Continuing with the previous post on my first trip to the Philippines in 2007…my sister and I spent 5 days in the country; 2 days in Manila and 3 days in Boracay Island.
Boracay Island…hmmm. Yes, impressions of Boracay can be of a mixed bag especially if you’re referring to present state of Boracay. But when we visited Boracay 9 years ago, it was paradise to us. White pristine beach and turquoise blue waters. Quiet and tranquil.
We had assumed that Boracay would be as crowded as the beaches of Phuket or Patong in Thailand, driven by commercialism but we were pleasantly surprised by the peaceful atmosphere on the island then. Unfortunately, now more hotels and resorts are being built to accommodate rising number of tourists arriving in droves. More tourists mean more noise, tourist traps…and scams.
My post here is not to drive people away from Boracay. I’m merely sharing with you the change that is happening to the island as a result of increasing development and commercialism due to tourism. Tourism is always good for any country but if not checked and contained properly, its negative effects can take away the natural beauty of the destination.
Should you wish to travel to Boracay, do research in depth for quieter accommodations; opt for places along the beach that have lesser people; or travel to the island during non-peak season. Also, be aware of tourist scams, which I believe, are prevalent in other countries too. Hence, just be alert and be street smart.
How do I get to Boracay?
There are no direct flights into Boracay. Visitors must fly into Caticlan or Kalibo.
Caticlan is the closest airport to Boracay from which visitors take a vehicle from the airport to the jetty and then a 20-minute boat ride to Boracay. I remembered we took a domestic flight from Manila to Caticlan.
Kalibo airport, on the other hand, is further away from Caticlan Jetty. Upon arrival at Kalibo airport, visitors travel by bus for 1.5 hours to the jetty from which they take the boat ride to Boracay. Air Asia flies directly to Kalibo.
When is the best time to go to Boracay?
We were there during the first week of December – the dry season (Nov to May) – and the locals had mentioned that it was the best time to be in Boracay because the rainy season had just ended. The waters were calm and suitable for swimming. Should you wish to visit Boracay the rainy season, I suppose, it’s still possible as this part of the Philippines is relatively protected by the mountains but do take caution as the strong winds and large waves might not be suitable for swimming.
The peak season is during the Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year and Easter holidays. Therefore, try to plan your stay in Boracay outside of these holidays, so that you will have a more pleasant experience on the island, and not marred by overcrowding (and high hotel prices too!)
Here are some photos from my visit in 2007:
(Note: The photos were shot with a Canon point-and-shoot digital camera (can’t remember which model). At that time, I hardly experimented with the various settings in the camera. Hope you don’t mind the poor quality of the photos below 🙂 )