The island of Boracay, found off the northwestern tip of Panay, is popular with both local and foreign tourists. Its white sand beaches, cool pristine waters, and active nightlife are just some of the reasons why visitors keep coming back to Boracay. This island paradise also offers guests great venues for diving, snorkeling, and other water sports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Along its 9 kilometer beachfront stretch, dozens of hotels, inns, restaurants and bars that fit varying budget ranges may be found.
- The first settlers of Boracay were the Negritos or Atis, who lived on fishing and farming.
- In the 1940s and 1950s, coconut plantations provided for the livelihood of the Boracay settlers. They would trade copra with Aklan for rice and other goods. In the 1960s and 1970s, families from Panay became frequent visitors to Boracay.
- In 1978, a German traveler published a book about the Philippines, which included a detailed account of Boracay. The book drew the attention of tourists from around the world to Boracay. By 2005, Boracay's tourist arrival rate had hit the 500,000 mark.
- The name Boracay is attributed to different origins. One story says that it is derived from the local word "borac" which means cotton with characteristics close to the color and texture of Boracay's white sand. Another credits the name to local words "bora," meaning bubbles, and "bocay," meaning white. Yet another version dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from "sigay," the word for shell, and "boray," the word for seed.
- Boracay is mainly known for the long stretch of White Beach. Basking under the sun and enjoying Boracay's cool waters are just two of the many activities here. There are tents, kiosks, and stalls that line the beach, catering to all sorts of recreational activities such as yoga and fire-dancing classes.
- Young tourists are usually out at night in Boracay to get a taste of Boracay's active nightlife. Several bars and restaurants may be found scattered along the three boat stations of White Beach.
- Commercial establishments also add to the busyness of Boracay. D'Mall and D'Talipapa are well-known markets on the island that offer a wide array of accessories, beach apparel, pasalubong items, and an assortment of food.
- For the adventurous, there are several natural attractions that may satisfy a craving for an adrenaline rush. For new and experienced divers, Boracay boasts over 20 dive sites located around the island that are accessible through short boat rides. There's also Bulabog Beach, a haven for windsurfers and kiteboarders.
- Theme parks such as the Kingfisher's Farm and Zorb Park add to the variety of activities in Boracay.
Getting there and away
- To get to Boracay from Manila, take a 35-50 minute flight to Caticlan in Panay. From there, take a boat to the island of Boracay for around P130. Asian Spirit, Seair and Interisland Airlines offer daily flights to Caticlan.
- An alternative route to Boracay is to take flights going to the neighboring provinces of Caticlan such as Kalibo, Iloilo, Bacolod and Cebu. From these points, one can take a bus to Caticlan. Ceres Bus Liner has regular schedules from Iloilo to Caticlan that pass through Kalibo. It takes 1-1 ½ hours to reach Caticlan from Kalibo via bus.