Boracay – A refreshing change from other beach resorts
How to get there | Hotel at the Beach Front | Things to do in Boracay Beach | Food. What’s Good & Not | Water Sports | Inland Sports | Overall Budget & Experience
We have had the opportunity to travel to Boracay, thanks to the excuse of celebrating my wife’s birthday there. We are not sure if it’s coincidence but Boracay seem to have grown in statue, to be one of Singaporean’s favorite getaway. Here’s some of our recommendations on some the things to do in Boracay for friends outings, family retreat or just a couple getaway.
How to get there
There are only two options to get there from Singapore, via Calticlan and Kalibo Airport. We chose Kalibo Airport on a 3 hours direct flight from Singapore via Silk Air. From the airport, we had to take an approximate 70km road ride to the ferry terminal. The ride was windy and bumpy, often hugging mountainous roads and slow moving vehicles. Reaching the ferry terminal, it took an easy ten minutes boat ride to Boracay island.
If you can get car motion sickness, we feel the better option is to Cebu Pacific Airlines and land at Calticlan Airport instead. The good about this option is it is only a fifteen minutes ride from the airport to Boracay beach front itself. The flip side to this is it is a slightly costlier option (i.e. another $100 SGD++ per ticket) and if you are traveling from Singapore, you would have to transit at Manila for approximately two hours.
Although on hind sight we would have chosen the via Calticlan option, luck has it that we chose the Kalibo Airport route. We were there during the monsoon and typhoon (Glenda) season and Calticlan Airport was closed temporary, leaving many tourist stranded in the island of Boracay.
Hotel at the Beach Front
The stretch of boracay beach is separated into 3 stations (i.e. station 1,2,3). We stayed in The Boracay Beach Resort at station 2 and it seems to be the place to be. Beach front was only meters away from the entrance of the resort and if you managed to stay at the ocean facing suites, you would have an amazing view of the Boracay Beach for the rest of your trip. The hotel is also well situated along the walking street of the beach front where street peddlers, performances and chill out coffee houses and pubs are. It is also walking distance to D’Mall and Di’Talipapa market, a must go tourist attraction.
Beach front hotels are expensive and they range from S$200-300 per night, even during low season. If you have the budget, it is the best place to feel the culture and atmosphere. Boracay Beach is for everyone and there are other budgeted alternatives in many non-beach front hotels which are 5-10 minutes walk from the beach front as well.
Things to do in Boracay Beach
It must be said we couldn’t have gone at a worse time to Boracay. In the middle of their monsoon season and typhoon Glenda which was due to hit Manila, we pretty much had a “wet” beach experience for a good half of our trip. One of the local guide mentioned the best time to come to Boracay is during December and January so it is great to take heed. But nevertheless, we were undaunted and braved through the flooding, wind and rain at times.
Food. What’s Good & Not
Di’Talipapa Market – Situated in Station 2, Di’Talipapa is a seafood night market with many restaurants surrounding, ready to grill, steam, fry your live purchases. It’s really like your average wet market joint in Singapore. You get to choose a great variety of fresh live seafood from lobsters to clams but It is almost important you know how to bargain your way through as the peddlers name cut throat prices in the beginning. Our meals average $20 – $40/per head for a table of 8 adults. I won’t say it’s the best deal i ever had but it’s decently priced and one of the things you do as a tourist.
Epic Cafe (station 2) – After some research on trip advisor before the trip, we decided to go to Epic Cafe for a exciting ribs experience. Although i was not around for that lunch, my friends had so much rave reviews about the ribs that we decided to try it for the second time the next day. Surprising on the second day, it didn’t turn out to be as great as the first as some part of the ribs were cold in the inside. At 800 peso (approximately S$25) per single serving, it’s on the pricey side in Boracay but it’s worth a try if you love ribs.
I Love BackYard BBQ (D’mall) – Philippines is known for the barbecue and grills. We particularly had a deep impression on this nice restaurant. The price is correctly priced (approx $15 per head) and the food is just tasty! We recommend the Seafood Grill and the “I love BackYard BBQ Burger”. One small setback is the restaurant is really cosy and small so it is important to either avoid the usual lunch/dinner hours or call for booking. You can read more on review from trip adviser here.
The price of beer in Philippines is notoriously cheap and it’s just amazing even in such densely commercialized beach, the price of beer has not been inflated. In the pubs and restaurants, there are 3 kind of beers that they serve in the pub (San Miguel Light, San Miguel Pilner & Red Horse) and averagely cost about 50-80 pesos (S$1.50 – S$2.40 per bottle). I mean.. enough said on this one.
Jonah’s Fruit Shake & Snack Bar (Station 1)
Not so much into alcohol? Try Jonah’s Fruit Shake & Snack Bar. Even with a heavy downpour in the late evening, there was still a queue forming. We tried the banana choco peanut shake and you could really feel the crunchiness of peanut and the thickness. Some recommend it as the top 10 things to do in Boracay, we don’t think you will be disappointed with this one.
OK. Epic Failure for this one. As mentioned, the weather was really terrible. We had every intention to try the Ariel Point which is a landmark for the exciting cliff diving venue and even paid 500 pesos (per head) for deposit. The tour (costs 2000 peso per head) leaves every morning at 10am and includes free meals and all you can drink alcohol. No luck on this one as thunderstorm brewed the next morning, and so did our deposits.
In the end, we didn’t managed to do any water sports but did take to the beach to take some photos. We hope it shows you how beautiful the beach is even with inclement weather.
Undaunted by the weather, we moved inland for some excitement! For 1670 peso per head, we booked an one hour ATV ride, a platform view at the highest point in Boracay and an extremely exciting experience Zorbing. Words would never describe the fun. Hopefully these photos take with a GoPro Hero 3 could give you a better idea!
For golfers, there is only one golf course called Fairways and Bluewaters, Boracay. Unless you are staying at the resort, there is no worth paying S$190 for a golf game there. The course is extremely poorly maintained and the course is pretty straight forward. There is nothing much to review about the course except you could probably put the money to better here in Boracay.
Overall Budget & Experience
The people of Boracay depends mainly on tourism. The overall experience i had with Boracay people was one that was genuine and sincere. I felt this is largely due to the fact Boracay has not been fully commercialized yet (unlike Bali, Phuket etc). Sadly, it should not take them too long so if you have to go, plan your trip in the next few years. Having been to Maldives, i am impressed by how beautiful the beach and sea could be. The sea has a nice 3 tones blue when the sun is up while we were there. There is a nice cosy feel to this place and you don’t feel the locals look upon the tourist like big fat red carrots waiting to be chopped. For 4 days/3 nights, we spent about $1,000 (inclusive of the terrible golf game) for 2 persons (excluding flight and hotel stay). This is a place i will recommend highly for anyone that is looking for a beach retreat holiday and as the title suggests, it’s worth a consideration besides more common beaches like Krabi, Phuket, Bali etc.