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Boracay

My little slice of happiness

sunny 30 °C

When I arrived in Boracay, I had no idea what to expect. I'd never really seen the Philippines before and I had never seen more beautiful and dramatic sunsets in my life! The island of Boracay had such a nice ambience, with the local children playing on the beach with handmade kites, building sandcastles and playing tag. Filipino people are the nicest race I have ever met. The people that I came across were so welcoming, polite and friendly and the majority of Filipinos spoke English even if only a little.

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I'd never heard of Boracay until my lovely friend Jacky I met in Cambodia told me she going to a boat party there and that I should join. Now I never like to miss a good party..
It turns out I had arrived just in time for Laboracay, the labor day weekend in Boracay. Basically an epic weekend of partying hard. If that sounds like your thing, Boracay during this time is perfect for you. I wouldn't suggest it for honeymooners, families or older couples unless that's what you're into.

I stayed at Mad Monkey hostel in Station 1. I hadn't stayed at a Mad Monkey chain before, but I had heard good things. The hostel certainly lived up to its name. Getting woken up by the bar staff yelling 'Ladies and Gentlemen of Mad Monkey, FREE SHOTS AT THE BARRRR' at 10am or earlier, was the norm. I was glad at this point I hadn't sold a kidney on the black market because I was definitely going to need both after staying there. The drinking / partying culture was HUGE. The prices for food and drink at the hostel were reasonable and the beds were clean and comfortable. You even get your own personal fan on the wall and not to mention free wifi! You couldn't get more friendlier staff at Mad Monkey; a big shout out to Tina and Robbie, thank you for making it such a great experience, you made it feel like I was part of one big crazy family. I felt right at home. The hostel was also a great place in the evening for pre-drinks and partying by the pool but it's worth getting down to the beaches in the day as they are so beautiful, despite being quite busy with tourists.

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9am - And What?

Every Tuesday and Saturday they send guests out on boat parties. I would highly recommend it as it was such a fun day, with great people and sound vibes. It was only Pp1500 for the day which included the ticket for the boat, unlimited beer and house spirits, cliff jumping and watching the sunset on a secluded beach. I have some of my funniest and happiest memories of my whole trip from that boat party, with videos and photographs that cannot be unseen. Don't forget to drink with your left hand or they will make you down your drink through a funnel, Mad Monkey's number 1 rule. No one gets away unscathed.

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Station's 2 - 1 were the best stations for fun. On the beach there are tonnes of bars and restaurants scattered with beanbags and lights all the way up to Station 3. The festival included raves and parties on the beach amidst those zones, such as Globe Sunkissed at White House, Epic, Om Bar, foam parties and many others with top DJ's from all over the world. Even mid rave you can take yourself out of the venues and go for a cheeky dip in the sea to cool off before returning to the set to throw some more shapes.

On the beach, there was a lot of algae this time of year which was a bit off-putting. Really slimy on the old toes and made the sea an extremely unpleasant colour.

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If you walk further up towards Station 3 the beaches are more beautiful and a lot nicer for relaxing and swimming.
My favourite, was a 25 minute tricycle ride to ilig iligan Beach. It wasn't full of tourists, it had crystal clear water, white powdery sand and puppies! I think the puppies was what topped it for me. There was a group of us who shared the tricycle and brought lots of alcohol, mixers and snacks to the beach. Try not to cram as many people into a tricycle as we did. It broke down after trying to get up the hill with all our weight. We had to get out, walk to the top of the hill (there were a few) and the trike needed to go back down the hill for a run up. It was such an entertaining experience but took us a lot longer to get there than anticipated.

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The food in Boracay was beautiful. There was such a mix of local and international dishes and the prices for food were reasonable throughout the stations. Lots of the bars had different atmospheres, like the party bar Exit and the lovely chilled out Spider bar, which were also reasonably priced. Just make sure you don't walk back through the sand without flip flops or shoes. I managed to get spiked by kebab stick right between my toes by the skewer. It was such a drama, a skewer wanging out of my foot and I was flapping around trying to pluck up the courage to yank it out. And my god did it bleed!

While we're on the topic of risk prevention, be prepared to see armed guards when you go into a bank to withdraw cash. But don't worry, they're nice guys, they even open the door for you and their job is to keep you safe. Least you know you won't get robbed!

The only downside was getting to the Island of Boracay, which proved to be a bit of a nightmare from Manila, on a backpacking budget. If I had the choice I would have flown as it would have been quicker and less hassle.
I got a taxi to the bus station in Manila. A 2 hour bus journey to Batangas with Jam Line. An overnight ferry with 2Go Travel from Batangas - Caticlan port and another boat journey (only 15 minutes) from Caticlan to Boracay. The transport in the Philippines isn't the most reliable and 2Go staff didn't arrive at the booking station for 1.5 hours after they were meant to open. They were on Asian Time. I wish I had known the ferry company name prior to my journey to Boracay because I would have booked it online. I was told by the locals that you could just turn up to the port and get the ferry. I waited at the port for 6 hours and was in the 3rd batch of people hoping to get on the last ferry leaving that night at 9pm, with no other plan. I waited and waited, with many others in similar situations, trying to get home or back to see sick relatives, not knowing whether we had a place on the ferry.

Luckily I met Orvard, a Filipino gentleman who really went out of his way to ensure that information was interpreted to me, restored order in the port and even let me hang on to his powerbank when my phone battery would have otherwise died. We'd spent hours talking about putting the world to rights, telling terrible jokes and trying to keep positive. He got on the boat before me and left me with a mapped out plan for alternative routes to get to Boracay, just in case. I was extremely tired, anxious and not so positive at this point, it literally felt like the end of the world being in the crowd with so many overwrought people speaking a different language to me. 2 minutes before the boat departed, I found out I had a place and it was such a mad rush to get past security and the sniffer dogs before it left. I think I was the happiest and most grateful person on that night ferry!

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The night boat itself was a good laugh, once I got on it. We were served food, had beds (linen came at an extra cost) and there was karaoke at the bar. Although the boat looked a bit like a prison, kids crying everywhere, families of 5 sleeping all together on one bottom bunk, it was an entertaining journey to say the least. The other passengers were really kind and made an effort to get to know me, offering me crisps, sweet potato pastries and cans of beer. I met a group of guys all wearing matching red singlets with #savesexy printed on them. I ended up spending the night talking to them about their campaign; informing young people about HIV, how I could get involved, endless drinking and listening to them sing until sunrise. I had a grand total of about 2 hours sleep, before being woken up by cockerels crowing from their boxes on the bottom deck.

Once you get to the island of Boracay, getting around it was pretty easy. When you get to your station you can pretty much walk anywhere between the 3 stations. If you're having a lazy day you can hop in a tricycle easy enough to get to your destination, which was a lot quicker in the heat. Lots of hostels and hotels do transfers to the port too which is super convenient.

But don't let any of that put you off! Just book ahead (or fly).

Boracay was my favourite place on my trip, not just because of a cheeky holiday romance that felt as though I was in a Hollywood movie for 4 days, but because of the lifelong friends and memories that I had also made on the Island.

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You MUST go to Boracay <3

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Posted by Travel__Tease 17:00 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunset beach philippines hostel puppy boracay laboracay beach_bums mad_monkey Comments (0)

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