I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to go to Boracay! After spending a week with my parents in Pagsanjan, Laguna, I went to Boracay with an overnight stay in Manila in between and another 2 days after. Covid restrictions were still in place so I had to break up the week to do the testing and all that. It was March 12-16, 2022, about 2 years from my last international trip (Singapore, March 2020, right before the global lockdown) and it was worth the wait. More on the Manila hotels and Singapore trip in upcoming blogs.
I took an early Philippine Airlines morning flight from Manila to Caticlan, then a private van to the port, then a boat to Boracay, then a private van again to MÖVENPICK RESORT & SPA BORACAY, which I booked through booking.com. The private vans and boat I booked through the resort. Since I arrived before check-in hours, my room wasn’t ready yet so I had lunch at one of the restaurants on site and enjoyed the beach. I should’ve put on some sunscreen but I thought, being brown skinned, I’d be ok. But I fell asleep on the sand and, well, you guessed it, sunburn on day 1!
Finally I got to check into my room and WOW! It was so spacious and beautifully decorated with rich wood and warm tones everywhere with accent colors of turquoise and chartreuse. The bathroom was a suite of its own with a giant tub for 2 on a raised wooden platform, double sink and mirrors, and a glass enclosed shower with a rain-shower head, and a separate glass enclosed toilet. The king sized bed is next to the balcony that sits under a canopy of palm trees. There’s also a living room area with coffee/tea amenities. There was also a complimentary dessert platter (macarons, cake rounds, and cookies with champagne) along with a note that my original room request was no longer available so they upgraded me to a junior suite. I was hoping for a room with an ocean view but I guess I have to just come back for that.
My days consisted of mainly lounging around by the pool and beach, floating in the water, getting more sun (with sunscreen of course), and meals in one of the restaurants on site. The breakfast buffet at The Market gave a wide selection of Philippine favorites (pancit, longanisa, rice, etc.) and western staples. In the afternoon they had a chocolate bar (everything chocolate!) which was perfect for that snackish feeling right before dinner. Dinners at the Sol Marina Beach Club were perfect to watch the famed Philippine sunsets with spectacular colors of the sky. My favorite dish throughout the whole trip was the “sinigang na salmon sa miso”, which was a lightly grilled salmon strip in a sour miso broth and lots of vegetables. I did have to venture into a nearby mall for a Jollibee fix because, why not?!
The best beach on this trip was Puka Shell Beach or yapak (barefoot) beach, if you’re a local. I was advised by locals (because I talk to everyone including hotel staff and groundskeepers) that to really enjoy it I should go as early as 8 or 9 am. I’m so thankful for that because I went around 8 am and walked to the far edge of the beach and there was no one around for 2 hours. The sand was bright with no footprints, the water was clear and warm, and it was very quiet. Around 10 am the tourist boats started to arrive and within the hour it was too crowded and busy to enjoy a peaceful beach time. I also have to compliment Mövenpick for employing locals as groundskeepers who kept the resort pristine and especially the beach crew who cleared it of seaweed and debris. They even manually sweep the sand to smooth it before the guests arrive.
The best activity was the Paraw Sailing (outrigger sailboats) by Boracay Adventures, which I booked through Guide to the Philippines. I met up with my guide at D’Mall which is an open air mall full of local vendors and eateries. The boats were lined up along the beach and my guide introduced me to the sailors who were so humble and careful, especially since I’m by myself. When I was younger I was too self-conscious about everything and I wouldn’t have even considered going on a boat ride. But coming into this trip, I had a “y’all gonna get what I give” attitude meaning this is it, me, just as I am, flaws and all. I did put on some makeup for the insta, but otherwise, I felt so free hanging onto the sails and sitting on the netting, with the sun on my face and wind in my hair and sea mist on my skin. It was a short boat ride along the coast but I felt so carefree.
I think the main takeaway from my Boracay trip is a reiteration of my attitude the last few years, to just go. Go on that vacation, that trip, that weekend getaway, that localcation, that staycation, even if you have to go at it alone. With some planning, and a lot of saving, you’ll get to see that there’s so much more to life than the little boxes that we put ourselves in. And if you’re not able to travel to certain destinations, I hope this blog post gives you a sense of wonderment and awe and a smile and a nice visual collection of a tropical vacation.