Exploring Boracay: where the sand never burns your feet
Travelling to the Philippines is like unwrapping a Christmas present: you never know what you’re gonna get. With 7,107 islands to explore, the archipelago that sits directly south of Taiwan and north of Indonesia is bursting with tremendous travel potential, something that became more apparent to me during a trip I made in March.
With more recognition for its export of overseas workers than as a popular tourism destination, the country’s fighting back with the tenacity of Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquaio.
The Department of Tourism’s colorful and vibrant ‘More Fun in the Philippines’ campaign was launched in 2012 targeting the Asian, European and American markets. Plans to invest around $1.85 billion over the next few years to provide access roads and improve existing infrastructure will make travelling to still relatively uncovered grounds far easier.
This is great news not only for the country’s industry, but also for the intrepid and curious newbie traveller.
The island for everyone
Situated in the Visayas region of the country, Boracay sits at the north-western tip of Panay Island. After a journey that includes a flight, coach and ferry ride, any traces of lethargy will vanish the second you catch sight of the sandy coastline.
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White Beach is the most popular stretch of Boracay and is split into 3 stations:
- Station one is the northernmost with high-end hotels and resorts;
- Number two is the commercial centre where you can find most of the bars, restaurants, shops etc;
- The third station is the southernmost with cheaper accommodation as it’s the furthest from the beachfront. It’s also less developed than the other two.
By far however, the most popular station is Station two, the epicentre of excitement.
There are hotels to suit every budget, plus an extensive choice of lively bars and restaurants. What’s more, you can only find the D Mall shopping centre in Station two. For the first-time traveller, adapting to the Boracay vibe is remarkably effortless.
Kick start every morning with a freshly made green mango juices to, followed by a mid-morning dip in the translucent warm water. For lunch, feast upon newly-caught steamed lobster and shrimp for lunch.
As the title suggests, the fine grains of sand stay cool even with temperatures reaching over 32°C. Needless to say, this makes an afternoon stroll on the beach a bit more bearable.
As well as its tranquil element, Boracay’s just as notorious for its nightlife. Party like it’s 1999 on the infamous pub crawl with a diverse group of travellers. Alternatively, have a more mellow evening by listening to one of the many talented live Filipino bands during dinner.
There’s so much that Boracay has to offer, and my words are no match for its reality. Travel magazine Travel + Leisure voted Boracay the best island in the world in 2012, and to this day still continues to collect more accolades. That said, it’s only a matter of time before the whole world and his dog will be heading there for a piece of the Boracay pie.
The increased diversity of the group I traveled with to Boracay is testament that tourism is indeed back on track for the Philippines. Get there before everybody else does.
Best time to travel to Boracay: December to April. It can get extremely hot during May and June.
Philippine Tourism website: www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com
PubCrawl Philippines: http://www.pubcrawl.ph/
This article was first published on 6 June 2013 on Live Share Travel: http://livesharetravel.com/