You know a place has hit ultimate chic level (read: ultra-modern and densely populated) when a Starbucks store appears in it.
And that’s exactly what Boracay is now with its Starbucks store and growing number of commercial establishments. No longer the secluded island paradise, the once tranquil place has now cemented its reputation as a gimmick destination that people flock to at the drop of a hat, as if it were just a short drive away from the city.
The island gets more and more modern (and more crowded) as the years go by. On my latest visit, I counted at least 3 more gigantic properties with signs of construction and just about every other hotel was sold out while we were there. I couldn’t count anymore the number of new restaurants and apparel stores that sprouted there since my last visit.
Yet despite these signs of commercialization, it seems the development has not gone out of control.
I was glad to see posters and banners of reminders for visitors to keep the beach clean, and actually saw a patrol of officers doing rounds and checking on trash. In fact there are now some rules about party hours and loud music that didn’t exist before. People who love the place are now doing their part, making sure environmental issues affecting this paradise gets attention in newspapers, government and media there.
Seeing all this makes people like me feel better, realizing that the next time I come back I know that Boracay would still have the island charm and pristine beauty that I love so much because there are people there who are making sure of that.
It is usually painful to see modern life take over an island, but the way it’s going, it looks like it’s being done the right way in Boracay. Starbucks notwithstanding.
Some useful tips for your Boracay trip:
1) Book your flights and hotels online – it’s cheaper! There are many budget hotels in Boracay, too. In fact if you intend to be outdoors most of the time and hardly spend time in the hotel, then go for the hotels that cost less than P4,000 in Station 2 (it’s near everything too!). But if you want the ultimate exerience and more seclusion then go to the luxury resorts in Station 1, just be ready to do a bit of walking.
2) Try to bring just bring a backpack instead of big, wheeled luggage– less hassles at the airport given the facilities are not exactly fantastic even up to now.
My all-time favorite activities in Boracay haven’t changed:
1) Watersports and activities (banana boat, island hopping, snorkeling, helmet diving, glass bottom boat) – make sure to compare prices first among the number of groups offering this, some groups offer these at half the price
2) Shopping – D’Mall at Station 2 is still the best place for this, and there are now so many new stores there to visit, you will definitely go home happy
3) Dining – Eating outside the hotel is the best in Boracay, there are so many choices, just watch your budgets as most are expensive!
4) Watch the sunset – at about 4:45 pm start hanging around the beach with your camera to wait for sunset. Sunsets at Boracay are one of the best things ever!
5) Walking on the beach – Boracay has an amazing stretch of beach with powdery white sand that most other countries don’t have, strolling is a must!