Island hopping in Boracay is a must do. It is a full day activity. My itinerary included Puka Beach, Snorkeling, Crystal Cove, Cliff Jumping at the Magic Island and Helmet Diving. I would strongly recommend that you go to the Puka Beach, whatever else you may drop or add, it is stunningly beautiful.
Our first stop on the island hopping trip in Boracay was Puka Beach. It is also known as Yapak Beach. The sand here is mixed with crushed Puka Shells yet it is soft to walk on. The water is mesmerizing. You can rent the beach chairs from the vendors. My stop was not long enough to walk the length of the beach, but given a chance I would love to go back to Puka Beach again.
Snorkeling at Boracay
I quite love snorkeling. It is not as complicated as scuba diving and yet it gives me a glimpse of the wonderful underwater world! The corals at Boracay were beautiful. I now use my GoPro to take pictures too. But like everything else I need to get a hang of the GoPro to take better pictures! What I saw was much more beautiful than what I captured!
Crystal Cove Island
There are two coves on the Crystal Cove Island. We visited the Cove 2 first. It is fun to get into the water and then walk to the other side of the narrow cove. They have put in ropes to help the visitors negotiate the path inside the cove.
The views from the island are beautiful. We walked around the island a bit. I usually like to walk around to my hearts content but the day was hot.
So we headed out of the Crystal Cove to our next activity, which was cliff jumping.
Cliff Jumping at Magic Island
Then we went Cliff Jumping at the Magic Island. It is basically a cliff with various platforms. The highest is 10 meters and it is from that you see me jumping down in the picture above!
I was scared, I just didn’t allow myself to think much before jumping. You can read about the experience in more detail here.
I was happy to sit down and eat food after he cliff jumping experience. Being a vegetarian I don’t get to eat much of a ‘local cuisine.’ But every country that I have visited I have got vegetarian food. Here you can see my lunch when we went Island Hopping!
Our last activity for the day was helmet diving. The person in the scuba gear was the instructor. The helmet is heavy but it doesn’t feel so underwater. Helmet Diving is much more restricting when compared to scuba diving. But it is infinitely easier to do helmet diving.
I was happy to head back to my hotel, The Lind, after the end of the activities. The Island Hopping at Boracay was fun. I will remember it for a long time to come.
PS. My trip to Philippines was sponsored by the Philippines Tourism Board as part of TBEX.
I started writing the dress code for women posts because I search for it when I am visiting a country for the first time. I disagreed with some of what I read after visiting a destination, so I decided to do my own series. Here is what I observed about the dress code for women in Philippines.
My thoughts are based on a 10 day trip to Philippines where I visited Manila and Boracay. How I interpret the dress code also depends on where I come from, which is India! A 10 day visit makes me no expert but here is what I saw.
I start with Micaela Rodriguez who blogs at Senyorita and is a local. We were speaking at the same panel at TBEX which is a blogging conference and this is the lovely dress she chose to wear with a matching jacket. Short dresses are fine in Philippines.
Here is our guide from Boracay, Homma, in blue on the left, dressed for a day out at sea. She is a local too. Like anywhere in the world, people put their swim suites beneath a short dress so they can get into water when they wish!
I saw these pretty ladies at a show in Manila. And look at their beautiful gowns! I included this picture just to show that how strikingly beautiful the local dresses can be! I can’t imagine this to be normal wear though! If you search for festival gowns they seem to be available for rent too!
This is from a closing night TBEX party at Manila where you can see how social media people dance! I quite admired the guy who danced with his video camera, it must be heavy! The girls were dressed to party!
The days in Manila were hot in October, quite the same for me back home in Delhi too! So you can dress the way you feel comfortable on a sunny day! Dresses, shorts all are fine!
Both bikini and one piece swim suites are fine on the beaches in Boracay and my guess is all over Philippines. So do pack accordingly for your holiday.
To sum up women dress well in Philippines and most of the dresses you wear at home should be fine in Philippines.
PS. I was a speaker at TBEX Malina and my trip to Philippines was sponsored by Philippines Tourism Board!
I stayed for one night and two days at the Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa in Philippines. On day one itself I had a spa appointment at Chi the Spa for an hour. And I needed it!
During the day I had been to an ATV track which I experienced as a pillion rider in a buggy. I am not a big fan of ATVs, I anyway drive them like bullock-carts! It was followed by parasailing on a windy day. Windy days are not the best to experience parasailing. The day before, we went island hopping which included cliff jumping. Before that I was in Manila and before that, at home I was unwell. I went to Philippines while I was still recovering from my illness. I would tire easily on that trip!
I am no strangers to spas thanks to my blogging assignments. But Chi the Spa is at another scale of luxury. Shangrila’s Boracay is a large, spread out property. The spa has a complex to itself with its own swimming pool.
The main reception is grand and tranquil. My spa appointment was at night and I went there straight from the parasailing. The light was too low for clicking good pictures with the cell phone. I was anyway too tired to click pictures I think.
I was happy to go for my massage which was a Philippine Hilot. Hilot is the traditional healing technique from Philippines. My massage used warm banana leafs with coconut oil. It was one hour of pure bliss. I didn’t even know I had so many aches and pains till I went in for the massage. As Hilot is part of the healing tradition in Philippines, it has a lot of history around it. My experience is really limited to one hour in the spa but I can say it is a truly relaxing massage. I didn’t wish it to end! I had a whole room with attached changing area and bath to myself at Chi.
A typhoon was making a landfall in another part of Philippines on my last day and it affected the weather in Boracay too! I made a dash to the Chi Spa to click a few pictures during the day so that I could share them on the blog. If you are looking for a super luxury spa you could check out Chi the Spa from Shangri-La
I first read paraw sailing and thought it was a misprint for parasailing. But they are two distinct activities and both were there on my Boracay itinerary. Paraw Sailing at sunset in Boracay is a lot of fun. It was a first for me too.
Our guide Jun made a lot of hue and cry at the hotel about keeping keeping our cameras in polythene bags. I could not understand why. I used to think I am the only idiot who carried a heavy shoulder bag and so many gadgets. But it was reassuring that everyone in our group carried a lot of camera gear. I anyway carry a polythene for a rainy day, my cameras quickly go inside it. I don’t think we took Jun’s advice seriously.
A paraw is a local sailboat with two sails and two outriggers. The boat has a really narrow body. The guests sit on the outriggers and get splashed all the while. The captain of the boat sits in the middle. Traditionally the boats were used for fishing and transport.
Within five minutes of the paraw ride, I understood why Jun was fussing over keeping our cameras dry! In the picture above notice where people are sitting. All paraws have similar seating arrangements.
Our boat was pre-booked for us. However you just need to turn up at the the White Beach Station 3 and bargain around. I was told that on a shared boat you can go for 300 pesos. You may get the whole paraw for 3K pesos for one hour sunset sail. You can bargain in Philippines. You are expected to bargain actually.
I took out my polythene to carry my cell phones, SLR and Gopro, someone pointed out that the polythene had small holes in it! Jun took out a brand new polythene for me and I carried all my stuff in it. Believe me, you need a polythene or a dry bag to carry your photography stuff on a paraw. Otherwise there is a probability that whatever is not water-proof might get spoiled.
We went out to the sea for an hour at the sunset. To get on to the boat we waded in knee deep water. When I reached near the boat the outrigger as too high. The boatman asked me to put my foot on his thigh first and then to climb. I hesitated for a second but there was no other way to go up. Even after getting the leg up, I barely manged to crawl onto the platform.
But it was a lot of fun after that! We all were given life jackets in case we fell out of the boat. None of us managed to achieve that feat. After a few minutes I was itching to take out my cameras. I took out my cell phone, SLR and of course Gopro at various points. The safest was the Gopro because of the waterproof casing. But I was new to it. With hindsight I can say it is not too wise to use cell phone or SLR because one unexpected drench can cause damage to them. I was lucky nothing happened to my gear.
The paraw sailing at sunset in Boracay is a popular activity. The sea is dotted with sails running in all directions at the sunset. When we got the first big splash of water, it was a surprise. Then it became the norm. I actually took out the SLR and cell phone in a calm stretch. And they went back to the safety of polythene quickly. The next day I bought a dry bag for my stuff!
Paraw Sailing is a fun activity in Boracay, Philippines. You should try it out. To enjoy it thoroughly take a waterproof camera and leave the rest, or at least take everything in a dry bag. I want to do it again because the first time around I was just too dazed! I am sure second time will be more fun!