Boracay

Boracay, known as the beach capital of The Philippines is a tropical paradise off the province of Aklan in the Philippines, and is well known for its white powdery sand and clear blue waters. The island is about an hour’s flight from Manila and stretches up to 7 kilometers with the narrowest point of about 1 kilometer. The most famous and popular boracay beach is the four kilometres long White Beach, which has been named several times as one of the best beaches in the world. Most Filipinos are well verse in English so communication is not a problem, even the most common and ordinary people on the island can understand and speak fluently.

Photo by Roman Nuritdinov

Photo by Roman Nuritdinov

The first settlers of Boracay in Panay are called Negritos or Atis. They are the indigenous people of the Philippines who farmed and fished in Boracay for centuries.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the people of boracay, depended largely on fishing and coconut plantation. Copra, the dried meat of coconut, was traded to businessmen from Aklan in exchange for rice and other goods and commodities.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Boracay became popular when a German writer published a book about the Philippines in 1978, describing boracay history and the beautiful island in details, the island was introduced to the world. This mark the beginning of tourist "boom" for Boracay. Since then, the beginning of tourism changed Boracay completely when the beauty of White Beach was unfolded, tourists began arriving. Suddenly, from a plain, sparsely populated island, Boracay Island was transformed into a major destination on the international travel circuit.

Photo by Yen(yenlife007)

Mount Luho is the most impressive viewpoint and the highest elevation (100 meters above the sea) on Boracay Island. It’s not an easy climb but the view is worth and is the best place to visit for views of Bulabog Beach and Boracay. Another recognisable attraction is the Willy Rock which is a fascinating natural formation situated one hundred meters off shore, in the shallow water near Boat Station 1. KAR-TIR Seashell Museum features an interesting collection of seashells, woodcarvings, pottery, hand-woven articles, and traditional costumes from all over the Philippines. The Museum is located at the village of Ilig-iligan. At Boracay Butterfly Garden you will find rare and beautiful butterflies in a tropical garden, by the Beach. It's fun and educational with conducted tours of the life cycles of the butterflies. Garden is located at Bolabog Beach and five minutes away from D'Mall. You'll also find handicrafts and plants for sale at theButterfly Farm.

Photo by Ren Kuo

Talipapa in English means means “fish market” is one of the main places to shop while in Boracay. There are over 50 stalls selling varieties of products from t-shirts and leather bracelets to sarongs and lamps. The market is located near Boat Station 3 and White Beach. D’Mall is a favourite amongst visitors. You can buy fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables, as well as beach clothing, hats, and souvenirs here. Be prepared to pay tourist prices and do not be ashamed to bargain. There are a number of restaurants too. The mall is located roughly between Station 1 and Station 2.

Plazoleta is a smaller shopping area that can be found on White Beach. It has the best quality of filipino crafts and jewelry. Local artists camp out at Plazoleta for an opportunity to sell their drawings, carvings, ceramics, and other wares. Pay a visit to this If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to bring home.

Cliff diving is a popular and exciting sport that has been enjoyed and experienced for centuries by both professionals and amateurs. At Ariel’s point, there are five different cliff diving platforms. Their exact distances from the water varies with the incoming and outgoing ocean tides, but the highest platform is 13 to 15 meters above the water. The lower platforms are 7-meters, 6-meters, 5-meters, and 3-meters high. there are lifeguards in the water below who will come to your assistance if the need arises. Cliff diving is not permitted for individuals who have a history of health problems, pregnant women and young children.

Sunset sailing is something you should never miss in Boracay. Hop on aboard a paraw or local sailboat that mostly sets off from the shores of White Beach. You can choose to book your sailing slot beforehand with one of the many sailing companies available. Otherwise, you can always find one along the beach.

Boracay is especially rich with fresh seafood. There are a diverse variety of foods on this island from local food to international cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Mexican and many more. There is definitely something that will satisfy your taste bud. Most beachfront restaurants are costly. If you are a budget traveller, there are mid-range restaurants farther from the beach that may be worth a try where you could get a decent meal with just less than 100 Peso.

f you are a seafood and meat lover, I Love Backyard BBQ is the place to be. In the menu, there is smoky meats, an assortment of seafood, and the best Baby Back Ribs, all BBQ-ed in perfection. This restaurant is located at D’ Mall, Boracay Station 2.

Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar offer the best fruit shake on the island. With over forty milkshakes flavour in the menu, be sure there is one that will quench your thirst in this hot sunny day!

At Real Coffee and Tea Café, the popular Calamansi Muffins should not be missed. Breakfast and Lunch are also served at this Café. Located at Station 2 2/F Sea World.

If you are travelling on a budget Smoke Resto serves many local favourites and the food is reasonably priced. Some of the popular local food that you should order includes sizzling bulalo, khao pad, spicy squid, lechon and beef salpicao is the highlight here. This is also a great hang out place to have a beer or two.

If you are travelling from China, there are quite a number of international flights that can fly you to Boracay transiting Manila the capital of The Philippines. From Manila, you may choose from the different airlines like Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific Air, AirPhil Express, Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR), and Zest Airways to fly you to the island of Caticlan or Kalibo. These two are the only airports that are nearest to Boracay. Caticlan has a shorter runway, as such it can only accommodate propeller-type planes and Kalibo can accommodate the airbus so most people will choose to land on this airport. There are about 16 flights a day to these airports so you may have all your flights within a day without having long transit time.

On Boracay, tricycles are the main form of public transit around the island. Usually a motorcycle with a carriage attached to the side, this fun and affordable mode of transportation is the best way to get around Boracay. The service quality is incredibly high, and drivers are very polite to guests. Tipping tricycle taxi service is not required, as prices are directly negotiated with the driver.

Visa

Visa is required for residence of People’s republic of China to travel to The Philippines.

Passport validity

To enter The Philippines, you must be in possession of a passport still valid minimum six months with a tourist visa or three months for a transit visa or without visa.

Currency

The currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). Bill denominations are: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos. If possible, bring your cash in 500 PhP denominations as you will find that getting change for 1,000 PhP bills is at times difficult. ATM machines are scattered around the city.

Foreign Currency is best exchanged at the banks or money changing stores. Only the larger restaurants and hotels accept credit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express, although a 5% surcharge on credit cards is standard. Personal checks are generally not accepted.

When to visit

The high season in Boracay is from November to April which is a dry season where blue skies and calm seas make all kinds of activities and water sports possible. The island offers many interesting activities that only a fine weather could permit. If you are a water sports lover, this is the best time to go though It is advised to book way ahead to secure a nice accommodation as tourists will flood the island in the high season. If you are traveling on a budget, taking the trip between July and November is a good idea to get good deals for hotel and to enjoy the island without having to compete with the crowd. October to November offers the best sunsets too

Weather

The dry season begin from November to May and the temperature ranges between 25-32 degrees celcius which makes it the most ideal time to come to Boracay. During mid-May to July there is a mixed season where it may be breezy with light showers in the afternoon. In mid-July to November is the Southwest monsoon season where it is the wettest season of the year. Expect an average temperature of 28 to 30 degrees celcius which is the most hottest time of the year at Boracay with cloudy skies and choppy seas. It normally rains 2 hours during the day and 1 or 2 hours at night. This is also the typhoon season that brings stormy boracay weather that normally last about 3 to 4 days.

The Philippines is a pretty relaxed place so T-shirts and shorts are acceptable around the island even at dinner, though more upscale places may request collars and shoes. Tipping in Boracay has become a standard practice and should be included in your budget. Always be sure to keep loose change in your pockets so you can easily give little tips as you go along. If you like the services of a driver or guide during your stay, it's best to give generous tips for their great service. Tip whatever amount you feel comfortable, but in general, tipping is greatly appreciated by individual staff, and, while not generally expected by those with more stable work positions, still appreciated.

While its culture is generally influenced by Spanish and American cultures, Boracay's sub-culture is diverse and multi-ethnic. It is melting a pot of tourists and residents from various lands, whereas its establishments display various influences. On the island, you'll see Malaysian or Bali-inspired hotels and restaurants serving different international cuisines besides Filipino.

English and Tagalog (The Philippine’s national language) are the two languages widely understood languages in Boracay.

Foreign exchange rates on the island are quite higher than the regular. Make sure to exchange your bills before going to the island.

Dress up right. Wear flip flops and comfortable beach attire.

Do not get drunk and sleep on the beach! You may end up getting mugged.

Make your cash readily available. Only a few restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards.

Always haggle when availing water activities like island hopping and kayaking.

Always bring a bottle of water with you. Because Boracay Island is tropical, the heat may be unbearable to some tourists. Always rehydrate if you're not used to the tropical climate.

Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.

A local ordinance, drinking and smoking on the beach are prohibited.

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