Boracay is the beautiful island paradise of the Philippines. Tourists are simply drawn to its natural beauty, complete with rustling palm trees, marvelous gleaming sand, and waters in different shades of blue. While the scenic seascapes and relaxing appeal of the island have attracted people all over the world, Boracay has also become the hottest and hippest place in the country. With lively establishments fringing its shores, the island never runs out of great activities for guests to do and discover.
Station 2 in Boracay is the busiest area in the whole island. It is where all sorts of visitors can be found—beach bums walking on the white sand, shoppers searching for great bargains on souvenirs, and bar hoppers looking for a fun time. The throngs of people present are perhaps because of D'Mall, a popular strip in Station 2 with rows of shops and boutiques selling different kinds of swimwear, accessories, furniture, and souvenirs. It also has food marts, clinics, ticketing offices, and pharmacies. D'Mall pretty much has everything that tourists need during their stay in Boracay, making it the primary shopping center in the island.
Near D'Mall is D'Talipapa, a market where tourists can shop for the day's catch. It is full of stalls and vendors who sell different kinds of fish, tiger prawns, shrimps, crabs, shellfish, sea urchins, and even lobsters. There are also restaurants around the market where the seafood can be cooked in almost any style. Tourists are very much free to haggle when purchasing seafood. D'Talipapa offers one of the more affordable dining options in Boracay.
You can choose between Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport as your gateway to Boracay. Flights from Metro Manila to Caticlan last about an hour, while flights to Kalibo take an hour and a half. Air travel is followed by a 10 to 15-minute ferry ride from Caticlan Port to Boracay's Cagban Port.
There are scheduled ferry trips to Caticlan Port from Batangas Pier via 2GO Travel. You can either drive or ride a JAM Liner Bus to get to Batangas Pier. The ferry ride takes about 10 hours.
How to Get Around
Tricycles are the main mode of transportation in Boracay. The tricycles on the island are slightly bigger than what you are used to and can fit about five to six passengers.
By Motorcycle and Bike
There are some shops where you can rent motorcycles and bikes. They are preferred among those who want to explore Boracay at their own pace.
What to See
White Beach is definitely Boracay's best offering when it comes to natural wonders. This four-kilometer-long stretch of white sand and azure waters has captivated tourists all over the world. People love to take a dip in the magnificent waters of this beach. Meanwhile, the soft white sand is great for lounging while you work on your tan. Don't forget to hang out at the beachfront at dusk and wait for the stunning Boracay sunset.
The beachfront of Station 2 is the most developed among the three stations, with several merchandise stalls, restaurants, bars, and activity shops dotting the shoreline. You'll never run out of things to do in the area: you can sign up for watersports with any of the tour operators available like parasailing, cliff diving, paddle boating, fly fishing, island hopping, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The rates per tour operator are competitive, so make sure to find one that best fits your budget.
Apart from exciting watersports, the beachfront is also home to some relaxing attractions and activities for those who prefer to unwind. You can get massages as well as henna tattoos and hair braids.
D'Mall also has its share of fun activities and attractions. Aside from being Boracay's primary shopping center, the mall also has a Ferris wheel you can ride to see a view of the entire mall. Another must-try activity is D'Wall, where you can test your strength and ability with wall climbing.
Events and Festivals
Laboracay is Boracay's biggest party event of the year. It is held every Labor Day weekend (May 1) and attracts tourists from all parts of the world who wish to party on the beach. The entire Laboracay weekend stays lively with musical performances from DJs, raves, and free-flowing alcohol.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
You can enjoy your favorite meals in Station 2 since it has branches of popular fast food chains like McDonald's and Mang Inasal.
Station 2's gastronomic scene is diverse: it has plenty of restaurants, each offering various cuisine to satisfy the cravings of its equally diverse diners.
D'Talipapa is the best place to enjoy dishes made from the freshest catch in Boracay. This seafood market has numerous stalls where you can choose which seafood you want and have it cooked the way you want it in one of the restaurants in the area.
For hearty eaters, Sea Breeze Cafe at Henann Regency is the place to go. This all-day buffet restaurant has an extensive menu. Hungry tourists can chow down on international and Filipino dishes while enjoying the performance of their famous dancing chefs.
For those with native tastes, Golden Cowrie offers Filipino comfort food such as crispy pata, bulalo, and sisig. Jasper's Tapsilog is another restaurant where guests can pig out on local dishes like tapsilog and noodles dishes like pancit canton.
Although Cyma has a few branches in Metro Manila, its Boracay branch is its flagship store. Enjoy Mediterranean dishes at this Greek restaurant that complement the coastal ambiance of Boracay. For those who favor authentic Chinese meals, you can head over to Great Wall Restaurant.
At D'Mall, there are three restaurants that stand out: Aria Cucina Italiana is visited for their delicious pizzas and pastas. On the other hand, Lemon Cafe and Restaurant is famous for its healthy Mediterranean menu. Lastly, Spice Bird is fairly new, but has created a buzz among foodies for the delicious piri-piri chicken.
Bars and Clubs
Station 2 has been dubbed as Boracay's party central, since most of the bars and clubs are concentrated in this part of the island.
When the sun comes down, unleash your inner party animal at Epic Bar. This beachside bar is the place to be for those who want to dance the night away. Beer pong is another of its tourist draws, aside from their nightly dance parties.
A more affordable alternative would be Exit Bar. This place has a laidback feel, with the DJs setting the mood with reggae and hip hop music. The bar also has a great assortment of affordable cocktails.
The Hobbit Tavern is another cozy place for a drink. This place is unique because of the friendly dwarf servers.
Where to Shop
D'Mall is Boracay's main commercial center with various stores and establishments. You can basically find everything you need for your trip in this area. Aside from plenty of dining options and pasalubong and souvenir shops, it also has clothing stalls, sports gear shops, grocery stores, pharmacies, and even clinics.
D'Talipapa serves as the main market place on the island where you can purchase fresh seafood and other ingredients.
What to Buy
The calamansi muffins of Real Coffee and Tea Cafe are popular pasalubong. Don't forget to bring home a box of two of these yummy baked goodies for your family and friends back home. You can opt to order and reserve a day before your departure to Manila since the muffins get sold out easily.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are ATMs and banks available in Station 2 if you need to withdraw some cash.
Fare: PHP 1,200.00 (By ferry); PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 4,000.00
The total cost of traveling by ferry is PHP 1,200.00, with the PHP 175.00 bus fare from Metro Manila and the PHP 1,000.00 boat ride to Caticlan Port already included.
When it comes to airfare, flights to Kalibo Airport are cheaper compared with Caticlan. A one-way ticket from Metro Manila to Kalibo range from PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00. On the other hand, flights to Caticlan are priced from PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 4,000.00.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
Station 2 has a wide variety of dining options. Budget meals are available at eateries or food stalls for PHP 100 or even less. A budget of PHP 300.00 per dish should be okay when dining in most restaurants.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
Souvenir shirts at the stores in D'Mall are priced from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00, depending on the design. On the other hand, the necklaces made from puka shells start at PHP 100.00.
You can take home a box of six calamansi muffins from Real Coffee and Tea Cafe for PHP 320.00
Accommodation: PHP 600.00 to PHP 5,000.00
For budget travelers, PHP 600.00 to PHP 1,000.00 should be enough for an overnight stay at an inn or hostel. Meanwhile, the rates for upscale hotels and resorts range from PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00 per night.
Activities: PHP 500.00
Prices for watersports in Boracay range from PHP 500.00 to PHP 2,000.00 per head, while scuba diving starts at PHP 3,500.00.