10 Things to Love and Hate About Boracay, Philippines

Love:

1) Scuba Dive. If you’re thinking about scuba diving in beautiful Boracay, I highly recommend Free Willy Diving. The owner Willy is such a nice guy and he speaks English, French, and Dutch (probably other languages too). I told him that I was too scared to dive so he tried to convince me by showing me pictures of all these first time divers who were mostly children. I was pretty adamant about not going into the water so he didn’t push too hard. What I did get to do was tag along for the ride; basking in the sun. It was nice, but I am a little sad I didn’t get to see any marine life. My friend was a first time diver and Willy took it upon himself to train and dive with her. He made her feel so safe and comfortable that she wanted to dive again the very next day.

The price for a FUNDIVE with rental gear is about $40 US. The price for underwater photography is $62 US and videography is $82 US.

boracay scuba dive

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Check out my friend Ryan’s scuba dive video:

2) White Beach. Now I’ve been to a few beaches (Turks & Caicos, Aruba, St Marten, Bahamas, Mexico, Thailand, Half Moon Cay, etc) in my lifetime but I have never ever felt sand so soft and smooth. It’s just heavenly.

boracay white beach

soft sand

3) Island hopping and Water Sports. If you’re the adventurous type, you will be all over the many water sports offered in Boracay like kite surfing, para-sailing, jet-skiing, etc. If you prefer a more relaxing route, hire a Bangka boat for a few hours and go island hopping! The choppy cold water stopped us from snorkeling but we did enjoy taking pictures of the cool geological rock formations and checking out the amazing caves at Crystal Cove. The bat cave (with live bats flying around) is something to experience. Bangka rental for 3 hours was around US$40. There’s a US$5 entrance fee to Crystal Cove.

island hop

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4) Mangoes. Yup, the mangoes in the Philippines deserve their own number in the LOVE section. They are super sweet (when ripe), smooth and creamy. The dried versions are also very delicious.

mango boracay

5. Motorized Tricycle Taxis. How cool is this ride? Come on, this little thing can hold up to 8 people. Yes, 8 people!

taxi boracay

HATE:

6. I have to take a what to a what to get to my villa in Boracay? We arrived to Kalibo airport at 8pm. From Kalibo airport, we had to take a 1 1/2 hour van ride (booked by our villa manager) to the caticlan ferry terminal, then climb on a tiny latter onto a small jammed pack ferry boat to Boracay, then get on our personal van and drive on (at times) very bumpy, unpaved, muddy, and flooded roads to get to our villa. The whole experience was surreal and it really felt like we were all being smuggled into the island. Good thing I packed light because I don’t know how a suitcase would have made it on the ferry boat. Unfortunately, due to the rain and darkness, I didn’t take any pictures of my exciting experience but I did take a picture of our ferry ride from Boracay to Caticlan on our last day. It was a beautiful day.

caticlan to boracay

7. My food experience in Boracay was not the best (and my friends agree). Now don’t hate just yet because I love Filipino food (the New York restaurants at least). Of my three nights stay, here are the restaurants that I tried: Andok’s, Discovery Shores Restaurant, and Obama Grill Bar Restaurant. Brunch was prepared at our villa by our chef. It sounds fancy to have a driver, chef and maid but the villa is actually very affordable (like US$300/day with max 10 people).

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8. Since our villa was situated on the mountain top (as opposed to the main strip), we had to drive through a pretty rough neighborhood to and from the beaches. Most of the houses were made from natural resources. The one image that sticks is seeing a group of children huddling over a bowl of rice and scooping the rice into their mouths with their hands. According to our driver, a cashier at a supermarket makes about $1 US (41 pesos) per hour, so roughly $8 a day. This is on my hate list because it saddens me to see first hand that there are starving people in this day and age (not only in the Philippines but all over the world). Yes, there’s hungry people in New York too but they have the food bank, city harvest, school lunch program, etc. We should all be thankful for all that we have-our health, family, clothes on our back, food to fill our tummy, electricity and hot showers.

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9. It’s not uncommon for cebu airlines to be delayed or cancel direct flights (Kalibo to HK). Canceling forces customers to make a stop over at manilla airport which adds another 3 hours to total travel time. What they don’t tell you is that you will have to pay an extra fee. Exiting from Kalibo requires a US$5 fee and if you’re now required to transfer at manilla airport, you’re going to pay an extra US$14 to leave manilla.

10. If you’re not down with exotic nature, you will be scared to death by all the creatures that lurk around in Boracay. Geckos of all sizes, ants, snails, moths, mosquitoes, frogs, spiders and other flying objects. The villa that we stayed in called Boracay Mansion had the most beautiful views, but it was definitely exotic. First night there, I saw a gecko the size of my size 6 shoes. I nearly fainted. Our bathroom was semi outdoors so a ants nest made its way into the corner of our shower at night. Sad to say that there were also ants all over the floor so a few of them laid to rest under my slippers. Every morning, I would find lots of dead flies on the bathroom sink but nothing would have prepared me for waking up to a pretty big piece of poop (pictured below) next to my hand soap. The bedrooms had door to ceiling windows with no curtains. Yeah, no privacy but also very scary. Especially when the dogs decide to roam around at night. There’s a rooster house next to the mansion so there was no need to set wake up calls. One night, I was even woken up by what I believed to be an eagle screeching. I thought it had made its way into our room so I hid under my blanket and was prepared to die. Would I ever go back to Boracay? Hell yes, but I’m staying at a resort!

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pooppoop

Lovely isn’t it? Imagine the size of the gecko that laid that one.

I’ll leave you with these beautiful pictures of Boracay.

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boracay mansion view

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One thought on “10 Things to Love and Hate About Boracay, Philippines

  1. Hello,
    thank you so much for this great feedback regarding Willy, because he is my brother and I’m also diver and know, how sure you can feel with him. Thank you for this feedback, because it’s not so easy to build a diving base so far away from Austria.

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