How best to get wet in the inviting waters of Boracay
One thing that is irresistible being in Boracay, is urge to get wet. And, the invitation from its enticing blue waters does make any resistance one intends to offer quite futile – there being so many ways there is to do so that go beyond just diving in.
Together with nine other bloggers sponsored by Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Department of Tourism to mark the inaugural Tigerair Singapore to Kalibo flight, I did get to discover some of the wonderful ways to get acquainted with the emerald blue waters of Travel + Leisure Magazine’s Best Island destination of 2012, which include both in and on water activities.
Right at the top of the list of must-do in-water activities has to be helmet diving, the helmet being a heavy fibreglass shell with a clear visor – heavy to be able to rest on a person’s shoulders. A constant supply of pressurised air from the surface through a hose into the helmet allows the wearer to breath normally, also keeps the water out, exhausting through the opened bottom. While this does not allow the mobility that scuba diving or even snorkelling does, it does allow the wearer to walk on the sea bed under several metres of water – a wonderful way especially for those who have not had the opportunity to take up scuba diving, to get a view of Boracay’s underwater world.
Descending into the underwater world from the pontoon platform we were transported to was done via a ladder and once the heavy helmet is placed on top of your head (it weighs 30 kg in air and less in water because of its buoyancy), the descent is assisted by a certified scuba diver, the instructions of whom it is important to follow (it is also important to listen to the safety briefing prior to the dive which does provide necessary instructions as well as what hand signals do mean and when to use them). Dives are done in groups and once down, the 15 minute dive allows not just an opportunity to interact with those in your group, but also to take a few photographs and interact with the fish (a piece of bread would be given to each person to feed the fish).
The helmet dive, which everyone certainly enjoyed, was part of the activities planned on our first morning in Boracay which also included the opportunity for us to snorkel in the beautifully clear waters and ride on a banana boat – all of which took place around the reef off Bulabog Beach (do refer to my previous post on Boracay’s beaches). This was followed by an island hopping adventure (which the snorkelling activity was actually a part of) and lunch at Tambisaan Beach – all which was an excellent way to get to know the island resort. While I did not particularly look forward to the banana boat, the ride was certainly something which did surprise me – not so much for the speed at which it was towed by the speed boat, but for the wonderful views we go from the boat of the rugged coastline along the northern eastern side of the island.
Snorkelling is something I will never pass up the opportunity to do. It does offer a great way of seeing the coral reef below. While it would probably have been nice to see the coral below close-up, the spot we found ourselves at was perhaps a little too deep to do that. Still it was an excellent way to say hello to (or maybe in my case, scare) the colourful little fishies in the water.
The highlight of the day’s activities for me was the island-hopping adventure which took us first southeast to Crystal Cove Island, a small two hectare island situated where the Tabon Strait between Boracay and Panay joins the Sibuyan Sea. The island is an adventure in itself on which one can walk along it rocky coastline, take in some really magnificent views of the shallow waters that surround it, as well as explore two caves, the westward facing one of which offers a very inviting place to have a dip in at its seaward end – which certainly was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for those of us who did want to squeeze through a tiny opening and venture in. The island does play host to both visitors as well as campers, and interestingly, can also be rented for private functions. More information on it is available at its website.
From Crystal Cove Island on which we spent about one and a half hours on, it was time to head over to Tambisaan Beach, on the south-eastern coast of Boracay, our seafood picnic lunch stop. On the table for lunch was a buffet, along with Chilli Crab and huge and succulent grilled prawns which was brought to the table – in a beach side cafe like setting.
The hour long lunch was followed by a long boat ride which took us along the eastern length of Boracay from south to north in about half an hour, a ride which did give us some remarkable view of the island. The view as we approached the next intended stop, Puka Beach, was certainly one that I took great delight in.
Puka Beach in my opinion has to be right at the top of anyone’s list of must-see sights on Boracay (see my previous post: It’s more fun hopping skipping and jumping to and in Boracay). Right at the top edge of the island, it does seem as if it is the ends of the earth one is at, and where heaven perhaps begins. The feeling one gets standing on its beach is a simply magical one, from which one gets some of the best picture perfect views there are seem too many of on Boracay. Its quiet and isolation does give one a sense of being lost in paradise, as one takes it all in standing on the unspoilt beach and gazing across the azure waters that lay just beyond it.
On the beach, I did not need a second invitation to jump right into the seemingly magical waters, as did many of the bloggers. I would, if I could, have spent the whole day at Puka Beach, just for the magic spell it seemed to have weaved around me, and also to help me reconnect with youth that’s long been lost, when the beach like this might have been what I would have lived for.
The hour on Puka Beach was certainly one I will not forget, not least for the leaping beauties I was in the company with. Back on the boat, it was now time to head back to White Beach, the boat taking a route around the northern tip and over to the western side of the island and passing some of the very exclusive cliff side hotel property found in the island’s northwest. This included a wondrous view of the Boracay Shangri-la with some of its very private loft villas, which do command some of the best views to wake up to on the island, perched high on the cliffs. Before we knew it we found ourselves back at White Beach. It was at Boat Station 3 we did find ourselves at, half an hour or so after leaving Puka Beach, greeted by the colourful sails the the many paraw double outrigger boats found at the station. It is from Station 1 where one boards the paraws for a sunset cruise – another must do activity. It wasn’t however for us to do that afternoon – we were to head back to the Regency to prepare for what turned out to be an amazing evening.
Information on activities mentioned in this post:
- Island hopping with lunch: PHP 1500 per head
- Helmet dive: PHP 800 per person (minimum age 8 years – and must be able to bear weight of helmet in water)
- Banana boat – 250 per person
The above activities can be reserved through Marsman Travel email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone: +632 8880228.
(Prices are provided only as a guide and are subject to variations and change)
The trip to Boracay was made possible by Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Department of Tourism. Tigerair now flies direct to Kalibo Airport – for more information on flights to Kalibo, do visit http://www.Tigerair.com/ph/en/.
- Philippine Department of Tourism
- Information, Guides and Maps online (My Boracay Guide)
- Beaches (My previous post on what to get beach-y about)
This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade.