Experiencing LaBoracay, that summer event celebrated on Labor Day, is the 6th item on my 10 Goals for 2015 list. Some suggest to experience it at least once while some would rather die than go to Boracay in this time of the month. The things that make it popular — party everywhere, lots of booze, loud music, and fun-loving people — are the same reasons it is well disliked by the people who prefer Boracay in a serene setting. Well, I just came back from a 5-day vacation on the island and I am happy to report that this one has been more enjoyable and fruitful than my first time on the island. If you are not into hard partying, don’t worry, here are some tips to enjoy LaBoracay.
1. Check out rustic bars
Thanks to a new friend, Sarah, who lives on the island, we were able to discover some hidden gems that are more in tune with my preference; fun without the crowd. There are rustic bars that attract local and foreign backpackers, such as Red Pirates on Station 3 and Exit and Boom Boom bars on Station 2. Drinks and food in these bars are cheaper, and they attract more matured patrons. People here are also friendly and interested in engaging in meaningful conversations.
2. Go to an underground party
But of course, it’s LaBoracay so I still wanted to party. Is there a way to do it without the sardine-like setting? Oh yes there is. Sarah took us to this underground party on Bolabog beach, in a place called, Area 51. Party in this kind of bar starts really late, in fact, we went there a little before 12 midnight, but the place didn’t become busy until around 1AM. The people in the underground parties attract the same crowd that you can find in the rustic bars so you can expect a more chillax vibe.
3. Hang out on Bolabog Beach
Bolabog Beach is on the other side of the White Beach, famous to the kite enthusiasts. Bolabog is not as clean as the White Beach but it is definitely more serene. The shore is lined with posh-looking resorts too, one of which is Levantin where my friend and I spent half of the day just lounging around, sipping our drinks as we gazed out to the azure sea.
4. Go island hopping
Last year we paid 500 bucks for what I consider to be the worse island-hopping experience ever. There were only two stopovers then, the Coral Garden for snorkeling and the Puka Beach. This time for only 600 (inclusive of lunch) we were able to go to five spots: Coral Garden, Crystal Cove, Tabon Port, Crocodile Island, and Puka Beach. We were on a boat with 13 other passengers, but I didn’t really mind. Last year we had the boat all to ourselves yet we didn’t get value for our money so I’d rather go with strangers anytime.
5. Drive an ATV
I still wasn’t able to try any of the water sports in Boracay but my friends and I did go to the Dreamland Amusement Park for an ATV experience. For only 650 pesos, we were able to drive the ATV for one hour, with a stopover at the Ocean Tower. It wasn’t hard to drive the ATV but you are not allowed to race it nor can you drive it anywhere you like. There is another driver that leads the path so I wasn’t able to go faster to my dismay. But it was really fun, though we did it under the fierce heat of the sun. It’s one Boracay adventure I’d recommend to anyone.
6. Try the Skycycle
I thought there was nothing to it until my friend and I started pedaling and realized we were several feet off the ground in a roller-coaster-like setting without the sudden drop. Riding the Skycycle has got to be one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. My heart was in my throat and all I could think about is to get us to the finish point.
The only reason we have a picture up there is because my friend, Lee Boyd, took a selfie. I actually discouraged him from doing so for fear that he’d drop his phone. When he did the selfie, he stopped pedaling thereby slowing down our progress. I almost panicked when I saw that our other friend, Alchris, and our guide, Panyong who were driving before us suddenly looked like way ahead on the rail. I finished the drive feeling like my knees turned to jelly, I’m telling you it was really scary! But I’m still glad I did it. I didn’t know there’s a seatbelt though, so I wasn’t able to use it. Would I take the Skycycle again? Believe it or not, I would, and next time I would fasten myself on the goddamn seat.
7. Take pictures at the 3D Museum
Dreamland has a museum adorned with paintings with 3D effect. The illustrations looked flat in person, it is only when you pose before them and take a picture that you’d notice the 3D effect. Needless to say, we had fun going around the place and taking our pictures.
8. Discover Diniwid Beach
You think the White Beach is beautiful? Wait til you get to Diniwid Beach. This one has the most spectacular beach I’ve ever seen in Boracay. We wouldn’t have discovered it if not for the Spider House, one of the places that Sarah suggested. Spider House is a resort that looks like a big treehouse, it has an in-house restaurant and a sushi bar called, Wrap n’ Roll. The place is said to be quite popular with backpackers, not only for the food and the chillax vibe, but most importantly for the astonishing view of the sea from its deck.
9. Watch the sunset
The sunset in Boracay is a thing to behold. We watched it at Station 1 last year, this time, we had the perfect experience at Station 3 in the beachside area of Red Pirates bar. The changing of hues of the horizon, the sun that burns in the most intense of auburn, the sail boats passing slowly, and the people idling by on the seashore, it’s the most picturesque scene ever. I said it before and I say it again, you should never miss the Boracay sunset.
10. Make new friends
Lastly, the thing I found most enjoyable and made this trip all the more meaningful is the fact that we met new friends; Sarah, Annie, Christine, and Peiman, even our guide Panyong. We exchanged stories, drank til the wee hours, watched the sunset, and walked along the seashore. I discovered things on the island I would have overlooked had it not been for these wonderful persons and so I am grateful.
I didn’t join the beach parties because I opted to join my friends in the less crowded hangout spots. Also, I think I’m too old for that shit haha… But if you want to party hard at LaBoracay you’re covered, there were too many of them to choose from. Lee Boyd was the only one in our group who were able to experience it with his other friends. Here’s one beach party held at Station 1.
Yep, that’s a huge crowd right there. But to those who don’t want to deal with a great multitude of people, I just offered you some of the things that you can still do during LaBoracay. In my opinion, LaBoracay can be enjoyed by everyone; you just have to know where to look.