Though, even 148 hours aren’t quite enough!
Amongst the 7000 plus islands of the Philippines archipelago, the tourists seem to have been partial for turning their gaze repeatedly to the Boracay Islands. No wonder, this is one of the most visited sandy stops amongst the aqua marine waters of the region. Naturally, the facilities, amenities, shopping arcades and tourist friendly activities have burgeoned rapidly here over the years feeding the tourist explosion even more. While it will be difficult to strip yourself from the waterfront and the soft white sand even after weeks of staying here, we’ve put together a blue print for an ideal way of spending 48 hours on the islands.
Sink or swim (mostly swim)
There is no doubt that the underwater sports and activities are Boracay’s main draw. Large wooden planked platforms in the middle of the sea are stations that are used as springboards for jet skiing, banana boat rides, snorkeling, parasailing and helmet dives. Put your money on the more exclusive submarine, where you can sit in an air-conditioned submarine, while ‘Beatles’ croon the famous song on a stereo and you fix your eyes to the round windows, watching patrols of fish glide by.
A sunset to remember
Drop everything and head towards the beach at 5.45pm anytime of the year and be one of the thousands of pairs of eyes that pause and watch the sun drop into the sea. If you let your imagination run wild, you can almost hear a slight sizzle when it touches the horizon. It is bizarrely a massively public yet an intimate experience. With the sky painted from a vibrant palate of orange and reds, the backdrop is ideal to shoot silhouettes of sailing boats drift lazily on the waters. Don’t forget to catch your breath, as the sight is jaw droppingly gorgeous.
Boracay is so cloaked in tourist activities and facilities that one wonders what the local culture might be like. The only place where you can get a glimpse of this is the labyrinth of slim lanes behind the resorts and an Ati settlement. The Ati are an ethnic group that largely stays in the Boracay, Panay and Negros islands. In this settlement, you can visit a small museum, stroll around the thatch roofed houses and even meet the head of the tribe. About 40 families live here at the edge of the sea, under the patronage of the chieftain, Delsa Supetran Justo. They are involved in making bath soaps and jewellery that is sold in the markets of Boracay. The definitive Negrito features make the Ati look distinctively different than the mainland Filipinos.
Party till you drop
The entire stretch of Station 1 and 2 is lined with beach shacks and clubs, where booze, free wi-fi, fire dances and music take over in the evenings. There a number of pub hopping tours that one can sign up on, but if you’re not looking to socialize, pick any of these and sink into the easy chairs or bean bags and unwind.
Getting There: Since there are no direct flights to Boracay, Kalibo or Caticlan are the most convenient nodes to get to the islands – Caticlan even more so. After this you need to use a combination of a boat and wheels to get to your hotel. From the Caticlan airport to the Cagban Jetty point on the island (the other one is called Tanbisaan Jetty and not used so often) is a few minutes ride. Spend about PHP 100 for Terminal and Environmental Fee.
Understanding the stations: The Boracay beaches are divided into three Stations; 1 is reserved for the most luxurious resorts, 2 has the mid level stay options and 3 is usually used by backpackers.
Station 1 – The Lind Boracay
Station 2 – Fridays Boracay
Station 3 – Marzon Beach Resort
Getting Around: Shared motorized tricycles (also known as trikers) are the legit smoke spewing, brightly coloured monsters that whiz past you all the time. Hop on for a minimum fee of PHO 20 to get around.