The Reluctant Stylista

Beach-hopping has been one of my favorite pastimes since college. Of course, being in the Philippines, we’re always like 20-30 minutes away from the nearest body of water, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. But since I started earning my own money in 2007 and my standards have upgraded to white sand beaches or nothing, my love for sand and surf has only deepened. I used to go to at least 6 beaches in a year while I had a day job, and from different provinces, too. So it’s surprising that Boracay was actually only a recent favorite of mine because unlike most harcore beachphiles here, my first visit to this island (that the country is probably most famous for) was only around 2009 or 2010.

 

Why, you ask? I was usually more into “hidden” gems and undiscovered, pristine white beaches quite far away from the madding crowd, where I could chill with close friends or my cousins. But when I had my fill of that, I started getting curious about Boracay despite all warnings that it was “touristy”, “not like what it used to be”, “too commercial” and so on.

 

And maybe I’m just lucky that my visits are timely, but the crowds are never as bad as I initially thought they’d be (maybe with the slight exception of my most recent Halloween long weekend trip, which was still fine given the non-stop parties and events that were happening that I enjoyed). I’ve always described Boracay as Greenbelt with sand. And it’s true, but I think that’s the charm of it. You get to enjoy beautiful aquamarine waters and beach sand so fine it’s like powder, but at the same time you can take your pick of restaurants (even your choice of high end ones), spa treatments and enjoy shopping—in your bikini, sarong and flipflops if you want. And while Palawan is still my favorite, I’ve come to love Boracay. I even considered living there for a month before a huge gig I couldn’t turn down came up early this year. (If you work from home/your computer, you can do that as there’s all the ingredients you need to work: internet access, Starbucks and major banks line up the main streets. Heh). Anyway, I realized I’m actually more relaxed there than any other beach I’ve been to because usually I’d be busy camping, hiking, snorkeling or just plain being outdoorsy. And I love that, I really do, but I do need to chill out once in a while and that’s what Boracay is for.

Alex, Paul and Leia reunion - VC Crew

There were supposed to be 5 of us, but 2 of our group had to bail out at the last minute. The night I was packing, I looked up from my dresser and noticed an old photo (left) taken years ago when we were doing our OJT, and it was exactly the three of us–the same ones who were still pushing for the trip. SPOT THE DIFFERENCES! Heh.

Boracay Traditions

 

However! That doesn’t mean I don’t look for the occasional thrill pill in the island. I’m going back in January and there are a few things I want to try (some, again).

1. Cliff-diving at Ariel’s Point. I wanted to try this one so bad but nobody wanted to come with me and I heard there was a buffet thing so…yeah, while I go off on my own all the time, eating a buffet lunch on your own then jumping off a cliff (what, is this like fattening a pig before a slaughter?) without anyone to cheer/jeer at you, that’s just sad. Anyway, I’ve only done this once before, at Cagayan de Oro’s Mapawa Nature Park, where I jumped off a waterfall. From below, the height didn’t seem enough—it was maybe around 25 feet or so. But when I looked down from the top, I felt a surge of mild panic. So I jumped off right away, not even taking a deep breath before I did, because I had a feeling had I waited, it was only going to get worse. And so, that’s how I probably had the best 2 seconds of my life.

 

Trips to Ariel’s Point depart daily at 11:30 a.m. from Ariel’s House, which is located along Boracay’s main White Beach near Station 1 between Club Paraw and the Obama Grill.  At the current time, tickets for Ariel’s Point can only be purchased through the Boracay Beach Club (just across the main road from Ariel’s House in Station 1).  You can reach Ariel’s House and the Boracay Beach Club by walking along White Beach (about a 10 minute walk from D’Mall) or hiring a tricycle and asking them to bring you to the Boracay Beach Club in Station 1. –ArielsPoint.com


Ariel's Point in Boracay

Photo from ArielsPoint.Com

2.  Visit Nami and Puca beach. So it’s neither Station 1, 2 nor 3, and the sand isn’t as fine. But you get a little more privacy and last November, the water was a little more choppy and deep despite being close to the shoreline. So I don’t advise going there with kids. But I loved it. You can sit shaded by the cliffs with a 6-pack in tow (I meant the kind you can drink, but the other kind is nice to have around, too) and enjoy a quiet afternoon. From Station 2, I think tricycle fare is P30-50. It’s cheaper than renting a boat that’ll probably cost hundreds or thousands of pesos.

Boracay Puca Beach

 

3.  View the sunset from Spider House. This is near Nami beach. Some friends walked it from Station 1. It’s the best place to catch the sunset and it’s also a great place for drinks. If you’re not quite ready to jump from a cliff yet, the tall rocks and ledges here might be good for practice.

Spider House Boracay

Photo from Spider House Resort

 

4. Buy your seafood fresh from the market. I’m sure there are cheaper sources of seafood than d’Talipapa, but this place is at least cheaper than the more visible establishments that line up Stations 1 and 2. Beside the market place, there are dozens of restaurants for paluto. Just take your pick, and you can choose how you want your lobster cooked. I recommend having your shrimp in butter and garlic and your lobster in olive oil, lemon and pepper.

Lobster in Boracay - Paluto

 

5. Join a Boracay PubCrawl. On my last trip to Boracay, I went, for the first time, with my college friends from Benilde. Now, I came from DLSU Manila originally, and I’ve often went to Boracay with my friends from that circle. While both schools are La Sallian, the difference is that Benildeans think everyday is a party. At least it seemed that way. But I was, surprisingly, the manang of my Benilde group, and I was often working on my thesis/portfolio while my friends were having house/dorm/condo parties at the same time (always thoughtful, they’d leave me 1-2 bottles of Red Horse by the computer or refill my glass while I’d slave away). So they’ve rarely seen me in party mode. Fast forward years later, with more cash in my pocket and a stronger tolerance for alcohol, everyone agreed I’ve come a long way since those days. So when I was looking at another night spent the same way the night prior, and since there were only three of us anyway, we let our hair down for a while and signed up for a Pubcrawl. Best decision of that week.

Boracay PubCrawl

Boracay Pubcrawl November 2012

The night’s progression.  All three of us knocked into a dumpster at that last, blurry photo on our way back to our hotel.


It’s not a common concept here in the Philippines, but the idea is bar-hopping with a group of new people. It’s a fun way to check out the bars in Boracay or just plain party because you get free shots and huge discounts on great drinks so you can try out specialties at each. And trust me, after a few rounds, everyone’s a comedian, if not your best friend, so a fun night is guaranteed. (In our case, I was surprised to find out that there were probably less Pinoys than foreigners. Hmm. Pinoys are much less self-conscious with less Pinoys around, I’m thinking). The games are hilarious and so are the house rules that will get you drinking bottoms up or doing push ups, depending on your violation.

 

Even after the PubCrawl, if you keep the T-shirt they they gave you, it can still get you discounts at their partner bars and restaurants. Re-attendees get discounted tickets (only P500) so long as you still have your T-shirt and shot glass (surprisingly, I still have both). It was one of the highlights of our trip as we met a lot of new people and had so much fun that I hope I don’t bump into any of them in Manila. (I’m KIDDING!)

 

From their website…as they can probably explain it better:

 

Boracay PubCrawl will guide you through the different bars and clubs on the island of Boracay – we will bring you to the hottest clubs, we will quench your thirst with a free welcome-shooter at each bar and 2 for 100php PubCrawl Specials all night. We’ll let you meet new friends from all corners of the globe and make you feel at home in one of the best beaches in the world!

And when you think it couldn’t get any better, you’ll wear your legendary Boracay PubCrawl T-Shirt and get 10% DISCOUNT at selected Restaurants, Bars and Activities.

Included in your ticket:

 

- 5 Bars & Clubs
- 10 FREE Drinks (Shots & Shooters)
- 2 for P100 Pesos PubCrawl Specials
- FREE Boracay PubCrawl T-Shirt*
- FREE Shot Glass
- Fun Get-To-Know Games
- Party with an awesome group!

 

* Wearing it, you’ll 10% discount at our partner restaurants & activities the rest of your stay (excluding already discounted items)

 

Regular Price: 990 Php
Pre-Sales Price: 690 for Girls / 750 for Guys

 

Boracay Pubcrawl November 2012

Pubcrawls are supposedly MWF, but during our stay they were going T-F-S…but maybe that was due to the fact that it was a long weekend and Halloween, besides.  You may want to check out their Facebook page to see when there’ll be one.  Anyway, it’s pretty easy to spot them in Station 2.  Just look for the guys in yellow/red Pubcrawl shirts at La Reserve, beside the Red Coconut, at around 7-9pm to sign up.

 

I guess if you’ve done all these, you’ve pretty much scratched the surface of Boracay.  Sure, you can do other activities like ride an ATV , Zorb, or a banana boat, but these get you a taste of the culture (you can do those other things elsewhere and it won’t be any different from when you did it in Boracay).  There should be a lot more things to explore, I’m sure, but maybe I’ll save that for when I do actually push through with the month-long stay in the island.

 

Some photos for the collage were from Leia Gutierrez and Boracay Pubcrawl.

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