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Boracay Island
Source: Manila Bulletin
Date: 2011-04-02
First impressions are rarely anything to set your watch to, and Boracay is no exception. The streets are overflowing with tourists, and pushy vendors selling everything from scuba diving to sunglasses are in abundance. The beautiful beach is swamped with bars and restaurants, but luckily the soothing ocean breeze comes at no cost to the visitor.

There’s a plethora of activities to keep you busy during the day, with a wide range of water sports including; sailing, paragliding, jet-skis, snorkeling and glass-bottom boat tours. For something a little different, give helmet diving a go. Think scuba-diving without all the complicated equipment and tiresome tutorials. It’s a strange sensation to be breathing naturally, several leagues beneath the sea.

Boracay offers activities above sea level too, such as go-karting. With the smell of burning rubber, the constant whir of engines at full capacity and the murmurs of spectators - close your eyes and you could be forgiven for thinking you were at an F1 track. A tricycle ride to Boracay Gokart should cost no more than 50 PHP.

With pedal to the metal, I zoom around the 1km track, opting not to hit the brakes at corners but drift and swerve instead. For 30 minutes on the track, and just as many laps, I’m more than content to relive childhood memories - this time without fear.

For early risers, ‘True Food Indian Cuisine’ holds daily yoga classes at 9 a.m. While the rest of Boracay is busy sleeping off hangovers, experience island tranquility and serenity before the masses awake from dreary slumber and converge on White Beach.

Other areas of Boracay offer visitors a glimpse at what life was like before the hordes of tourists. The northern tip of the island has areas better suited for snorkeling, so rent a motorbike, hire a marsk and fins - have some fun! Puka Beach is perfect for a fruit picnic, with sweet mangoes and pineapples available from many beach vendors. At certain times of the day, you may just find you have the beach all to yourself.

As a prime tourist destination, there are many restaurants to choose from, with cuisines the world over represented. Although the prices are somewhat inflated, you should have no problem finding food that suits your palate. Everything from vegetarian to Texas BBQ is on offer, with even Mongolian thrown in for good measure.

Olé can be found in D*Mall, and is the perfect place to escape exorbitant prices. A fine mix of Spanish/Mexican/Cuban/Filipino fare, it is open 24 hours a day and the food is excellent. Open for five years and going strong, include it in your itinerary.

After dark leaves White Beach pulsating with energy. The pounding disco beats last until around 4 a.m., with drunken party goers perfecting their dance floor shuffles on the powdery white sand with unabashed enthusiasm. Live bands can also be found, themselves a welcome respite for those a little techno weary.

WHERE TO STAY - Hey Jude Resort is the best of both worlds. Just a 3 minute stroll to the stretch of shore that made this island famous, this hotel comes complete with a quiet courtyard and is surrounded by coconut trees on all sides - a perfect sound buffer against the noisy nightclubs on White Beach. Each of the rooms is well appointed with air-con and cable television, and breakfast is included daily.

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