Ten days in Boracay, Philippines
This is the first article in a series where I look back at my traveling experiences and review some of my favorites. In December 2014, Sarah and I went to the Philippines for 10 days of relaxation and sun. I was in the Asia-Pacific region on a business trip to Japan, so figured that it would be good to check out tropical Southeast Asia after handling business.
The Philippines is an archipelago of several thousand islands, some of them uninhabited, that has many options for every type of traveler. We chose the vacation island of Boracay because of the quality of its beaches and excellent range of accommodations and restaurants.
We stayed at the Mandala Villas and Spa. This 4-star spa resort offers a collection of boutique bungalows tastefully decorated with local artwork. I particularly enjoyed the open-air attached shower. A basic breakfast was included and the restaurant was able to offer tasty Western and Filipino options for lunch and dinner. Sarah especially liked the spa and daily yoga classes. The staff was very helpful and helped us select and book engaging activities throughout the island including nature tours and kite surfing.
Boracay has a plethora of restaurants catering to every taste and budget. I absolutely fell in love with the D’ Talipapa Market There I was able to buy fresh fish and shellfish and bargain prices. Natalia’s Kusina, right next to the market, makes an excellent black pepper crab and garlic & butter shrimp. Other restaurants of note are Real Coffee & Tea, Sands Restaurant and Sunny Side Café.
Boracay has several world-class beaches. White sand beach, divided into three zones, is the most developed. Zone 3, at the northern end, is quiet and has a range of budget and mid-range accommodations. Zone 2 is the most touristy, so it’s crowded and full of touts selling everything from snorkeling tours to hiking outings. This is also where the greatest concentration of restaurants can be found. Zone 1 features exclusive 5-star resorts and is also a quiet beach. Another option is Puka Beach, named for the distinctive seashells mixed in with the sand. I highly encourage anyone to explore this island with a boat tour. The quality of the beaches and natural environs is breathtaking.