Brenda’s Short Travel Guide to Boracay
Make sure to read the accompanying stories written by Andrew: The Arrival: Boracay, a treat for the eyes and stomach. AND A few of my favorite things-Boracay
Getting to Boracay
The only way to get into Boracay is to stop in Manila first. We took Philippine Airlines from Hong Kong to Manila and stayed overnight at Nichols Hotel, which was cheap and close by. It’s the best way to do it because Manila is notorious for its traffic jams.
Philippine Airlines is cheap but you have to pay for luggage. We ended up paying $150 more for our overweight luggages and if you are a violinist like Bailey, they require for you to check in the violin, just be sure to tell them how fragile and expensive it is so they will take care of it and require more paperwork for protection.
We flew into Caticlan from Manila.
How to get to Boracay from Caticlan:
At the airport (a teeny tiny airport) there are expediters who will ask you to register and pay 600 pesos (about $13 each) each to enter the island and to “shuttle” us around first in a van, then a ferry and then another van. The whole trip took about 20 minutes with porters helping you with the luggage, whom Andrew tipped. The whole process was a bit chaotic with many people involved, but it works.
Where to Stay:
Blue Bayou Bungalows in Boracay was our home for a month. we stayed in an air-conditioned bungalow with a kitchen. We were all very comfortable. Dian and Hans, the owners, are just fantastic. They are very hands-on with their property and completely welcoming.
How to get around the island:
The island is tiny, we mostly walked everywhere. When it was too hot though, we used the trike to the further beaches like Diniwid, Puka and Ilig Iligan (check below for more details). Most trike rides around the island was about 75 to 100 pesos for the 3 of us.
What to Eat:
Island Chicken Inasal
Where we had our first meal. Loved their chicken and the atsara. It’s very convenient, right at D’Mall.
(+63 36) 288-6687, (+63 36) 288-5946
D*Talipapa is a wet market.
The fishermen haul their catch under this tin-roofed area behind Station 2 and sell off the fruits of their labor. The scene is like taking part of dozens of micro auctions going on at the same time. The buying frenzy was infectious and resulted into us buying too much seafood for three people. The idea is to bring your purchase to one of the many restaurants that surround the market, and for a nominal price, they will cook and prepare what you bought. In our case, we had our fish and squid fried, our crabs steamed, and the shrimp grilled. It is highly recommended to this with a big crowd. The more the better.
On Bulabog Road, there’s that intersection I spoke of earlier where the church was located. Walk past the Church and right before you reach the main road, you’ll find to your right-hand side, The Secret Garden. Hans introduced us to this eatery and it was by far the best Turo-Turo type restaurant on the Island. Turo – Turo, literally translates into “Point – Point”. Just go toward the counter, where there is food laid out on display, point at what you want to eat and they will dole it out to you with a portion of rice. It’s a fun way to get your feet wet if you’ve never had Filipino Food before. It’s akin to having tapas, where you can get a few small portions to try. Order their Lechon Kawali (Fried Pork Belly) and you’ll find out why Pork is King in the Philippines.
Mario’s on Angol Beach
This was our favorite restaurant to have a good salad and very good pasta. They were right next to the Red Pirates. It was always a great way to end the day there with a good meal.
Go there for your snacks! It’s right at the entrance to D’Mall.
Other beaches we tried and liked in Boracay (written by Andrew):
If The White Beach is the refined one in the family, then Puka Beach, Ilig Iligan, and Diniwid are the wilder sisters. As in most cases, when you get to know them, they are in some way sexier and more attractive than their perfect sister. These gals have personality.
On Puka Beach, Brenda, Bailey and I walked far enough down the beach where we couldn’t see the entrance to the beach anymore. We were waved over by a couple of men, that offered their makeshift lounge area to us, along with their services. I spoke to the two men and got to know more about the land they lived on. Puka Beach is where you’ll see the last vestiges of the once very tropical Boracay. Behind the beach, the landscape becomes extremely wild and green. Apparently there are still monkeys swinging on vines up there. Furthermore, I was told that the San Miguel Corporation stopped a company from developing in the area. In their honor, I drink a San Miguel Beer with the guys. After a few beers, and a few laughs, the guys offered to catch a fish and prepare lunch for my family. I took the offer and we all had the best, grilled fish we have ever had in all our lives.
The pretty sister was throwing a bit of a tantrum one day, so we headed over to the quiet, not so pretty sister, Ilig Iligan. She’s the sister you really have to get to know from the inside. She’s a bit cloistered, and it takes a bit to warm up to her and she to you, but when you do, it makes for a wonderful experience. It’s with this gal that you’ll find the best snorkeling on the island.
The sexiest and most fun sister is Diniwid Beach. Diniwid Beach is where the famous Spider House Resort and Restaurant exists. From the porch of the bar, is arguably the best vantage point in all of the island to experience a perfect sunset. What a beauty.