done during habagat season). They're a lot so my only tip to you is be prepared to do your best at haggling. Good luck! :)

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  11. hi sunset goddess, i will need you help, we'll be touring boracay in 2mos time, pax of 9, surely will be budget constraint, i want to enjoy our first time in boracay with my family with all the activities like uve mentioned above, just wanting who is ur contact for those activity as i will surely need it hehe ,, thanks alot in advance..

    zhellie

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    1. The moment you step out of your resort, I'm sure you will be approached by a guy offering water sports activities. And there will be lots of them along White Beach, then they will take you to Balabag beach on the other side of the island where the water sports are done during habagat season. You will have to do a lot of haggling as I was just there in June 2013 and I noticed that prices were higher, noticeably because of the many Koreans and Chinese in the island (they flood Boracay June onwards because it's honeymoon season for them). With your party of 9 people, I'm sure it will be easier for you to haggle. Good luck Zhellie and let us know how it went :)

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  12. Is Boracay Ocean Club Good and near to all these activities?

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    1. It's in Station 3 and already past Boracay Regency, so it's a little off away from the middle (where D'Mall is). If it's not habagat season and all the water sports are along White Beach, most of the water sports are in the middle/Station 2 area, while some you will need to go to Station 3 to board the boats (such as reef walking and island hopping). So, Boracay Ocean Club is still good in terms of location. If it is habagat, then you will have to to go Bulabog Beach, on the other side of the island from White Beach.

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  13. Hi,

    I love your swim wear for your 2013 vacation, where did you bought it? :)

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  14. Amazing Post! I'm heading there this week!!

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  15. Wow! It feels like I've been there though I haven't. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm planning to go there on my vacation. I'm gonna share this also with other members of OFW Community.

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  16. where did you get the flyfish and helmet diving @150 :) we'll be going to bora this sept :)

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