While everyone prefer to go to Boracay at summertime, we decided to see the island on a rainy season. It’s cheap, and it’s not as much crowded. And I like Boracay that way, except of course for the occasional pouring of rain. But that’s what you get for paying less.
We took the package from an officemate last March for only P4000 – inclusive of airfare, hotel accommodation and transfers. Since it was relatively cheap, everything is as budgeted as it is. Budget airline Zest Airways from MNL to Kalibo and vice versa and La Carmela de Boracay. I have nothing against such as I only wanted to arrive and go home safely and have a place to sleep in. Our room was also upgraded from standard to VIP with 3 double beds, a lounge area, a bathtub, and a balcony. Bonus for the cheap package we had. Not bad, right?
All of my Boracay escapades were with and paid by Mom, so this time was different – although I kinda asked for money from her just in case I get into emergencies and sort. Thing is, I had a choice where and what to eat, where to go and what to do, and how to spend the cash.
I wanted to see Boracay in a different way, but I later realized maybe this wasn’t the time. I actually wanted to laze around and just basked myself on the sun while listening to music or reading a book, but our Saturday was full of water activities and I was only able to do so at Saturday afternoon after all the activities we had done.
And while sitting there, people-watching and feeling the sands on my feet, I realized Boracay is a lot different on the summer. The sand is wet, primarily because of the occasional rain, giving off a kinda light brownish color to the sand, the clear water is not that sparkly, and wind is lightly strong. Good thing though that there are no seaweeds on the waters nor the shore. It’s absolutely clean and you can see your feet down below opposite to Boracay in the summer.
Boracay in May (summer), look how white and powdery the sand is.
The sand is kinda light brown-ish during the rainy season and the waves are big.
On our three-day stay, we literally did what people usually do – go water sports, hangout at bars, eat buffets and seafoods, swim swim swim, and take a lot of photos. Whether if its your first time or not, one must indulge himself to activities listed below.
#1. Eat at buffet/eat all you can
Paradise means abundance and relaxation. And what is abundance if you can only eat 3 strips of whatever meat that is? Forget about your diet, after all, nobody cares how you look like in your bikini in the island.
Last summer, I had this favorite eat-all-you-can stall just on the seaside. It was relatively cheap, around P380 with all types of seafood and all types of cooking. It was purely Filipino fiesta foods with bottomless iced-tea. We were looking for it this weekend but it seemed like it closed down sometime last year?
Anyway, La Carmela offers good intercontinental food, but it’s quite crowded. I spent 3 nights eating at La Carmela when I was with the family and later discovered the seaside eat-all-you can stalls and I felt like crying. So walk! Don’t settle on the first restaurant you see. Walk and consider options. One of the few not so expensive buffets are Paraiso Grill which ranges from P300-380, Nigi-Nigi with almost the same price as Paraiso Grill, and De Paris Resort ranging from P380-450. Others are almost P500-600 with the same menu. Crabs, shrimps and mussels must be on their menu, otherwise you’ll be missing the whole island-ish vibe.
#2. Do water sports, especially the Fly Fish
I have always always always wanted to do the fly fish but last time we were there I was with the family and my brother is scared enough to try so we ended up riding on a banana boat, which is not thrilling in any way. DO NOT TRY IT, so not worth it.
We took a package for P1300 – helmet diving, ATV/Buggy, Sky Cycle (all entrance in Dreamland), Fly Fish, and I was quite sure there was another one? But I can’t seem to remember.
I was so excited to try the fly fish and it did not disappoint me in any way! Whooo! The driver was pretty intense too, he took us around 5 rounds and I fell on the fourth turn. I actually had to jump off as I was lying on the legs of my colleague, if I had to climb up again, I’d still fall off, and I’m scared of the open ocean, floating in the middle of the dark blue sea even with my life jacket on didn’t help as well. But the experience is worth another try!
Helmet diving and parasailing are also on the list. Helmet diving is quite interesting but I didn’t try it as I hate being underwater for so long and I don’t like the idea of “underwater pressure” and “equalizing your breathing” underneath. The older brother of my friend had a nose bleed while doing helmet diving and they said there’s a possibility that you’d get deaf or something if you don’t equalize smoothly. I don’t want to take that risk.
My second to-die-for-omg-I-will-try-that on my list is para-sailing. I promised I’ll do it with someone I know so I had to pass this one off. Yes, it’s quite expensive (ranging from P900-P1500) but you’d rather have the expensive package than the cheap one. They said the more expensive it is, the safer. And I don’t want to be stingy on this one, especially when it involves my safety. I don’t want to fall off fom the sky or something. Saving this for last.
#3. Rent a boat and go on island hopping
There are two packages for island hopping, one is 8-seater boat at P2500 with a free lunch and one is the simpler one at around P1300, but you can haggle it at P1000. Don’t go for lesser as this is also a livelihood for these people. I have done a few island hopping on my trips before, but we didn’t do so this time. We didn’t have enough time as we finished at around 4pm. You should try though, the beaches they go to are very nice – especially the infamous Pucca Beach. Really white and powdery sand, with crystal blue waters. I wanted to do the island hopping to take “posey” pictures as there aren’t many people there, but better luck next time.
#4. Get out there and bar-hop
Bars in Manila are quite expensive, from the entrance to the drinks. It’ll probably cost you no less than a thousand. In Boracay, bar entrance fee is P200 with one free drink, almost the same to the bars in Bacolod back at my college days. You can dance the night away with other nationalities and you can make friends. But don’t get too drunk, especially when your hotel is some kilometers away. You might not be able to get to your destination and will doze off on the beach. Check out Epic just before the D’Mall and Summer Place, just a few blocks ahead from Regency.
If you aren’t the party type, you can check out Hookah Bar just along the seaside. Its ambiance is soft and relaxing while the fire dancers make it hot. You get to sit on the pillow and you can feel the sands on your feet. The drinks are not that expensive and the fire dancing is entertaining. Shisha is available for P300 with different flavors. This works for the chilling people who’s not up for loud music and dancing. For a more quieter one, you can walk through Station 1, but it’s quite far especially if you’re planning to get drunk and all. Again, you might doze off on the shore.
#5. Paluto in Talipapa
Okay, this one’s not really new to me as my family eats, at one point, almost everyday in Bacolod’s Pala-Pala which is almost the same as Talipapa in Boracay. Catch here is, you get to eat FRESH seafood with your choice of cooking from grilled, steamed, stewed to sizzled. Shrimps/prawns can reach up to P400/kilo, tuna or tangigue (which is also called blue marlin) is around P300/kilo, as well as the squids. The crabs are quite expensive but you can also settle for crab meat if available.
My colleagues loved the lemon and butter shrimp and the sauce is indeed quite addicting. The tuna did not turn out as we have hoped from a sizzling, but nevertheless, we liked it. The squid was grilled, it should have been better with beer as a pulutan. But we don’t drink beers, so let it pass. You can also try the ‘tula’ which is like sinigang in tagalog but tula is Ilonggo’s version of tinolang isda.
#6. Henna and Braids
These two go together. While a lady braids your hair, the man can ink out the henna at any part of your body. An island adventure is not complete without inking your body – not the permanent ones, of course.
#7. Eat/Chill somewhere nice
Get the vacation vibe! Spend and eat somewhere fancy or something new. One to try is the Calamansi Muffin! It’s P280/box with 6 pieces. Be sure to order ahead of time as they only take orders by one day advanced. I’ve read at some blogs that Gasthof serves the best baby back ribs, and we tried it… but it isn’t as much as they have described. It’s almost the same with every other baby back ribs, nothing special on it. Or maybe I was expecting too much that I got disappointed.
Jonah’s Shakes at Station 1 did not disappoint us in any way though! It’s milky, it’s healthy and it’s weird… but good weird. I ordered an avocado-mango shake and everytime I sip on it, I just don’t get it whether I’m drinking mango, or avocado, which is the point actually. It’s P110/bottle and everyone is just all over it!
Don Vito at Station 2 is also nice if you’re craving for Italian foods such as pizza, gelato and sort. You actually have a lot of options as you walk along the strip.
#8. Shop for souvenirs
If you’re a fan of itsy-bitsy stuffs, you can shop and buy souvenirs in Boracay. You can either try the D’Mall or D’Talipapa. D’Talipapa is a lot cheaper though and haggling is best-practiced. You can get tshirts for P120 with a good quality in different colors. There are varieties of stuffs that you can bring home, from jewelries to shirts to keychains to bags, to purses and the list goes on!
Everytime I step foot on the island, it reminds me of my first time coming there. I was only 10, with my Mom and my cousin. Boracay was not as much as commercialized then. No Jetty Port, no cemented roads, not as much crowd. We stayed at Marzon in Station 3, and there was no aircon but only fans. We got off at the very beach front of our hotel and Boracay was as virgin as she was.
Don’t get me wrong, change is good. And maybe the commercialization of the island, aside from its outstanding white sand and blue waters, made it as one of the best beaches in the world, a good escape from all the hustle and bustle of the urban life, a good outlet to meet new friends and start afresh. But I hope as time goes on, maybe 20 years from now, Boracay would not become just another beach abused and forgotten. While the tourists flock in our country and us, earning from it, let us also not forget the resources we have and instead make double efforts to save it.
Boracay is a 10-minute boatride from Caticlan and Caticlan is a two-hour drive from Kalibo. You can also choose flying through Cebu Pacific via Caticlan airport which is a lot hassle-free but a little expensive. But if you’re coming from countries outside Philippines, especially Korea, there is a direct flight from Kalibo to Busan and Incheon through Zest Air/Tiger Air/Air Asia.
One day, I’d like to see Boracay in a whole different way.. in a chillax way like someone who ran away from home and does a soul-searching in the beautiful island by sleeping under the sun and walking on the shores. I’d like to see it like a local do, eating in non-expensive establishments, exploring the island from the shore to the highest peaks, and getting to know the locals.
And where are my tan lines? They said you didn’t enjoy Boracay as much if you do not have tan lines! Yes, tan lines are a must.
Next on the list: PALAWAN
[Why are the pictures look low quality and not as sharp as it should?]