Philippines Travel

Boracay Adventures That Are Bang For The Buck

You can enjoy Boracay on a budget. But, you can enjoy Boracay more if you have extra budget.

Having been on my favorite island for three consecutive years, with the latest being the most outrageous of them all, and I mean that in a good way, I finally know why people would spend so much to experience island adventures. After trying four of them I realized that they did make our trip much more exciting and memorable. If you have the means I say you should try them too and here’s why.

It’s a surreal experience to be underwater

I have never been underwater, which means I never tried scuba diving or I was never murdered and thrown on the water with a heavy material to keep me submerged (hehehe…). I’m not exactly a good swimmer so I was not excited at all when we found out we’d go Helmet Diving, which is one of the most popular adventures in Boracay.

A feeling that I did not share with my fellow bloggers. They were all excited, each one wanting to go first. Our adventures for the day were handled by Stingray, who by the way offers insurance to their guests. The guide though was happy to report that since they started operation, they have zero accidents. Now that’s a relief.

Despite my halfheartedness I was the third person to go down the water, not from excitement but from wanting to get it done and over with. But first, let’s talk about how it works.

You will be able to breathe underwater with the use of the helmet. It’s a square-shaped heavy object that you put over your head. It is attached with an air compressor. The pressure keeps the water from entering the helmet and it also allows you to breathe. The entire activity lasts for only 15 minutes.

Are there special requirements you might ask. Well, nothing.

  • You don’t have to know how to swim (in fact, there’s no swimming involved here)
  • You don’t have to be in your bathing suit (I was wearing jean shorts and cropped top)

But are there some rules? Well not really, but you have to be careful of course. Here are some of the things to remember when you’re underwater:

  • When your ears hurt from the pressure, do the equalizing trick. Just pinch your nose then exhale with your mouth closed. It should release the pressure.
  • If you are not feeling well and you want to go up, signal the divers with the thumb up sign.
  • When you’re okay then put up the okay sign.

So what happened? Well, the boat has a ladder that goes all the way down to the seabed. You step down and when the water is already on your chest level, the helmet will be put over your head. Then you have to climb down until you reach the ocean floor. There are divers to assist you so don’t panic. And once you’re down there you might expect to feel a little dizzy. But you may also enjoy the view and boy was it fantastic.

There were fishes everywhere and it felt surreal to be in their world. The divers gave us pieces of bread to feed the fish wish. You hold up that piece of bread and watch them nae nae… I mean watch the fish consume that piece in 60 seconds. It was fun, like feeding fish in the aquarium only this time you are also in the aquarium.

As much as I liked it, I wasn’t able to thoroughly enjoy the experience because first, the helmet is too heavy. In fact, I had to support its weight with my hands because it was digging into my shoulders. Also, despite doing the equalizing trick, I suffered from a little headache that refused to go away. The only thing that stopped me from giving that thumbs up sign is my pride, I didn’t want to be the ninny who went up too early. But as soon as I saw the diver motioning for us to go up, I was the first one to approach him.

Would I recommend the activity, yes. I think it’s interesting and for what it’s worth, it felt surreal to be in the company of fishes. I liked the idea that humans cannot live underwater, but we found ways to at least enjoy it by doing some water activities. Would I repeat it, nope. I think once is enough.

Being up in the air is strangely soothing

I am kind of afraid of heights; kind of because I can be up on the building or ride a plane and not suffer from vertigo, but take me on a Ferris wheel and I’d be crying like a baby. I was also petrified when I rode the skycycle in Boracay last year. My fear had me thinking twice about going parasailing. Prior to that I was suffering from seasickness. I wasn’t the type who gets seasick, but the waves were so rough on that day, I was dealt with a terrible headache. I puked a little when I could no longer hold it in.

Because of that, my friends thought I wouldn’t go parasailing anymore; they thought wrong. This activity is worth PHP 1,700 (USD 36.52) and it would cost you more if you are doing it alone. Afraid or not, there was no way I’d let go of the opportunity.

We came in threes and my buddies for this activity were my blogger friends, Erwin and Jerny.

It also lasts for 15 minutes. First they strapped us in, I was positioned in the middle. Over our head is the parachute/kite and it’s the very thing that allowed us to fly up in the air.  It’s attached to a long tow rope that is connected to the boat.

Before we knew it, we were over 800 feet off the ground, or the sea rather. Just like my “unsure” fear, I also had unsure feelings about it. For one, I remember feeling unusually calm when we were up there. It was just so peaceful and contrary to my expectations, the wind didn’t whip our kite so the experience was basically still. At the same time, I was also feeling a bit paranoid because you know, sometimes imagination runs wild. I imagined the harness breaking like that scene with the raccoon at Ace Ventura. And when that happens, goddang it’d be a free fall. I knew I was wearing life vests but I still wouldn’t want to plummet to the sea.

So I distracted myself by talking with my friends. And we talked like we were just hanging out at the balcony of a tall building. Eventually, I was able to conquer my unreasonable fear and I was able to enjoy the ride.

Would I recommend it? Of course! Would I repeat it? Hell yes!

Riding on the water’s surface is a surefire way to pump up your adrenaline

I remember the story of my friend whose friend met a little accident during the flying fish  activity. Apparently, she fell on the water and that sort of messed up her hip giving her a permanent limp. I knew then that flying fish despite looking like it’s a harmless activity may in fact be dangerous.

Needless to say, I wasn’t excited to do it, but I still did it anyway. You should realize by now that I’d try anything despite my reservations. I’m curious like that.

Anyway, we sit atop this big inflatable raft and held on the rope in front of us. We were towed by the speed boat.  At first, it was all okay, I even thought, wow this is enjoyable. But when the boat started gaining speed, I felt the force vibrate through my body. Soon, my hands were hurting from holding on the the rope and there was no way in the world I’d let go of that rope. I didn’t last that very long. Nope I didn’t fall on the water but when the boat stopped because one of my companions was begging to go back on the boat, I followed suit.

Would I recommend it? No. Would I repeat it? Nope.

ATV/Buggy Ride is exhilarating

After all those water activities we went back on dry land for another exciting activity. Last year, I tried driving the ATV and it was so much fun (and the weather was so hot too!). But when we went to the venue and I saw the buggy, I immediately informed our guide that that’s what I wanted to drive, notwithstanding the fact that I don’t know how to drive.

The activity was sponsored by Boracay Adventure World (BAW). When I learned that they have their own tracks for their ATV, my excitement grew. Last time, my friends and I drove the ATV on a paved road. This time we took the dirt road with slopes and sharp turns that made driving more challenging.

The buggy is not that complicated, it only has two pedals; gas and brake. I was lost in pure exhilaration the moment I started driving it. I know it’s not a car, but I think I now have an idea why some people like to drive. There is something liberating about mastering a machine that could take you to places. It’s an amazing feeling.

There is a roundabout where people can practice and that’s where I spent most of my driving. Yep, you read that right, that’s the only time I was really able to drive that buggy. in the beginning of the real drive, I lost control of the steering wheel, which careened the buggy off the path. Still, I was confident I’d get the hang of it but the BAW driver wasn’t as confident that he decided to take the wheel from me. Bummer.

I was terribly disappointed. While my friends were having the time of their lives driving their ATVs and buggy, I was on the passenger seat. Being a passenger and a driver are two different experiences; the former being the sucky part. Because I was merely a passenger I felt every bumps and I hated it.


So the best part of this adventure for me was not the buggy but our free time spent on a beach called, Bil-at. It’s such a beautiful beach with fine golden sand minus the crowd. If you avail of BAW’s adventure, you will have an opportunity to see this beautiful beach for yourself so I suggest you go get their service.

Going back, I told Jerny that I wasn’t able to enjoy the buggy ride because the BAW driver didn’t let me drive. He then told the driver to let me take over the wheel so that I could experience it; the driver agreed.

Suddenly, I was happy again, but the happiness was short-lived because I didn’t get to drive it long. It turned out, the beach was near BAW’s area. Bummer.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I repeat it? Most definitely.

In my previous Boracay trips, I didn’t pay mind to the locals who were scattered about the seashore, offering adventures. I wasn’t even curious, I just thought those activities are a waste of time and money. I didn’t get why some tourists would pay for such expensive activities. What I failed to realize, which happily I have now come to understand is that they were spending for experience. How many times can you go underwater and be with the fishes or fly through the air and see the magnificent view of Boracay from above? When you really think about it, these experiences are priceless because they make for unforgettable memories and interesting stories to tell.

What about you, have you tried any of these activities?

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Comments (34)

  1. Jerny

    I really loved the time we were in Boracay. It’s not that laid-back but we have experienced few of the must-activities in the island! It was really a good experience. When will we be able to attend another one together with the others? I wonder! And I am also excited to know about where we would be going in the near future. Hopefully, there will be changes in Lara’s Boracay plans.

  2. Corinne

    Marge, Love the idea of a breathing helmet. I’m so scared of going underwater as well. I love the other two ideas as well, but would always do them. What fun. I want to go!

  3. Johna

    Been living in the Philippines for about 7 years now and I still haven’t been to Boracay 🙁 I love adventure and these look like so much fun! Will definitely try to book a ticket to Boracay next summer! Love to try parasailing 😀

  4. Carola

    Helmet diving looks incredibly awesome. I wish I could do that one day as well. I’ll put it on my wishlist. The photo looks great.

    The parasailing is impressive as well. Last year I’ve done paragliding in Sicily (Agrigento). And I thought it was awesome. That sense of hight, and the view! I felt really free. I’d love to do it again.

    I think those two activities would be my preference to do. Love all your photos and seems like a lot of fun all these activities. Though I’ll keep in mind to be the driver at a Buggy Ride :).

  5. Bernadette Angelie Pangilinan
    Bernadette Angelie Pangilinan

    I am not a great swimmer but I don’t know why helmet diving makes me feel excited. I want to try it when we go to boracay. Heck, I don’t even know how to swim but I guess it’s the fact that there’s no swimming required to try it that’s got me excited. I can finally experience being underwater. Haha!


    Back when I lived in Boracay, 1998-2003, we wished there were more activities, and now there are much more. However, we wanted to have more activities for families with little children too. Anyway, looking at your photos, the one that stood out is you underwater.

    It must feel so weird being fitted with a helmet with weights to keep you down, yet exhilirating at the same time.

    One thing I loved as a dive pro was the incredible feeling of floating underwater. On some dives, especially deeper dives, and when the water is crystal clear, (100m visibility) sometimes it feels like floating in space.

  7. Lara Dunning
    Lara Dunning

    I would love to try helmet diving, even tho I’m one of those folks that gets motion sick easily.

  8. Claire

    Wow I never knew helmet diving was a thing and now I really want to do it! Looks awesome!

  9. Tom

    Boracay is amazing!! Did you not visit Ariel’s Point? That was my favourite spot there! Great place to spend the day!

    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Hi Tom, nope we didn’t though I would have wanted to go there. Maybe next time. 🙂

  10. Christina

    Everything I read about Boracay just makes me want to book a ticket now! I would definitely like to go parasailing and get the experiencing of “flying”!

  11. christine leger
    christine leger

    That looks amazing! The only island adventure we have ever done was Castaway Cay with out Disney cruise lol. Not the same thing, I know, but we did parasailing, snorkling and drank alot on the beach so its kinda the same thing.

  12. Teodora

    Wow, the beach really is amazing! Wishing to be there right now! All the activities look so much fun, I’d love to try the parasailing!

  13. Alex

    These all sound like really cool adventures I would love to try one day.

  14. Jessica {The Bohemian Diaries}
    Jessica {The Bohemian Diaries}

    Looks like you had a fabulous time full of adventure! I really don’t think I would be able to last long with the helmet underwater but never say never, I guess!

  15. Erwin who
    Erwin who

    I would also want to see some fish do the nae nae haha. Borcay sure is an adventure. Your audacity to try these rides regardless of your fear amazes me.

  16. evan kristine
    evan kristine

    Well, well, well! I did not even know there are such activities in Boracay, haha! What a splendid adventure you had my dear. I always refused to visit the Island for some reason – perhaps because of the heavy price tag it includes? But hell, you did it on a budget I guess so can I! 😀

  17. Aldrick 'chiki' Agpaoa
    Aldrick 'chiki' Agpaoa

    Yey! Have been to Boracay but never tried some of the stuff written here. Will take of this!

    P.S.: Boacay just never gets old. <3

  18. Relyn

    Haven’t tried these activities when we visited Boracay. The ATV prices were freaking gold huhu. But now I know how to travel Boracay on a budget. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  19. Charmaigne

    Thanks Marj! That’s one of the reason why I’d like to go back to Boracay, if money permits. Appreciate you for sharing the thrill you had while doing all of these. <3

  20. Ferna

    I never tried helmet diving.. that’s one thing that I should do when in Boracay.. sounds interesting to me. 🙂 and since I love swimming and I sometimes went down underwater for up to 3-4 meters, sometimes I never cared for other activities like this, but I think I should try it’s interesting. Do you know how deep you take for helmet diving?

    Also, one thing: I hope for awareness too, please do not feed the fish with bread or anything, they have their own kind of food which mostly are planktons I also did this kind of activity before with snorkeling guides and boatmen and questioned myself if it is really advisable to feed fish in the ocean, later, I found out that from Marine Wildlife watch in the Philippines that we should avoid this kind of activity and let those people know for awareness too. Let’s spread the information when we can. 🙂 I will on the other hand, going to check more information about this too, and will write about it when I have accurate info.

    This is a very good post Marge, especially those who just went to Boracay did nothing, like me! LOL I didn’t do any activity when I was there, too touristy for me at the time I visited. Now, I should plan to go back and do all of these. Thanks to you 🙂

  21. Rachael

    Awesome adventures!! Would love to go to Boracay and do those as well. Keep traveling!

  22. Potpot Pinili
    Potpot Pinili

    My extreme phobia for snakes (and there are a lot of sea snakes too) scares me to death to go underwater. I can’t really last long. I wish I have your courage because I know I am missing a lot of the beauty that is in our underworld.

  23. Kat

    I haven’t been to Boracay yet, but I was told that when I do visit I should try out these kinds of activities. Now I’m convinced that I should, especially since helmet diving seems fun and doesn’t require great or any swimming skills. 🙂

  24. Niks Mendoza
    Niks Mendoza

    Reading this post made me want to go on an adrenaline-inducing adventure! Hahahaha Awesome story. 🙂

  25. Jeffrey Nerona
    Jeffrey Nerona

    Haha! Every time someone says “there are zero accidents”. I always worry I might give them the first one. Anyway all these look really fun. Inspired me to save money 😀

  26. Mikka Alaia
    Mikka Alaia

    This is beyond the parties of Boracay. Can’t wait to try them too 🙂

  27. Yrwin Denzel
    Yrwin Denzel

    Very brave of you to get out of your comfort zone and try out new things! I agree you really cannot put a price on exploring new places and getting new experiences! I’m shocked you’ve never been underwater seeing how we live in a tropical country! It’s been a while since I been to Boracay, but I remember it being a fun experience! I was able to ride the flying fish and banana boat rides there and they were so exciting for me! Keep doing exciting things in your life and you’ll have experiences you’ll cherish forever!

  28. Emem

    Never been to Boracay, but this seems like a lot of fun, unlike the usual partying scene of it. We may go to Boracay sometime this year, I’ll use this as my reference! Thank you! 🙂

  29. Mike

    I hope I can do all of them if I get to Boracay. HAHA I am always traveling broke. Ugh, pure adventure Marj! 🙂

  30. Dakilanglaagan

    Boracay has not been part of my itinerary but with all these adventures you’ve shared, I feel like giving the place a try. I think this is the kind of adventure I need to spice this sedentary life. Great!

  31. keevin fernandez
    keevin fernandez

    I love what you said that we spend for experience, which is the reason why I travel to experience as much as I can and to learn from them. Good read! Keep it up Marjorie 🙂

  32. Jian Marla Reyes
    Jian Marla Reyes

    I do agree that you can go to Boracay with a limited budget. I was able to do solo backpacking there with 6k budget for 5 days all in! Boracay is paradise!

  33. Carlo Galicha Dominguez
    Carlo Galicha Dominguez

    All I could say is you are getting braver now by at least trying these activities. I know you are not going to step back and would give it a try despite that you are not comfortable doing it and The feeling and experienced was truly rewarding. I’m happy that you experienced it too. Next, we are going to do cliff diving and free diving haha 🙂


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