Boracay, The 24/7 Island
Philippines’ 24/7 Island is a title that only aptly describes Boracay. This tropical island is internationally renowned for its tranquil days and wild sleepless nights. Once in Boracay, it’s easy to forget about time.
White Beach in Boracay has one the finest white sands and clearest blue waters in the archipelago. During the day, tourists bask in the sun on lounges, mats, or hammocks; getting a massage or spa while perfecting a tan.
The beach spans four kilometers and is divided into three stations. Station 1 caters to the affluent tourists. Located on the northern part of the island, the has the widest beachfront and top-of-the-class resort hotels. Local celebrities can be spotted here especially during the summer and holiday seasons.
At the heart of Boracay is Station 2, distinguished by a large number of shops, restaurants and clubs. D*Mall offers signature clothing, accessories, and souvenir items. As such, tourist population is highly concentrated in this area.
Station 3, located at the southernmost part of the island, is the least developed and the most affordable in terms of accommodations.
Hotels, bars, and restaurants burgeoned along the beach front; separated from the beach by mere two kilometers of Beachfront Path. As of 2010, resorts alone numbered to more than 350. From high-end luxury hotels to inexpensive ones, the White Beach caters to everyone’s taste and budget.
During the dry season of November to May, White Beach is glassy smooth while the other side of the island gets rough with waves. On the contrary, White Beach bathes in large waves while the other side is calm during the wet season of June to October.
Wherever the waves are high is site for some windsurfing, parasailing, snorkeling, diving and jet-skiing. Before the sun sets, native outrigger sailboats called “Paraw” sail along White Beach.
The White Beach is more crowded at night. Under the canopy of stars, buffet tables extend to the Beachfront Path leaving only a very narrow portion of sand before the beach. Expect a delectable feast of fresh seafood and native Philippine dishes.
Boracay nights are loud, and filled with music and performances such as fire dancing. It is when the island turns into a party with food and entertainment bound to keep everyone awake and enthralled.
Then and Now
Boracay was inhabited by the Ati tribe before the Spanish colonization. They were about a hundred people then, making a living by farming rice and raising goats. The name Boracay may have been derived from the local words “bora”, which means bubbles; or “borac” which means white cotton that is characteristic of the beach sand’s color and texture.
In the 1980s, the island started to become known as a budget travel destination. Boracay has received international recognitions for years and was awarded by the New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure as “The Best Island in the World” in 2012.
How To Get There
Located in Panay, Boracay is about an hour’s flight from Manila or Cebu. However, there is no direct flight to the Island. The two nearest airports to Boracay are Caticlan Airport and Kalibo International Airport. The larger airport in Kalibo hosts majority of the flights. Buses and vans travel from Kalibo to the small town of Caticlan, where outrigger boats leave in regular intervals to Boracay Island.
By Marian Alcantara, ASEAN Correspondent from Philippines