That Time I Went To Boracay
by Rachel Austin
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Sun, Sea, Sand and Cockerels?
There’s a couple of ways to get to Boracay. Flying from Manila to Boracay took approx 1 hour on Cebu airways. I flew into Caticlan, took a bus to the ferry port and a small boat to Boracay island (15 mins). It was a pretty simple process. They asked where I was staying, gave me a sticker with said place written on it and off I skipped.
Boracay is one of The Philippines 7,000 + islands. Known for the beautiful “White Beach” Boracay is certainly a tourist hotspot, and don’t the locals know it. Its split into 3 stations. Station 1, 2 and 3. I stayed here 4 nights. Going at Easter was always going to be busy. But I never realized just how busy. The local “vendors” are on every corner ready to sell you a tour, a pair of sunglasses, a waterproof bag or a hat. White Beach certainly was beautiful, but unfortunately the “white people” were taking up most of it. I can see why coming in the lower season would be more appealing.
Now you definitely don’t come to Boracay to save money. Boracay is your one stop party island. With the party boats, bar crawls and many drinking establishments, you absolutely won’t go thirsty. Many places staying open to 5am and later (earlier!?). Happy hour does exist in some bars but not all. Cocktails start from 100 peso approx. Or you can pick up a bottle of beer from 70 peso approx. Food starts from 150 peso but its rare you’ll spend less than 250 peso on a meal.
Lets go on a tour…
From the many tours to chose from I went for the day trip to Ariel’s Point cliff jump. (2,500 peso) We met at Ariels house and split off into 5 groups, each with different coloured wrist bands. We walked along the beach at station 1 to find our designated boat. Food and drinks are included on this tour. So as we found our seats we were each handed a beer. Sweet! The boat journey to the cliff jump took approx 1 hour. Once we got there everyone split off into their own groups and started jumping. There was a 3M, a 5M, a 8M and a 15M jump. I immediately went to the 8M and took a giant leap. Ouch.. went right up the crack! Note to self: Keep your legs together!!! Next I went up to the 15M and looked over the edge… Woah! That’s bloody high I said to the people watching me. The locals laughed and said “first girl, first girl of the day”. First girl?? Well OK then!!.. So I lept without thinking. Straight legs together.. ha, yeah right. Looking back at the picture I could be mistaken for doing a cannon ball. Whoops. Landed terribly on my leg and got the massive bruise to prove it. What a thrill though. Would highly recommend for you thrill seekers out there!! After a couple of hours of jumping and sunbathing lunch was served. A lovely BBQ inc fish, pork, chicken, rice, veg and more. Paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkeling was also available. All in all a good day out. I must admit though, the boat journey back was the most entertaining. Apparently this was the last journey this boat was doing.. and I could see why. A long wooden boat with no sides, the whole journey back was a rocky one with a giant wave hitting us on every bounce. Highly amusing for me who was sat in the front and getting the full brunt of it. I couldn’t stop laughing at everyone getting soaked. My only regret is that I bought a Go-pro a few days later and missed out on what would have been video gold!!!
You may have been wondering about the title. Sun, sea, sand and cockerels? … If your not prepared to wake up to “Cockadoodledooo” every morning at 4am then Boracay is not the place for you. During the first couple of days here I really did wonder why the hell they needed to keep so many cockerels!? To make chics? Surely not. I later found out that The Philippines enjoys the sport of Cock fighting. Not a sport that interests me in the slightest. But that “Cockadoodledoo” is something you may or may not get used to… just embrace it… you could be waking up to a lot worse, trust me!!!
What’s there to do here?
Now if your into Kite surfing then Bulabog beach is the place to be. There were as many as 20 out at a time on a busy day. Although I didn’t try it myself, it really did look like fun and given the chance again I would be straight out there. There is hostels and shops along the beach that rent out the equipment you’ll need.
Sticking to the water sports, paddle boarding has really taken off here. A trader will try and charge you 400 peso for an hour on one of these boards. I’m sure you could barter them down to a least half of this.
Walking along White Beach the very talented kids will charge you to take a pic of their “sand castle”. And to be fair, 5 peso is more than enough to show your appreciation of their hard work. They even do requests. Perfect for a birthday back home!
Swimming in the sea is like taking a warm bath. But look out for the seaweed. It really does get everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE.
Sunbathing on White Beach isn’t exactly a relaxing experience. You will be asked every 5 mins if you want to buy some sunglasses.. or perhaps a hat. Even if you’re already wearing sunglasses and a hat.. why wouldn’t you want spares??
I found that a lot of places will want to charge you for using their seats on the beach. Usually if your buying a drink it’s not a problem. But there is a couple of places that will try and charge you up to 1,500 peso for the privilege of using their seats. I personally would sooner go to the smoothie bar next door, get a lush drink and use the seats for free. But that’s just me.
There is fire dancing in some places along the beach in the evening. That’s always entertaining to watch whilst having a drink. The things some of these people can do is amazing. Just don’t make any sudden movements when they start twirling it above your head. You have been warned.
There is a beautiful view point at the Bulabog end of the island called Mt Luho viewpoint. Take a leisurely (really really slow) stroll along Mount Luho road to the top of a massive hill and take it all in. The entry fee is 50 peso and its worth every penny. Up here is where you get your money shots. You can even steal a kiss with your loved one in front of a strategically placed heart. Awww isn’t that sweet.
To sum it up…
Overall Boracay is a beautiful, busy island. If you like to party, book your ticket now. If you are more of a “cockadoodledon’t” than a “cockadoodledoo” then maybe you Boracay isn’t the island for you.
Salamat Po (Thank you very much).
by Rachel Austin
Writing about myself is a lot more difficult than writing about the weird and wonderful places I've been. Since leaving school at 16 I haven't really stopped travelling. I've lived in New Zealand, Australia, spent a bloody brilliant ski season in Verbier, Switzerland. In between that I've travelled to Fiji, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Germany, France, Spain and more... I've worked hard in various jobs to fund my love of travelling. One of my favourite jobs was working as a TV extra in Sydney and appearing on various TV programmes and Films including; Home & Away, Wonderland and Love Child. I love animals especially dogs. My favourite animal though is the Hippo... don't ask why, I really don't know what it is about them. I'm currently in between jobs. I'm actually in between country's too. I'm at a bit of a weird stage in my life right now. But I have options. And to have options is a wonderful thing. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels and "That time I went to..." Remember that not all those who wander are lost and Travel is the only expense that makes you richer!Read more at thattimeiwentto.com