When you go to Boracay you will see a lot of sand arts on the beach. And if you to try too take picture of it, there will be children running towards you asking for some money because saying made the sand art. You can give some coins to these children. They are not harmful, just a little annoying if you don't give them anything :)
Boracay was one of my dream vacation destination until I've been there last year. The beach was indeed a beautiful with its sugar-like white sand but very crowded specially on weekends. So many prostitutes specially gays scattered around every corner, tricycle drivers charges you 10 times and ever more higher than a normal tricycle in other provinces, prices for common goods are also higher. Lots of indigenous children along your way begging for some money- but that's not really a problem, it's only sad to think that they were the original settlers of the island and now have seem to be swept away from where they should be. Activities such as diving, and island hopping aren't really worth its cost.
Unique Suggestions: Never walk alone on the beach at night specially if you are male, some gayboys prostitute will come to you and will force you to take their offer or they will hangout with you while you're outside.
Ask for the trike fare first before the ride.
Fun Alternatives: For my suggestion, Go to Puerto Princesa instead, inform yourselves about the nice beaches there though not as beautiful as boracay. Puerto Princesa is the capital city of Palawan, a province which offers you a vast selection of fantastic places to go. One of the best in Palawan is the Sabang Beach, which located very near to it's world famous underground river. second is the Long Beach of San Vicente, it is not as white as boracay's sands but the clear waters, silence, and purity of the place will let you fall in love with it. next is El Nido, El Nido has a lot of activities to offer, and yet has several white beaches and beautiful islands ready to explore, and finally, my favourite, the Coron Island, this small town offers a unique experience which go beyond your expectations, one of the best places to explore there is the Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Twin Lagoon, Siete Picados coral garden, Malcapuya and Banana Islands. Coron is also a best place for adventure diving, several japanese shipwrecks of the WWII lies beneath it's sea waters.
Some dishonest tricycle drivers might try to trick you into paying more so before getting into the tricycle, ask how much the fare is or ask the locals first. If you're in doubt just wait for another tricycle or get the tricycle driver's serial number and you can complain about it later.
I felt the whole island let us down. I had high hopes and heard others raving about wonderful beautiful Boracay. I didn't see that.
The beaches and water are second to none, but the rest of the island is a pit. The pinoys living there live in squallor conditions to make room for tourists. No wonder they hate us.
Pretty much every shop/restaurant/vendor I had dealings with treated me like a walking ATM machine. They thought my wife was Pinoy (she's not) and swore at her in Tagalog when I refused their price gouging.
Trikes here cost 5-10 times more than anywhere else in PI. Some guy wanted 300 peso to take me 5-6 km away. I paid 20 peso for the same trip in Tagbiliran.
I got food poisoning. No one took responsibility for it.
There were bothersome touts everywhere I went. They bothered me when I was eating at a restaurant. I got tired of being polite and starting telling them to F off.
The island is truly an ecological disaster. I give it 5 years before it's more polluted than Fukushima.
We did 4 nights in Bohol and 4 nights in Boracay. We considered making it 8 nights in Boracay. I am glad we didn't. After 4 nights in Boracay, I was ready to leave.
Unique Suggestions: Don't tour the island. Just do the beach and pool. It just hurts to be gouged by everyone every 5 metres you walk in any direction.
Fun Alternatives: Go to White Beach in Mindoro.
I saw the bat cave on the map and decided to visit it. Big mistake for 2 major reasons.
1. You have to take a mandatory tour guide with you. He guides you some and then at the end, after it is all done, springs a price on you. Something like 350 pesos per person. I forgot how much, but I felt very cheated. I went down the cave but my wife didn't, but he charged us for her anyways. He has some official form from the local gov't that supposedly makes the price gouging legal.
2. The cave itself is very dangerous. I am a decent climber and I nearly slipped a few times. I gave up before I got all the way down. I estimate from the cave and the location, if someone takes a tumble down there, you're done for. No ambulance or EMT crew would be able to get you out of there.
Unique Suggestions: Confirm the price with the tour guide and the trike driver. Ask if there is a feww for waiting.
A group of children peddling fashion jewelry approached us and offered a bracelet for free. Surprised, we tried to decline the offer and advised them to keep it and sell it to others. However, the children insist that it is a gift and we should take them. After a brief discussion, we decided to take the bracelet (knowing at the back of our minds that there is a catch later). True enough, before we left the island, the same group of children approached us again and insist that we buy items from them, after all they gave us a gift.
Unique Suggestions: Good for them, Christmas is just around the corner so we are a bit more generous. Besides, they have a stuff that caught our fancy and minimally priced, so we decided to buy 2 pieces of bracelet from them.
Fun Alternatives: To avoid falling into this trap, firmly tell the children to keep the item as you are not interested or fond of fashion accessories.
The tricycles cannot bring you to the white beach, so don't bother to ask him to bring you to the actual site of your resort in the beachfront area. He will say yes, but he will drop you off on the Main Road near a pathway leading to the white beach. Depending on where your resort/hotel is located, a pedicab (pedal trike) can take you through the larger paths directly to your resort, or if not accessible, you will be dropped off at the nearest point where you can walk to your destination.
Unique Suggestions: The tricycle drivers usually know the right drop off place for most Boracay resorts/hotels, but just remind/request him to bring you to the nearest point where you can walk to your destination.
Fun Alternatives: If it is your first time to Boracay and you feel insecure walking through the pathway, or you find it difficult to carry your bags, make prior coordination with your resort/hotel to send a staff to meet you at the corner of the main road and the pathway leading to their place.
When you hire someone to take you diving, snorkeling, etc you may ask if it's all inclusive and they nod. However, you take the boat out and suddenly a man in a canoe rows up and demands 20 pesos each. Or perhaps you grab a mask and dive in, when you get back in the boat the driver asks for another 20 pesos for equipment fees. This type of thing happens alot and the initial reaction is to argue. But when I realized that not only was this an extremely poor country, but that 20 pesos was about 40 cents US, I stopped and just handed the money over. 40 cents is nothing to me, but it can feed this mans family.
Fun Alternatives: just give them the 20 pesos. If it's a signifigant amoutn of money I would have argued more.
Charge for hotel transport (by minibus) is 70 times (yes - seventy times!!) higher then normal local bikes with sidecar.
They try to force you to book full board and then you are stuck with a buffet 3 times a day, which they tell you when you check out and none of your restaurant bills can be deducted.
Unique Suggestions: No way to get out of this trap once you´re in...
Fun Alternatives: There a plenty of nice, much, much more economic hotels around. Try e.g. NigiNigi
Bulabog is Boracays main Parasailing-and Windsurfing area. Numerous complaints have been made because of skin-diseases after swimming in the water. Every very early morning the sewerage of the overcrowded and over-constructed, small island is led into the water. The coral reef is also destroyed in the area.
White beach: Depends if you like prices like in Europe, without the cleanliness!
The water with Diesel from hundreds of pump-and motorboats.
The Mall is infested with rats in the Restaurant areas! An "animal lover" who lives in a room above, tells me he catches them nightly in a cage in his room, and drowns them every morning in the waters of white beach..Then donates the meat..
Can anyone advice us where to go in Asia, without the greedy deception and hassle, horrible pollution from hundreds of tricycles,cars and trucks (there are even rush hours!); the growing steady confrontation with numerous vendors, boat-and joy-ride commissioners, with prostitution, human- and animal-misery, drugs and crime at almost every step,- like Boracay Island?
I used to love the place!
Unique Suggestions: If you are there already, try to go to the beach early in the morning, before the crowd sets in! This goes especially for weekends and Holidays, it´s a bees hive!
Don´t leave your drink unattended!-
Give a tipp to a good singer or band, because they all have kids and often get their salary in drinks only, avoiding to pay them!
Be friendly, but informed: About girls (usually a "teacher") sitting in a bar, "waiting for a friend" who may not show up.- And some of the most beautiful girls are boys!
Beware of boys or girls, who instantly fall "in Love" with you, no matter what your looks, age or personality,- unless you don´t mind: It´s all about money!
Beware of numerous business- or real estate scams on the island: The Philippine Supreme court has ruled recently, that all land on Boracay is Government-Property! Every owner has been informed in writing and public hearings, that Government-auctions are being planned, where the now-owners get the chance to bid and pay for their own land again! That is why you see so many "4 Sale" signs, often to sell what is now legally not theirs, to the uninformed!-
If you find someone you want to help, give wholeheartedly, without expecting anything back, even gratitude. -
Forget any hope of getting a return on ANY investment: First it´s all fire and flames, they die down quickly, the rest is disappointment, all money lost and getting shouted at, as though you´re the one to blame! These are USUAL experiences of numerous foreigners, don´t join the club!-
Beware also of some very charming, white con-artists on the island: Some have been there for years and can´t go back to their countries where they are on the "wanted"lists: Because of them quickly making local "family ties", its too dangerous even for the police to try and touch them!
Fun Alternatives: Travellers tell me, Puerto Princesa (Palawan) is a LOT cleaner and more affordable, and the El Nido area there, is supposed to be like Boracay many years ago?
My general advice: If you want to enjoy your vacation there, put your rosy shades on, return the beautiful filipino-smiles,
-accept the bad with the good:
You will probably never pay again so little for such great Theater- Performances, Drama and Comedy!
You even get invited to be part of the cast!
Some sign liife-long, costly contracts..
But: You may never hear better, more convincing stories anywhere in the world!
There are lots of peddlers offering loose pearls or pearl jewelry sets in supposedly yellow or white gold along the White Beach strip. They even show IDs showing they are authorized to sell "genuine" pearls. Most are peddling fresh water pearls in all sizes and shapes. If you ask for the more expensive South Pearl variety, they will fish your request either from a most secure location in their pockets or someone close to him will suddenly run to a more secure house where the south sea pearls are kept. :)
If you show a wee bit of interest, they will hound you and often hordes of peddlers soon follow.
Unique Suggestions: If you really fancy buying one, here are some tips:
1. Barter big time. I bought a set for PHP500 from the original price of PHP1500
2. Dont be bothered by the deluge of peddlers. Tell them you will just deal with one.
3. If possible, a local can help you speak to them.
4. Last, but most important of all, do not automatically believe what they claim. Example: They claimed to sell south sea but I know stones & pearl enough to understand they were really very good standard fresh water ones.
Fun Alternatives: Their prices were not exactly a lot lower than in Manila. So, if you have someone in Manila who can accompany you to more reliable pearl outlets. Since Caticlan or Kalibo is not an international airport, it is safe to assume that you will pass by Manila for your flight back home or just to return to your hometown.
I bought the very nicely rounded fresh water ones that mimic the shapes of a south sea pearl. Good enough for everyday use. I went to my usual jeweler in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila to have my pearls prepared into 14k white gold stud earrings.
Boracay beckons to all, wherever one is. Many go to Boracay for an adventure. It doesn't exempt your nationality and if you're a Pinoy.
But there lurks some predators in Boracay as well. Some go there to prey on lambs who are too easy to succumb to the charms of Boracay.
Unique Suggestions: Limit partying, and if you wouldn't or couldn't, limit the alcohol intake.
Be with a buddy at ALL times. Someone with good sense is fool-proof.
Do not take drinks from a stranger, or leave your drinks with a stranger (yes, take your drink to the restroom, nothing wrong with that)
Always practice good judgment.
Boracay island experiences regular power cuts (known locally as "brown-outs") - at least one every day recently! They frequently last for several hours. It's fine if your resort has a generator (most expensive resorts do), but many of the smaller or budget places don't have one, and this is something to bear in mind whan you are booking a place. It can be hard to sleep at night without an electric fan. There are also parts of Boracay which are badly lit, so it makes sense to bring a flashlight with you at night.
Unique Suggestions: Keep a flashlight in your bag/pocket!
Fun Alternatives: Check whether your resort has a generator. If not, ask them to provide you with emergency lights/candles in your room in case of a blackout.
Surprise surprise, these guys take the p*ss. Some tourists I've met have been charged as much as P200 for a P10 fare. During the day, a short ride should be P7 and it usually doubles at night. Fares for longer rides should be displayed on a chart inside the trike.
Unique Suggestions: If you take a tricycle thats parked by the side of the road they consider it a "special" charter trip and charge more, so it's better to flag down one that's already on the road.
They are not all bad guys though - occasionally you'll meet a driver who goes out of his way to be friendly and helpful, and it's always good to reward this behavior with a tip.
Fun Alternatives: Threaten to report them to the police, Mayor's office or Barangay Captain!
Certain snorkeling areas are patrolled by the "sea rangers" who will try to charge you P20 for simply swimming in the sea! This has got to be the biggest rip off going. If they actually used the money for something useful, such as installing mooring buoys at the snorkeling sites (so that the banca boats don't have to anchor on the corals and damage them) it would be worthwhile. But no-one seems to know what they do with the cash. Also, if you are having a beach BBQ or picnic, these guys will turn up and linger about expecting to be fed.
A recent boat trip to Crocodile Island confirmed that despite the ubiquitous presence of the Sea Rangers, locals were still illegally fishing on the reef at this site, and boat loads of snorkeling tourists were anchored on the corals as usual, partly (but not entirely) due to the lack of mooring buoys. All this in plain view of the rangers, whose apathy and disinterest has to be seen to be believed. Except, of course, when it's time to collect the cash, when their enthusiasm knows no bounds! So what are they doing with the money? Their claim that they are collecting these fees in order to protect the reef is laughable.
Unique Suggestions: Complain! They always back down. No-one should have to pay to swim at a public beach!
Fun Alternatives: Tell them you don't bring your wallet when you go snorkeling.