White Beach faces the West and with the wide expanse of the sea before it, one can have a front seat view of the setting sun. Watching the sun goes down at the end of the day is truly an enchanting, soothing experience. No wonder Boracay's sunset is as famous now as the Manila Bay sunset.
Thus, aside from swimming and people watching, another activity I look forward to while in the island is "sunset" watching. At around 6pm, we were already down at the beach trying to catch the sunset and capture its image through our camera. Everything happened fast and since I am a "slow photographer", I barely managed to get this sunset photo :-)
Having gone to Boracay for more than a couple of times, it was a natural curiousity to find more about the place. The last time we were there, me and my wife rented a motorcycle and explored the other side of Boracay - or should I say "What's more there other than White Beach?"
One of the surprising destinations we visited was Mt. Luho, the highest peak of Boracay. At the viewdeck, the view gave us a better orientation of every place in Boracay and mainland Panay. Yes, indeed, a panoramic 360 deg view of Boracay with the long white sand shoreline so inviting.
Up there, it looks as if the island is not overflowing with visitors with the towering trees, mostly coconuts hiding those man-made structures. The greening of the sorroundings should be maintained and upped making Boracay a real nature hideaway.
We rented a motorcycle for P500 for 2 hours.
Building a sand castle is an "enterprising hobby" of young locals. They build elaborate sand castle during the day and at night place lighted candles to create a romantic effect.
On my first day, I noticed a sand castle just a few steps from our hotel. I took a picture of it and moved on. But it was on my second night that I came across a well-lighted sand castle and was mesmerized by it. We had our pictures taken on top and at the bottom of the castle.
Taking pictures of the sand castle is allowed, but if you want to have your picture taken with the castle (like us!), a minimal donation is given to the builders.
Staying on Boracay for a while and looking for an day off: A day trip to Panay is an promissing thing to do. Even it`s just across Boracay Island it`s definitely off the beaten path: Your day trip brings you from Caticlan to Laserna, only 18 km by good road. You can use any bus, mini bus or jeepney with the direction Kalibo / Nabas. Laserna or Horum Horum is an small valley with still existing rain forest. Big trees, large ferns, rare wild orchids, one of the clearest rivers in the region, really ice cold fresh water pool to swim in, a several kilometer long cave, called Basang cave, small trails to sleeping mountain villages. The perfect place for trekking or mountain biking. There is even an small family run Eco resort , called " Hidden Garden Paraiso" with only two nice cottages and one romantic tree house next to the large swimming pool. It´s nice to spent a night or two. Wake up early, enjoy the cold fresh air, clouds hanging in the mountains and start your own trekking tour. Visit an small water fall with natural pool or the nearby mountain village where the local women are weaving there mats. Watch out for birds, rare colourful butterflies and tropical plants.
This day trip is done best by an boat trip from Boracay. You even can ask around in Boracay`s dive shops, since Buruanga is one of Boracay`s favorite dive spots - may be you can ride with there boat even your are not planning to dive.
You will sail along the coast line of Buruanga, unspoiled beaches, high cliffs, small fishing villages, tropical forests - there are still wild monkeys - the landscape reminds me to the area around Krabi in Thailand and it is very beautiful there. To your surprise, even it`s so closed to Boracay, by banka not more than 40 minutes, there is no touristic development at all. It`s like Boracay 30 years ago. Stop at Tuburan Beach, a small romantic unspoiled White Beach. There is even an fresh water spring near the cliff at the end of the beach. From here you can visit Batasong Point. An old man build some ways around this cliff leading you through an cave to the Blue Lagoon. You can walk for hours along the White Beaches there, passing some sleeping fisher villages with friendly locals. You will find caves, water falls and may be get the chance to watch some wild monkeys. Tuburan Beach has it`s own house riff - perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Find your place under an large tree, just relax or read a book, make a beach BBQ or camp fire but please: Leave nothing back but your foot prints in the sand. Other travelers like to enjoy this Eco paradise too.
The friendly fisher man on Tuburan Beach, Raul, can bring you to the nearby small town of Buruanga - Alegria where buses and jeepneys bring you back to Caticlan. It`s only 18 km by road and you will have an beautiful panorama view over Boracay.
We sailed with the Red Pirates paraw (native sailing boat) to Baling Hai Beach, a quiet little private beach far removed from the busy White Beach. There are 4 or 5 little cottages on the hillside, and a small restaurant at the top of the cliff serving lunches and fruit shakes. If you don't fancy taking on all those steps (there are a lot) your food and drinks will be lowered down the cliff-side in a basket. This little beach is very peaceful, and lovely for swimming and snorkeling. You won't be bothered by vendors here as it's a fair way from the main road and hard to access on foot. It's a great place to spend an afternoon - you won't want to leave - but better not to bring the kids as its a haven for people who need quiet relaxation.
If you're out to find cheap drinks, don't miss Shenna's in station 2. They serve very cheap tequila -- about PhP60.00 (US$1.50) per order. The tequila comes in a small wine glass, so it's actually equivalent to about 2-2.5 shots! You'll get wasted in no time ;)
Hire a boat to take you to Crystal Cove, an island at the southern end of Boracay. The main attraction is the caves (there are two), but there is also a picnic spot, a nice walking trail around the island and some good look-out spots (bring a camera). For some reason, someone has seen fit to construct possibly the ugliest concrete animal statues you'll ever see at various intervals along the trail. They are quite surreal.
They don't serve food, so you'll need a picnic and some cold drinks. Bring your own, or ask your boatman to arrange it for you.
Holy cow! what is that??!!!.... that was our first reaction as well. Is it just an illusion created by the waves and the glaring sun?.....I love surprises, and this will probably make into the book of surprises that life has jump up on me. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, if you take a closer look, right in the middle of the water, is not another holy miracle, like what Jesus did, when he walked into the water, its a multicab, on a bamboo-raft being transported from one island to another. They must have done this before to know that this works, otherwise they wouldn't dare do this, as i always say....A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
The Dead Forest was originally a mangrove swamp on the eastern side of the island. It was created when a dam that kept off the saltwater broke down, destroying the swamp and killing off the mangroves that grew in it (mangroves thrive in brackish water). The Dead Forest is surrounded by old folk tales about ghosts and spirits. Locals believe that supernatural occurrences take place here, particularly on full moon nights.
It's surprisingly atmospheric, so be sure to bring a camera.
Supposedly the highest point on the island, Mount Luho affords some excellent views of Boracay and the surrounding area. Buy a map from the tourist centre, and you can hike or mountain bike to the site, or ask a motorbike driver to take you there (in which case you won't need the map). Refreshments are served at the top.
Carabao Island is off the northern coast of Boracay. It's much larger than Boracay and much less developed. I think it's a great place to visit if you want a more laid-back island to hang out on. It cost us P2000 to rent a boat to take us there for the day. The journey took about 45 minutes. Unless you're going by speedboat, the trip is not for the weak-stomached! You will be tossed about the waves somewhat violently and you will get wet! The seas here are very choppy and could make you sea-sick. With that said, once you arrive on Carabao, you can relax and enjoy the peace and silence..:) The southern part of the island (facing Boracay) where we stayed was beautiful and very pastoral. We had a picnic at the house of a very friendly family who allowed us to cook and use there table to eat at. One of them also climbed up a tree and got a few coconuts for us. Mmmm, nothing like drinking pure coconut water thru a straw :) The beaches here were not as nice as Boracay but were not bad.. There were no other tourists there for the 5 or 6 hours we stayed there and we drew a large crowd of sweet, curious children who probably wondered why we were there and not on Boracay where all the action was!
Feelin thirsty after all the diving and snorkelin you've been doing? Fancy a thirst quenching coconut or what we call "buko" juice?...but you thought, "how could i buy one in the middle of the ocean?".....fret not, the Buko man is here!....yes, ever ready to quench your thirst with his fresh buko juice, he paddles from one boat to another selling his specialty!
Ah, ok, you had your buko juice already, but, you still feel really dry and thirsty, after all , its in the middle of the day, and your are out in the sea, it couldn't get hotter than this!...so you want something colder than a buko juice. Fret not again!.....the ice-cream man is here!....yes, indeed....he goes paddling from one boat to another, selling that yummy ice-cream or ice-drop that we all like....what more could we ask for...ahhhh
Who said Boracay is spoilt?! Could this be the next White Beach? So far there is only one hotel on this beautiful stretch of sand, and not too many people around. Take a sailboat trip and bring a picnic. You can buy drinks at the hotel bar but the prices are absolutely ridiculous. Bring your own, and ask the boatman to stop off at the far end of the beach.
This beach (and neighbouring Punta Bunga beach) is currently being utterly destroyed by the Shangri-La hotel development. What a shame. (5/18/2005)