Have you ever sat to the ultimate healthy meal, only to find yourself gazing at the unopened bag of Sour Patch Kids in your kitchen?
You made yourself a salad — an exceptionally healthy one. It’s vegan, gluten-free, has seasoned tofu for protein and even a good dose of goji berries and various nuts and seeds loaded with antioxidants.
You’re about to serve yourself — and then that bag of Sour Patch Kids catches your eye. It’s filled with Sour Patch Kids. And right next to it is a package of peanut butter M&Ms.
You know you should eat your salad like a proper person…but you really, really want that candy. And it wouldn’t be so bad to eat it. Just for one meal.
Boracay is candy in destination form.
With only two weeks allotted to explore the Philippines before heading on to Hong Kong and back to the US, my time was limited. My original plans for the Philippines had been to head up through North Luzon to see the UNESCO-listed rice terraces along with the hanging coffins of Sagada.
This region shows off some of the Philippines’ natural and cultural beauty, and I wanted to explore it — it seemed like the “smart” thing to do.
That said…it wouldn’t be the smoothest journey. It would take two overnight buses there and back, plus some crazy bus journeys along cliffs, very basic guesthouses, spotty connectivity…a region that I’d love to visit at the right time. But this wasn’t the right time. I had too much work to do and not enough energy to give this trip the attention it deserved.
Sabrina, my Philippines-expert friend, nearly exploded when I told her my plans. “You can’t go to the Philippines and not see a single beach!” she admonished me. “The beaches are the best part! Go to Boracay.”
That was all the convincing I needed. I booked tickets right away.
Getting to Know Boracay
Boracay is a tiny island in the Visayas region of the central Philippines. As the most popular travel destination in the Philippines, it’s far from undiscovered — the island absolutely teems with tourists, especially Filipinos, Koreans, and Chinese.
White Beach is the main hub of the island, stretching along the west coast, and it’s often cited as one of the world’s best beaches. And with a beach path running parallel to the shore, you could spend your whole stay on Boracay on sand — I know I nearly did!
White Beach is divided into three sections named after the former boat stations: Station 1, furthest north, is home to luxury resorts. Station 2, in the middle, is a huge commercial hub and home to tons of shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well as DMall, a massive shopping complex.
Station 3, furthest south, is much quieter and more relaxed. Just south of Station 3 is Angol, an even more chilled out neighborhood. Some people say that Angol is the only remnant of the “Old Boracay” before it got so developed.
There are a few other beaches — Bulabog Beach in the east is popular with the kitesurfing/windsurfing crowd in high season, and secluded Puka Beach in the north is a big day trip destination.
As for me, I loved the Station 3/Angol region and spent the bulk of my time there, but would often head up to Station 2 for dinner and drinks.
Wake up, sit on the beach, get brunch, get lunch, read, swim a little bit. Watch the sunset, get dinner, maybe get a drink or two. That’s all you have to know.
The thing about Boracay is that the beach here is so great — the sand so white and fine, the beachfront so long, the landscape so beautiful, the water so warm and turquoise — that you can do nothing else and still feel entirely accomplished.
Also: eat mangos day and night. I swear that the Philippines is home to the sweetest, juiciest mangos in the world. I had mango juice, mango shakes, mango lassis, even a mango set on fire with burning cognac and topped with ice cream!
The World’s Best Sunsets
Back in the day, I thought that Koh Lanta was home to the world’s best sunsets. While I’ve seen some amazing sunsets on Lanta, quite frankly, they didn’t hold a candle to what I saw on Boracay.
On my third night on Boracay, I saw what was indisputably the best sunset of my life. My photos don’t remotely capture how incredible it was, but here are a few shots of it anyway.