November 20th, 2017
..Not quite believing my eyes, they slowly took in the exquisite sight before me...
Seriously, where am I?!
"Massage mumsirrrr", "Bike ma’am?" 11pm, arriving tired, hungry, stressed and hot from Manila, I caught a tricycle, then tramped through the lanes of Boracay Station 3 searching for some backpacker-friendly digs. "Only one-thousand five-hundred ma'am". Yeah right. Upon finding somewhere marginally less horrifyingly expensive for a money-conscious backpacker like myself, I parked my backpack, marched purposefully up the surprisingly quiet Boracay beach road and found myself in Station 2. After grabbing a bite to eat, I called it a night.
Could this be, the most beautiful beach in the world…?
Upon waking, adventures called, so I wandered out to the beach in Angol, just down from Boracay Station 3. Not quite believing my eyes, they slowly took in the exquisite sight before me. Cerulean blue sea, dead calm, as flat as glass, white oh-so-white powder sand and the most perfect lapis-coloured sky I've ever seen. Pure, utter heaven. As I peeled my jaw off the sand, gentle reggae floated over the breeze and a voice sang: "Ice creeeeeam, ice creeeeam... free Wi-Fi... open your mind, open your heart, open your wallet" making me burst into laughter, and I sank disbelievingly into the sand. Days of blissful basking in the sun and bath-like sea followed, interspersed only with a spot of diving at one of the island's longest-standing dive shops, Victory Divers; chilled evenings and early nights. Boracay Island is labelled a party island, but there's an awful lot of Zen here too if you need it and look for it. Rock 'n' roll eh!
Let’s get this party started!
After a couple of weeks of lying around, I decided it was time to rev things up a bit. Ready to start getting my social life back after two blissful weeks of sheer laziness, hanging around in Angol, the suggestion of a pool party was the perfect antidote to my ever-increasing lethargy, so I donned my gladrags and hot-footed it over. Two blue shots greeted me along with a cry of: "WENG WENG!!" (A statement, not a question), so I, being polite and British, concurred and went with the "WENG WENG!" flow. Or maybe five "WENG WENG!" flows. Who knows. (Who even knows what Boracay’s infamous Weng Weng is??) That night I met hippies, backpackers, locals, expats, partied under the stars and had the time of my life.
Why we love Boracay
Hedonistic nights have since followed, (mainly involving the favourite island hangout, Station 2 Exit Bar!): tribal Boracay beach parties, karaoke, Full Moon, Black Moon; but for me, although I love the bars under the stars, Boracay isn't just about the nightlife. Lazy days sailing with new friends the Boracay Red Pirates, discovering secret rivers on the mainland, mad tricycle rides and people I've met calling out my name for a chat have made me feel like pinching myself daily. Hanging out in the lovely Angol, footwear is a choice not a necessity; I frequently forget my flip-flops – the feeling of the sand in your toes is, I believe, essential for the soul. My inner hippie is very very happy on this end of Boracay.
Where to next?
One evening, while parked on the sand taking in yet another stunning Boracay sunset, I watched some tourists taking selfies and suddenly realised three weeks had slipped away. I had ZERO desire to leave. Cue some plans. (Well, a day in advance anyway, we're on island time, right...?) I legged it up to D'Mall Boracay and got some questionable pictures taken so I could extend my visa and spend some time actually exploring the rest of the Philippines. Three thousand pesos and a few sniggers at my dodgy passport picture later, I was in for another 29 days. Despite still experiencing the tug of wanderlust, I was really starting to feel like this special island could become the place to hang my hat for a little while longer.
Lost… and found...
As I sit looking out at the ocean, I'm still pinching myself. Joey the Pirate is dipping a toe at the water's edge and the feisty Boracay Habagat is turning her attentions to the eastern shore, tempting the island's kite surfers to test the now choppy waters of rugged Bulabog Beach. What adventures await I do not know, but as a turning point in my travelling journey I’m feeling not at all lost... Although I can't say the same for my flip-flops... now, where on earth did I leave them...?
– Everyone! There’s beach time, tons of activities, and so many places to eat and drink
What we loved:
– The laid-back vibe of Angol
– The friendly locals
What we didn’t:
– The crowds and conflicting loud music on Station 2 beachfront
– Budget backpackers
– Uber luxe resorts
– Only pictures, leave only footprints…
Boracay is experiencing severe environmental pressure due to the amounts of tourists visiting all year round. Here are some top traveller tips to lessen your impact on the island. Check out the Boracay Foundation Inc for more about how locals are trying to protect and preserve Boracay Island:
· Try and help the island by using a refillable water bottle rather than buying plastic ones each day
· Use reusable material shopping bags
· Make sure you shake out your towel, bags and shoes while still on the beach so you don’t take sand away from the beach
· Do not touch any marine life
· Buy and wear reef-safe sun cream when swimming in the ocean
For more adventures, pictures and updates on all the best bits of Boracay, find, like and follow us on Facebook @bestboracay and Instagram @bestofboracay
Heard it from Best of Boracay? Please tell them when booking!
Add Best of Boracay to your subscriptions feedBest of Boracay