Boracay is a small island paradise found in the Philippines. I traveled there in February 2015 during the Chinese New Year. This was my first destination trip since moving to South Korea and the Google pictures alone were enough to get me hyped for it. A co-worker told me all about this place and how he had visited Boracay 3-4 times before and after being there just once, I definitely see myself returning an equal number of times. White sand beaches, cheap accommodations, cheap food and drinks, the variety of land and water activities as well as the captivating nightlife is enough to make someone quit their job, open up a hostel and permanently live there. That’s how I felt.What truly made this trip special to me was how easy it was to meet people and make friends there. I went as a solo traveler but I was always in good company. Towards the end of my one week stay I had rallied an entire social group of travelers together, many of whom I am still friends with today. If you are ever traveling through Asia, Boracay is a must.
To save money, I flew into Manila from Incheon, South Korea. From there, I had to catch a connecting flight from another Terminal. You get there by taking a shuttle bus. Be careful when making this transfer. I made the mistake of getting on a local bus and got a 1 hour tour of the city which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you have less than 3 hours till your next flight to paradise there tends to be a sense of urgency.
I eventually arrive at the terminal and walk into maybe the smallest airport I had ever visited. I basically do my security check in at the entrance then could board the plane immediately once I had my ticket in hand. I arrive in Kalibo. Kalibo is basically the countryside. It reminded me much of Dominica. From the airport there, I took my first ever ride on a Tuk-Tuk. These are motorcycle taxis with a carriage attached. Super fun experience. I throw my bag on and ride for 15 minutes to the hostel I would have to stay in for the night before heading back to the airport the next morning to take a two hour bus to Cataclan where I would then get on a ferry for 20 minutes. Sounds exhausting? It was, but totally worth it.
I booked a room at the Nu Ohana Hotel. It was fairly cheap and had everything I needed including lush surroundings which made me feel at peace and disconnected from the noise if I felt like it. I was able to walk across the street right onto the beach passing by a few bars, restaurants and nightclubs. At night there was a lot of action. Being somewhat homesick for Dominica this was the perfect environment for me in addition to being close to most things I wanted to do.
I mentioned cheap food and drinks right? A decent meal cost me no more than $5 and two-for-one deals on rum and coke went for $2. It was a good time. At night, you can treat yourself to something fancy on the beach. There is nothing like sitting on bean bags and cushions while being served steak in the company of new friends you met at a pub crawl the night before…something I highly recommend you do.
Here are more highlight from when I went cliff jumping, jet skiing, ATVing to the top of the highest mountain on the island and from heavy helmet diving!
I spent most of my time lounging on the beach near this hostel called ‘Friendz’. I met a lot of cool people who were staying there and I had realized staying there as a solo traveler would have been of more value but nonetheless I still connected with many other travelers from Canada, USA, Australia, Europe and even South America! We would all just be sitting there buying each other rounds of drinks until that point in the day came when someone said ‘let’s go do something!”. Friendz. Go there.
If you are into water sports, there are classes you can take to become a certified diver or kite surfer among other things if you wish to go that route. I had gone heavy helmet diving which was a lot cheaper than scuba diving.
You don’t necessarily have to book many things in advance, however it does help during the busy seasons. It is always easy to find something though as the locals are very proactive about tourism there and you can always find yourself a deal. There will be guys walking around the beach looking to recruit people for boat tours and other activities. They tend to be very friendly and I felt pretty safe and don’t be worries about asking around for prices as you can get a deal on almost anything.
When to go:
Go now. You can go almost any time of year although you may encounter the rainy season from September to October. I went in February to escape the winter so I’m sure many of you will want to do the same. Regardless, this island should be made a priority on your bucket list. Book your ticket now.