Boracay is Boracay. I was in total shock when I arrived, thinking I landed in the Philippine version of Disney land when we got to our hotel at White Beach. White Beach is the popular strip on the island where hotels, bars and restaurant are back to back and create a boulevard of entertainment. But after a few days, finding little gems amongst the places at the noisy strip and even more outside of this White Beach strip, I had a great time.
So for beaches don’t go to White Beach. I was thinking it got its name because it is the only white beach on the island, but no, they are all beautifully white! We avoided this beach which already gets really busy at 6.30am, and I only used it to write my blogs in the morning with my back against a palm tree. Puka Beach is up on the North and has a wide white beach. Take a tricycle to get there within 20 minutes. Another one is Bulabog beach. Bulabog beach is a small beach and as deserted as Puka beach (at least when it is not windsurf season). It is a 10 minutes walk from White Beach on the East side of the island. And your other bet might be Ilig Iligan beach which is also on the East side of the island. A little bit harder to get to as the road is too small for a tricycle and you need to get on a motorbike.
For accommodation if you are able to stand the Disney-ish craziness of White Beach, Boracay Beach Resort is a good option. It will give you an oasis of calm as soon as you enter, nice private huts or regular accommodation, and great service from staff. Do take your earplugs though. You could also go a bit further out and consider Levanti resort – where the sun rises – on Bulabog beach. And if you have a good budget have fun at one of the wonderful resorts like Asya Resort or the Shrangi La Resort.
The strip offers an abundance of restaurants, but where to go avoiding junk food horrors… We went on an international tour eating Japanese at Tsukiji (look up to find it, as it is on the first floor of the Sea Gaia dive center), Indian at True Food (wonderfully decorated and great beach view), and Spanish at Cozina (modern setting also offering local specialties). These are all at Station 1 and I truly considered as some gems. For a local no-nonsense dinner or lunch check Smoke in ‘D Mall’.
When you are at the entertainment strip you’d better enjoy some of the action and have a good party night. At Epic they invite DJs and build a stage on the beach over the weekend for great party nights. During the week Coco bar has a good vibe. And if you want to be entertained, but avoid the craziness, the Shrangi La resort has great sunset views, a wonderful bar and restaurant and they will make sure that you are never bored, offering fire dancers, live bands, and tribal performances.
Considering all of the above would I recommend Boracay as one of the ‘must visit islands’ on your list for the Philippines? Probably not, but if you are looking for some party nights, you’re happy to find your remote beaches, and can stand some craziness Boracay might be your place to be.