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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.
Updated Jan 16, 2009
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.
Updated Jul 31, 2008
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.
Updated Jul 30, 2008
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!
Updated Jul 30, 2008
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.
Updated Jul 30, 2008
I was in Puka Beach last May 24 with my family. As we approached the beach, we were met by the welcoming party - the ice cream vendor. As we step down the boat
"Sir, Magnolia sir, drumstick, pinipig!"
After 10 minutes, the same guy approached our group and made the same offer which we politely declined. He went away
Then he came back after few minutes selling his ware.
Annoyed, I asked him, "Why do you have to offer again and again when I have rejected you for the fourth time?"
Simply he replied, "Sir, four time you did not like to have ice cream, who knows you may like it on the fifth time I offer?"
That is Filipino enterpreneurship!
Written Jul 4, 2008
A lot of the souvenir shops have the same items but different prices. You can always haggle them down but its easier to go around asking each shop with the specific item youre interested in for the price then going back to the cheapest and haggling it down. Some vendors and shopes also change their prices periodically so watch out for that. Generally though the prices are pretty cheap.
Written Jan 20, 2008
Normal Tricycle fares from the Jetty port to any Boat stations is P7-20. You just have to wait for other passengers. If you wish to leave without other passengers, the driver will charge you a whooping P100 per person!!!
Unique Suggestions: Wait for other passengers or haggle for fare prices...
Written Sep 19, 2007
Some of the most beautiful forested areas on the island are currently being ravaged to make way for an enormous new resort. This lush tropical forest is home to rare fruit bats, birds & monkeys, and the beach is also a turtle nesting site. As you can see, the area is being destroyed by these big developers. - the trees are being cut down by the hundred, and the cliffside is being eroded and quarried by heavy machinery. What a shame no-one considers this beauty spot worth protecting.
Updated Aug 29, 2007
Im not sure if its a trap.
When dealing for a boat ride and you have intention of snorkling, be sure that the 'fees' for snorkling site are covered. It cost 60-100 pesos depending on your bargaining skill.
Some locals says that the fees were used to maintain the snorkling site.
Unique Suggestions: Just make the deal clear before you jump in to the boat
Fun Alternatives: When confronted, the boat leader complied to pay the fees without discussion. Surprisingly, he was always smiling despite paying.
I reinbursed the same amount to him before the tour ended.
Updated Apr 24, 2007
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