November 24, 2013

Boracay 2013 Travel Diary: Why I’m Not So Enthralled with Boracay ;-)

I’ve been blessed to have been able to go to Boracay, twice. The first was in June 2011, which was rainy season in the Philippines and in October of this year. That first trip was somewhat awful because I think there was a storm that hit the country on those dates and it was raining hard in Boracay; also it was a long weekend and there were lots of tourists, both locals and foreigners.

When we arrived in Boracay it was still sunny; but when we got to the Tabon Port in Caticlan, it started raining hard. Our boat ride was a little rough because of the strong waves. We didn't also dock at the main port of Boracay Island (Cagban Port) because it was not that safe to do so. Our boat was diverted to the other port, which is Tanbisaan Jetty Port. I took a tricycle ride to La Carmela De Boracay.

La Carmela De Boracay

When we arrived at La Carmela, we were greeted by lots of people; when I say we “were greeted by lots of people” what I meant was that there were lots of people at the reception area checking-in. The front desk area was chaotic! From the time that we arrive, it took us around 45 minutes to an hour before we were able to check-in (due to the long queue). And though it was already processed, we were not able to go to our rooms just yet. They told us just to leave our luggage at the counter and if we want to stroll around, they will just text us once the rooms are ready. So even if it was raining hard, RVL and I walked towards the beach and look for somewhere we can have snacks. We ended up eating at Deco's La Paz Batchoy, which was ok. We received a text afterwards from La Carmela that our rooms are ready.

Rooms in La Carmela are quite small, specially the standard room. Our rooms were at the far end of the building and we have to walk through a long hallway for a good couple of minutes before we reach the pool area and the beach. La Carmela claims that they are in Station 2, but it is at the far end of Station 2, after the hotel it’s already Station 3. Nothing extraordinary about this hotel that I can rave about. Our room’s CR even had a funky smell that spreads inside the room. Their free breakfast buffet was so-so, had a few choices and was the same variety every day. Well, you just get what you paid for.

We were able to check out their Celebrity Suite since one of our friend’s friends were bumped into the Celebrity Suite because when they checked-in a few days ahead, all the other rooms were already occupied (lucky folks…) Celebrity Suites are beach front Japanese-style rooms with 4 beds, loft, mezzanine, receiving area, bath tub and all the luxurious amenities.

If you have the money to spend for these Celebrity Suites, I’d say you go for it. But as for me if I have that luxury, I probably will book somewhere in Station 1. Although if you’re on a budget, La Carmela is a pretty decent place to stay in Boracay; however, you need to ready yourself to do lots of walking because it’s kind of far from D’Mall.

RVL and I took a nap while waiting for our friends who are still stuck in the air because the aircraft they were on had difficulty landing because of the heavy downpour; they told us that the pilot even considered going back to Manila if it was too difficult to land. But they made it but a few hours late from their ETA.

We were able to swim a bit during mornings, but it was too cloudy and the waves were strong. The following day, we still experienced some scattered rains while we set off to walk towards Willy’s Rock and Jonah’s Fruit Shake in Station 1.

The water was so high that it reached the highest step of the stairs of Jonah’s. No shore was to be seen either, that’s how high the tide came. The alley going to D’Mall Talipapa was also flooded.

Fortunately, the sun shone for one and half days while we were on that vacation making us able to do some activities. We went ATV/Moon Buggy driving towards Puka Beach (which I love, btw) and Banana boating at Bulabog Beach (the second popular beach in the island, were most water activities are held).


When you avail of the ATV rides, there are two destinations you can go to, one is Puka Beach (also known as Yapak Beach) and to the Ocean Tower (where you can experience a 360 degrees view of Boracay Island). But mind you, ATV rental fees are good for an hour only, exceeding that, you need to pay extra.

Puka Beach is located on the northern side of Boracay Island. If you want to experience some serenity and a few hours away from the noise and chaos of the main White beach, this is your destination. Only few people go here so you can pretty much enjoy the beach to yourselves, especially if you go early in the morning, since most tourists are still sleeping from partying the last night before.

The sand in Puka Beach is not as fine as the one in Station 1 or 2. But it’s definitely as white. The waters are as clear, but the shore is narrower. When we were there, we just my laid my beach mat under some shade, left our things there and went swimming. There are a few restaurants and stores at the entrance of Puka Beach where you can grab a bite, get some drinks or buy souvenirs.

During our last afternoon/night, we just chillaxed by the beach at Station 1 near Willy’s Rock. We played with the sand all afternoon, buried our friend’s brother in sand and tried our skills in building sand castles and other sculptures, but to no good. 

Local kids from Boracay have this innate talent of doing sand art, unfortunately it has been banned by the local government because some sand art artists mixes glue with the sand to keep them from collapsing.

Honestly speaking, I didn't quite enjoy our first trip in Boracay, mainly because it rained half of our stay and I am someone that prefers a beach trip where you can truly experience relaxation time. Don’t get me wrong when I said I am not enchanted with Boracay like most people are. Boracay is beautiful, hands down, I love how fine and white the sand in White beach, one of the finest in the Philippines I've set my feet onto, especially in Station 1. But the party scene and crowded beach areas doesn't attract me at all.

My notion of a beach trip is far from beach parties and walking so close with other tourists on the beach path or by the sea shore. If maybe, just maybe, Puka Beach plus the sand and shoreline of Station 1, I might reconsider. Not to mention a lot (and I mean a lot) of men and women offering you services while you walk along the beach path (activities, henna tattoo, hair braid, jewelries, sunglasses, waterproof cases, etc etc). They can get into your nerves most of the time (notice that I didn’t say “sometimes”).

Maybe I’m just in that point in my life that I prefer a beach somewhere that can calm my mind and soul. But I still encourage you to go and visit Boracay at least once in your life, after all, it still is, part of some list of top beaches in the world, including CNN.

Backtrack my other blog posts about Boracay here:

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