Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mesmerizing Boracay

It's been almost a month plus now since I am back from my super awesome Boracay holiday but I can still so vividly feel the warm, soft sand, the sea breeze and the smell of the ocean it felt like I was just there yesterday. It's as though a part of me had never really left the island. This is just part 1 of my Boracay travelogue and is going to be a picture heavy posts, as Boracay is just too gorgeous besides imprinting them into your memory, you want to snap everything as well. So don't say you had not been warned. :)

We decided to fly Cebu Pacific to Boracay as only Cebu Pacific has flights from Singapore to the Caticlan (aka Godofredo) airport.We choose Caticlan over Kalibo airport as from the Caticlan airport, it's only a 5-10 minutes ride to the jetty. The other airport in Boracay is the Kalibo airport but that's located some 1 hour 45 minutes away from the jetty. None the less, all flights to Boracay will require a transit either in Manila or Cebu. We flew the midnight flight to Cebu (takes about 4 hours from Singapore to Cebu), was in transit for about 3 hours before it was time for our morning flight to Boracay. And after about an hour flight from Cebu, we finally caught sight of Boracay. Flying the midnight flight certainly saves time if you know what I mean, but it also means sacrificing a night of proper sleep.

Hello Boracay! All pumped up the minute this pretty sight peeped through my window seat. Ours was a small plane with those vintage propellers as only small planes are allow to land at the equally small Caticlan airport
First sighting of a bangka boat (technically a boat with two outriggers). Was pretty excited at seeing my very first bangka. Getting on a bangka boat is almost a pre requisite Philippine experience. As we had arranged with our hotel (Seawind Boracay Resort) for pickup, we were brought to Seawind very own private dock for boat transfer instead of the public jetty

It was only a 5 minutes bangka ride to get across from the jettty to the island and once we reached the island, we were drove to our resort which is located at Boat Station One on the White Beach (in case you didn't know yet, the White Beach is divided into 3 stations; with Station One being more quiet and 'luxurious', Station Two the center of all the happenings on the beach and Station Three for the more budget backpackers). 

The Seawind Boracay Resort greeted us with a welcome drink and having two sides; one on the beach front and the other on the other side of the road, we choose a beach front room. I was impressed by their orderly and clean Filipino themed room and aside from good wifi (we were lucky to have good wifi as they did admit that some of their rooms have poor wifi reception), we were also spoilt for choice from the multitudes of tv channels to choose from. I really love how the resort is just a short walk (15-20 minutes) from the bustling Station two yet being on the quieter side of the beach, it is less crowded and more beautiful and serene.
Soft beach beds under nipa canopies line the beach front of the resort and you can also experience an authentic coconut oil massage by the beach while lounging at those beach beds as there are always a group of massage ladies awaiting nearby
Since it was the monsoon season when we were in Boracay, there was at least some drizzle every day and even when it don't rain, the sky was always grey with little sun to share. But still, even in such gloomy weather, the beach exudes such beauty you wish you can take it all in 
Gorgeous sailboats of Boracay
One of the must do activity in Boracay is going on a sunset Paraw sail boat. There will be abundant island activities operators around the island trying to sell you all sort of island activities such as snorkeling, ATV biking and of course, the sunset sailing, so be sure to look around a little before settling for one. We found one operator who offered us 800 peso for 30 minutes of sailing and that was by far, the cheapest we got on the island
Nothing beats enjoying the sky view on a sail boat as we went sailing into the sunset with the last glow of sun trailing behind us
Our beautiful Paraw sail boat

Even though it was raining most of our days in Boracay, we were fortunate to have one whole sunny day during our stay. And personally, I love the island with it's glorious amount of sunshine, bluer than blue sky and find them even more stunning and breathtaking with the rain gone and the sun up. After slapping ourselves with generous amount of sun block, we conquered the beach for a day of rolling in the sun. 
Sculptured sand art like this are very popular and common sights on the White Beach. And most of it are actually made and carved out by little kids as young as 5-6 years old
Such incredible shades of blue
Then you realized, how small we are as compared to the stunning nature of the world
The gorgeous gorgeous White Beach at Boat Station One
The iconic Willy's Rock of Boracay. Volcanic in origin, this unique rock formation is just about 100 meters from the shore that you can either swim to it in the shallow water during high tide or walk straight around it during low tide. There are stairs leading up to a chapel at the top of it, which contains a statue of the Virgin Mary. It is also the best place to get a spectacular inside out view of the whole island
Postcards from Boracay ♥ ♥ ♥
The stairs leading up the chapel at Willy's Rock
Honestly, I could just sit at the Willy's Rock the whole day feeding my eyes and senses with those crystal clear blue sea, perfectly blue sky, white fluffy clouds and amazing view of the island. It was simply being at zen seated there, just enjoying nature's beauty at it's best
My kind of paradise
More postcards from Boracay. Such alluring appeal ♥
Panaromic shot of the island ♥
Gorgeous coconut trees, white soft sandy beach and clear blue sea puts a smile on my face at any time of the day
Boat Station Two of the White Beach
A bangka ferrying divers out into the sea
I just can't get enough of the island.  Every piece of the island is just too mesmerizing
Missing this golden sunset at Boracay 
May all your worries be carried away with every passing sunset
Still enjoying the pretty beach even when the sun was not at it's most magnificent
New Baywatch life guard for hire?
Another pretty view of the island
Who's the One?
Saying hi from Boracay :) 
Who loves Friday? Me certainly! 
Acting cute *cough*
Who says you can't shop on an island? This is me with my shopping haul and Starbucks drink (seriously, Starbucks is cheaper in Boracay compared to Malaysia)
Bought this lagu, acclaimed to be the world's first beach friendly blanket exclusively from Boracay. Unlike the usual beach blanket, the lagu is sand repellent and dries really quickly 
I could lie like this watching the lovely blue sea stretch far out into the horizon, gaze as those fluffy white clouds drift by and hear the sound of the waves crashing against the shore every evening of my life 
My pair of Havaianas Boracay limited edition

Well, aside from laying lazily around perfecting the art of totally immersing oneself in adoring and appreciating the beauty of the island, there are actually a myriad of activities for those who seeks a little more adventure on the island. From mild water sports such as snorkeling to parasailing to banana boat to flying fish, they do have organized trips for those daredevils to Ariel's Point for cliff diving as well (about 3000 peso per person for a day trip out to Ariel's Point). Unfortunately, trips out to Ariel's Point are dependent on weather condition as boats will only be able to sail out to the spot when water is calm and current is low. Hence, we weren't in luck as it was the monsoon period. 

Most of their water activities are not exactly cheap and having tried almost all of them before, we decided to give them a skip. However, the one water sport that we did not gave up was diving Boracay island. Almost all of the dive shops around the island quote similar prices for dive trips and rentals, so just pick one that you feel most comfortable with. The one thing I noticed about most dive shops on the island is that, they all highly promote fun dives packages for those who wants to have a taste of diving without actually owning a diving license and a standard 3 open water dives package for PADI license holder cost about 4800 peso per person (low season).  
We felt most comfortable with the dive masters at Free Willy diving (located at Boat Station Two), hence we did our diving with them. This is Jun, our dive master in Boracay. Aside from their wet suits that are mostly worn out, all their other equipment are pretty much still in good condition 
Come rain or shine, that did not prevent us from going beneath and explore the underwater world of Boracay. We took 3 dives with Free Willy and did it over 2 days span
Attack of the fishes part 1
Attack of the fishes part 2
Attack of the fishes part 3
My awesome and much loved dive buddy
This is an eel, not a snake although it certainly look like one
Very well camouflage stone fish
In all honesty, Boracay underwater is considerably beautiful with clear, calm water and friendly and abundant tropical fishes but most of the tropical fishes that we saw were actually similar to those that we saw diving back in the East Coast of our country last year. And like Jun said, the prettiest diving spots in Boracay are only for advanced divers, hence some rare and unique fishes cannot be found at open water level

None the less, it still felt good to dive once again, to be technically swimming freely deep down in the mysterious sea, where only the sound of the ocean, swimming fishes and sights of the underwater world induce such calmness and serenity it washes any worries and stress away. 
Triple yay to that! ♥

Boracay will never fail to bored you even if you are one who seeks more than just lounging and sunbathing out in the beach whole day or getting involved in diving or any water activities on the island. Because aside from having plenty of food choices that it is practically enough to occupy all your time just food hunting (food post on Boracay in next post), smacked right in the middle of the White Beach at Boat Station Two is a mall known as the D' Mall. Line mainly with boutiques, souvenir shops, pharmacies and restaurants, it is a good place to idly spend an afternoon or evening. However, after some shopping, we realized that certain items can be bought at a much lower price from those random vendors around the beach than buying them from the mall.
D' Mall
D' Mall is even busier at night especially their restaurants and cafes which are constantly pouring with people
This really cute flip flop shop caught our attention. From batman to superman to angry bird to nemo to spongebob, they are absolutely creative with their flip flops
Patrick and Spongebob flip flops! How more adorable can it get :)
Aside from shopping and spending time at the mall, what other better way than to pamper oneself with a massage session especially when you get to enjoy gorgeous sea view at the same time. Unless you like those coconut oil massage in the open air by the beach, we decided that the best place on the beach for massage is the Palassa Spa that is located along Station One. It costs only 200 peso for a full one hour body massage. Cheap and good. There is a few Palassa Spa all over the beach but their prices do vary too as the ones at Station Two are slightly more expensive
Another really popular activity on the island is getting a henna tattoo and a hair braid. It's like every other half a mile, there will a stall offering henna tattoo and hair braid services. While henna tattoos are temporary and may be fun, do be careful with your hotel policy as some hotels will penalized their guests if you actually stain their sheets and linen with henna
Jumping on the bandwagon, I got myself a hair braid too! And since I had heard so many horror stories of girls ended up having to shave off all their hair after hair braids, I stick to being safe by just getting a partial hair braid
The skillful lady completed my hair braid in just about 15 minutes 
Ta-da, final product! The hair braids actually managed to last some good two weeks in the end and contrary to the many horror stories I heard, my hair braids came off pretty easily without me having to lose half of my head hair or anything
There are also numerous name necklaces stall around so I couldn't resist getting a name necklace for myself and sis. This nice guy here gave me a discount and charged me only 500 peso for the necklaces and even threw in a dolphin as a bonus for me
Sea shells souvenirs. How cute too
Day and night, Boracay is equally interesting and when it don't rain, the whole island is even more alive at night. Aside from drinking activities, there is also the fire dance show which was very captivating as well
Wow! ♥
While we were exploring the beach one night, we came across this sudden flash mob dance by a group of chefs who not only amused and entertained us, but also got everyone grooving along to their dance moves. It was pretty impressive seeing them barbecuing their steaks and lambs as they moves their body to Maroon 5, Rihanna and even Psy
A little bonus for you readers for sticking right till the end of this post -A  video of these dancing chefs grooving to Psy Gentleman

It was consider the low (monsoon) period when I was there, hence not only was our hotel rates cheaper, all of our diving and activities around the island was cheaper too (prices can easily double during peak period). But do brace yourself for abundant rain and gloomy sky most days at this time of the year. None the less, in all honesty, Boracay is too charming to let the rain dampen your mood. And with so much activities to fill your time, you'll never have a dull moment on the island. Boracay is such love that I certainly will not mind revisiting it again anytime. ♥

Well, there is still more to Boracay than all of these and yes, I'm talking about food. Surprisingly, Boracay is pretty much a food heaven on it's own thus stay tuned for it in my next post. Till then, have a good upcoming weekend. :)

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3 fondue dips :

Great posts and beautiful pictures. You look awesome too. I'll be going there next mth so thanks for the tips :)

Beautiful scenery matches pretty girl( PERFECT ) matching. But the male lead too freshy,,haha.

Kim : Thanks. Have fun :)

Angela : Haha.. ahem *shy*. Thanks :)