Boats on the beach at Boracay

Philippines-Boracay-Paradise on Earth, South East Asia 3

Author: Sue
Date: 23rd September 2000
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Boracay - The Best Island in the World?

Boracay has a lot to live up to. Its beaches have been touted as the best in the world. (On those many contentious lists). Tourism here began in the 1970s after Boracay appeared in a few films. But it was Jens Peter who really put Boracay on the map, when he wrote that it was 'Paradise on Earth'. in 1978. That's when the backpackers. Eventually, the inevitable happened. The infrastructure couldn't cope, especially the sewage and septic systems, and there were outbreaks of E.Coli, which understandably, put tourists off coming.

Some of these problems have been addressed - some remain. (More recently the island was closed for six months to enable renovation and upgrading of systems). Big chains have moved in. Spas and nightclubs, even  a golf course, have sprung up, side-lining the original inhabitants. There’s a huge  tension between natural beauty, rest and relaxation and the desire to make money. Talking of money, Boracay has the highest density of merchants that accept bitcoin outside of El Salvador. So it might be acquiring yet another soubriquet  - "Bitcoin Island".

Boracay - In and Out and Where?

Boracay (often locally shortened to Bora) is a small dog bone shaped  island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, just half a mile off the northwest coast of Panay. It’s seven kilometres long and a kilometre wide at its narrowest point.

Boracay is an ideal place to spend a few days away from Manila, seeking rest and recreation. There’s no airport of course. We have to fly to Godofredo P. Ramos Airport  (now renamed Boracay Airport) in Caticlan on Panay Island and take a motorized tricycle, the one kilometre to Caticlan port. Then it’s a ferryboat to Cagban, on Boracay. It’s cheaper to fly to Kalibo, on Panay, but that’s another 30 kilometres away. Once on Boracay, it’s another motorized trike. There are no cars allowed  on the road that runs north-south, through the middle of the island. It’s too small. (The hotels are permitted vans and these have to be white).

Boracay has two main beaches, to choose from. White Beach, on the west coast, is about four kilometres long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses of all price ranges, restaurants, shops and diving shacks. With its classic clear crystal water, bendy palm trees and sailboats with eye catching equilateral sails, it’s the contender for Best Beach in the World.

Bulabog Beach, across the island, on the east coast, attracts more wind, and is  the main windsurfing and kiteboarding area.

So, it’s going to be White Beach, in a mid-range establishment with cottages and a wicker bar. In the middle of the beach here, the lodgings sit behind a  Beachfront Path ,separating the beach itself from the establishments located along it.

What to Do on Boracay?

What to do on Boracay? It would be very easy to do nothing all day, except laze on a sunbed and admire the view. Just getting up to eat. There’s great food to be had in the many restaurants that line the powdery sand. Juicy giant prawns are on offer. But there’s good snorkelling to be had, particularly from the many bobbing boats, all keen to offer their services. Or a wander north to local landmark, Willy's Rock, a tiny islet with a shrine atop it, just in front of  Willy's Beach Resort.

And the sunsets? Truly stunning. Especially with a cocktail in hand.

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