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.
There are quite a few beggars in Boracay, especially in high season. Many of them come over from the mainland to earn more money. It's hard to know who the deserving cases are - very often the money is spent straight away on rum. Small children will often approach you with their hands out, but again, the parents will take the money and spend it on rum. There is plenty of work available here, even for unskilled people, so there's usually no need for a healthy adult to be begging. Sometimes they will ask for your watch or jewellry, and curse you loudly if you refuse to give.
I always make an exception for old or disabled people - a few loose coins are an acceptable donation.
Unique Suggestions: Try to avoid eye contact if you don't wish to be harrassed.
Fun Alternatives: If you wish to help, buy something from the people selling shells and beads on the beach. At least they are making an effort to earn money, not just putting their hands out. Or give some shoes and clothing to an underpriveliged child.
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.
In the last few years, Boracay has been host to many sponsored events, parties and concerts. Originally, their advertising banners would be taken down after the event, but now the island has become the venue for the 'telecom wars'! Two major phone companies have festooned the island with posters, banners, inflatables & lights, and now they've even hijacked the sailing boats (the paraw captains were threatened with the loss of their working permits if they failed to display these corporate logos on their sails).
It all looks cheap and tacky, and it spoils the view of the beach.
Most tourists don't like to see this kind of all-pervasive advertising, and it is extremely annoying for photographers, who find it difficult to get a decent beach shot without including unwanted advertisements in the picture.
Many people will be saddened to learn that a large stretch of the southern end of White Beach has just been sold to a Korean developer.
This has resulted in the closure and destruction of some of the island's nicest little native beach bars and cottages, including Sababi (Josephine's place), Kiwi Philip's place and Cogon Bar (Vangie and Steve's). This area was quiet and peaceful, and a welcome escape for those who wish to escape the noise and crowds at the centre of White Beach.
Sadly, it appears that no part of Boracay island is to be protected from the big developers, who are no doubt planning to build another concrete carbuncle on the site.
This is a sad loss for Boracay. When will the 'powers that be' realise that parts of the island should be preserved? It seems that they won't be happy until every square inch of Boracay has been covered in concrete, and by then, of course, it will be too late to turn back the clock.
Unique Suggestions: Boracay's beauty spots are disappearing at a very rapid rate! Come and enjoy the island now, as in a few years it will be totally spoilt.
I have been to Boracay plenty of times already and almost always me and my friends take a Banana boat ride. It is cheap, it will cost you about PhP200/person or about USD3.60. SPOILER ALERT (The best thing about the banana boat is that it throws you off the 'banana" 3 or 4 times during the 15-min ride.) The last time we did it through Diamond Sports, the jet-ski driver who was pulling the banana boat never did this! We were a group of 8 people and more than half are first-timers. So those of us who know the drill, kept quiet so that our friends will be in for a shocking suprise. But I was extremely disappointed that there was no throwing of people off the banana! It was just a boring 15-minute ride for us. Afterwards, I asked the driver what happened. He said that they don't do it unless you ask for it. I can't really stay mad at him because in one way, he makes sense. There might be others who do not like the idea of being thrown off the banana boat and complain like hell afterwards.
Fun Alternatives: If your banana boat ride is through Diamond Sports, make sure to tell them you want the real banana boat experience and that they throw you off 3 or 4 times.
Everybody claims they have the fastest internet connection (DSL). You can get online from 40PHP-70PHP an hour. But a higher speed doesn't necessarily cost you more.
The biggest internet cafe (30 computers and AC) is called Station168 and is situated close to D'Mall on White Beach (Boat station 2). Big screens and 70 PHP for one hour.
The connection here isn't any better than at the small joint at Pat's Creek Bar next door. It might be difficult to spot this place as you have to go through the bar and it can be hard to get a PC as there are only eight of them in this place. However the rate is excellent at 40 PHP an hour.
Stay away from this business! My jet ski died after using it for 10 minutes. It took them a half hour to tow me to safety. Then they had the nerve to charge me for a full half hour's use!
P.S.: They have the highest banana boat rates on the island.
Make sure you take one of the Airport Taxi's if you are going across town to the Domestic Airport. For my sins I thought I'd save a few peso's, took one that wasn't on a rank, paid no attention as he drove me right round the International Terminal and dropped me back off on a lower level, whereupon by the time he'd driven off, I realised what had happened and had to go back up to where I came from and do it all again
Unique Suggestions: If you are unsure, make the taxi driver carry your case to the front door of the ariport terminal, where you have to show your ticket, and if you're in the right airport/part of hte airport, then pay him
Fun Alternatives: Take the official airport taxi for peace of mind
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.
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 :)
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.
*sigh* the girl manning the sandcastle outside hey jude was asking us for donations even if we haven't had our pictures taken. i was of course planning to give her some money, but i wanted to have my pic taken first.
It is true that everything you need are all in Boracay, from bathing suits to shorts, to sun tan lotion to sun block, from hat to sandals to shades. So basically you don't have to worry if you forgot to bring thing/s that you need in the beach. That is, if money is not an issue with you.
Unique Suggestions: Take for example, a sun block lotion that you can get for about P349 in Manila is about P600 in Boracay!! same size, same brand. how expensive can that be?
Fun Alternatives: Better pack early. It may sounds so OC, but checking everything two days before leaving is always a good idea and a better one if you're on a budget. So remember, a P349 sunblock lotion in Manila is not cheap, but it is a bargain compared with the P600 tag price in Boracay shops!