Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tips and Activities to Do in Boracay Island, Philippines

Our recent family vacation was spent in Boracay and it … was … FUN! I am so grateful to have a few days with my husband and sons in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. If you haven't been there yet, or are planning to go back, here's sharing a list of things you can do there to make your stay an enjoyable and fulfilling one :)

1. Aside from staying in pleasant accommodations (read my review of Blue Veranda Suites here), make sure to GO ON FOOD TRIPS! Our hotel is very near D' Talipapa so we headed there for a late lunch after we arrived at the island. Hubby and I bough fresh seafood -- squid and lapu-lapu -- from the wet market then had them cooked grilled and sinigang, respectively, in one of the nearby restaurants. The boys opted to eat chicken at Andok's (toink!)

The next day, we explored the length of the beach going to Station 1 and bought crepes at Crazy Crepes plus cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon. We also tried Dimes juices, which were being sold per cup and poured via cool dispensers worn as backpacks with hoses by some of the promodizers. 

For dinner, we had seafood buffet at Kalinga Bar and Restaurant for only P280 per head! The price already includes bottomless iced tea and slices of watermelon. Although I'd love to have seen bigger steamed shrimp, I was still happy dipping them in vinegar and salt with crushed garlic that I requested from one of the accommodating servers.

For our last lunch before leaving Boracay, we went back to the wet market, ordered prawns, a slab of blue marlin, and another fish then had them cooked in Pizzaro where one of my sons wanted to have pizza. 

The fresh seafood are very affordable compared to Manila prices. Even if you have to pay for the cooking fees, each dish still end up being good value for money especially if you are with a big group.

2. HIRE A BOAT and go island hopping! On our first morning, while taking a stroll along the beach, we were approached by someone who offered us a boat ride for P1800 good for three hours. We thought it would be a great idea since it's not yet too hot and we'll have a chance to see other parts of the island that are not easily accessible on foot.

So off the whole family went with a bangkero (boatman) and his companion. We traveled for about 15 minutes to a good snorkeling spot. Thank goodness all of us brought goggles because it's quite uncomfortable to get salt water in the eyes. 

All my boys bravely swam without a life vest. I was the only one sporting a bright orange outfit in the water :p See, I didn't want to take the chance of getting leg cramps (which I am very prone to). The underwater scene was lovely! We were advised to buy P20 worth of bread at the beach, which the boatman tossed piece by piece in the water. The result? Dozens of fish came in droves to take a bite of the morsels. 

From that spot, we were brought to Puka Beach where we enjoyed sitting on the fine white sand while the waves lapped our feet and legs. It's a peaceful place where I could stay all day. Unfortunately, the boatman's phone rang and he suddenly told us it was time to go. I looked at my watch and saw that it was barely two hours since we left the beach at Station 3. I guess they had other customers waiting. 

It was a bit of a turn off to be promised three hours at the beginning but my boys said they still had fun so I didn't push the issue anymore. However, if you get approached by people offering you boat rides in Boracay, make sure to tell them to stick to the hours you were supposed to have paid for.

3. FEAST YOUR EYES on the beautiful views, especially the sunsets (not the bikini clad women in t-back bottoms!). I'm a sucker for that time when day slowly turns into night. It's kind of like a reminder to slow down, take a deep breath, and appreciate the good things that happened the whole day. 

Needless to say, we took a lot of sunset photos of the beach and of ourselves. The three days we were in Boracay will always give me special memories because they was spent with the most important people in my life.

4. SHOP FOR SOUVENIRS! Although we did check out lots and lots of stores, I only made sure to buy stuff that won't be too bulky nor heavy to bring home. Some of best finds would have to be personalized bracelets with our names engraved on them.

I just had to take a short video of how the skillful artist does it. Watch:

And then, when we chanced upon artists hand painting shirts with peoples' names, I was compelled to order one each for the whole family because the renditions were beautiful! We ordered ours the day before we left because they had a lot of shirts to do the whole day. 

One of my sons and I picked them up before we left Boracay and I was very pleased with the results. We all wore them on our flight back to Manila the next day. You can see our photo wearing our hand painted shirts in my review of Discover Boracay Hotel in Kalibo.

5. HAVE A FISH FOOT SPA! Near our hotel is an interesting establishment that offers body massages on the first floor and fish foot spa on the second floor. Two of my boys were very curious to try the fish spa so I accompanied them there after dinner on our second night. Guess who was more ticklish? 

I didn't attempt to try it again because I might giggle and scream again like I did when I dipped my whole body in a fish spa jacuzzi at Zenyu Eco Spa a couple of years ago. The sensations were out of this world and I have no plans of repeating them again any time, soon.

6. ENJOY SWIMMING as much as you can. Since Blue Veranda Suites is just a mere few steps from the beach, on our third morning, hubby and I went to the ocean after breakfast and swam for an hour. Like everybody else there, I just left my shorts and slippers on the beach and let the cool waters, teeming with green floating seaweed, embrace me.

Surprisingly, I saw several white fish underwater when we ventured far from the shore. A couple of times, some of them even bit my feet, so I guess I still did get some fish spa time there. 

There are a lot more attractions and activities offered in Boracay but one can't try them all in one go. So I guess we'll just reserve the others the next time we visit :)

* To see more photos from our Boracay trip, just click here and here.

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