Have you ever tried making a random decision to just go off to a destination just for a day just to break the monotony of your daily routine? I must say that it is an adventure in itself once you decide to try it out. Most people would probably think that it is crazy and a waste of money but for those who have tried it, just like me, it is a great experience.
My initial plan was to do something nerve-wracking…something that I have never done before. As I was scouting around for something unique to do, I chanced upon cliff jumping or cliff diving at Ariel’s Point in Malay, Aklan. I knew that I had to do it after watching a video clip promoting the place.
It was something unique and exciting.
These were the very same thoughts that I had in my mind as I was contemplating whether to do it or not after enduring a 3 hour air and land travel to Boracay Island via Kalibo. The butterflies in my stomach had quickly turned into fear as I set foot on the island that I started to consider if there were other options. Parasailing was another choice but I was not keen on just “hanging around” in midair. In the end, fear engulfed me and I decided to do something different.
As most people would agree, a day would not be enough to cover the whole island of Boracay. That is true since the island has a total land area of 10.32 square kilometres. But that cannot stop one person from getting the Boracay experience even if they only have a day to spend in this beautiful island and that was what I set out to discover in this trip.
If I were to sum up the Boracay experience, it is all about the Sights, the Seafood, the Sun, and the Sand.
Sights: A Birds Eye View of Boracay
There is no better way to kick-off a day in Boracay than to get a bird’s eye view of the whole island. There are two ways of doing it – parasailing and Mount Luho. The former can be an exhilarating experience as you get suspended in mid-air for 15 minutes as you enjoy the view of White Beach. However, I suggest that you jump onto an All Terrain Vehicle or Buggy to experience the high adventure and rough side of the island.
The ATV adventure starts off with getting acquainted with your ATV. It will involve practice driving inside the compound to get yourself familiarized with the vehicle before you set off to the side roads towards Mount Luho. The ATV is easy to handle and even beginners or non-drivers can manage to handle the vehicle properly.
The “roadtrip” to Mount Luho, Boracay’s highest point, is one that you will definitely enjoy. Apart from trying to manage the ATV, one can also get a look at beautiful scene and interesting spots along the way. It was on this trip that I discovered that Boracay has a carnival and I finally figured where the golf course was.
Mount Luho is the highest point in Boracay having a height of 100 meters above sea level. The area was developed as it offers a 360-degree view of the island, far better than that of the parasailing view. The park installed bamboo platforms to give visitors a better view of the Fairways and Bluewater Golf Course, the high adrenaline activities at Bulabog beach, and the laid back activities of White Beach. The complex also has a mini-zoo that is the home of some animal species endemic to the Philippines.
Mount Luho is a must place to visit and is a perfect place to kick-off your one day vacation to the island as it offers a magnificent view of the island. It gives you a preview of the different facets of Boracay from the upscale to the adventurous and laid-back.
As you head back to the garage, one can enjoy the cool breeze as you drive down the slopes of Mount Luho. Be sure to take extra caution when going downhill using the ATV. But just right before you park your ATVs, get ready to have a face-to-face encounter with wildlife in the latest attraction of the island – the Boracay Wildlife Expo. The expo is the home of an albino python, tarantulas, birds species, and a nine-foot crocodile from Negros.
It is in this expo that I got my thrill on this trip as the caretakers allow face-to-face encounters with the wildlife. Let the python slither behind your neck, perch the parrot on your arms, let the tarantula crawl on your arms, or hold a baby crocodile with your bare hands. I did try the last one and it was both exciting and a nerve-wracking experience and, then again, that is what Boracay is all about.
Seafood: Death by Seafood
A visit to Boracay or any island in the Philippines is never complete without getting a full stomach on seafood. I am such a seafood lover and being in Boracay is enough excuse to get my full of it. I sincerely think that any visit to this island needs to have dining on seafood as part of the itinerary. You can walk along White Beach and you will find that most, if not all, restaurants have their own seafood selection on their menu. The best part is that the seafood is the fresh catch from the sea surrounding the island of Boracay.
And if you want to have a great seafood dining experience, I would have to suggest that you head off to the Talipapa. Situated between Station 2 and Station 3 of White Beach, the Talipapa is the best place to experience death by seafood. It has a small market where you can buy fresh produce from the sea – from mussels to lobsters. Prices are negotiable so this is the best time to put your bargaining skills to the test.
Surrounding the Talipapa, are small establishments that offer cooking services at a minimal fee. Cooking fees are on a per kilo basis and may vary depending on how you want your seafood cooked. Be reminded though that if you ask them to cook half a kilo of seafood, it will fetch a cooking rate of a kilo. I also strongly suggest that when you dine at the Talipapa, dine with a group rather than as individual. It can be overwhelming for one person to eat everything that you bought in the market in one seating.
After getting your full of seafood, you can go around the small shops that sell Boracay souvenirs and trinkets. The Talipapa is also a great place to shop for “pasalubongs” because the prices are relatively cheaper compared to D’Mall and you can still bargain. It is also the best time to walk along White Beach where you can also check out souvenirs sold along the beach. Again, your bargaining skills will be tested in this adventure. It is also a great exercise after that heavy lunch.
Sun: Getting the Tan
Boracay’s is best known for the beach and with the beach comes the sun. Getting a tan from the afternoon sun is highly suggested after the heavy lunch and souvenir hunting and with that White Beach has the best view of the afternoon sun highlighted by swimmers, paraws, and other water activities.
The best way to enjoy the Boracay sun is to get a yummy shake from Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar and then find your own corner along the beach. Splash on some sunblock or tanning lotion, don your shades, and enjoy your sun tanning session. You can also choose to read your favourite book, listen to your favourite music on your ipod, or just simply watch people do their own thing. It is just about spending a lazy afternoon under sun.
As you watch the sun set along the horizon, you would also notice that more people now start gathering along the beachfront. You would also notice that there are more people trying out the activities offered by the “manongs” like the banana boat, flying fox, parasailing, and other water activities. This is also the best time to try out some, if not all, the activities. I did try the Stand Up Paddle which later turned out to be a good core workout for me. I did get a great tan after an hour of paddling.
To end the day, you can hop aboard a paraw to get the best view of the Boracay sunset. A paraw is a rig that is set-up with sails and it is powered by the wind. I did get a good deal of a thousand for an hour of paraw sailing through the coastline of White Beach. It is a great feeling to just lay back and feel the wind as you watch the sun set on one side and the island of Boracay coming to life on the other side.
Sand: Subdued Boracay
As the evening unfolds in Boracay, one would bear witness to the bursts of lights and sound of the island. We should not forget that Boracay is still known as a party island. Like a burst of fireworks, Boracay bears its party soul in the evening. The powdery sand feels the t]umping of the rhythm of the island as the parties wear on until the wee hours of the morning.
But there is a subdued approach to Boracay for those who prefer a little quiet time for the self. You can start off the night by having a relaxing massage by the beach. A definite must do in Boracay, it is relaxing to hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore as your muscles get relaxed after a day of walking on high adventure.
A nice dinner by the beach is a must. Again, Boracay Island’s coast is dotted with a wide selection of restaurants with varied ambiance. Grab a beer and share your story with other tourists. You can also opt to dance your heart on the latest music hits. Walk by the beach to feel the powdery sand on your feet. Watch a fire dancer strut their stuff or get amazed by the sand sculptures done by hand by the local kids.
Finally, cap off the night with a silent meditation or an intimate conversation as you lie down by beach. Watch the starts light up the night, listen to the waves, or just simply close your eyes to feel the breeze on your skin as you listen to the party music melting with the sound of the waves crashing. Then, you will know that you are hearing the heartbeat of the island of Boracay.
Most people that I have shared my story with would always say that my one day trip was “bitin”. I beg to disagree. It was one trip that I needed to do just to break the monotony of what I was doing daily. It was fun and it was spontaneous. It was just what I needed. Taking that one day visit to Boracay was totally a different experience…I guess, it is an experience in itself.
You can definitely enjoy a day trip in Boracay. You can still get to feel the buzz and the thrill of the Boracay experience even if you are there just for a day. It is all about being open to what you can do and, at times, facing your fears. Just let the day pass and enjoy what the island has to offer.
As I boarded my flight back to Manila the next day, I only had one thing in my mind…I am going to do this again!
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.