Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust together with the whole fam
When: January 2019
What: Boracay after its 6 month closure.
With all the fiasco in the island after the government decided to shut the island down for 6 months back in March 2018 to let it heal and have other commercial structures comply with proper sewage management also destroying any man made structures of certain meters away from the beach. This means we are expecting a cleaner Boracay.
Boracay was just reopened in October 2018 to the public after being closed for 6 months. We visited in January 2019.
How To Get There:
Getting there is easier now coming from Manila, because before it was a flight at a different airport which means you have to ride a ferry for another hour, but now, a new airport in the island very near (right accross Boracay Island) which is just a 10 minute boat ride away from the new Caticlan airport.
Though do not expect anything grand because it is still under the slow process of construction in a country like Philippines. The public facilities are not the best option, so if you have seniors or kids with you, it is better to make sure your accommodation also make arrangements for your transfer to the island coming from the airport.
Getting around Boracay is easy depending on where you stayed and where you plan to go.
Having a hotel near the station 1 area is easy to just walk on the sand to get to where you want. If really far, you can ride a tricycle at the road behind the hotels, though as of today (Jan 2019) most of the roads are still under construction and one-way traffic almost every kilometer
Where To Stay:
Sea Wind Resort, Station 1 Boracay
The accommodation we were looking for this trip was first, it should be family friendly, spacious room, swimming pool for the kids, and a nice beach front of Boracay, and all those were fulfilled in our stay with Sea Wind Resort.
Mr & Mrs Wanderlusts Rating
+ Great transport service from airport pickup to island transfer via chartered boat, convenient!
+ Nice cozy and spacious rooms, clean room, tropical feels as interior materials are native wood
+ Clean toilet and bathroom with hot shower and no leaks
+ Family friendly
+ Resort grounds is spacious for kids to play around
+ Swimming pool, though small, kids love it
+ Very nice beach front view of Station 1 in Boracay which is the area of best quality sand
+ Delicious complimentary breakfast buffet
+ WiFi working as advertised
+ Staff were all helpful and friendly
+ Has a small nippa hut bar near the beach with incredible view paired with a nice drink
+ Dinner buffet has wonderful food and nice live music playing
- The wooden floor was so clean and polished that it was slippery for the kids and even adults
- The hot water in the faucet gets scalding hot right away which is a bit danger for kids
Price: $$ $75USD - $120+/ night for triple room (3 adults 2 children)
Service: 4.9 star - Service & staff were all very helpful and friendly
Facilities & Amenities: 4.9 star - Cozy and spacious rooms with tropical vibe
Restaurant (foods): 4.9 star -Good breakfast, and also great dinner buffet with live music
Bar: 5 star - Nippa hut near the beach with a great view, and many drinks to choose from
Overall: 4.93 /5
What To Do:
1. Enjoy the Finest & Whitest Sand Earth has to Offer
This is still arguable, but as far as we know Boracay sand is as fine or if not the finest sand that we have ever experienced, I have a mini sand collection from Hawaii beaches to Bahamas, but nothing truly compares to the sands of Boracay that is like a talcum powder.
2. Sit down and Witness the Beautiful Sunset
These photos were just taken by our phones and these don't give justice to the sunset we witnessed personally while sitting in the white fine powder, kids playin, parents chillin' maybe sippin' an ice cold mango shake or beer depending on your mood.
And while sunset is occurring, you notice that people really stop by and watch in awe and maybe appreciate the sun that gives life to the planet, and light to us all, literally and figuratively.
In a span of few minutes, the sun touches the horizon, proceeds to extend below to give way for the night, yet still free from doubt that it shall rise once again, and again, and again.
3. Have a Night Out and Party Near the Beach
Really known for loud parties before, the scene now has vastly changed because hotels, resorts, bars are NOT allowed to do parties on the beaches anymore, though it is permitted to do the event indoor within the resort or bar grounds away from the beach (to avoid getting the beach littered by irresponsible drunk tourists at the dark of night).
We were invited by one of our good friend, and an engineer operating on field with the septage management system strict implementation by the government (kudos!) for all establishments. Anyway he has been in Boracay for a couple of weeks due to work and knows his way around, and also knows many establishment owners. Since we are with a relative from Canada, we decided to show her a bit of the party scene in the island.
From our resort, our group rode an e-tricycle to the place named Om Bar. Outside was a chill spot with bean bags as seats, near the sand with the view of the beach, and inside was another scene as you get blasted by the loud music, great sound system and lights for those who are in the mood to party, dance and drink the night away would enjoy the inner part of the bar. There was also a live DJ, shisha, lots of booze, many people dancing and enjoying the sand dance floor.
4. Hop to nearby Islands
We went for Island hopping from a tour operator that our hotel recommended, we started with going to a snorkeling spot, and those who wanted to just jumped in the water with or without snorkel gear (but it is recommended that you are wearing life vest, especially for those who are not used to swimming in the open waters). Lots of fishes of different groups, colors, and sizes appeared from every angle when the boatmen threw shredded pieces of bread into the water.
After a great time seeing the colorful and rich marine life of Boracay, we stopped off on an island near the rumored Manny Pacquiao's hotel that has since been demolished (due to non compliance with environmental codes the way it was built in a protected area). Ruins of it are still evident, but it is still on the other end of this island, and as beautiful as it is, the islands nearby still never fails to impress.
There are lots of locals peddling ice cream, snacks, drinks, and what have you. Also, little local kids are pretty good at building sand structures, but mostly ones that say BORACAY, and for a special request with a mandatory tip, they will happily add either your name, together with your partner's name, your nickname, company name, group name or whatever.
5. Savor the foods the island has to give you
So many delicious food options in the small island of Boracay, there are always the fancy schmanzy plates from the high priced hotels/resorts, go ahead if that is your taste, but you shouldn't miss out on the local way of eating with the whole group. In a place called Talipapa (Market) where diners get to choose their seafoods alive in the aquarium, and also your choice on the way they are cooked. This is called "Paluto".
On the menu in Talipapa are giant crabs (which you can choose the way it is cooked and they chose garlic butter), baked mussels, shrimp, squid and many other seafoods. But worry not to those who may be allergic to seafood, there are also available grilled pork belly, different chicken and beef dishes.
Another special mention was the Four Cheese Pizza from Two Seasons Hotel a few walks from our resort. I love cheese and pizza, and their version is absolutely memorable as we are actually salivating right now because we are thinking back while writing this to share with y'all.
The stunning and beautiful island of Boracay, though right now, it just opened to the public again from a major overhaul and working to improve the sustainability of the island. Many major road works at the street making traffic situation worse, but hopefully once finished it will give the people locals and tourists a little more convenience,
There are also a lot of structures near the beach that has been demolished, which is good for the environment, hopefully once the businessmen, and establishment owners as well as locals alike will get used to, and follow the policies that are put into place to ensure the preservation of the island.
And with fingers crossed, all those who violate the environmental laws and those who contribute to the pollution on the island will get caught, prosecuted, fined, and punished.
The island still has many activities as its locals are always peddling everything from surfing (even if waves are super weak), paddle board, kayak, boat ride, sunset hobbiekat, sunset cruise, scuba diving, kiteboarding, parasailing and so much more they can think of.
Just a reminder to do some research on prices, and go with reputable tour operators, preferrably the legitimately registered ones to avoid any hassle or worse get scammed.
Finally, we as a tourist also has a responsibility to become aware, that if we cannot help, just don't contribute to the waste, and teach your young ones, as well as maybe your friends and relatives whom you see littering to put their trash in the proper disposal bin.
See/Read and learn more about our article titled Leave No Trace Principles
Just a quick video of Boracay to appreciate its beauty from the lens of our cameras, edited with a nice beach chill music (Credits: Vexento NCS) together with the hodgepodge of clips and luckily came out okay.
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