Boracay Island

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My wife and I feel like we’ve “grown up” on this island, arriving in January 1980 when we were 25 years old before the road was finished from the provincial capital, Kalibo to Malay, Boracay’s municipality on the “mainland”, Panay Island. My wife and I have spent a few weeks or months on Boracay every year since we built our first beach resort, Villa Camilla, naming it after our daughter and Lorna’s grandmother in 1989 – 1991. My wife, Lorna,built her first native house, one of the largest on Boracay at the time in 1980 made from bamboo and coco lumber with a nipa roof (woven palmetto leaves). Many birthday and beach parties were celebrated in her house in Diniwid with the largest balcony where over 40 “party animals” could dance. I’ll never forget all the good parties and “losing ourselves” on the beach!As I write, the sensual, dreamlike memories bring back that warm glow that Boracay has gave to many others as well. It may sound weird but we know more than a few couples who, after being together for years, conceived a child only after spending a few weeks on Boracay Island. Sound tempting? Take a break when you get the chance but use protection lest your girl experiences enhanced fertility also.

Since then we’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the changes that Boracay Island has experienced from worldwide fame and being declared “the best beach destination in the world” by the British Tourist authority in 1994. Many budget travelers are heading for Palawan these days seeking less developed islands but no matter which island group in the world that you explore it will be tough to match Boracay. That happy balance between comforts and conveniences which development brings and natural, dreamlike beauty with local, smiling faces without highrises of any kind has been accomplished on Boracay. The numerous availablity of low budget rentals from U$10 to U$20 for a double will not limit those who’d like to visit like many “resort islands”.

Boracay’s white sand, coconut palm lined beach stretches for 4 kms (2 1/2 miles), making dreams of paradise and romance a reality. Offshore, the beautiful, gleaming, tourquoise sea with its warm tropical water is more inviting than any swimming pool on a steaming hot day. What a place to meet for friends and lovers to share long sunny days and memorable moonlit nights.

There’s an incredible choice of restaurants, things to do, water sports and the most international group of travelers, tourists and “expats” in the Philippines. There are many exotic places around the world but the people you meet and share interesting conversations leave you with best,lasting memories. The locals are still mellow ( don’t hassle you, for example, like the Javanese in BALI ) and friendly without the “Hi Joe, where you come from? where you going?” that you will find in many other areas of the provinces. And PRICES – they can range from $8 for a basic Nipa Hut in off season to over a $150 for a five star resort!! Even U$500 suites with several bedrooms and an office have recently been opened for well known celebrities and government leaders. Where else does such a wide range of choices exist?

Some people have built beautiful private houses which are for rent when they’re away from Boracay. The many available cottages allow you to shop around for a great discount, often cheaper than other beaches where there’s only a few choices. The “regulars” who come every winter have arranged their lives and budgets so they live several months a year on the island for as little as $300 / month!!

GETTING THERE
You can fly from Manila or Cebu to Kalibo daily on Philippine Airlines or from Manila with several other new airlines like Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific,Grand Air, and Asian Spirit. Then take an air-conditioned 1-1/2 hour bus ride crossing some of the most lush tropical scenery in the Philippines from the Kalibo airport to Caticlan. From Caticlan’s small ferry terminal you can board a large bangka to the island. Pacific Air and Asian Spirit, using smaller aircraft fly daily directly to Caticlan’s small airstrip where a few-minute ride on a local “tricycle” takes you to the bangka station. Flight fares are nearly the same from $50 to $60 one-way to either Kalibo or Caticlan. Iloilo is on the south end of Panay, and Boracay is opposite Caticlan, off the northwest corner. The minivan ride from Iloilo to Caticlan would be 4+ hours. MBRS Lines operates a ferry between Manila’s Pier 8 and Caticlan twice a week. The name of the ships are Mary the Queen and the Virgin Mary. They depart Manila for Boracay at 5PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week arriving the next day at 6AM to 7AM. An ordinary ticket is about $10, Deluxe (a reserved bunk in an aircon dorm) is $15, and a bunk in a four-bunk cabin is $20. From Iloilo, take a aircon minivan to Caticlan for about 300 Pesos. From Catciclan, you take a 10-20 minute boat ride to the Island for less than 50 cents (U$). Or pay less than $5 for your own bangka that will take you directly to where you want to go on the island instead of the 3 boat stations. This is the cheapest, most comfortable way.

In Boracay, you can get totally “wasted” stay up all night dancing until the wee hours of the morning, “pass out” on the beach without having some beach patrol tapping you on the shoulder, telling you to move on or worse yet give you a citation. Life on the beach in Boracay seems so FREE and easy going and the rents will never require a major corporate paycheck to survive (and thrive) there with a quality lifestyle.

Boracays’ fishing families have more presence in the beach “scene” and are very laid back. I hope I have helped you form a picture of life on Boracay. Whether you’re living and working in Japan, Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong or coming from afar in Europe or N. America, YOU DESERVE a Holiday.

TRANSPORT: MBRS Passenger Shipping Lines departs Mon-Wed-Friday 5PM from Manila’s north harbor’s Pier 8 charging from P580 to P980 depending on which class, economy, tourist or a cabin (4 beds ). Asian Spirit Airlines flys with smaller aircraft several times daily to Caticlan as do PAL, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines do to Kalibo using larger aircraft where you can take an 1-1/2 hour air-conditioned bus ride for P100 each to Caticlan. All the airlines charge from P2500 to P2800 one way but occasionally have special fares. Cebu Pacific flys daily from Cebu to Kalibo charging a slightly less fare. From Caticlan the charge for a local, large “banca” , or outrigger is only P20 to Boracay, stopping first at Boat Station # 3, in Angol, then # 2 in the middle of the main white beach and then # 1 in Balabag. Angol, the first stop tends to have the most cottages with BUDGET RATES from P400 to P800. The beach resorts in the middle are mixed price wise but tends to offer cottages from P700 to P1500 and the Balabag resorts from Station # 1 to the north end of the main beach are the most expensive being located on larger 1/2 to 1 hectare properties with rates from P2000 to P6000. Of course there are exceptions like the Hyatt Regency located in the middle with room rates of U$100 to U$200.

FOOD and DRINK EXPENSES: These costs can really vary from one place to the next so I can only give you an idea about how much you need to budget. Local bakeries operate out of site from the beachfront but provide the most economical breakfast with P10 to P20 of pandesal with instant coffee and milk which you can buy from a small store; many local cottage style resort could supply you with hot water. Also near the market are small “Turo Turo” ( displaying a few pots which you point to the “ulam” or topping you want with rice ) style eateries which will cost you only P30 to P50 for either breakfast or lunch. hese dishes are made in the morning so it’s best to eat up until 1PM when the food is still fresh. The English Bakery has several locations but charges from P85 to P200 for most breakfasts as do most other resorts with restaurants.

Happy Hour from 4PM to 8PM is the best time for beer drinkers to tip up multiple cold San Miguel Beers offered at many places on the beachfront at P20 each the same as what’s usually charged for bottled water. At the two main discos San Miguel is P50 and other places with a good sound system at P40. And don’t forget the local RUM is less than P40 / liter so it’s possible to mix your own rum and coke because you can also buy ice in small plastic bags good for many drinks.

DINNER: The evening buffets for hungry travelers are the best bargain offered on the south side of the middle of the white beach charging P185 for ALL you can Eat. (plus drinks ). For those less of an apetite there are several other small restaurants like the Shanghai (with only 10 chairs ) near the buffets but a few meters inside from the beachfront or their relatives near the PAL office, also just a few meters inside. About 100 meters inside from the beach following a narrow path is Ati-Atihan Restaurant past the buffets is a good place with similiar menu prices. They charge from P70 to P95 for a very good tasting meal.

4 or 5 DAY HOLIDAY BUDGET: 80% of the cottages rent for P500 to P800 / day / 2 persons so plan on P400/ day / person. For meals budget P200 to P400 / day/ person so a if you bring a total of P4000 each with your transport already paid you should have enough for a GREAT PARTY and ROMANTIC HOLIDAY on the BEACH. If you’re not a drinker and / or come during off season you can have enough left over to do some souvenir shopping.

GIRLS
It kind of depends on how much time you have to invest before you go down to Boracay. A regular guest of ours, a German guy named Carlos is 53 and has stayed with us every year for the last 7 years. He picks up on 19 to 25 year old Filipinas in the two nearby Shopping Malls; he meets some at their place of work, others are just shoppers but then he asks them if they have time to have a cup of coffee or snack at a fastfood place in the Mall then asks to meet them later for a movie ect. Carlos is no Don Juan nor so handsone either but he has a BIG permanent smile on his face and the girls he brings back are amazing enough to make even me envious. Of course, I can’t “play” in my own neighborhood but it seems easy enough to pick up girls. Some of these might be persuaded to take a trip to Boracay with you although Carlos never takes them anywhere outside Manila; he likes the ones who work so he can pick up one who works the day shift and another who works a night shift.

If you meet a bargirl you will need to pay her DAILY BARFINE of about P1000 ( U$20 ), pay allof her expenses of course and give her a healthy tip like U$100 to U$150 for one week ( only if she’s a really good lay and is always available whenever and however you want sex. )


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