Plans can change last minute while travelling and we’d hoped to travel around Mindoro island, check out some of the loin-cloth wearing locals at the markets, visit Apo Reef and then get a ferry to Palawan. But upon calling the company we were told the ferry wasn’t running for another month or two. So, we got the guide book out and decided to head south to Borocay Island.
Boracay is pretty much on everyone’s wish list for places to visit in the Philippines, even in the world. It’s a tiny island only 7km long and very thin. The famous white beach is 4km of pure white sand and clear blue sea and the island was voted 2nd best in the world in 2013, just behind Palawan’s first place.
We found a lovely guesthouse with our own veranda just a 1 minute walk to the beach. I couldn’t wait to get there so we speed-walked down and I deflated instantly. The sand was covered in thick green algae and the sea was lapping against the shore with a dark green colour. What the heck?! People were still swimming in it though and Craig was trying to coax me in as he said the algae cleared after the first few metres but I couldn’t bare the feel of it around my legs. Turns out this algae happens every year, I don’t know how long it lasts for but I think I read from March to June it can appear. The locals claim it’s what makes the sand so white, but I think that’s just them trying to make the best of a bad situation. It’s amazing though how it didn’t mention this in the guidebook and you certainly don’t see photos of it when you google Boracay.
We wondered along the beach walkway which was lined with hotels, bars and restaurants. The place was heaving with tourists, mainly huge groups of Koreans and you could never walk in a straight line. We’d stayed in the Angol area by station 3 and found three nice bars in a row offering super long happy hours. For £1 I could get a lovely cocktail, sit on the deck chairs and watch the sunset. It was heavenly. Then the birds in the palm tree went crazy in the setting sun and soon enough one shat on my shoulder, I quickly wiped it off before anyone saw but I’m fairly sure that it’s good luck on the left shoulder. When we got back to our hotel I found another berry riddled poo under my armpit!! It had printed onto my arm and made a right mess.
The bars really came to life at night and the restaurants spit roasted pigs and served up huge buffets to eager guests. Lots of them had really good live bands with a nice variety of music and fairy lights hung from the palm trees.
The next day we walked all the way along white beach up to station 1. At each station is a huge cluster of boats which really ruins the beach in our opinion. Why can’t they keep the boats at the pier and keep this as a nice beach? The algae cleared up the further north we went and some resorts had raked it off the sand and it was lovely and clean.
We checked out Willy’s Rock which was a tiny rocky island with a lone palm tree and a religious statue on it. It was quite a beautiful site along such an un-interrupted beach. The beach was pretty damn idyllic up at station 1, there was almost no algae and it actually looked like the photos you see advertising the Philippines. We ran into the crystal clear waters which looked like we were swimming in a pool of gin.
The paddle boarding looked extremely temping in the clear seas so we gave it a go. We managed to get both of us on one board and Craig did most of the paddling like a professional punter while I worked on my tan. When I did give paddling a go I managed to lose balance and toppled us both into the deep turquoise water. We quickly grabbed our possessions that fell off and cracked up laughing. This set the tone for the rest of the hour and we used the board as a platform to jump off which was surprisingly difficult as it moved. Not a bad day at all.