High and mostly dry in Boracay

12 08 2013

Staying high and mostly dry in Boracay

[Boracay Island Escapade]

Having found my paradise on the first full day on the beaches and getting wet in blue waters of Boracay, I would probably have been quite happy just taking the sun, the sand and the sea in, over the two more full days we were to have on the island. After all, it isn’t often that I am lucky enough to find myself in heaven on earth. However, I must say that no trip to the island would be complete without an experience of some of what we did get to do over the two remaining days that did go beyond just satisfying that urge to get really wet in Boracay.

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At the top of the list of activities has to be the so called sunset cruise we took on the paraw in the late afternoon of the second day in the seas off White Beach’s boat station 3. Rocked by the gentle motions of the sail powered double outrigger Visayan boats, the cruise is a great way to spend half an hour relaxing over the waters, bathed in the late afternoon sunshine and fanned by the gentle breeze. The paraws do take up to six or seven passengers, who are provided with lifejackets.

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While from afar, the paraws do not look like something which passengers could be comfortable on, the experience certainly was very comfortable – netting secured between two beams attached to the outriggers on either side of the boat allow for comfortable seating – as well as a place where one could spread out horizontally.

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Next on my list is something for the pseudo thrill seeker I do admit to being to – cliff diving. This is done not exactly from the edge of a cliff, but from the end of a cantilevered plank extending well beyond the cliff face. It does give one the feeling of ‘walking the plank’ and while I do know some of my fellow bloggers on the trip did have some misgivings about the dive, it was something I was glad to have had the experience of and I did thoroughly have fun doing it.

Walking the plank at Ariel's Point.

Walking the plank at Ariel’s Point.

The location for this activity, Ariel’s Point, is actually not on Boracay itself but an hour’s boat ride south to the north-western Panay – the island Kalibo Airport is on. Getting from the boat to the dive location does make it a bit of a challenge – we did have to swim across in deep water and depending on the sea conditions, climb onto a suspended ladder or onto a rock ledge, I thought it was very much part of the adventure.

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Being something that is done from a height – it is probably not something that would appeal to everyone, but if you are game, I do recommend it – if you are willing to fork out the PHP 1600 it does cost to do it (which includes the boat ride over). The planks are arranged at several heights starting from 5 metres to as high as 15 metres. It is probably important to land as vertically as possible as landing incorrectly can be quite painful.

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Another thing that might be worth doing, taking some breathtaking views (whilst not screaming) of the hilly areas of northern Boracay and the seas below it, is the zipline. There are two to choose from, one from Mount Luho, the highest point on Boracay and the other from the Zipline Boracay at Fairways and Bluewater Resort – said to be the longest and fastest zipline on the island. It was the latter we did try – certainly much more thrilling than the flying foxes I attempted as a boy scout in my younger days.

Skipping down a zipline at Fairways and Bluewater.

Skipping down a zipline at Fairways and Bluewater.

Speaking of Mount Luho – it again is somewhere worth going up to, not least for the views you do get up there, especially of the Bulabog Beach area and beyond. A great way to go up is on an All-Terrain Vehicle, or ATV. Except for the initial stretch of dirt road, most of the ascent is on wide paved roads and from the parking area at the top, it is a short climb up to the summit where the zipline is,  and also where you will find several caged birds. A lookout point gives the wonderful views I mention.

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Another thing that can be done on Mount Luho, although I won’t recommend it is rolling down a slope in a Zorb, filled with a little bit of water, into a pool at the bottom. I didn’t attempt to do this as I didn’t really fancy rolling down a slope in an uncontrolled fashion – and with a few reporting bruised limbs, swallowed water and a wardrobe malfunction – it might be something to think twice about before doing.

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If you are looking for unusual evening entertainment – in the form of a cabaret type show, there is the Boracay edition of the Amazing Show. The show, at 7 pm and 9 pm each evening, features very pretty dancers performing entertaining dance sequences which range from traditional dances at the start to more contemporary routines – the pretty dancers all being men! The show does seem to be especially popular with the Korean and Japanese tourists and do beware – it does include some interaction with the audience.  You can also pose with the performers at the end of the one hour show – for which tipping is expected.

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With the entire cast of the Amazing Show.

With the entire cast of the Amazing Show.

Last but not least, Boracay does also feature some very nice spas – one that some of us did visit was the Mandala Spa (see website for price list) – reputedly one of the best in Boracay, and one which pledges to plant a tree for every spa treatment booked. The verdicts from the bulk of the bloggers who did have a massage were quite positive. It is perhaps the experience for which makes the spa well worth a visit to – it is set amid lush greenery and the treatments carried out in a villa-like setting to the sound of crickets and in our case, the soothing pitter-patter of rain falling on the thatched roofs of the villas – which certainly made the experience more special – an experience which does make Boracay a much more complete as a destination than it just being a beach.

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Information on activities mentioned in this post:

  • Paraw Sail : PHP 1500 per paraw (good for 6 – 7 persons)
  • Cliff Diving (with Boat Transfer) : PHP 1600 per head (minimum age 18 years)
  • Zorb: PHP 400 per person
  • ATV: PHP 800 per person
  • Zipline: PHP 700 per person (at Fairways and Bluewater Resort)

The above activities can be reserved through Marsman Travel email: reservations@marsmandrysdale.com, 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/.

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Getting there:

Location information:


This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade.


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Life’s a Boracay Beach

8 08 2013

What to get beachy about on Boracay

It’s been almost three weeks since I got back from a truly enjoyable escapade with nine other bloggers to the resort island of Boracay in the Philippines. The island, set in a picture perfect world surrounded by gorgeously beautiful emerald blue waters, is one which has left a huge impression on me. It is also one which I certainly count as one in my list of magical places I have been fortunate enough to visit, and one which should really be in anyone’s bucket list of must-visit places in one’s lifetime.

A great to be for a beach bum - lying flat on a paraw..

A great to be for a beach bum – lying flat on a paraw..

Life's a beach on Boracay - any time of the day.

Life’s a beach on Boracay – any time of the day.

Sunrise at Bulabog Beach.

Sunrise at Bulabog Beach.

Of the many experiences the island does offer, it is probably the beach that is first and foremost on the mind of anyone who has made a visit. The beaches on Boracay come to live in many different ways throughout the day – and night and visiting them has awakened that long dormant beach bum in me.

Sunset at White Beach.

Sunset at White Beach.

The beach which should probably be mention first has to be White Beach. Four kilometres of the finest white sand, it is has been described as the “Mother of All Beaches”. The beach which is divided into three boat stations, is perhaps an obvious choice to base oneself, being where the “action” on Boracay is centred around, including the nightlife Boracay is also well known for. White Beach is also where much shopping and beachside entertainment and dining is to be found and is certainly the place to be as well as a place to be seen at. Facing west, the beach is also an obvious place to catch the sunsets Boracay is famous for from.

Lots of beach side entertainment can be found at White Beach.

Lots of beach side entertainment can be found at White Beach.

White Beach Boracay - where mcuh of the action takes place.

White Beach – the mother of all Boracay beaches, seen at Boat Station 2..

Dancing to the sea breeze at Seabreeze, the beach side cafe of the Boracay Regency.

Dancing to the sea breeze at Seabreeze, the beach side cafe of the Boracay Regency.

Lots of dining options at Boat Station 2.

Lots of dining options at White Beach.

Catch of the day.

Catch of the day.

The numerical order of boat stations the beach is sub-divided into does also provide an indication of the regard with which each section is held. The top end of the beach is where Boat Station 1 can be found. It is the most exclusive and also widest part of the beach where some of the more upscale resorts which spill directly out to the beach are – including the very exclusive Discovery Shores, which we were to visit on our last evening there.

White Beach at Boat Station 1 by night.

White Beach at Boat Station 1 by night.

The very exclusive Discovery Shores at Boat Station 1.

The very exclusive Discovery Shores at Boat Station 1.

A fire dancer performing at Discovery Shores.

A fire dancer performing at Discovery Shores.

The nighttime view from Discovery Shores.

The nighttime view from Discovery Shores.

The top section is also where the much celebrated Jonah’s Fruitshake and Snack Bar can be found – a must visit for any one in Boracay with a craving for milkshakes packed with real fruit – and if you like, a shot of additional flavouring taking the form of rum!

Jonah's - an institution of sorts in Boracay.

Jonah’s – an institution of sorts in Boracay.

Fruit-full milkshakes - served in a bottle.

Fruit-full milkshakes – served in a bottle.

The section where we did find ourselves at was at Boat Station 2. This is where there is a mix of accommodation types including the Boracay Regency where we stayed at, and the Boracay Mandarin we were dined at and visited on the third evening. Station 2 is also where most of the beach side action is to be found, and where D’Mall – a favourite tourist shopping spot can be found. D’Mall is also where the Hobbit House, with its rather interesting crew of “hobbits” – pint sized staff, can be found.

The stairway to heaven - from the beachside Boracay Regency to the beach at Boat Station 2.

The stairway to heaven – from the beachside Boracay Regency to the beach at Boat Station 2.

A ferris wheel at D'Mall.

A ferris wheel at D’Mall.

A sandwich shop at D'Mall.

A sandwich shop at D’Mall.

Christina doing her souvenir shopping at D'Mall.

Christina did her souvenir shopping at D’Mall.

As did Atsuko.

As did Atsuko.

The nightlife scene at Boat Station 2.

The nightlife scene at Boat Station 2.

Some of the gang shopping by the beachside at Boat Station 2.

Some of the gang shopping by the beachside at Boat Station 2.

Having fun in the rain at Boat Station 2.

Having fun in the rain at Boat Station 2.

Hobbit House at D'Mall.

Hobbit House at D’Mall.

By the beach side at Boat Station 2.

By the beach side at Boat Station 2.

The southernmost section of White Beach, or Boat Station 3, is said to have the most relaxed of atmospheres – and again where a mix of both budget as well as luxury accommodation can be found. It is also where the beach is gaily decorated by the blue and white sails of the paraws – the double outrigger boats of the Visayas – the group of islands surrounding the Visayan Sea of which Boracay and Panay belongs to. It is from station 3 that the paraw cruises depart – an excellent way to spend a late afternoon.

White Beach at Boat Station 3.

White Beach at Boat Station 3.

Another view of the Boat Station 3.

Another view of the Boat Station 3.

Paraw Cruising from Boat Station 3.

Paraw Cruising from Boat Station 3.

While White Beach does perhaps have the finest of sands and is an excellent place to have a dip in the sea in or sip a cocktail by the beach under a parasol at, it can get rather crowded and if you do want to look for a nice quiet but publicly accessible beach which takes you away from it all and on which you can feel that you are indeed in paradise, than Puka Beach has to be it. Much about the beach can be found in my previous post – in which I thought it deserved mention as being one of two of my favourite spots on the island.

Puka Beach.

Puka Beach.

If it is privacy and exclusivity you are looking for, the island does also offer the visitor a choice several very exclusive resorts, all with private and exclusive beaches. Two which come to mind are the Fairways and Bluewater Resort and the Shangri-la Boracay. The former is where Paradise Cove (the other favourite spot I previously mentioned) as well as two exclusive coves are located and where it is possible to ride a segway or mount a horse to have a feel of one of its wonderful beaches. It is also possible to have a ride on a glass bottomed boat on Paradise Cove to have a top down view into its crystal clear waters. The natural platform beneath the rock arch found at Paradise Cove is also one which the Shangri-la has been permitted to land its guests on.

Paradise Cove.

Paradise Cove.

On the segway on the beach at Fairways and Bluewater Resort.

Catherine on the segway on the beach at Fairways and Bluewater Resort.

Atsuko horsing around at Fairways and Bluewater.

Atsuko horsing around at Fairways and Bluewater.

The Boracay Shangri-la on the northwest of the island around the corner from Puka Beach is has got to be the place to stay at – if you are looking in the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity with its many private villas, some arranged on the hill slope offering simply stunning views of the Tablas Strait. It has a very exclusive stretch of its own beach, Bayungan Beach, but if one is putting up in one of the three private villas we did get to see, who then needs a private beach?

The beach at Shangri-la Boracay.

The exclusive beach at Boracay Shangri-la.

Besides the beaches already mentioned, there were a few more I did see. Two we did see as part of an island hopping boat ride were the ones at Crystal Cove Island and Tambisaan Beach where we were to have lunch at. Another was east facing Bulabog Beach, less attractive as a beach goes compared to White Beach or Puka Beach, but off which much of the sea sports and activities Boracay is also famous for, does take place. The sports one can participate in include kite boarding and windsurfing – best done from November to April. With a reef fround offshore, it is in the protected waters off Bulabog Beach where some of the recommended activities associated with Boracay such as helmet diving, snorkelling and on-water sports can be done (I will devote another post to the on and in-water activities we did do).

Tambisaan Beach.

Tambisaan Beach.

The gang at Bulabog.

The gang at Bulabog.

What's on offer at Bulabog.

What’s on offer at Bulabog.

Water activities off Bulabog Beach include Helmet Diving ...

Water activities off Bulabog Beach include Helmet Diving …

And riding on a Banana Boat.

And riding on a Banana Boat.

Bulabog, across the island at its narrowest point from White Beach’s Station 2, is also where the 7Stones Boracay Suites – probably my choice of where to stay, is to be found at. It was where we did have lunch at on the second full day in Boracay (the third on our itinerary), at the 7th Note Café – best known for its barbecues – where we did have the best meal during our stay in Boracay at. Why it would be a choice of where to stay for me is its location – which is close enough to the action, but yet far away enough from the hustle and bustle of White Beach – and perhaps the small size of the resort. And if it is the fine sand beach I want to head to, White Beach is only a short tricycle taxi ride away – which does make it “more fun in the Philippines”.

Bulabog Beach near 7Stones Suites.

Bulabog Beach near 7Stones Suites.

A tricycle taxi.

A tricycle taxi.

7Stones Suites at Bulabog Beach.

7Stones Suites at Bulabog Beach.

Bulabog Beach.

Boats at Bulabog Beach.


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/.

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Getting there:

Location information:


This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade.