If you are a traveler who loves the beach and has been thinking of going to the Philippines, I’m sure Boracay Island is included on your bucket list. But hey, consider reading this travel review about Boracay Island before finalizing your Philippine travel destinations.
Boracay is well-known for its stunning white beaches, thrilling water activities, and exciting nightlife. For most extroverts, Boracay Island is the place to go!
But what if you are an introvert like me? Shall you take risks and still pursue your vacation to Boracay?
Let me tell you my own story about when I traveled to Boracay with my friends. My decisions, my preferences, my hilarious eXperiences, the establishments booked, and the activities we enjoyed on the island. I even discussed the issues we encountered so you know what to expect and prepare for when you get there. I also posted a generous amount of photos that you can browse.
Let’s start reading!
The Decision Making
My travel to Boracay wasn’t planned at all and I wasn’t thinking of going there for vacation or travel any sooner as I’ve been hearing that the place is crowded with a lot of tourists and travelers and I honestly don’t want a place like that. (I don’t mean any negative thing about the place. It’s just that I want a more peaceful and fewer-people place.)
But this best friend of mine suddenly told us (with our other best friend and her cousin) that she is coming home from Australia for a month-long vacation. She will be in Antique to attend a wedding in the 2nd week of June before she returns to AU and she wants us to spend our time with her in Boracay on her last days here in the Philippines.
I selfishly suggested some places here in Bicol (lol) but they refused as they want me to go out of my comfort zone and Boracay is the nearest place in Antique where my best friend from AU is coming from. Plus… We will be meeting our lovely teacher from high school, so I had to give it to them.
I also thought it was time for me to travel a little far away from home to eXplore the outside world. Yes. it’s my farthest travel so far.
The Things I Had to Prepare Before The Travel
As an organized and “plan-ahead” person, I made sure that these things are in my luggage:
- Government-issued ID’s / Passport
- Vaccination certificate and cards
- Printed Boracay health declaration certificate with QR code
- Booking tickets
-These are the things you don’t want to miss bringing because you won’t be able to enter the airport without them.
- Medicines for and in case of dizziness, headache, stomachache, and allergy
- Sanitary pads and backup toiletries
- T-shirts, long skirts, shorts, scarf, and regular undies
- Neck pillow and blindfold
- Action cam, DJI Osmo 3, chargers, and my phone with data and load good for calls and SMS, of course
- A little amount of cash and a debit card for easy transactions whichever is needed
- Biscuits and candies in case of stomach emergency
- I also downloaded apps like Grab for transportation and ensured that my Google Maps and online banking apps are updated.
I hope this helps in preparing your travel needs.
The Hilarious Travel
I took a bus trip from Legazpi City Grand Terminal to Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange or PITx because the plane ticket from Bicol to Caticlan is so expensive. You can check my Boracay Travel Expenses for your reference.
Our check-in time at NAIA was 11:30 am but I decided to choose the 6 PM trip from Bicol which will arrive at PITx at approximately 4 or 5 AM. I did it on purpose because of anxiety. Lol. I don’t want to be late and be left out just because of some unnecessary events that could happen on the way, especially since it was my first time entering NAIA and my first time traveling via plane.
As I mentioned above, I downloaded Grab app but I forgot to use it because of my sleepy head. The bus arrived at PITx at around 5 AM and the conductor had to wake me up because I slept intermittently but deeply during the trip. So I got off the bus and immediately looked for a taxi that will bring me to the terminal. This is the part where I forgot to use my Grab app so the taxi driver tried to fool me by giving me a rate which is higher than usual. Good thing that I called papa immediately and he told the driver to stop fooling around because he is a driver too and a regular passenger in Manila.
If you are new to a certain place, make sure to use trustworthy apps like Grab or make sure that the taxi is using a running meter and ask for their tariff because these will tell you how much you should be paying them.
I arrived at the airport 4 hours before our check-in time and the guard asked for my ID, Vax cert/card, and booking details and let me in. I took a nap in the waiting area while waiting for my other best friend and cousin. Unfortunately, when the time for check-in came, I missed the line where I should check my things in for spending my time looking for my companions so I was bringing my luggage the whole time as hand carries. Lol.
Fortunately, I entered the right way where passengers should wait for their plane and it was allowed that time to bring two hand-carry bags. The funny thing is, since it was my first time entering an airport, I asked around where I can possibly see my plane and the utility said I can check it at the flight information display system and he showed it to me. I saw that my gate number was “TBA” so I asked another utility where is GATE TBA. Lol. She answered TBA means “To Be Announced” so I’ll have to wait. I’m not sure if she laughed at me or if she’s already used to getting silly questions like that. 😀
And finally, I already saw my companions and we waited for our plane to arrive. They were not able to check their luggage in too because they were literally on time! Sounds fair, right? Lol.
At The Plane
Ooops, before getting to the exciting part, I didn’t know that the passengers have to ride a shuttle from the airport to the plane. It was another new experience for me. Our chosen plane, by the way, is Cebu Pacific.
Before entering the plane, the flight attendant sprayed our hands with alcohol and also asked us to show her our documents, so we did. Then we found our seats. The take-off was a little slow though, it took more than half an hour.
But when the moment that the plane was already flying higher, I realized that I have no regrets about agreeing to travel outside Bicol. Aside from this travel is a new adventure that excites me, the plane thing is another next-level experience because I got to see Google Maps in real-time, live, and not just on some cellphone or computer! Plus the waving sea of clouds below me is definitely one of my most memorable travel experiences.
We just had a little turbulence landing but manageable. It’s part of the travel, I thought. Oh, and another new and lucky experience is, that we got to see and experience being in the cockpit! The captain and his colleagues were so kind and ready to accept us in their working space. Thank you Cebu Pac crews!
Land and Boat Transfers
Upon arriving at the Caticlan Airport, we looked for the station where we can book a tricycle going to the seaport. They gave us stickers so that the tricycle drivers can recognize us as their passengers when we go out. Transpo Fee is 150 Php. The driver dropped us off at Jetty Port where our best friend had been waiting since early morning. Hugs here, kisses there, and “I miss you’s” everywhere. Of course! It’s been forever since we saw each other in flesh!
Before you can ride the boat, you’ll have to:
- Register with the DOT – You’ll need to show your ID, Hotel Booking, and Boracay Health QR Code
- Pay for the Environmental, Boat, and Terminal Tickets
- Php 150 – Environmental Fee per person
- Php 50 – Boat Fare per person
- Php 100 – Terminal Fee per person
Brace yourself if it is your first time riding a boat because you might feel dizzy.
Just look at the beautiful water and views outside and think that you are arriving at the beautiful destination soon so that you may forget about dizziness.
When we got to Cagban Port, we rode another tricycle going to our hotel. When we got to our hotel, they told us that we could have contacted them that we are already in the port so that they can fetch us with their shuttle. Noted for next time visit!
The Lingganay Hotel Resort
Honestly, my whole Boracay experience would be so exhausting if not because of Lingganay Hotel Resort. Let me tell you why.
About the Place
Upon entering the gate of the Lingganay Hotel Resort, you will instantly feel peace, royalty, and security. The facade is like a castle welcoming you to enter its kingdom. The serenity is eXceptional, especially for an introvert like me. Cold breeze, colorful flowers, dancing trees, and singing birds, you will really feel that you are embraced by nature. It is far from the mainland but they have a free shuttle that will drop you off at Station 2 where the main beach is. That’s favorable for me because it’s far from the crowd and the noise.
The buildings of their hotels are huge and each has a big dome at the top where you can enjoy the sunrise, sunset, and the whole island of Boracay. The rooms we booked have a minimalist native design and are spacious. Each room has a complimentary instant coffee.
Their Al Fresco Restaurant and Bar
We ate lunch at their restaurant upon arrival. The restaurant is just beside the pool and has a good spot for savoring the sunrise and the cold breeze at the same time during breakfast. About the food, they marinate their own dishes and do not buy processed goods outside. Breakfast is free by the way.
The Private Petty Beach
Of course, they have a private beach and I love it! Literally far from the crowd from the main Boracay beach. So peaceful and has a great view and background for Instagram pics. They even have natural tunnel and small rock formations. Trust me you will enjoy this private beach, especially during high tide. Above it is its garden and on the way, you will walk through a beautiful natural trail.
The Salt-water Pool and Jacuzzi
Oh yes! The water they used in their pool is salt water so if you’re not good at swimming, you won’t have to worry because you will float easily. Plus they have a jacuzzi as the extension of the pool inside a castle-like tower. Both the pool and jacuzzi have warm water to enjoy even during nighttime. And this is the thing that I enjoyed the most in this hotel aside from nature!
- They didn’t give us toiletries except for a bottle of shampoo and body wash. Good thing we brought backup toiletries.
- The private beach has lots of stones and algae during low tide so it’s best to swim during high tide and I believe that is every morning. The view is exceptional though and if you are after serenity, you won’t worry about these issues.
- Their pool hour is limited to 7 PM only where I believe their guests are just arriving from the main beach. And it is available at 8 AM in the morning when their guests are leaving to see and stroll the mainland. I think they should adjust their hours if they want their guests to really enjoy the place.
- Both of the rooms we occupied had issues with the shower drainage so I felt horrible every time I go to the shower. But I believe they were already fixing it the moment we left the hotel. But this is something that won’t hinder my booking of this hotel again.
The Staff Though
They have a very accommodating, friendly, and considerate staff. Can’t say anything bad about their service. They are excellent!
Front Desk: Jessa, Marialen, Cath
Maintenance: Kuya Boyet
Resto: Early, Lyn
Shuttle Driver: Alvin, Rejie, Chrad
Plus the chef and the room attendants, we love them so much!
And the owner who always greets us “Mabuhay!” whom we realized late that he’s the owner, Kudos to you, and to your staff, Sir. You are doing great in this industry!
Regrets: We forgot to take pictures with them.
The Activities at The Main Beach
As expected, the place is so crowded. There are a lot of people at the beachfront! Locals, tourists, Filipinos, foreigners… But what can I do? It’s a famous tourist spot. And the moment I saw the beach, I can already tell why. I instantly fell in love with the color of the water and the fineness of the sand. I hate the crowd but it’s the beach that we came there for, so…
The first thing we did was to look for something to buy while waiting for our high school teacher. I bought some souvenirs and something I can wear for OOTD at the beach.
Then when we already met our teacher and we looked for a place to eat dinner. After roaming around for several minutes because most of the restaurants are full, we finally found a one-of-a-kind diner.
The Hobbit Tavern
I just love everything about them! The staff is so jolly, friendly, and hardworking. We really love them! Kudos to the owner who gave opportunities to small people with big hearts like them. I bet you never regretted doing it. You have my respect!
The food… I love everything but for me, the mashed potato stood out. Just the right amount of butter, salt, and pepper and I don’t know what else they put in it but it’s just the perfect mashed potato I’ve ever tasted and I will never forget it. The rest of the food are so good that made me feel full and satisfied that night.
The acoustic performer was a talented artist. I love her voice and the way she sang the entire session.
For me, The Hobbit Tavern is a perfect place to eat in Boracay. I beg you, try them!
Crystal Cove was one of our destinations for island hopping but we were only able to experience the first cove. Unlike the usual caves, you will have to take steps downstairs to enter. Indeed a perfect spot for a thrilling plunge and picture taking because the wave inside the cove is a little bit harsh that it might blow you off the rocks so be careful and make sure you’re a good swimmer if you dip into it. The guide here takes good photos so don’t forget to ask him for a great shot before going up.
There are a lot of instagrammable views around the area but I suggest you do picture takings after you get to all the coves because your time is limited and you would not want to miss the main attraction like what happened to us.
The Puka Beach – this is where you can take your Crystal Kayak photos! Truly, some of the ‘bangkeros’ are great photographers. And they take unlimited photos until you are satisfied with their shots.
In the middle of the sea where there are fishes, the boat stops for the passengers to snorkel around. I saw fewer fish than in Caramoan but the experience was still fun. I got to see Nemo, Marlin, and Dory again!
Boracay or Malay doesn’t have any specific product that only they can produce. They have foods like Piyaya but this delicacy didn’t originate from them. They have handicrafts but you can also find them in other provinces.
Good thing that they have talented paint artists who customize painting on shirts. I love Kuya Noel Larios’ work so I thought he deserves to be featured here.
Of course, I couldn’t leave Boracay without the trending hair braids so I tried one.
I also bought some items from the souvenir shop and from the airport but those are just common ref magnets and food souvenirs.
Honestly, my Boracay travel isn’t the best because as I mentioned earlier, I am an introverted person who loves peaceful, quiet places. It could have been better if I tried some adventurous activities because despite being introvert, I actually love adventure but unfortunately, we didn’t have much time and I thought they have activities that I can actually try in some other places. Also, I didn’t even push going to the nightlife because I loved the pool more than going outside to mingle with strangers.
Although I really am thankful because I found peace at Lingganay Hotel Resort and my foodie alter ego found its palate at The Hobbit Tavern. The live Google Map free viewing plus the sea of clouds, sunset, and flashes of lightning (going back home) below me, being seen with my naked eye from the plane are a perfect bonus of this travel.
Overall, I didn’t regret going to Boracay with my best friends. Even though it is not my dream vacation place, I am happy that I experienced it and that I went out of my comfort zone. Oh, and did I mention that all our eXpenses were refunded by my best friend from AU? Sana all!
So if you are a traveler planning to go to Boracay, I hope this article helps with your decision.