Buzzing Boracay

Photo of Puka beach
Puka beach

We were lucky enough to have some visitors for the first 2 weeks in September – my parents, Jill & Peter, and my sister, Sarah.  It wouldn’t be a fair representation of the Philippines if all we’d shown them was Manila.  We debated, at length, where else we should go in the Philippines.  The main spanner in the works of choosing where to go was the weather.  We hadn’t lived through a rainy season in the Philippines yet, so had no idea what effect these much fabled storms would have on travel plans.

In the end, we settled on Boracay.  It is one of the highlights of the Philippines, there are very frequent flights there and on paper it’s a short easy journey.  On the weather maps, which show the 4 main weather regions of the Philippines, it also seemed to be one of the places that escaped some of the worst weather.

There are 2 airports which feed Boracay: Kalibo and Caticlan.  Caticlan is much closer (a short tricycle ride, followed by a short ferry ride, followed by a van/tricycle ride to your hotel.  Kalibo has an additional 2 hours bus ride to get to the port for the ferry across to Boracay.  2 benefits of Kalibo though: bigger planes fly there, and it’s considerably cheaper to fly there.  So we flew into Kalibo (with delays, a 7 hour journey!) and out of Caticlan (no delays, 4 hour journey).

We had booked to stay in an apartment, part of Argonauta resort, about 10 minutes away by tricycle from the main White Beach.  We were greeted with a refreshing fruit juice on the terrace overlooking Banyugan beach.  Stunning.

Photo of beach on Boracay
The view from our apartment
The accommodation at Argonauta was great.  A 2 bedroom apartment, with a lovely verandah was perfect for us to be able to enjoy the time together as a family.  The breakfasts served were hearty and delicious.  You could choose from various options including healthy (muesli, yogurt and fresh tropical fruit), light (fresh fruit, pancakes and 2 boiled eggs), Filipino (fruit, rice, longanissa sausage) and one which included eggs and bacon or ham.  They would easily keep us going all day, with perhaps a light snack in the afternoon.  The service was warm, friendly and efficient.  A definite perk was the free shuttle which provided us with transport to anywhere on the island, with the very friendly driver Alan.

We had a good mix of weather.  Our first full day was spent sunning ourselves on Puka Beach.  No complaints at all about the weather that day.  The second day was a bit mixed.  In the morning we managed some beach time at Ilig Iligan beach before the rains arrived.  On the third day it was a bit grim, but we decided to make the most of the fact it wasn’t raining and headed out on a round-the-island boat trip.  This included only one snorkelling stop, at Crocodile Island.  I was a bit disappointed as on visits to other islands in the Philippines there had been numerous snorkelling stops.  Still, it was a fun way to see the whole island from the sea!  We had a bit more rain the next day, but decided to go up Mount Luho for views of the island from an alternative perspective.  Even with the rain, it was great being able to see the island and the sea.

Photo of Puka beach
Puka beach
Along with the sightseeing, we had a few good meals.  Our first meal was at Kasbah, which also has a branch in Manila.  We sat with our feet in the sand and enjoyed a delicious North African supper.  Next was at Cyma, a greek restaurant which also has a branch in Manila.  Very good Greek food including their famous flaming cheese, which is delivered to your table with the entire staff shouting ‘Oooompa!’.  We also enjoyed a beach barbeque, again with our feet in the sand, wood-fired pizza at Aria and a home-cooked meal at Argonauta.  Not bad choices for such a tiny island.

Because Boracay is one of the highlights of the Philippines, it is busier than a lot of the other places we’ve visited.  But it is a deserved highlight.  The beaches are long, white and beautiful (especially white beach), the sea clear blue and warm, and the food options great.  Would I go back?  I wouldn’t rush back, but if we have more visitors, it might be a place I recommend to them.

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