I'm writing about this because the sun is scorching hot.

And this humid weather reminds me of this:

The 4-km long, powder-fine, white sand beach of Boracay! 

When I first visited the island, I did all things the Boracay way -- got myself a henna (and almost had my hair braided), did the zorb, ate a lobster, drooled on cakes and shakes, and bought sand art and wood carvings from the lucky peddlers who happened to ask me, the eager guest. I just had to get all those touristy things done.

The next time I was there, I'd like to think that I was wiser. Boracay, with its grand establishments, need not to be expensive. There are a lot of things to choose from and prices vary from the tourist trap fancy to the backpacker-friendly rates. But hey, if you want to spend, go ahead and do it. 

Going to Boracay during off-peak months gives me almost 25% savings from accommodations and activities. Plus there is no need to worry about the crowd which usually flocks the strip of heaven during summer and long weekends (Well, except for our Korean friends. It seems that they favor the beach all-year round.) Reservations are not necessary and the usual walk-in inquiries and check-ins work. Haggling powers are especially effective during lean months.

The goal for August 2011 trip was to stay in Boracay for 3days and 2nights and get to experience parasailing, for under P5000.
I usually stay out all day, so a non-AC room was fine for me. First we found a cheap place to stay in but I wasn't quite comfortable with walking in a long alley. I then remembered Roque's Place, where my friends and I stayed in 2009.  Roque's is located at the back of La Carmela at Station 2, near the police station.  The non-AC room was priced at P600 per night.
However, if you wish to go back to bed for some afternoon siesta, better get an AC room. Another thing to consider is if you prefer staying near the establishments (say you plan to get dead drunk and your autopilot mode only works within a 100m radius) or if you don't mind doing some walking.

Photo from 2009 - this is how the huts look like from the outside
For groups of 10 and above, try checking the rates of Casa Fiesta in Station 1. We were a group of 11 people (who went there last 11/11/11 -- I just had to say that!) and paid P930 each for a 2-night stay.

      Expense: P600 x 3nights / 2 = P900
      Budget Left: P4100


This one's quite tricky. If you're a foodie, you might want to check out the really good places to eat at before going.  We are all eternally hungry when we're on the beach and everything looks yummy until you taste it. Some cheap food thrills in the island: Chori burger. Isaw and hotdog with rice for a meal. Jonas' Shake (priced like Jamba Juice but it tastes better). Master Siomai.

We usually save up on some days and splurge on the last night's meal. Our meals included Mang Inasal, Andoks, and Decos. For our drinking water, chips, sudden cravings, and other needs, we got them at the grocery at the other side of D' Mall.

Photo from our 11-11-11 trip
Most establishments offer cheap happy-hour rates for drinks and cocktails. My favorite is Red Pirates at Station 3, with beers priced at P40 each. You could also try the White House at Station 1 where they serve drinks at 50% off the price.

Another good alternative is to buy ice-cold beer from the grocery and drink it while walking on the shore at night. Watch the poi dancers swing fires or catch some live band perform for free entertainment.

The Boss in Boracay!

I wish I had a beer in hand and sand on my toes each time the sun sets.
     Food Expense: P2406 / 2 = 1203 (includes meals, drinks, chips, ice cream, coffee, and the occasional shake and siomai cravings!)
     Budget Left: P2897


Here comes Superman!

It's the best thing I ever did in Boracay.  For 15minutes, we were suspended on the huge Superman balloon. It really did feel like being the superhero -- flying with the sea down below you, minus the briefs worn on top of our clothes! The whole stretch of the beach was in full view, the world was quiet (which never really happens in Boracay), and the setting sun provided a wonderful backdrop.

Many agents are on the beach offering parasailing, snorkeling, island hopping, and other beach activities. These guys get a commission so if you want to save up, the cheaper way is to go directly to the office. Diamond's office is located in Station 1.

     Expense: P1400
     Budget Left: P1497


This accounts for the things I forgot to bring like sunglasses and toiletries.  I bought a nice wide-brimmed hat and some pasalubong to take home too. Transportation expenses such as cab fares and terminal fees are also included here. I am fond of long walks so there is no need to ride a tricycle from Station 1 to Station 3. Think of the daily walk as a great exercise!

     Expense: P1310
     Budget Left: P187

Adding these all up, I spent P4813 for the trip.

Mission accomplished!

Photos by Aaron Manila, except the one from 2009.
Airfares not included in the P5K budget but we booked cheap flights too! Round trip tickets at P1282. 

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