Going to Philippines islands is a must for the nature lover and the beachcomber. Landscapes are beautiful and people are peaceful in this archipelago of more than 7000 islands. The globetrotter must add this destination into his bucket list.
Normally, you will land in Manilla. Huge city with tremendous traffic jams and some insecurity that made us avoid the visit. Too hot and too noisy. Some travelers decide to go north and visit the Pinatubo volcano and its blue lake. Some are even going further north to the Banaue rice terraces. We decided to skip both. We have been to Sapa in Vietnam and Maui in Hawaii; we already ticked these topics. With only two weeks, we had to make choices.
The day after our arrival in Manila, we flown to Kalibo with Air Asia. The flight is cheap (around 50€) and pleasant, but you must reserve far in advance. Once in Kalibo, the holiday atmosphere overwhelmed us with its scents and musics. Just in time to grab a bus for Caticlan harbour and once there, we jumped onto one evening ferry to Boracay. It’s a long journey but it is part of the fun.
The next morning, after a typical breakfast (corned beef silog), we headed to the white sandy beaches and the warm and crystal clear water of the island. Astonishing, mostly because of some occasional soft and green algaes that contrasted the water beautifully.
Boracay is the place to go to party. Everything is tourist orientated. That said, prices follow. But like for Hawaii, there is a reason behind and you will discover it every day of your stay. In addition, accommodations can be found for every budget. Big and luxurious resorts are located north, with private beaches. The town with its rows of bars and restaurants is located on the west (Stations 2 and 3), between Bulabog and Ambulong roads. If you are looking for bed and breakfast, mid-range price hotel rooms or even hostels, it is the place to look after.
Every evening, bars and restaurants spill out onto the beach with live bands and affordable meals and drinks. People can party quite late so, have that in mind if you decide to take a beachfront room in this area. There is no insecurity issue in Boracay for what we experienced, even walking late in the evening.
The island is easily walkable although tricycles are cheap and you can grab them everywhere to go anywhere for some pesos. Always bargain but try not to much, they need money more than you do. Some are wonderfully decorated and illuminated, but almost all are uncomfortable. Avoid renting a motorbike in Boracay because of the sandy roads and the traffic which is quite hazardous.
Est of the island is the kite surfer paradise. The beach is different. More windy and more wavy. Here, forget about swimming. Kite surfers are everywhere and navigate very close to the shore. You can learn there if you dare and you will find several schools around.
Downtown, you have a morning fish market that must be visited. The restaurants around allow you to bring the fish you just purchased and they will cook it for you. Fishes, prawns, vegetables, whatever you give them. The idea is pretty cool as you know that you are eating fresh stuff. However, if the cooking price remains cheap, fishes and seafood are rather expensive, which is surprising being so close to the sea.
Four to five days are enough in Boracay. We stayed less because we had to cover three islands over two weeks but we would have stayed more if we could. There is plenty of things to do anyway to keep you occupied. Sunset are superbs. Holiday mood is really soothing and people are very nice too. There are plenty of tasty restaurants at walking distance and early morning, just jogging on the beach for an early swim is really unique.
Boracay is a must go in Philippine. You won’t regret it. But do not restrict yourself to this island only.
Manila to Kalibo: 1h by plane (50€-80€)
Kalibo to Caticlan: 2h by bus (10€)
Caticlan to Boracay: 15 minutes by ferry (6€ taxes)
South harbour to Station 2: 10 minutes by tricycle (2€)