Travel Log: Boracay, Philippines

Traveling and exploring the world is one of my passions in life, and I am so thankful to be able to travel as much as I do with amazing groups of friends.  My latest adventure was a ten day trip to the Philippines between Christmas and New Year, which is no small journey from Seattle.  My flight route was: Seattle to Seoul, Seoul to Manila, Manila to Boracay in a total of about 24 hours including layovers.  I would have arrived on Boracay sooner, except that flights only operate during daylight hours (5am-4pm) because there are no lights on the closest airport (Caticlan - MPH) runway.  I departed Seattle about 2pm Saturday afternoon, arrived in Manila around 11pm Sunday night/Monday morning, and then had to wait until 5am for the first flight out to the island of Boracay.  Thankfully, one of my friends arrived in Manila around the same time, and we were able to walk out from the domestic terminal to find a bar and catch up over cheap beer.  I arrived at the Caticlan Airport in the province of Aklan (next door to Boracay) around 6am Monday morning, and finally met up with the rest of our travel group around 7am.  Please read on for more photos, details, and travel tips from my time on Boracay!

This is the type of boat that ferries passengers to Boracay island.  I booked transportation from the Caticlan Airport to our hotel through a website called My Boracay Guide because I knew I would be tired and I wanted to have everything settled ahead of time.  There was a team of people who met us at the airport and handled every step of the way from our ferry tickets to our luggage to our own private ferry boat to the van that took us to the hotel.  It was so convenient and the cost was nominal.

Diniwid Beach on the northwest side of the island, the first beach that we visited.  The beach is rocky, but so gorgeous with its clear, shallow water and white sand!  There is a fancy restaurant on the side of this hill that you have to take a little elevator to reach - it felt so exclusive.

A perfect place to relax at Diniwid Beach: beanbags, cold drinks, and umbrellas.  Time just slips away in places like this.

Our second day on Boracay, we took a day trip to neighboring Carabao Island that picked us up from White Beach.  The day trip included a delicious lunch of grilled skewers, adobo and rice, and dozens of fresh coconuts (plus rum & beer).  It was so much fun to see another island--especially one less developed/populated--and I absolutely recommend island hopping while on Boracay.

Fresh coconuts + dark rum = deliciousness

Cliff-diving was an option - see those two wooden diving boards on the right-hand side?

Fresh coconuts all day!

I'm still not 100% sure how this happened, but at one point during our island hopping day trip my friend Cris and I got boosted onto the back of a carabao (water buffalo) and carried up to a bat cave.  Not quite the same as the horses I grew up with, but it was an adventure!

One of my favorite parts of the day was finding this isolated beach.  We each had our own motorcycle and driver to take us around the island, on a combination of pavement + dirt roads.  In some areas kids would come running out of their homes in the villages to wave at us as we went by, and other areas like this it was just us and a few stray dogs.

Of course we jumped in the water at this isolated beach--and like so many other beaches the water was crystal clear and shallow for hundreds of yards out.  It was a wonderful end to the day trip.

The late afternoon return boat ride to White Beach with my gal Frances - one of our planners for this trip!

This is picturesque White Beach on the west side (and middle) of the island.  White beach has many hotels, restaurants, shopping, and activity in general--a great place to stay while visiting Boracay!

Cris and I unintentionally coordinating our dinner outfits - I think it's because she's my carabao-riding partner in crime!

You have probably already seen my New Year's Eve dinner photos in this previous post, so these next few photos are from the NYE white party at Epic.  It was so much fun to ring in the New Year on the beach with fireworks, great music, and a fabulous group of friends! 

NYE at Epic!

NYE at Epic!

Frances and I went to Starbucks for some much-needed coffee on New Year's Day, and found this fun sign on White Beach.

A caffeinated Amber is a happy Amber!

I tried paddleboarding for the first time on White Beach!  It was dirt cheap (about $8 for one hour) and the water was shallow + calm.  Perfect conditions for a newbie.

Proof that I did stand-up paddleboarding, not just sit-down paddleboarding.

Our pool access suite at the Boracay Recency Resort.  We are not usually in the same location for a full week, so this vacation was a wonderful chance to kick back, relax, and enjoy not being on a time schedule.  I definitely recommend visiting Boracay for a beach vacation--it is a beautiful island and well-equipped to handle tourists.  I would love to visit the Philippines again at some point - I think Palawan/El Nito would be our next choice for a Philippines island vacation.  I hope you enjoyed these photos and travel tips, and that you have a wonderful weekend!

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