A Revenge Travel to the Philippines’ Most Visited Beach Destination
Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – No matter where I am, or where I wish I would be, there’s always a place that keeps calling me back, again and again. This particular scenic view has managed to imprint itself permanently on my memory. This place, for me, is Boracay Island. Indeed, my heart belongs to where the sea dances itself onto the white sand shore. Despite the fact that I traveled on a regular basis during the pandemic, I never had the opportunity to return to Boracay. It’s been more than three years since I last step foot in this tropical paradise.
To mark the occasion, PAL and TPB invited Out of Town Blog to join them on an 8-day familiarization tour (fam tour) with a group of media and social influencers to rediscover three well-loved island destinations: Boracay in Aklan, Cebu City, and Coron in Palawan. The tour puts a spotlight on TPB recommended attractions, activities, and experiences that echo how #itsmorefuninthephilippines and #ItsMoreFunWithYou.
Our first destination was Boracay Island, a destination that I never get tired of visiting. We arrived at Caticlan airport around 9:00 a.m. and after presenting our health declaration card and claiming our luggage, we made our way to Hennan Crystal Sands private Jetty Port. Interestingly, the resort has its own fast craft that transported us to the Boracay port. From this port, we were warmly welcomed by resort staff, who assisted us to get to the resort by providing transportation.
We had lunch at Sapphire Restaurant first, as we arrived way early for our 2pm check-in. Our alfresco lunch was an impressive Filipino-style degustacion. As an appetizer, they served Pork Sisig wrapped in a pouch and Calamares Rebozado. For soup, we had the Visayan favorite Chicken Binakol. They then served the Banana Pandan rice alongside the Nicoise Salad with Artichokes, Tilapia sa gata, Lechon Manok, and Beef Morcon as the meal’s main course. A selection of tropical fruits and buko pandan were served as a sweet treat for dessert.
After lunch, we were finally able to check into our rooms and get some rest. I, however, went out to take more photographs of the picturesque beach and had a cup of coffee at a nearby restaurant while waiting for the sun to set. It’s not every day that I get to experience something like this, so I just wanted to make sure I was making the most of it.
Sunset was great, as always. After soaking myself in it, I dashed back to my room to prepare for our dinner. The theme for the event was “White Beach Dream,” which was inspired by the beautiful white sand beach. It was also a welcome dinner attended by Ms. Christine C. Mansinares, the regional Director of the Department of Tourism (DOT-VI) Western Visayas Region.
We spent the rest of the night sipping our cocktails at the pool bar. It was the first day of our journey, and I was already having a good time. Indeed, the day was well-spent.
We started our day by having breakfast at Sapphire Restaurant, the main restaurant of Hennan Crystal Sands Hotel. Since the resort was almost fully booked and the COVID restrictions on hotel facilities have already been lifted, they are now offering a buffet breakfast just like in the pre-pandemic days. This way, I get to savor my breakfast just like in the old days.
After having breakfast, we had ample time to roam around the beach. We had the freedom to appreciate the place even more. I, on the other hand, love being able to breathe deeper. I managed to observe the coconut leaves swaying in the nostalgic breeze. I happen to appreciate the little things, like footsteps on the white sand. There’s nothing not to love about this island. It’s like an ultimate getaway from the cruel world. Hours passed by, and our morning was occupied by doing whatever we wished to do. Time flies so fast, especially when you’re enjoying it. I can even see you nodding in agreement.
After a meaningful morning, we gathered again at the hotel lobby for our lunch at Dos Mestizos. Unfortunately, the Cochinillo was out of stock. However, we still found joy with their Tapas, Baked Oysters, Calamari, Beef Salpicao, Seafood Paella, Paella Negra, Salad, Callos, and their version of Leche flan for dessert.
Our lunch was followed by an exciting sunset cruise. Our private boat sailed to the farthest point possible in the west coves, the Shangri-la Boracay. We did a quick stopover at Balinghai Beach for some snorkeling, pizza, soju, beer, and refreshments. It was fun and memorable that I wished for time to stop so I get to fully grasp the experience.
As the sun goes down, we head back to the jump-off point to end our cruise. We then walked for about 10 minutes towards Sea Breeze Cafe for our dinner. It was a nice dinner with lots of food choices. I mean, who doesn’t love to have dinner by the pool with the night lights on?
Sea Breeze Cafe features an all-day buffet dining experience that changes themes every day. There are a lot of choices, from Asian, Filipino, and American food. My favorites are their Chinese Dimsum, Pizza, Lechon, Pork BBQ, and Angus Beef.
- Buffet Breakfast: 6:00am to 10:00am daily
- Buffet Dinner: 5:30pm to 9:00pm daily
That sums up our Boracay vacation. This vacation was meticulously planned, and I’m pleased with how it was organized. No one is rushing and we have plenty of time to unwind and take in the sea breeze.
For travel and tour requirements, make sure to book with trusted tour operators with DOT and TPB accreditations. I highly recommend Global Access Travel and Tours. You may reach Jick Dizon at [email protected]
Boracay Travel Requirements
- OHDC confirmation (go to https://www.touristboracay.com/)
- Proof of Identification with Philippine Residency
- Travel Details
- For below 12 years old (accomplish the certificate of undertaking traveling w/minors template at https://aklan.gov.ph/)
- Proof of Vaccination
Fully Vaccinated Individuals (any of the following)
- VaxCertPH Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate w/ full vaccination status
- Locally issued vaccination card/ID w/full vaccination status and verifiable QR code or with contact details of the vaccination center
- World Health Organization International Certificates or Vaccination Card/ID/Certificate issued abroad
Unvaccinated/Partially Vaccinated Individuals
- Negative RT-PCR result certificate is taken from any DOH-accredited laboratories within 72 hours to the date of travel
Philippine Airlines Anniversary
Philippine Airlines (PAL) marks its 81st anniversary with a stronger commitment to fly forward as a renewed flag carrier, better positioned to bring passengers to more exciting destinations locally and globally as the world opens up for tourism once again.
To revive wanderlust and confidence in traveling, PAL will be working closely with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, the marketing and promotions arms of the Department of Tourism (DOT), in assuring travelers that the tourism industry is ready to welcome them and is well equipped with all the needed safety measures and health protocols.
How safe is Boracay
Boracay is now significantly safer than it was before. Of course, caution is still necessary, just as it is whenever and wherever you travel. It’s just that there are generally fewer things to worry about than there were prior to the island’s 2018 relaunch.
One thing’s for sure, Boracay has changed a lot. It changed for the better.
It used to be called the Visayas’ party capital. That brought a lot of hedonism and fun. That meant the island had a darker side. Additionally, drunk travelers were known to start fights.
Now it’s a different story. Many of the once-popular bars are gone. What’s left were the more relaxing, cocktails-with-the-sunset sort of establishments. There are also new restrictions on beachfront businesses and public drinking.
Of course, the dangers increase when it’s about to get dark and when alcohol is involved. You should avoid the island’s farthest reaches at night because there may be minimal streetlights. Even if crime rates have now fallen, still be wary always. Never walk alone at night. When you go out, announce your destination. In public, watch your valuables. Plus, control your alcohol intake. Basically, take the same precautions you would anywhere else in the world.
How to get there
Boracay is accessible from the major cities of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The fastest way to get to the island is to fly to Caticlan via Philippine Airlines. You only need to take a 10-minute boat ride from Caticlan jetty port to get to the island. Once you reach the port of Boracay, tricycles are available to take you to your booked accommodation.
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*Some photos courtesy of Narjay Calinao of the Tourism Promotions Board