Location: Boracay Island, Philippines
This island has the famous White Beach which is voted as one of the top five beaches in the world. It is a paradise with everything you want. Good food, white soft sand, blue sky, lots of girls in bikinis and hot guys.
TO GET THERE
To get to this island you have to fly from Manila (capital city) to Kalibo (island south of Manila). I'm sure there are other ways if you are in the Philippines but this is the way I went. From Kalibo you have to catch a bus which is two hours long and it's a bumpy ride. From what I noticed they don't tune their cars and they don't maintain the roads.
There are two airlines that service that route. Philippine Air is beautiful and very nice especially for economy. They actually try to make you feel better by renaming their economy section Fiesta Class.
Flights from Manila to Kalibo depart at 3pm and take an hour. Flight returning back to Manila leaves Kailbo at 10.45am which means you have to leave the island at 6am to make your flight.
At the end of the bus ride you arrive at the jetty with lots of people yelling at each other and trying to figure out who's who. Once you find your guy which works at the hotel you have booked with, you then get on a small boat and enjoy the scenery. This part is about 30 minutes and a much smoother ride then the bus.
Tip: Wear flip flops or something you don't mind getting wet. You have to walk into the water to walk up the plank, if its low tide it isn't bad but high tide and you are walking up to your waist in water to get to the shore.
We stayed at a hotel called Panoly. A very nice and usually a expensive hotel in the summer however it was off peak and there were renovations happening. The hotel is approximately US$140 a night for a double room however we basically paid that for the whole stay. Another really nice hotel that we noticed that is also on the high price range is Lorenza South, the good thing about this hotel is that it is located on the main beach.
The Ponoly has everything you need, with its own private beach, swimming pool, activities center and a very good breakfast. The only thing with the Ponoly that people might want to take into consideration is that it is located about 15 - 20 minutes from the main beach. They do have a free shuttle bus but it isn't always at a convenient time and it isn't really possible to walk it. We loved it because it gave us a lot of privacy and quiet because at the time there was only like 20 other people at the hotel but you are away from the action if that is what you want.
We went on a package so we didn't really look at other hotels or budget style places but I did notice a few near the main beach. But remember what you pay for what you get.
There are no public buses on the island. The main beach is walkable but if you don't want to walk it they do have these scooters connected to seats that you can take. Around the main beach itself it is usually below 50 pesos but it does cost a lot more if you would like to travel somewhere outside the main beach.
Take our hotel. We asked a local how much it will cost to get back to our hotel, she said about 30 pesos. We started asking the bike guys how much it would cost for them to take us back to our hotel, 100 pesos. We were like what? However they know that for us to call the shuttle to pick us up is 230 pesos, it's too far to walk and that there is no other way for you to get back to the hotel. We did manage to get it down to 80 pesos.
The main beach is divided up into three sections. The tourist information place is in section two, cheap souvenirs in section three etc. When you are asking for directions to a certain place it is very common to hear someone say its in section one, two or three.
You can hire a bike and prices do vary from place to place and for how long. Ask around and compare prices. Note that the roads aren't in the best conditions and a lot of the roads aren't even sealed.
As you can probably already tell, the White Beach is the main attraction. It's a beautiful, long with soft white sand. There are signs up that say stealing sand and shells off the beach you will get a ridiculous high fine or six month imprisonment.
Eric and I went to this island to relax so we just hang out on the beach a lot. However while you are walking on the beach you will get plenty of guys coming up to you to try and sell you a trip on the boat, jet ski, diving etc. If you are interested in doing any of these things then talk to the guys and compare prices. If you aren't, just say no politely and they will leave you alone. Some of them can continue to hassle you but keep walking and you will reach the end of their territory.
There is a tour called 'Island Hoping' where they take you on a boat around the island. They then take you to another small island where you can go snorkeling. Then it's to the top west side of the island to the caves. There you can walk into the caves and then it is either to another secluded beach where you can get a meal or back to the main beach. Prices vary between people so ask around and remember to ask for the cost of everything. They have a habit of just listing the price for the rental of the boat. There are hire cost for snorkeling, entrance fee to the caves and of course cost of food as well. Get all info before choosing someone.
Otherwise you can learn how to dive, kite surfing, go parasailing, ride a jet ski and once again prices vary from place to place.
FOOD AND DRINKS
The food on this island is fantastic. You can find a whole range of different styles from Italian, French, Filipino, Mexican, Chinese and good o' American. You can eat very cheap here or you can spend not that much money at a good restaurant and get good food.
We had breakfast as part of the stay and it isn't buffet style. The breakfast menu is fantastic and cost 300 pesos. We recommend trying the Filipino breakfast with the pork. We also ate at the Nigi Nigi Nu Noos 'E' Nu Nu Noos (it seriously says that on my receipt and on the door), it is a restaurant/bar connected to a hotel. They served all kinds of food on the menu. We only spent like 500 pesos for a really good meal and drinks; the bar also has a really good happy hour special.
Another place I would recommend is ARIA, a Italian restaurant. The size is good, the food yummy and they have a reasonable wine list selection.
Happy hour is anywhere from 3pm to 8pm and usually beers are at 30 pesos and cocktails are two for one. Depending on what cocktail you get prices are on average 150 pesos, a really good deal and hell of a lot cheaper then over in Taiwan. So naturally Eric and I got very drunk one night.
Beer is heavily promoted over here so often it is cheaper to get a beer (around 45 pesos) then a coke (50 pesos). Fresh fruit juice is easily the most expensive drink beside cocktails at around 80 pesos.
Boracay Island Tourist Info: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/explorephil/placedeta...
Panoly Hotel: www.thepanoly.com
Philipphine Air: www.philippineairlines.com
Currency Converter: www.xe.com