Saturday, October 20, 2012

Aklan: It's Boracay, Not Bora

Life Guard Tower with a Native Twist
Call me a beach-chaser with penchant for finding beaches within off-the-beaten paths. And with more than Seven Thousand Islands islands in it's archipelago, it will take more than a lifetime to chase all of them.

From the international traveler's point of view, Boracay is undoubtedly the queen of all beaches on the country. As proof, readers of Travel+Leisure Magazine named Boracay as the Best Island in the World for 2012 beating out other beach-laden islands like Bali, Maui and Santorini.

Boracay's White Beach
Of course, as Filipinos, we should all be proud of this honor but with such acclaim comes the downside too like over-crowding and higher cost of almost everything there. Some even label it as a non-haven for backpackers. But then again, a backpacker will always find a way and enjoy the place given a limited budget because the island's nooks and cranny can offer some of the thriftier alternatives.
Here are some of my unsolicited tips:
I Love Boracay Bracelets
1. Accomodations. Sad to say, tents are not allowed on the beach area so your best bet is to find the cheapest hub. Once you arrive in the island, lot's of people will approach you and will offer you their services to find a place for you. They are usually commissioned by the tourism office and that you are not obliged to give them any tip because they do get some sort of a commission from the lodging owners. During peak season, they can come in handy because they know the place but during low-peak season, it would be better to scout lodging places on your own and haggle. Station 3 offers the lowest rates for accommodations and usually, places farthest from the beach is cheaper.
I Love Boracay... and Cebu... and Davao ... and...
2. Foods. Andoks, Andoks and more Andoks. But if you get tired of the usual value meal, there are these carinderia/eateries offering home-cooked meals located on the side street of Station 2 heading to the main road. Also, when night comes, there are establishments in the area (mostly in Station 2)  that offers eat-all-you treats for two hundred bucks only. So if two hundred bucks is your budget for food for the day, you can skip lunch and wait for its earliest opening.
They come in China Pens Too
3. Beach activities such as Banana Ride, Flying Fish, Island Hopping. The rule of "the more the cheaper" certainly applies here so you can group yourselves with tourists there and share the costs of fun. A thousand shared by five is definitely lesser than a thousand shared by two. Also, there are games played in the beach such as volleyball, frisc bee throwing, tags which you can participate for free. Just wait for the opportunity to join and be friendly.
Willy's Rock in Broad Daylight
4. In-land travels. ATV, Motorcycles, Bicycles. These are the list of priorities depending on your budget. ATVs and Motorcysles can fit two so you can split the cost when you want to tour the island like going to Mount Luho or Puka Beach. A bicycle is a good choice but be sure you have the lungs for it. Tricycle is probably the best option if you will ply their route and best shared also with other if you want to rent it. But if you really want to save, you can just walk endlessly from one place of interest to another. Just walk early and bring water.
Life Guard Tower in Station 1
5. Booze. I think you do not need a help for this one. Just grab a cheaper booze at the local market or convenience store in D'Mall or on the road side and bring it on the beach. The beach is free and the sounds coming from the party areas are also free. Party on!
Sombrero Vendor
6. Gifts, tokens, pasalubong. Of course, you want to leave Boracay with something to bring with either for yourself or for your friends. Collecting shells and stones is not advisable and getting sand is prohibited so better avoid doing these. Instead, you can buy souvenirs from ambulent stalls which offers these products at half the price. Again, use your haggling skills because more often than not, they will give you some discounts.
The Famous Leaning Coconut Trees
8. Massage. In-house massage/spa would cost you more than a thousand bucks while beach side massage with coconut oils slathered all over you will cost you around five hundred bucks. But if you ask around or talk friendy with the offerring masseuse, you can have massage at mush lesser cost, at two hundred bucks even. Remember the law of supply and demand. If there are too many masseuse roaming around, you can ask for a lower cost. But of course, the cheapest alternative still is to let your love one massage you.
Again, these are all unsolicited advise which you may follow. Feel free to add more because traveling, even to the best island in the world, need not be too expensive.


  1. Well-written! :D Last April, I found one of the cheapest places to stay. Ang saya-saya ko nun :))

  2. Lovely pictures! A trip to Bora, I mean Boracay is always fun, there's so much to experience and explore. Thanks for the tips! :)

  3. Ako din, Andok's is my food haven when I'm in Boracay. Ang mura and grilled meat is so suited for the beach. Pero pagdating sa desserts, Cafe Del Sol cannot be topped. They serve the best cheesecake ever created by man haha! I can't wait to go back to Boracay again. Sana soon.

  4. well done. a very helpful piece for those who are planning on taking a boracay adventure.

  5. I've seen a magazine cover of Boracay dated in 1990 and the place was so different from the pictures we see nowadays which is very crowded and touristy. Those famous leaning coconut tree is there already since time immemorial. I hope the place will still preserve its cleanliness despite of surge of visitors.

  6. I'd love to be back in Boracay!

  7. These are great tips for cheapskate like me. I'll keep these in mind when I visit Boracay this December.

  8. I remember the time when I went there as a tourist and not for a sponsored event. We were flocked by a few people asking us where we were planning to stay.

    I told them "yung budget lang po, yung VERY cheap" with an emphasis on VERY. aha

    One of the asked, magkano budget? Meron pong tag 1500 Pesos.

    I told them 500 pesos and below for 2 people. They couldn't recommend anything for us. I just laughed. haha

  9. These are great tips pero di ba mas talaga namang pag nag-Boracay ka eh dapat mag-expect ka na gumastos?

    I know some na they will save their money so that they can truly enjoy the Boracay experience. Nag-enjoy ka na, nakatulong ka pa sa local tourism by spending.

  10. masaya na ako na at least once nakarating na ako sa Boracay. :)

  11. Been a long time since I visit your blog, so sorry about it. Lovely photos of Boracay, hope I get to visit it one day.

  12. I have been to Boracay with my gf and the 3 days and 2 nights we spent there were really awesome considering we have spent only about 3 thousand. Maybe Indigo does not know how to budget but you can really enjoy a place without overspending.

  13. Nakakagulat talaga that Boracay is still ranked as the best beach destination in the country. Ang galing ng PR ng DOT natin. Hehe. Ayoko na muna bumalik dun as a tourist. Sapat ng makita ko siya twice this year. LOL

  14. Very informative post.

  15. Ganda ng mga photos! of course pati na din yung article. :) Great tips, worth reading!