BLINDING white sands, transparent clear waters and palm trees as distant as a eye can see — there’s no denying Boracay is beautiful.
Conde Nast Traveller readers positively seem to consider so — this week, a island was voted a world’s best in a 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards.
But we hear churned things about a little splinter of an island — according to some, it’s crowded, soiled and lives adult to a bad child reputation; to others, it’s an halcyon shelter from a genuine world.
How can a small seven-kilometre widen of silt broach such opposite experiences? It’s a doubt I’m seeking myself as we hold down in Boracay after a eight-hour moody from Sydney to Manila (followed by a one-hour moody to circuitously island Kalibo, a two-hour train outing afterwards vessel send — no, Boracay is not easy to get to).
I’m severely anticipating a naysayers are mistaken.
And they are… for a many part. White Beach is unadulterated — unbelievably so given a crowds that will accumulate by late afternoon, and a 1.6 million tourists approaching to revisit this year.
The H2O is festive bluish (not to discuss comfortable as a bath) and a views out to sea simply breathtaking.
But only outward a Instagram frame, wandering dogs ramble a sand, unruly backpackers find out a cheapest ethanol they can find and one retard behind from a postcard-perfect beach, mini marts catering quite to traveller tastes line a congested, pothole-ridden streets.
Whether your knowledge of Boracay is traveller trap or inexperienced oasis depends totally on where along a beach we stay.
Station one is by distant a many primitive and even if you’re not staying there (although we unequivocally should), it’s where we should conduct to swim. It’s a slightest grown territory of a strip, with fewer boats crowding a H2O and a wider area of sand.
The beach gets busier — and a H2O murkier — as we proceed hire two, that is where to conduct if you’re after a celebration island experience.
But behind to a beach. The ease sea is ideal for stand-up paddle boarding, so we lease play for 500 peso (roughly AU$13) and spend a afternoon gliding adult and down a shore, spotting a occasional pleasant fish darting underneath us.
Later, in hunt of bigger surf, we possibility on Punta Bunga beach serve north, where there’s hardly a essence — only us and a cackle of Filippino kids mucking about with their beach-combed treasures.
Unlike many of a neighbours, a Philippines isn’t accurately eminent for a cuisine, and the
majority of options along White Beach askance heavily to American tastes — consider pizza, pasta and burgers. Boracay isn’t like Bali, with a dozens of #cleaneating cafes portion adult avo on toast — White Beach, as distant as we could tell, is a quinoa-free zone.
Instead, it’s all about ice-cold fruit shakes in between swims — join a queues during Jonah’s along hire one for a mango pineapple mix (or choc peanut butter if you’re past fretting about your bikini bod) and representation normal Filippino food during beachfront grill Maya’s.
A barefoot, candlelit cooking during a ultra-luxe Discovery Shores review as a object sinks into a sea in front of we is an knowledge not to be missed. Leave a tough merrymaking to others and arise early for a truly private cut of bliss — a silt doesn’t come most whiter than along Boracay’s White Beach before a crowds awake.
It’s blissful, and totally yours — until a internal run bar pounds past we on a sand.
The verdict? Yes, Boracay gets bustling — though step feet onto a monumental White Beach and it’s easy to see because it draws such crowds.
And yes, it’s a celebration island — you’d be hard-pressed to travel 10m but anticipating a packaged beachfront bar.
But for each drink pong list on a categorical strip, Boracay has inexperienced stretches of silt and picture-perfect swimming spots to compare — we only need to know where to find them.
A brief documentary about Boracay, a series one vacation end in a Philippines from 2013