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Home: Pacific Islands Travel: My Boracay, Philippines Travel Adventure

My Boracay, Philippines
Travel Adventure

Over a decade ago, I dated a young Japanese woman who was crazy about this place in the Philippines called Boracay. In fact, at the time she'd already been to Boracay 3 times & absolutely raved about it. Ever since then, it's been on my bucket list and in February 2016 I finally got my chance to visit.

Boracay is just one of the Philippines' remarkable 7,641 islands, but the big attraction for me, as for most folks, is Boracay's White Beach, which won Trip Advisor's 2015 Travelers' Choice award for the #1 rated beach in all of Asia. 

Boracay (pronounced boh-rah-kah-ee) is a 7-km long, dog bone-shaped island, only 1 km wide at its narrowest point, and White Beach takes up a remarkable 4 of those 7 km.

Boracay map
Boracay map
(Photo credit: Boracay-Information.com)

Boracay lived up to all the pre-trip hype I read online, even though most of White Beach in February should actually be renamed Green Beach due to the seasonal abundance of seaweed in the water. But that, along with all the hoardes of Chinese tourists there for the Chinese New Year with their selfie sticks, definitely didn't distract me from enjoying such a beautiful tropical paradise.

White Beach from Station 2
White Beach, as seen from Station 2

On this page, I will share some of the more memorable highlights of my 7-day Boracay travel adventure, including my 1st-ever zipline experience, my 1st parasailing experience in 2 decades, all the AMAZING kitesurfers on Bulabog Beach, the White Beach Station 2 nightlife, and my visits to Puka Shell Beach, Ilig-Iligan Beach, & Diniwid Beach.

Also, the incredible Crown Regency Oceanarium tunnel walk, wave pool, & Wave Rider, my hike up to the beautiful cross atop Steve's Cliff which has a stunning view of White Beach (the interesting time-lapse sunset I filmed from there Feb. 12 can be viewed @ the 26:49 mark in my video below), my stay at the Seabird International Resort, the "My Boracay Guide" transport service, and some general comments on all the shopping, restaurants, & stores.


Ziplining, parasailing, and a reverse bungee


Ziplining - By far the most exciting thing I did during my entire week-long stay was to go ziplining for the 1st time in my life. I guess I can honestly say I was only moderately frightened flying thru the air head first & stomach down just like Superman, and the views of the Fairways Resort & golf course and Lapuz-Lapuz Beach down below were truly stunning.

Boracay's Lapuz-Lapuz Beach, as seen from the zipline
Boracay's Lapuz-Lapuz Beach, as seen from the zipline

But what totally freaked me out is when I got to the other side, I was expecting to begin gradually slowing down before reaching the landing platform, but that was not the case.

In fact, I was surprised that there was no reduction in speed at all until about only 10 m from the landing platform wall that was staring me in the face, and I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to stop when SUDDENLY I was stopped by a very strong jerk just shy of the platform.

WOW, definitely scary stuff, but very enjoyable! smiley You can check out my zipline adventure along with its very EXCITING finish @ the 16:19 mark in my video below.

Boracay zipline and cable car
Boracay zipline and cable car

The zipline adventure only set me back 900 Philippine pesos (PHP), about $19, plus the 150 peso (~$3) trike ride to the zipline launch pad.

Parasailing - While in Boracay, I also had a chance to go parasailing for the 1st time in 20 years when I last did it in Phuket, Thailand. The view from 100 m up above the gorgeous blue Philippine sea was to die for. I really wish I'd had some way of filming my parasailing experience, but I just didn't want to risk taking my digicame or iPhone, even inside one of those plastic, waterproof phone pouches with a neckstrap which are widely sold by vendors in Boracay.

My wonderful buddy Joevani, the manager @ the Seabird Resort where I stayed, arranged for my parasailing adventure thru Diamond Water Sports for around 2000 PHP (~$42), as I recall.

Reverse bungee - And while I didn't try it myself... it seemed a bit too pricey to me... but one evening I observed a thrilling reverse bungee. It was the 1st first time for me to ever see this sort of thing. You're definitely going to want to check out the G-MAX reverse bungee in action @ the 9:38 mark in my video below. AMAZING!!

Boracay G-Max reverse bungee
Boracay G-Max reverse bungee


Crown Regency Boracay Water Adventure


Another fun thing that I did in Boracay (which I found out about quite by accident after I was already in Boracay for 3 days & which I don't recall reading anything about on the internet prior to my trip) was the Boracay Water Adventure at the Crown Regency Resort & Convention Center.

Boracay Crown Regency Oceanarium tunnel walk
Boracay Crown Regency Oceanarium tunnel walk

For only 900 PHP (~$19) I was able to enjoy a tour of their various fish ponds, the Oceanarium tunnel walk, a drink & snacks in the Ocean Bar, a mermaid show (the cute girl kept blowing us kisses!), fish feeding, and an opportunity to swim in their wave pool.

Boracay Crown Regency mermaid show
Boracay Crown Regency mermaid show

The wave pool was especially enjoyable since there was no swimming pool at the Seabird Resort where I stayed, and our young Filipina tour guide was VERY cute & cordial, and spoke great English.

Although I didn't try it out, as a former surfer myself, I must say I found VERY interesting the Crown Regency's Wave Rider, which you can try surfing on at additional cost.

Boracay Crown Regency Wave Rider
Boracay Crown Regency Wave Rider (Hang 10!)

If you visit Boracay & you're a water sports person, you'll definitely want to head over to the Crown Regency. You can view both the wave pool & Wave Rider @ the 38:27 & 39:16 marks, respectively, in my action-packed video below.


Kitesurfers on Bulabog Beach


From the summit of Mt. Luho, the highest point in Boracay, when I first caught glimpse of all the kite surfers on Bulabog Beach, I couldn't believe my eyes that there were SO many! To be honest, I don't recall ever seeing kitesurfing before, so this was a real treat, but what really surprised me is how many kitesurfers there actually were.

Boracay kitesurfing on Bulabog Beach
Boracay kitesurfing on Bulabog Beach

And then after walking down to Bulabog Beach from Mt. Luho to where I had a chance to see all the action up close and personal, I was astounded even more at how many of the colorful kites you could see up in the air. It truly amazed me how all those kitesurfers could do their thing out there without colliding into each other.

I'm guesstimating from Google Maps that Bulabog Beach can't be much longer than about 1 km, & I believe saw at least 100 kitesurfers out there all at the same time, and maybe more. Well, I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised, because during my pre-trip research, I read on the internet that Bulalog Beach is regarded by many as the #1 beach in all of Asia for kitesurfing!

Boracay kitesurfers on Bulabog Beach
Boracay kitesurfers on Bulabog Beach

I must say that those folks looked like they were having a LOT of fun, but even though I used to do some surfing in my high school and college days (Mom still keeps my 7'2" Gordon & Smith board in her home, believe it or not!), I decided that kitesurfing might be just a tad bit too extreme for me, so I decided to just casually observe rather than actually participate! smiley

Be sure to check out all the BUSY, BUSY kitesurfing action on Bulabog Beach @ the 22:32 mark in my video below.




Puka Shell Beach, Ilig-Iligan Beach, & Diniwid Beach


Besides Boracay's 2 main beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach, there are a number of other stunning public beaches to check out during your visit, which are not privately-owned by the luxury resorts & others.

Puka Shell Beach - One of the most popular public beaches is at the far north end of Boracay Island, known as Puka Shell Beach. Although there aren't that many puka shells around these days, Puka Shell Beach got its name from the abundance of the shells that used to be found along the beautiful white sandy shores there.

Boracay's Puka Shell Beach
Boracay's Puka Shell Beach
(Carabao Island in background)
 
Back in the early 50s, Hollywood stars like Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston made famous the puka necklaces that were made from these beautiful shells.

Before I left Tokyo, one of my wonderful Filipino friends highly recommended that I visit Puka Shell Beach and his advice turned out to be spot on. What a beautiful place!

Ilig-Iligan Beach - The day I chose to visit Puka Shell Beach, I wound up walking most of the way, but somewhere pretty far along the Main Road I caught a trike ride that I THOUGHT was going to take me to Puka Shell Beach, but somehow I wound up at nearby Ilig-Iligan Beach, which was so gorgeous that I just couldn't resist taking a dip as soon as I arrived.

Boracay's Ilig-Iligan Beach
Boracay's Ilig-Iligan Beach

On my way walking over to Puka Shell Beach, I stopped off at the Mango Tree restaurant at the Oasis Resort Boracay. Great place and I can highly recommend the garlic shrimp which I had for lunch.

Diniwid Beach - Another place I really enjoyed was the tiny Diniwid Beach, which is in a quiet, secluded cove just around the bend from the far north part of White Beach.

Boracay's Diniwid Beach
Boracay's Diniwid Beach

Actually, I walked over there twice, the 2nd time to film a sunset from the Spider House restaurant and bar, which is a popular spot for celebrating sunsets. If you get a chance, please check out the 4 sunsets in my video below, 2 of them filmed with the time-lapse feature on my iPhone.
 

Steve's Cliff Boracay


Clearly visible from virtually anywhere on White Beach is a cross on top of the cliff at the far north end of the beach. This is known as Steve's Cross, dedicated to the memory of Steve Tajanlangit, Jr. (1954-2011), a prominent businessman and owner of the Boracay Terraces Resort there down below the cliff, which is called Steve's Cliff Boracay.

Steve's Cross Boracay
Steve's Cross in Boracay

It's a very impressive memorial and the cross is even lit up at night, so it's hard to miss. Being the big mountain climber that I am, I decided I would hike up to the top of it on my 3rd day in Boracay.

View of White Beach from Steve's Cliff
View of White Beach from Steve's Cliff

The view from the top is quite stunning... you can see all of White Beach to the south, and just a short ways around the trail to the west, you can catch the sunset. If you have time, you can view the time-lapse sunset I filmed from up there @ the 26:49 mark in my video below (the actual 8 min. sunset lasts only 31 sec. in the video).

The trail is fairly short & easy, and along the way you'll find 13 small pieces of artwork depicting Jesus Christ's crucifixion. At the top just below the cross is an altar & headstone dedicated to Steve. You can see more pics of Steve's Cross in my Flickr photo album below.

Jesus Christ crucifixion artwork on Steve's Cliff hiking trail
Jesus Christ crucifixion artwork on Steve's Cliff hiking trail

The trail entrance is via the stairs at the back of the restaurant in the Boracay Terraces Resort, and it costs just 50 PHP (~$1) to enter.





Seabird International Resort


I was very pleased with my 7-night stay at the Seabird International Resort, which I reserved online at Expedia Japan. The Seabird is located in Station 2 less than 100 m from White Beach, and my room package included free wifi & free breakfast at their very nice restaurant.

There's no pool there, but the rooms are reasonably priced and comfortable. One thing that really impressed me was the 80 cable TV channels in the rooms. One small glitch, though, is that Expedia Japan claimed on their Seabird webpage that the rooms have safes, but in fact they do not. However, you can always keep your valuables in the front desk safe-deposit box.

single deluxe room in Boracay Seabird International Resort
My single deluxe room in the Seabird International Resort, Boracay

Finally, I'd like to take just a moment to thank from the bottom of my heart Seabird's amazing manager Joevani, who was not only very cordial every day, but who also graciously assisted with advising about & even reserving some of my sightseeing activities. Definitely a great man!


Boracay nightlife, restaurants, & shopping


Nightlife - Boracay, which has been voted as 1 of the world's top party beaches, has also been referred to as the Las Vegas of the Philippines. While some might discount this talk as just hype, I found it to be true, especially in White Beach's Station 2, not far from my hotel.

There is actually one stretch of White Beach which is virtually non-stop bars and restaurants, many of them with live music. Some shops are so close together that while you're sitting in 1 club, you can actually hear the live music from the adjacent club.

With the exception of just a couple of musicians which you might have expected to hear on open mic night @ a coffee house, I found almost all of the live music very good. The best part is you can listen to the music for free by just walking along the White Beach footpath.

Boracay beachside restaurant & bar
Boracay beachside restaurant & bar

One of the most amazing things was that many of these bars and restaurants are open-air & literally set up right on the sand, some with beanbag chairs not far from the water's edge. In many respects, it reminded me of what I observed on Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand a number of years ago.

Only, in Boracay the amazing nightlife is celebrated on a much grander scale. The nightspots that seemed to be getting the most action, that anyone can clearly see by just walking down the White Beach footpath, include the Epic Club (part of D'Mall), the Boracay Regency's Wave Club disco, the Exit Bar, the Red Coconut Hotel's Coco Bar, and the Summer Place.

And even though not all clubs have live music, several of them seemed to at least have DJs who were busy pumping out the hits.

Happy hour specials are fairly common, and 4 nights a week, they even have a 3-hour pub crawl, whose participants you can't miss as they are all given yellow pub crawl t-shirts as part of the package.

Boracay PubCrawl yellow-shirt participants
Boracay PubCrawl yellow-shirt participants

And if you have chance to ever experience the Boracay nightife, by all means don't miss the incredible fire dancers which you can catch a glipse of beginning @ the 7:47 mark in my Boracay video below.

In my video, you can also see some of the other White Beach nightlife I was able to capture @ the 6:46 mark, some of the White Beach live music @ the 11:44 mark, and a quick glimpse of some of the early night action at the Boracay Regency Wave disco @ the 14:07 mark.

Restaurants - As for Boracay restaurants, tourists are treated to various cuisines from around the world. I was surprised to see a number of Thai, Spanish, Mexican, Moroccan, Japanese, Greek, Chinese, & Korean restaurants, and I even saw a Texas steakhouse, believe it or not. Yee hah!

Boracay Texas Steakhouse
Texas Steakhouse in Boracay

If that weren't enough, you'll find a lot of other western-style restaurants & shops like Shakey's Pizza, Subway, McDonald's, Johnny Rockets hamburgers, TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. Needless to say, there are lots of choices, not to mention a number of wonderful Filipino restaurants as well.

Yakitori-style grilled meat is very popluar along the beachside, and some hotels have outdoor dinner buffets. And if you're a BBQ lover, your mouth will surely water if you check out the 30:50 mark in my video below! smiley

One of my favorite spots was the Hobbit Tavern, whose staff are, appropriately, all charming little short people, and who were all kind enough to pose for a group shot. smiley

Boracay Hobbit Tavern staff
Friendly staff in the Hobbit Tavern Boracay

Shopping - Without question, Boracay is a true shopper's paradise. There is literally shopping everywhere!! You can't even walk anywhere down White Beach without being pestered by vendors of some kind. And yes, since last year they now even have a 7-11! smiley

Boracay White Beach vendors
Boracay White Beach vendors of hats, shades, & selfie sticks

One of the most interesting shopping malls I believe I've ever seen is the open-air D'Mall, which is basically 2 roughly parallel shopping streets that extend all the way from White Beach to the Main road, with a few interconnected side streets.

D'Mall consists of I'm guessing at least 100 various shops... restaurants, bars, massage spas, a hotel, a small children's ferris wheel, boutiques, souvenir shops, a rock climbing tower, a flower shop, currency exchange shops, a basketball free throw shooting game, diving & kiteboarding shops, eyewear stores, and most notably, the famous Budget Mart, a kind of small, discount supermarket.

Boracay D'Mall shopping stall
Boracay D'Mall shopping stall

I absolutely LOVED D'Mall & went there several times (my hotel was very nearby), and I'm definitely NOT the shopping type. Trust me on that! smiley

Another interesting shopping experience is seeing the D'Talipapa fish market, where you can see fresh live catch and even have fresh seafood of your choosing cooked right there on the spot. You can check out the exciting D'Talipapa live catch @ the 28:52 mark in my video below.

Boracay D'Talipapa fish market fresh catch
Boracay D'Talipapa fish market fresh catch


MyBoracayGuide.com


Although there may be cheaper, do-it-yourself options available, I can highly recommend the MyBoracayGuide transport service from Caticlan Airport to your hotel. The services are all-inclusive with their cordial and friendly staff meeting you at the airport, transporting you by van to the Caticlan Jetty Port, escorting you thru the terminal & to the traditional Bangka ferry boat, and then picking you up @ the Cagban Port Jetty (on Boracay Island) & transporting you by multi-cab to your hotel.

Friendly My Boracay Guide welcome girl
Friendly MyBoracayGuide welcome girl
(Photo credit: MyBoracayGuide.com)

And of course, the return trip back to the airport as well. The all-inclusive round-trip service runs 1200 PHP (~$25) and includes environmental taxes, terminal fees, shuttle vans, and boat tickets.

MyBoracayGuide also provides comprehensive travel services including hotel and sightseeing bookings on their website, but by far one of the best things they do is publish the My Boracay Guide Book, a free, comprehensive sightseeing guide which you can pick up in the Caticlan ferry terminal.

The current issue I used on my trip is #26, dated February 2016 - April 2016. You can also download their free app from the iTunes store, although that issue is already a year old (Issue #22). I also found the iPhone app a bit unwieldy to use, & because Boracay's wifi was a bit spotty, I recommend the actual paper version, conveniently small-sized so you can easily carry it around the island in your pack or purse.

My Boracay Guide Book
My Boracay Guide Book
Issue #26, Feb.-April 2016


My Boracay, Philippines Travel Photos


The images in the collage below are just a small sampling of the 229 pics in my Boracay, Philippines travel photo album hosted at Flickr. Clicking on the collage will open up the Flickr album on a separate page. I hope you enjoy them!

 Boracay, Philippines photo collage
View all 229 Boracay Philippines pics in my Flickr album here:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskuLCTKJ


My Boracay Philippines Travel Video


It was a magnificent trip and I was blessed to have sampled so much of the amazing Boracay, Philippines culture & beauty....especially the wonderful people. I hope the video below helps you catch a quick glimpse of this spectacular tropical Pacific paradise.

Don't miss out on action-packed stunning time-lapse sunsets, my 1st-ever zipline adventure, a reverse bungee, a wave pool, guys surfing on the "Wave Rider," White Beach nightlife including live music, the Oceanarium tunnel walk, kitesurfers on Bulabog Beach, and YES...believe it or not.... even a wedding celebration ON THE BEACH! smiley



My Boracay, Philippines travel adventure video
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

 0:00 White Beach pre-sunset 360-degree panorama
 0:53 White Beach Feb. 10 sunset
 4:18 White Beach palm trees blowing in the strong breeze
 4:35 Rotisserie chicken
 4:42 Wild Boracay turkeys
 5:20 Puka Shell Beach
 5:51 Riding on a trike back to Station 2
 6:46 White Beach nightlife
 7:47 Male fire dancers
 8:47 Female fire dancer
 9:38 G-Max reverse bungee
11:44 White Beach live music
13:13 Beer pong
14:07 Boracay Regency Wave disco
14:47 Riding on a trike to the zipline
16:02 Panorama from zipline launch platform
16:19 My AMAZING 1st-ever zipline adventure! (Is it ever going to STOP!!?)
17:41 Return cable car ride back to zipline launch platform
21:07 Buggy cars near Mt. Luho
21:29 360-degree panorama from atop Mt. Luho, Boracay's highpoint
22:32 BUSY, BUSY kitesurfing on Bulabog Beach (the #1 beach in all of Asia for kitesurfing!) 
25:50 Busy Main Road traffic (no traffic signals on the entire island!)
26:17 Beach volleyball
26:49 Feb. 12 time-lapse sunset from Steve's Cliff (8 min. sunset in only 31 sec.)
27:20 Showdown basketball free throw game in D'Mall
28:02 Young woman fails to reach top of rock climbing tower in D'Mall
28:52 Fresh live catch @ the D'Talipapa fish market
29:45 Speed boat shuttle to the off-shore parasailing launch platform
30:50 BBQ meat grilling on White Beach footpath
31:16 Shoreline wedding celebration on White Beach
35:33 Feb. 13 time-lapse sunset from White Beach (5 min. sunset in only 20 sec.)
35:53 Rotisserie pig (as in the WHOLE pig!)
36:21 Feb. 15 sunset from the Spider House Bar & Restaurant, Diniwid Beach
38:27 Crown Regency wave pool (Surf's up!)
39:16 Crown Regency Wave Rider (Hang 10!)
40:03 Overhead fish tank outside front entrance to Crown Regency
40:22 Crown Regency fish pond tour (our tour guide was GORGEOUS!)
41:47 Crown Regency Oceanarium tunnel walk
44:17 World's largest pearl (Oops, don't blink or you'll miss this 2-sec. clip!)
44:19 Crown Regency Oceanarium mermaid show (pretty girl!)
48:42 Crown Regency Oceanarium fish feeding
50:05 Busy Main Road traffic
51:40 White Beach pre-sunset panorama
52:06 Feb. 16 sunset from White Beach
54:22 BUSY Philippine Airlines check-in counter @ Boracay Airport
54:43 Sayonara Boracay! frownie (takeoff from Boracay Airport)
55:21 Landing @ Manila Airport
56:16 Takeoff from Manila Airport, bound for Tokyo


Boracay, Philippines Google Map


If you've ever wondered exactly where in the Pacific Ocean that Boracay, Philippines is located, it lies in the center of the ~1600-km long Philippine archipelago, approximately 315 km (196 mi) south of Manila and just off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region.

Boracay is a tiny little island, taking up a whopping land area of only 10.32 sq km (3.98 sq mi), less than 10% the size of Walt Disney World in Florida.

Boracay Island is located @ approximately 12° N latitude and 122° E longitude, and is only 1 hour behind Japan (UTC +8 hrs).

To get a better feel for Boracay's location, you can zoom out in the Google map below, or click open a larger Google map on a separate page. Also, if you have Google Earth installed on your PC & are skillful using GE's tilt, rotate, & zoom features, smiley in the larger map you can check out the 3D view & actually fly around Boracay as if you were in an airplane:



Boracay, Philippines Links


Here are just a select few of the 51 sites I bookmarked prior to my Boracay travel adventure which may be of some use to future visitors:

Boracay Wikipedia page 
MyBoracayGuide.com
Boracay TripAdvisor page
White Beach TripAdvisor page
Boracay Lonely Planet page
CIA World Factbook on the Philippines
Philippines weather site (daily graphical satellite analyses & videos)
Caticlan (Boracay) Airport weather page (current readings & 7-day forecast)
Philippines Travel Warning (issued Oct. 21, 2015 by U.S. State Dept.)
White Beach live camera (scroll down)
Bulabog Beach live camera


Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear?



What a great, exotic place Boracay, Philippines is! I was very impressed with not only the gorgeous scenery, but the very cordial & heartfelt Philippine people as well, who so graciously shared their own slice of paradise with me.

There's a lot very special about Boracay, Philippines.... no traffic lights, no tall buildings (of any kind), and as mentioned before, Boracay's White Beach won Trip Advisor's 2015 Travelers' Choice award for the #1 rated beach in all of Asia.

My 7 days in Boracay passed by TOO quickly, and I hope I'm blessed with another opportunity to return someday.

I hope you found this page both informative & entertaining, and that it will benefit future visitors to this Pacific island paradise. It is also my hope you will find time to check back again soon to my Boracay, Philippines travel adventure page as I update it in the future with even more details.

In the meantime, you may wish to check out my special page on the latest Boracay, Philippines news if you get a chance.

Should you have any questions or comments, or perhaps have already visited Boracay, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below. Thanks so much for visiting and please come back again soon...

Cheers,
Gary



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