I almost decided not to visit Boracay few years back because I heard so many people complaining that it was over run with tourists and that it had become a sort of Waikiki Disneyland of a place.
Its More Fun in Boracay
Good thing my friends told me not to listen to those complaining expats and tour expert wannabe’s, so I booked for a weekend breather and eventually found myself enjoying the habagat season in the island. I always try to listen to my gut feelings and in this case, it paid off in a big way.
Boracay was a huge surprise, Its a tropical island with almost everything I want in a travel destination (except for a Cinema house, a nice hospital and a huge shopping mall). I was a bit surprised to learn that huge chunk of the local population are foreigners and some of them have already established their own restaurant, resort, coffee shop, dive shop and kite surfing clinic while others are just simply living in the island with their family.
Outrigger canoe in Boracay
While it’s true that Boracay Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, it’s not true that most of the tourists who come here are on package tours and stay pretty much in the same places and visit the same attractions.
Souvernir Shops in Puka Beach
More and more tourists visiting the island are now becoming more diversified. Thanks to low cost airlines and affordable hostels in the island, Boracay is no longer a destination for the elite. A lot of tourists now are coming here without a specific itinerary and no pre-booked hotels and believe me, theres all types of accommodation here for everyone except I guess during peak season.
Sunset in Boracay
Before, tourists come into the airport, they go to the resorts at White Beach, they take a couple of tours, mainly water sports adventure to one or two of the biggest and most accessible places, and then they lounge on the the resort properties drinking expensive cocktails, to to souvenir shops, getting massages, and in general, having a good time.
Getting ready for Adventure
That kind of travel isn’t for me though. I managed to find a nipa hut where there were only a handful of foreigners who all seemed to be very mellow and cool. My small nipa hut hostel room sits about twenty meters from a white sand beach, the proprietors are happy to make meals that are both tasty and delicious, and they even let me go into the kitchen and show them how I like to make pizza! (I wish I have ample time)
So far, with the help of my new friends Kyung-soon and Kim, both Korean divers who are more knowledgable than the local tourism officer, I’ve managed to see some amazing secret coves, cruise around sparkling reefs on a pump boat, and swim in verdant waters where there was no one else in sight except some very cute kids waving from the shore.
While reading destination guide books are really helpful, I still suggest that you talk and befriend with a local – they know the place more than most of the travel guide book writers and best of all, they can recommend cheaper alternatives for any requirements you have while enjoying your vacation in the island.
I realized that If you really want to enjoy the island, you have to really spend more time in each tourist spot. Enjoy and be one with nature, after all, its the the best thing the island can offer. Roam around the island and who knows, behind these crowded resorts you can finally find real life that beats anything you have seen in other tropical islands.