As Providence would have it I visited this paradise twice this summer (and this May)! First, for work again (read the stuff on Rappler), and then last weekend, with friends. The latter was scheduled earlier than the work trip.
I didn’t know that the island had at two other beaches that were less crowded, much cleaner, with the same blue skies and azure water. The sand wasn’t as fine as in White Beach, but there were no algae.
We dived from rock platforms, and went snorkeling for hours. We ate food especially cooked for us. Everything had a price, but our pace was unhurried and we didn’t have to worry about a thing.
I woke up way to early, but slept really well. I inhaled to flatten my stomach for bikini photos. My skin turned three shades darker. I was with 6 people I loved dearly. I hope we’ll get to do more of these vacations in years to come.
1. Puka Beach and Ilig-Iligan beach are quiet, clean, and exciting beaches where you can actually swim without worrying about hawkers or algae. You don’t need to hire a boat to get there – a 15 minute tricycle ride is only 150 pesos (you can split with your friends).
2. If you don’t have pearls yet, or are just looking for better souvenirs, freshwater pearls are cheap in Boracay. They’re not as beautiful as those in Palawan, but you’ll be hard–pressed to find long strings of “just right” pearls for the price anywhere else. They make for much nicer pasalubong than the usual shell paperweights, shirts, and the like.
3. Eat at SMOKE when you’re on a tight budget. If the queue at Jonah’s is massive, they have smaller branches on the roadside (behind the beachfront properties).
4. Book directly w/ hotels and hostels instead of through booking sites. You can haggle for more flexible check in times (lesson learned the hard way – we had to pay for an extra night since we arrived 2AM in the island).
5. Unplug and just enjoy. Sometimes, having no itinerary is the best.