First-time in Boracay
It was my first time to this popular beach resort in the country (although I had the opportunity to return a few years after I wrote this piece.) Things have changed since that first visit but that was the most memorable Boracay visit for me. Truly, it was different from the other beaches that I have been to. It was not the ordinary cottage and coconut trees kind of resort. Boracay is a haven for both tranquility seekers and party animals.
Boracay by day and by night is a gem. You can have a massage or a henna tattoo by the beach during the day. There are excellent dining places that offer Philippine cuisine as well as Western food. There’s the exciting banana ride, nightlife, and a great shopping area.
Being a major tourist destination where foreigners flock here throughout the year, it is equipped with many facilities for travelers. There is an ATM on this small island and many resorts, hotels, and restaurants accept credit cards.
Boracay is divided into three stations for easier monitoring and safekeeping of the people on the beach. Station one is where the high-end resorts and bars are found. The resorts here are much bigger and more spacious. There are few people swimming in this area because it tends to be a little bit exclusive.
Station two is where the action is. The bars, restaurants, shops and D’Mall are in Station two where many party people flock. If you want to buy shirts, souvenir items or gears, this is where you can find it all.
You can find the Tourism Office in Station three. There are more budget resorts here and the talipapa or the local market is also a tourist destination. It was unfortunate that the market was razed by fire recently.
People can easily speak English, so it’s not a problem. Be sure to pack your swimming gear, tanning lotion, sunblock, beach towel, sunglasses and a camera when you go to Boracay. Drink only bottled drinking water to be sure of your safety. Though the foods are delicious in Boracay try not to upset your stomach by eating too much.
Visit the local tourist office for assistance, and it is advisable to go there via a tourist agency if you are not frequently in the place. But if you know some locals there, it is much cheaper to do the arrangements by yourself.
Best Way to Get Around:
There are flights that go through Caticlan as well as to nearby cities like Roxas where you can take a short bus ride before getting to the wharf that will take you to this island hideaway.
It’s better to walk around Boracay. There are tricycles that can take you from one point to another through the main roads, but more often than not, people prefer to walk and do some people-watching. Bicycles can also be rented if you want to catch the breeze by the beach.
Shopping in D’Mall
D’Mall is like a mini-mall in a beach setting, complete with the sand and wind ambience. It has a lot of stalls selling beach items and souvenir items. There’s an ATM in D’Mall and various coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. You can enjoy shopping here at low prices and great beach atmosphere.
Escondido is a moderate lodging that has about 10-15 rooms. It has a small patio and an open area for its customers. However, the hotel is far from the beach area and a bit hassle when you want to go swimming.
The large suites have two double beds, a TV set, and a private bath with a sauna which I love. But the food is not exemplary so we had to go to Station Two to look for a place to eat. There is no function room in the hotel so it’s not ideal for conferences or seminars.
But if your budget would not allow you for a classy hotel, Escondido is fair enough and can provide you with the comfort that you need.
Banana Boat Ride
If you want to have some adrenaline rush, the banana boat ride is the sure way to keep it rising. Shaped into a giant banana, five people can ride on this inflated thing attached to a speed boat. The speed boat starts a bit slow then gathers enough speed and does a quick turn to throw the passengers of the banana boat off balance.
So there we were all wet in the middle of the sea. There’s no reason to worry for those who cannot swim because each one will be provided with life jackets. It is important to have the presence of mind not to panic. For people who have fear of heights, like me, I do not recommend looking down while swimming because you can see the seabed in the clear waters of Boracay.
The banana ride takes only a few minutes and for a price of P150-200, but it’s all worth it. The fun of the ride and the experience is something that could be treasured.
My next Boracay trip was spent at Pearl of the Pacific. The market was gone but the spirit of Boracay lives on. The first time you have your toes touch the silky Boracay sand, savor it with glee. You may be awed by the place but you’ll never get lost in the revelry. The succeeding visits are another matter altogether.