Beautiful Boracay - Top Things to Do on The Island Resort

Boracay in Brief:

  • Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay is a resort island that welcomes over 2 million visitors a year.

  • It was completely closed in April 2018 for major renovation works and a massive clean-up. To keep the now pristine waters and white sand clean, tourist numbers are capped daily. Pre-booked accommodation is a must

  • Things to do: Relax on any one of the beaches including Ilig Iligan, Tambisaan and White Beach, go snorkelling, divingpaddle boarding or parasailing, watch the sun set from a famous blue-sailed boat, drink a mango smoothie or enjoy something hard at the bars. Skip to the bottom for recommedations. 

Photo by: China D

As the saying goes: good things come in small packages, and the island of Boracay is definitely no exception. With its pristine white sand, crystal clear water, a host of restaurants and lively nightlife, Boracay packs a lot into its slim borders - all without feeling too bloated. There’s plenty of room for beachside fun on this charming little island, and all within walking distance!

Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay is a resort island that welcomes over 2 million visitors a year. As it goes, its visitors swing both ways - the island is a popular destination for both foreign and domestic tourists, which is indicative of its extreme attraction.

Photo by: China D

In a dramatic move by the Duterte government, Boracay was completely closed in April 2018 for major renovation works and a massive clean-up. The country’s darling saw no one except for residents and clean up crews for 6 months, however, the reclusion was worth the results. Stunning before any work had been done, but now with the face lift, Boracay is attracting tourists, old and new, all over again.


Photo by: Reuters

This time around there are strict rules in place to ensure the wellbeing of all aspects of the island, including its ecology and local population of wildlife and residents. One such rule is a cap on the number of visitors to the island each day. Visitors must also have accommodation pre-booked before being allowed entry. Once all the necessities are checked, visitors will go by boat from Caticlan Jetty Port out to the island.

Photo by: China D

What to Do and Where to Stay

Despite its size, Boracay has a wealth of different experiences to try, catering to all tastes and moods. There are busy main strips where eateries, bars, souvenirs and massages can be found. There’s also more secluded areas such as Ilig Iligan or Tambisaan beach, where you can take a dip and lay on the cotton white sand in order to become the opposite colour yourself. To get the heart started after all the relaxing and indulgence, there’s kite surfing, paddle boarding, diving or snorkelling. 

Accommodation on the island is similarly diverse, with high-end hotels, backpackers and everything in between. Feeling adventurous, we opted for the backpacking option at Mad Monkey’s. If it’s late nights, weird and wonderful conversations, an eclectic mix of travellers and far too many free shots that you’re after for your holiday, then this is the place for you.

Photo by: China D

Our first night there, we joined the other guests at the central courtyard where the bar and pool areas are located. It started out with casual introductions while milling around – there were a bunch of English guys and girls, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a group of Spaniards enjoying an extended bachelor party holiday and another Filipina (who was definitely the most sensible out of the whole bunch). Then, we had a boodle fight organised by the staff at Mad Monkey’s. Before things deteriorated and we could still use our opposable thumbs, China showed our large group how to eat the Filipino way – using your hands. “Take the rice, squeeze it together and use your thumb to flick it in your mouth…”. Lucky for all the Westerners, there was also seafood and cut fruit on this table.

Photo by: China D

Then the fun really started. A beer pong table was set up in the middle of the floor, the music pumped and the night turned into a whirl of conversation, laughs, wondering why one of the Spaniards is dressed as a fairy and why everyone is trying to find a girl for the beki Scotsman - “It’s so funny because I’m gay!”. Even the staff who were there to keep an eye on things joined in the festivities and seemed to genuinely enjoy listening to everyone’s travel stories as well as tell their own. With the combination of quick bar service, a free shot every 30 minutes for those who lined up and didn’t mind it being poured straight into their mouths (they have most everyone at “free”), and a laid-back vibe, it wasn’t long before walking a straight line passed the pool was difficult and a thong went missing – as we all know, one thong is no thongs at all.   

Photo by: China D  

Paddle the Pain Away

The next morning was a blur – my eyes and terrific headache made sure of that. After finding the nearest place to replace my flip-flops, China and I walked down White Beach Path in search of breakfast. A mango smoothie, which Boracay is well-known for, and the gorgeous azure water 50 metres to my right helped give me the strength to walk to one of the many restaurants along the sandy 4km strip. The restaurant didn’t have any bowls of paracetamol on the menu so I ordered a bowl of fruit instead and some fried rice for aking Filipina fiancé. While sitting and enjoying our meal, we watched as the waves gently lapped the white beach just metres away. Although our holiday so far consisted of a late night, overindulgence and payment to be made the next morning, we also felt and appreciated the wonderful family vibe of the island in the daylight and imagined paddling with our little niece here one day. It was then that China had an idea – “let’s paddle board!”   

Photo by: China D

The water of White Beach is perfect for beginner paddlers and even people who aren’t great swimmers due to the fact that it stays at around waist level for quite a way. On the paddle board, I only had to use a minor bit of strength in my ankles to maintain balance – the waves were gentle and slow moving. While paddling – sometimes sitting with my legs dangling - in an attempt to forget my horrendous hangover, I received one of the worst tans in my life. The spontaneity of it all meant that I didn’t have any sunscreen applied, which is really running the gauntlet for someone as melanin deficient as me. I’m surprised I even had a swimsuit on, or did I fall asleep in it the night before?

Photo by: China D

Where to Eat and Chill

After a relaxing massage from one of the many masseurs offering their services and a cheeky aspirin, we were ready for night two. China and I once again hit busy White Beach Path and chose True Food, an Indian restaurant with low tables and bean bags to lose ourselves in while nibbling on samosas. There are a number of boutique places such as this as well as bars like Coco Bar, BomBom Bar and Epic Bar right in front of the beach. If you prefer the familiar favourites, there's Army Navy, Shakey's, Yellow Cab Pizza Co. and Starbucks, as well as a 7eleven.

Photo by: China D

Stomachs full, we walked the 10 or so metres to the beach and joined the crowd waiting for the sunset. Standing there, I could feel the heat radiating off my arms. I knew I’d coped a bit of sun that day, but when the calls from the beach side masseurs drumming up business went from, “Ma’am massage?” to “Ma'am! After-sun care!”, I knew it was bad.

Photo by: China D

End it Right: Watch the Sun Set 

Sunsets on Boracay Island are a special sight to behold. Tourist operators have made the most of them by charging visitors to board one of the famous blue sailed mga paraw and watch the sun go down just a few metres offshore. It’s a fine experience but the sun sets just the same from under one of the many big, leaning palm trees on the beautiful beach. Either way, where would you rather be to witness this every day occurrence? Just take me back to Boracay! 

Project Goals Recommends:

  • Flights from Manila to Caticlan airport take around 1 hour. From the airport, catch a van or tricycle to Caticlan Jetty Port where all paperwork will be processed before you board a boat to Boracay Island. Make sure to pre-book your accommodation as this is a requirement of entry and proof of booking will be checked.

  • Boats run from 5am - 9pm and cost P30. You will also pay P100 port fee and P80 environmental fee.

  • Due to it being a very popular destination for overseas tourists, Boracay is more expensive than other destinations in the Philippines. Average prices in restaurants, hotels and bars are a little higher.

  • Tours and guides for any activities can be easily booked outside of their offices located around the island. Take a walk down White Beach Path and they will more than likely find you...

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1 comment

I love Boracay I cant wait to see the new Boracay too. Nice to meet you beautiful couple,Sarah and China is amazing I will be reading more of your blog.

Rona & Basil

Rona L.

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