Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Boracay: Free Things to do, Activities, Tips and Important Reminders

We all know that Boracay island is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Philippines and has been also recognized as the best beach in the world. I am no Boracay expert but on my recent 5-day stay there where I had a chance to mingle with the locals and some Boracay experts, I've compiled these tips and tricks on how to enjoy and save money at the same time so you would be able to avoid the scams.

I'm writing this blog so that even if it's your first time in Boracay, you can do activities on your own.

First, let me define some of the terms I used in this article:
Hawker - Those guys asking you to book their activities from them ALL THROUGHOUT the beach path. Can be annoying at times. Since they can't seem to identify my nationality, they talk to me in Korean, Japanese or Chinese. Similar to the guys in Greenhills selling 'deebeedee-deebeedee'.
Scammers - Those unethical practices done by the locals and business owners that destroys the image of the Philippines and Filipinos.
My Personal Recommended Hawker - Contact Ariel Cahilig. His number is 0928 4210924.
Boracay Expert - Been to Boracay tons of times and know the island by heart
Pasalubong - is a Tagalog word which if translated in the American English language would be "keepsake" or "presents". It is a souvenir brought for loved ones or friends.

Here are some of the things to do in Boracay (Water sports, land activities and other must experience experiences in the island).
Boracay ATV
If you want to save money, skip the hawkers and go directly to the ATV place. Take a trike (usually 25 pesos per person or sometimes cheaper) and tell the trike driver to take you to the ATV place. This would make you save a couple of bucks.
Why? First, the hawker would ride the trike with you and that's a plus 25-peso on your trike fare. Second, of course, they get a cut per reffered customer. I have no complains about the percentage they get but, unsuspecting tourist would be scammed by these hawkers.
First stop - Everland Aviary Park
Second stop - Tanawin View Point

How? Well, there will be 2 stops on your ATV ride. The guy from Alan B Fun tours told us that the total of both stops costs 250 pesos. In reality, when we checked the price at the ATV place, the total for the both stops was only 110 pesos!

ATV Briefing
Island Hopping
The fee Alan B fun tours charged us was 600 pesos. The bad part was, they informed us that there are other charges only when we were already at the middle of the sea! What much choice do we have, right? They should have told us upon paying the 600 pesos that there are other charges to snorkel and to enter one of the islands called, crystal cove.

Crystal Cove, Cave 1

To avoid such,
1) To avoid scammers. In this case, Alan B Fun tours because of their unethical practice of not honestly informing you about other charges upon paying the island hopping fee.
2) Ask the hawker if there would be ANY other charges other than the price they gave you. Make it clear that there would be no other charges or you would in turn, charge them that amount to prevent that from happening.
Horseback Riding
Take the horseback riding around 5pm so that it will be just in time for the sunset when you reach the top. You can view the sunset from above the island. This tip is also applicable in the Parawsailing and the ATV ride.

After my 2 unethical experience from Alan B Fun Tours, I searched for my own hawker since this is my first time in Boracay. I'm writing this blog so that even if it's your first time in Boracay, you can do activities on your own.

I got my own personal hawker by asking the guard of our hotel (in this case, Le Soleil de Boracay) for recomendation. This would be 10x safer than looking for your own hawker while walking. You could also ask the reception/ concierge of the place that you are staying at for recommendations.

I am not sure how much the services mentioned below are, but, do tell me if I was scammed or what.
Sunset Parawsailing
Php 1000.00 for the whole boat regardless of how many persons would ride. max would be 5 to 6, I think. You can contact the hawker I got since his cousin or friend has his own Paraw. My hawker's name is Ariel Cahilig. His number is 0928 4210924. I also got the helmet diving and parasailing services from him. Great guy!
Helmet Diving
Php 500.00 per person. They use air compressors for this. I heard that there is this other helmet diving operator that uses oxygen rather than air compressor. I think the oxygen one would be a bit more expensive (around 700 pesos). Air compressor or not, the package includes the underwater photos and videos they will shoot and put in a CD.

Tip: For those who don't want to do this but you want to join your friends, you can join the transfer from the shore to the platform where this activity will be done, free of charge.
Php 1500.00 per person. You can either do it in 2's or 3's depending on the wind. I'm not sure if you can fly up there alone but, I think you can. It's not going to be as fun though. Unlike other parasailings I tried before, you will be seated side by side amongst each other.
You can always go straight to the operators if you want.

Tip: You can also join the boat transfers and the parasailing boat if you don't want to parasail. Just tell them that you would like to accompany your friends. they got this great speedboat with leather upholstery that costs 4million pesos

For the Parasailing, contact Diamond watersports at (036) 288-6621, (036) 288 6681, (036) 288-5711

Free Activities around Boracay

The best things in life are free. Here are some of the activities in Boracay you can do on a budget because... it's FREE!
Watch the locals build sand castles
Yes, it's an amazing and educational experience at the same time. Watch them so you can learn to build your own sand castle. For the geeky you, it will feed the science-hungry mind as you can watch how the elements work together to form another shape from sand, water and air.
Sunset Photo Opportunity
This is the perfect time to take your jump shots by the beach. Also an equally perfect time to have a family picture with a sunset backdrop. Just so you know, the most beautiful sunset in the Philippines is in Manila bay. Man-made dust and pollution causes beautiful sunsets (Read this article). Boracay is not as polluted as Manila so don't expect a beautiful sunset.
Swimming by the Shores of Boracay
Enjoy the clear waters. This place is one of the few salt water beaches that you can open your eyes without getting red and irritated afterwards.
Write on the fine, white sand beaches of Boracay

Don't do this literally and use a pen, please. Be as creative as you can be. Leave a message for a stranger and make them smile. This is also a cost-effective way to give "pasalubong". Write the name of your friends and take a photo of it. Tell them it's a digital pasalubong. :)

Night Walk by the Beach
We did this with a Boracay expert. Walked from station 2 until the end of Station 3, where Asya Boracay Premier Suites is standing. It was a good walk. The island is relatively safe but there are areas that are pitch black so bring along a flashlight. Be an eco-warrior for the night and pick up the trashes along the way. Bring something that you can use to store the trash you picked up.

You can also do this at anytime of the day as you deemed fit. Imagine, if every tourist and visitor picks up 10 trashes and they themselves won't carelessly throw away trash, the beach would be clean in no time. This is what we saw that night, near the end of station 3. Sad. Just sad:
Styro cups along the white fine beach of Boracay

Next up, where to eat, drink and be merry on the island or Boracay. Subscribe to my blog now and be updated with my latest adventures and misadventures :)

Check out:
WOW Philippines Travel Agency Website (Best Boracay Packages, Guaranteed!)
WOW Philippines Travel Agency Twitter Account
Le Soleil De Boracay Resort

A free vacation like mine sounds great, doesn't it? You want to know where I won it? See below.



Red Pirates said...

Great blog. If I might just ad a couple of suggestions - you can actually avoid the hawkers altogether and save money. Grab yourself a copy of an island guidebook (given out free at the jetty port) and it explains where to go to partake in the various activities. You can really save a lot.
As for paraw sailing, P1000 is too much. A fair price would be around P600 per hour.
See this site for details -


Rob said...

hey good article. However just a few things:

1. If I'm reading it correct I think you got ripped off on the trikes. The price is P7 or P10 more or less anywhere you want to go on the main road - the drivers will typically ask tourists for P50 - just hand over 7 and walk off. I was there for nearly 3 months and after a while they got the message. Although admittedly it probably would be more to go all the way to the ATV place, just ask a local.

Never go to a hawker (whether through your hotel or not) they will always rip you off - whatever you want to do go straight to the place. For example horse riding - its hardly hard to find.

Hope you had a great trip, Boracay is such a beautiful place!

Patrick Lish said...

Can you give me a quotation for a 3d2n stay at Le Soleil with airfare. Ty.