Located approximately 315 km south of Manila, Boracay is probably the most famous of the 7,641 islands in the Philippines, and was certainly one of the first islands to be visited by Western Backpackers.
The supporting Airports have gone from being provincial airstrips, with basic buildings, to large International Airports; the expansion of Caticlan Airport (Godofredo P Ramos Airport) will complete in 2018. Palawan has also become increasingly popular with travellers and this has been recognised, with the introduction of direct flights between the two islands in 2017.
1. The name of this island is Boracay Please, Not BORA!
Bora Bora is in the South Pacific. Boracay is in Malay Aklan, Visaya. The residents and locals will be even friendlier towards you if you call the island by its correct name.
2. It is illegal to remove sand or pebbles from any of Boracay’s beaches. The Municipal Ordinance 310, bans people from taking sand, pebbles or shells from ANY of the Island’s Beaches and imposes strict penalties and fines (2,500PHP for first offence, OR 1-3 Months imprisonment, depending on the Courts Decision) on those caught doing so.
3. Smoking is now banned in the Philippines unless it is within designated Smoking Areas. Violators face a 1,000PHP Fine and/or imprisonment if caught smoking on the beach or in areas which are not designated smoking areas, more than once. Please do not just drop your cigarette butts on the floor. Dispose of them, and ANY litter, responsibly so everyone can enjoy Boracay.
4. If you’re not a strong or confident swimmer, swim only between the Red & Yellow Flags and stay in areas on the beach that are patrolled by Life Guards.
If you can not swim, either don’t go in the water or do not go out past waist height. You will be surprised how many people go out in to the water, wearing flimsy arm-bands or using an inflatable, and even fully clothed when they can’t swim.
Please do not put yourself, other tourists or Boracay’s Life Guards as risk. Whilst White Beach is amazing it will not magically turn you in to a swimmer upon contact!
5. Many of the bars, restaurants and Hotels toilets can not discharge used paper. DO NOT FLUSH toilet or hand-towel paper down the toilets; use the bins provided.
6. You WILL BE CHARGED by your Hotel for any towels or bed-sheets ruined by Henna Tattoo Ink. Henna Ink is impossible to remove. If you want a Henna Tattoo it would be best to get this done several hours before you shower or go to bed. Wash off the residue and dry the area with toilet tissue.
It is also recommended that you have a ‘skin test’ done 12 hours before you have the tattoo, as some people have had severe reactions to Henna Ink, which has even resulted in scarring.
7. Trike Fares. ‘Regular’ Flat rate is 10 PHP per person + 5php per ‘station’ travelled. ‘Special’ Rate is negotiable with the trike driver, and is per trike, and starts from around 50-75PHP. Grab yourself a copy of Boracay Sun from one of the shops, bars and restaurants as they regularly print Fare Rates.
8. Prostitution is illegal in the Philippines and that includes Boracay. If you are caught with a ‘lady, or ladyboy, of the night’ you may face imprisonment until your trial (which can take several years to complete), imprisonment after your trial and finally deportation; a lengthy and costly experience. Check out reports on Philippine Prisons and ask yourself if it’s worth it!
9. Sadly there are children used for Begging on the beach path, usually in the evenings, some of whom may be babes in arms. As much as you may think you are helping by giving money, 95% of these children have been brought to the island by syndicates, who take the money and provide little in the way of care or attention for the children. If you want to help, alert the local police and/or buy the children something to eat and drink … preferably something healthy. If you would like to help out the islands children, you can contact the Boracay Chapter of the Red Cross or Babies of Boracay, and make a donation; both run charitable programmes.
10. If there is a Typhoon warning, Boracay’s Port can be closed to any boats up to 48 hours before landfall is expected. This is because Boracay’s Port is overseen by officers in Iloilo.
Take only Photos, leave only Footprints!