Boracay, perhaps Philippines’ most well-known island paradise, is stunning with its white sand beaches and clear blue waters. But there’s more to this island than meets the eye, and I’ve compiled a list of fun things you can do while there that involves more than just basking in the rays of the hot sun and floating on the ocean

Table of contents

Getting in and out of Boracay

Two airports service Boracay – Caticlan Airport and Kalibo International Airport.

Caticlan Airport

  • 30 mins from Boracay island via boat
  • Serviced by domestic flights only, although there are plans to expand the terminal to allow for international flights in the near future
  • Flights from Manila to Caticlan are typically more expensive. Basically, you’re paying for convenience and time

Kalibo International Airport

  • ~2 hours from Boracay island, via van then boat
  • Able to receive international flights (e.g. from Malaysia)

How to get to the Jetty Port

If you’re coming from Caticlan:

Exit the airport and look to your right (or ask people to point you to the tricycle station). Each tricycle can sit ~4, but this depends on the amount of luggage you have at hand. The ride from the airport to the jetty port is ~5mins at most

If you’re coming from Kalibo:

Check out the van operators who’ll offer to bring you to the Caticlan Jetty Port or book online. This ride will take ~2 hours

Once you arrive at the Jetty Port, you’ll need to pay for three things: an Environmental Fee (75 pesos), a Terminal Fee (100 pesos), and finally the ferry ticket (~25-30 pesos). Note that most ferry operators operate between 5:00am to 10:00pm. Arriving before or after those times could potentially mean you’ll have to shell out a lot more for your ferry ticket. If you come here during peak season, prepare for long queues at the ferry, otherwise you can walk right in and board the ferry of your choice!

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RIDING A FERRY BACK HOME

How to get around Boracay proper

Exiting the Jetty Port, again you’ll notice a whole line of tricycles waiting outside. Tell them where you want to go – either your hotel name, or a well-known establishment near your hotel (if in doubt, ask the hotel to provide you with a list of restaurants / bars where they’re near). Note that 3G access in the island can still be pretty spotty so best to come prepared!

The tricycle ride to the island proper usually costs ~150 pesos, this can vary depending on your agreement though. Haggle away, but remember to agree on a final price before getting on to minimize disagreements after

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TRICYCLE RIDE #siksikan

Where to stay

Boracay is split into 3 stations. Easiest way to distinguish amongst the three – Station 1 is the posh area, and it progressively becomes cheaper as you go from Station 2 to 3. Each Station has its own perks: the crowd is nicer at Station 1, a lot of the nice bars/clubs are at Station 2, water activities are cheaper at Station 3

Personal preference? I like staying at Station 2 – nearer to Station 1 if possible, so that I can go home to a relatively tranquil environment after a long day under the sun and a long day at the club

My recommended hotel would be Sol Y Sombra Hotel. It’s not along the beachfront, but is right behind it – and straggles the line between Station 1 and 2. The rooms are tastefully decorated and are cleaned daily, the receptionist is extremely helpful, and the location is amazing! A 2-minute walk leads you straight to Andok’s and CocoMangas. For those who don’t know the significant of these two, I’ll talk more about them later on. It’s admittedly a bit pricey (our family room for 5 costs PHP 6,040 a night), but it’s cheaper than a full-fledged hotel (but of equal quality!) and a lot cleaner than most hostels.

Water activities to try

Sunset sailing, otherwise known as ‘paraw’ (local sailboat)

Enjoy the breathtaking sunset view as you swing gently over the sailboat hammock. We got a private boat – which cost ~1500 pesos for 30 mins and can accommodate up to 8! I have no photos to convince you with, but trust me, this is the picture-perfect way to cap off a memorable Boracay trip

Island hopping

Visit different islands – each with its own beauty and charm. Also, check and make sure your fee includes snorkeling. While the corals and fishes here aren’t the best, they’re still pretty nice considering you don’t have to go far to view them. Private boat cost us ~2500 pesos and can accommodate up to 8, I think

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ISLAND HOPPING
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SNORKELING
Other activities to consider: Banana boat, Fly fish, Helmet diving, Parasailing, Jetskiing, Kite surfing, Wind surfing, Cliff diving, and Stand up paddling. Having said that, water activities are pretty pricey so I’d suggest you just pick and choose, similar to what we did

Where to eat

Splitting this section up into three price categories:

Willing to splurge

barLOResto Lounge

Location: Two Seasons, Boracay Island
Located at Station 1, now you know why this restaurant is categorized under the Willing to splurge category… Just kidding, or not. The food can be pretty pricey but it is SO GOOD. A definite must try when you’re on the island

Things to order: Oyster sisig, Four cheese pizza, Crispy pata (this is the bank breaker but I would never NOT order this), and their Buy 1, Take 1 cocktails (boy, these cocktails pack a punch! Definitely worth every penny. If you’re not a heavy alcohol drinker, suggest you split with a friend)

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FAMED OYSTER SISIG
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CRISPY PATA – I LOVE THIS MORE THAN THE OYSTER SISIG

Dos Mestizos

Location: Remedios Street, Sitio Manggayad, Boracay Island

This Spanish restaurant is located at Station 3, but is still pretty pricey. Nevertheless, you know it’s good when your foreigner friend brings you here and claims it’s one of the most authentic Spanish food in the Philippines he’s tried to date (of course, this is the same friend who swears by Andok’s so he might not be 100% trustworthy). But if you trust me, then drop by this cozy Spanish restaurant. The items on the menu are food of Castilian origin and are ridiculously, mind-numbingly good

Thing to order: paella negra, lengua estofada, and a wide range of tapas (personal favorite was the bacalhau and gambas)

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LOOK AT ALL THOSE FOOD (+ GOOD COMPANY)

Great value for money

Mañana Mexican Cuisine

Location: Station 1, Balabag, Boracay Island

This place is the absolute bomb! Mañana has been around since 1999, and serves authentic Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, fajitas, and more

Things to order: Burritos Platter (PHP 363) – servings are HUGE, so order to share. Example, I have NEVER finished a Burritos Platter on my own, and I think I’m a pretty strong eater

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MANANA’S BURRITO PLATTER IS THE BEST HANGOVER FOOD

Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar

Location: Station 1, Boracay Island

What kind of Boracay trip would it be without Jonah’s? Perfect place to hang out with friends as the sun sets over the horizon. Bestselling beverages include banana choco peanut shake and the mango milk shake

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BORACAY WOULDN’T BE THE SAME WITHOUT JONAH’S

Real Coffee and Tea Café

Location: Station 2, Boracay Island

Again, another Boracay institution. This place is well-known for their calamansi muffins, but why not grab an espresso while you’re at it?

D’ Talipapa

Location: Station 2, Boracay Island

Ever been to Dampa in Manila? This is basically the Boracay equivalent except BETTER, because you’re 100% guaranteed freshness. Literally a wet market, you can buy fresh seafood here at really decent prices, and have it cooked in one of the market’s many restaurants. In the end, you basically pay the cooking fee depending on the weight per kilogram + the actual seafood cost

Cheap Eats

Andok’s

My friend swears by this place. Try their Dokito, Porkcharap, and sinigang!

Boracay Street Food

Try the chori burger! It’s ridiculously good. For foreigners, you can also try isaw (intestines) if you have the stomach for it


Where to party

Cocomangas

There are two branches now, but I’d recommend you head to the one in Station 1 still (sadly, no longer a beachfront!).  Much better ambiance! If you’re staying at Sol y Sombra, Cocomangas will be a 2 mins walk to your right

Dude, this place is famous for their 15 shots challenge – down 15 shots of their own concoction and you’ll win a free t-shirt for your effort, you score a number for your country, and your name will forever be engraved onto a brass plaque that will hang on the bar’s wall of fame (till they remove it for the next group of locals / tourists who take on the challenge)

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15 SHOTS EACH – 75 IN TOTAL. YOU SHOULD’VE SEEN THE BARTENDER’S FACE
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WE SURVIVED THE COCOMANGAS CHALLENGE

Club Paraw

Located in Station 1, the vibe here is really nice and the crowd is pretty chill. A bit too chill sometimes… When I was there during the off-peak period, the place was pretty dead unfortunately

Epic

A perennial crowd favorite, Epic sits right in the center of Boracay, next to D’mall (Station 2). It’s pretty classy and has a nice bathroom (very important imo)

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EPIC NIGHT

Summer Place

A short walk from Epic (which means it’s at Station 2), Summer Place draws a pretty mixed crowd with loads of foreigners partying away until the wee hours of the morning

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MAN DOWN @ SUMMER PALACE

Club Galaxy

This club is far (Station 4 to be exact), but worth going to because:

  1. It closes at 5AM, which means you can party till the wee hours of the early morning!
  2. It legit feels like a Manila club – posh feel and ultra nice bathrooms

And that completes the rundown, hope you enjoy your Boracay stay as much as we did!!

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