Helen Atanacio, a British citizen who married a Filipino after moving to Boracay eight years ago, has worked within the travel industry for years and now operates Go Discover, this boracay.travel website, a very successful family run hotel on the island and the Island International School for children with a British curriculum! As a Boracay local, Helen's shared her top 5 things to do in Boracay while on a Philippines holiday:
1. Walk on the beach at sunset: There is nothing nicer than Boracay’s White Beach from about 5:30 every night. The heat of the day is cooling and the island’s locals are out on the beach with their children. There is a real community feel about sunset time on White Beach. We island residents like to take a stroll on the sand at this time when the office work is done, take the kids to skimboard in the shallow tides at this time of day and watch the world go by. The sunsets on Boracay are nothing short of spectacular. With the uninterrupted view of the sun setting over the water and so many colours in the sky. It is a time when I can just stop and marvel in the beauty of my Island home and say quiet hellos to my neighbours.
2. Merienda: Filipinos love to eat and luckily so do I! Nothing is better than the street stalls that start to operate at around 3pm selling Merienda. While some of the offerings can be a little unusual such as Balut or pigs ear, most are just delicious. My personal favourites are the banana que or Kamote que which are covered in a caramelised sugar from the frying in the big wok at the stall. There are also wonderful sweet rice cakes like suman, bibingka, or puto. Best of all the prices are so cheap you can try lots of things.
3. Watching the Kite Surfers on Bulabog from Mount Luho: Take a walk to Bulabog Beach and just watch the kite surfers and their amazing prowess on the waters, but make this experience even better by walking up the Mount Luho road that runs off Bulabog and watch them from on high. The view over the island is amazing and looking down on all the colourful kites is just a great sight to behold. The restaurants and cafes on this side of the island also are a little more laid back and rustic than White Beach so relaxing here is a more local experience.
4. Bar-Hopping - the perfect 3 cocktails! If there is one thing that Boracay is famous for and which I am always happy to enjoy it is the great nightlife and wonderful selection of cocktails, restaurants and places to dance off the excesses! My perfect night starts with the island’s best Mango Daquiri at CafeDelMar. Their hammock slung seats and tranquil music make a great place to start the evening. The best Frozen Margarita is to be found at Manana the Mexican restaurant on White beach and the best Frozen Mojitos are at The Palms of Boracay at the north end of the beach where the comfy sofas and sunset view from the clubhouse terrace is perfectly framed. There are so many choices to eat but personal favourites include Cyma for Greek, Dos Mestistos for Tapas, Siam Chilli for Thai and Crafts for Indian Curry. My favourite DJ and dancing spot has to be Juice Bar, an outdoor dance on the sand in sight of the sea nightspot with the best bar team! Enjoy!
5. Zorbing: Ok I admit it's not a thing I actually do myself, I am not quite an adrenalin junkie…but my 8 year old son is! So this gets my top 5 list because I love to take him and his friends here and watch them have the time of their lives rolling down a hill in a great big bubble full of water. It is one of many activities available for thrill seekers along with Zip Lines, parasailing, fly fishing banana boating ATV riding ….the list goes on!
Trudy Allen is a British Citizen who fell in love with the island of Boracay on a visit in April 2010, returning to the island to work with Go Discover Travel in October 2011. As a previous visitor to the island Trudy has shared her top 5 things to do in Boracay, whilst on holiday
1. Massage and Therapy Treatments. My therapist, Rose, at Spa Helios at Boracay Hills, gave me the most amazing massage, discovering knots and aches I didn’t know I was carrying until she released them. The session started with a delicious foot scrub, followed by some basic yoga moves and then a full body massage and hot stones treatment. In the midst of suffering from severe jet-lag I fell asleep several times throughout the treatment, which completed with a flower infused hot spa. I remained relaxed and content for the rest of the day and slept peacefully that night.
2. Watching the Giant Fruit Bats at Sunset from Diniwid Beach; at twilight every day, thousands of fruit bats awake from their trees on the hillside above Punta Bunga Beach and fly across Diniwid and White Beach.
The lovely cove of Diniwid Beach can be reached by walking north along White Beach and along a little path cut in to the cliff edge. There are several cafés, bars and restaurants within this cove, which tends to be quieter and more secluded than White Beach.
One of my most memorable moments on my first visit to Boracay was relaxing on a sun lounger, with a Long Island Ice Tea and a beautiful sunset, watching the flight of thousands of bats as they made their way across the island.
3. Quad Biking to Mount Luho. It’s incredibly rare to get me on the back of a motorcycle; it’s not much fun for me or the rider as I have a tendency to scream for the majority of the journey. So, I was pretty amazed to be persuaded on to a quad bike (or ATV) by the General Manager of the hotel I was staying at. Four wheels, I figured, would feel safer than two! After an exercise in handling; riding round the track at the centre, we headed off on to the road, visiting several little beaches and coves, reached by dirt track roads. Our final destination was Mount Luho, the highest point on Boracay. A short climb, after dismounting from the quad bikes and I was faced with the most amazing and clear views across the island, particularly Bulabog Beach, Ilig-iligan Beach and Lapuz-lapuz Beach. We remained on Mount Luho for over an hour, wandering around and taking in the various views afforded us. Certainly a visit that I would recommend.
4. Zorbing: this is so much fun and the first time I experienced it was on my first visit to Boracay. It may not have been the most sensible activity for someone who, only 10 days earlier, had a cast removed from their leg but as they say in the UK “in for a penny (1p), in for a pound (£1)”. I had a little trepidation on entering the Zorb ball but then it was launched down the hill and the rush and sense of travelling at a really fast pace was exhilarating, making me scream and laugh out loud. Definitely a ‘must do’ activity, which can be undertaken individually or in groups, depending on height and weight; on my visit parents shared a Zorb with their children. Do wear your swimming costumes to Zorb though; you will get wet!
5. Walk the beach: I love to wander along White Beach, day or night; I think it’s one of the most relaxing things to do and there is so much to see, from people taking boat trips or parasailing, tattooists daubing henna ink on to the skins of visitors, the building of sand art and sandcastles, which are lit with tea-lights as dusk falls and the Dragon Boat teams out in the sea, practising for the next round of races. The beach comes alight at night and there are plenty of places to go to eat, drink and dance. One of my favourites is the Boom Boom bar (Station 2 area), which has a lovely relaxed vibe and regular musicians, playing a reggae vibe.If you’re feeling brave, or confident in your abilities, you can even approach the musicians and sing yourself – just beware the standard of singing is very high!
John is a recent arrival to Boracay but has quickly adjusted to life on the island and is in charge of sales and marketing for Go Discover. He is an avid windsurfer and divemaster intern and loves outdoor activities on a Boracay beach. Here are Jmac's top 5 things to do in Boracay:
1. Boracay Scuba Diving: Underwater exploration is one of the reasons why I left the big city, quit my job, and migrated to the island. As a divemaster intern in one of the many Boracay dive training centres, I get to explore the island's reefs and walls every weekend. Diving is one of the many ways to enjoy the crystal clear waters that surround the island of Boracay. If you're not a diver yet, getting certified is quite easy, or you can opt to see the underwater landscapes that make Boracay famous by taking a Boracay tour in a glass bottom boat, go helmet diving or go snorkelling.
2. Windsurfing: The joy I find in windsurfing is immeasurable. The wind hitting my face, the surf hitting skin, and the sun peaking above the horizon marking the beginning of a brand new day gives me an intense adrenalin rush while riding the wind. Boracay is one of the most popular windsurfing destinations in the Asia Pacific region. Every year, Boracay hosts the Neil Pryde International Funboard Cup. Now in its 22nd year, this is the longest running windsurfing event in Asia. Nowadays it also combines a kitesurfing division courtesy of Cabrinha Kites. Slalom racers and kiteboarders from all over the world meet to celebrate this exciting sport. This is a true wind rider’s festival and one of the year's best Boracay events, with great racing during the day and huge parties in the evening. Do not miss it!
3. Eco-Cultural Trekking: Sightseeing and trekking tours are the perfect chance to get off the beaten path and experience the real culture of Boracay all in one day. From secluded beaches, to local handicrafts, to enjoying a freshly made lunch in a local village... I am able to tour my big city friends to paths not normally taken by regular tourists, and give lasting memories of their holiday through Urban Adventure day tours in Boracay.
4. Getting a massage on the beach: With the wind on my face and the scent of rich coconut massage oil, nothing can beat quiet relaxation for me after a long week at work than having a traditional Filipino massage under the shade of a coconut tree on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Boracay is famed for its talented massage therapists.
5. Meet People: Boracay beaches are filled with people, so there's no reason one can't make new friends. Games on the sand - like volleyball and frisbee make it easy to get to know the locals who have been here a long time as well as newly arrived visitors eager to experience the wonders of the island. Boracay has a certain affect on visitors and tourists alike, everyone seems to be having fun - like having a daily dose of the happy pill.
Chad Cocjin has been living on Boracay Island since 2008. Here are his recommendations for some of the best things to do in Boracay. Particularly if you have a strong stomach!
1. Eating Balut: Balut is a delicacy infamous in Filipino culture that can put a chill down the spine of grown men unfamiliar with this tasty treat. Balut is a popular Boracay street snack and is essentially a duck egg with a fetus inside, typically between seventeen to twenty days in gestation. This delicacy is a must try for any visiting tourist on the island and one of my favorite midnight snacks.
2. Sunset Cocktails: I love watching sunsets on the beach. In the afternoon after work, I take a stroll on the beach and watch the sun slowly creep onto the horizon while the skies turn from baby blue to crimson red and all hues in between. Happy hour is in full swing at all restaurants and bars along the way, inviting everyone to order a sunset cocktail, a margarita or mojito loco to complement the glorious view. The perfect drink to end the day.
3. Skimboarding: I have been skimboarding for a year now and what I can say is I love skimboarding in Boracay. Whether I am riding rails on a nice surf or planing on the flat White Beach, there is nothing I would rather be doing. The rise in popularity of this unique and endearing sport on the island has seen many tourists and visitors willing to jump on a board and join us in a favourite activity.
4. Dining out: Boracay restaurants and eateries are numerous and have varied samplings from all culinary regions of the world. But what keeps me satiated is a quick meal at my favorite eatery - Jasper's. Locals are known to come and eat at Jasper's, located beside Krafts along the main road. It's famous for its sweet and savory pork barbeque and low prices. For a sampling of where Boracay locals love to eat, come see me at Jasper's.