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Boracay in the Philippines: Your quick guide to the award-winning island

By: Harriet Empey

Boracay is a small island in the Philippines, 315km south of Manila, in the Western Visayas region. Tourists started going there in the 70s and the island and its beaches have received numerous awards, including Travel + Leisure’sbest island in the world in 2012, and TripAdvisor’s “Travelers’ Choice 2011” second best beach in the world.


The two main beaches, west-facing White Beach and east-facing Bulabog Beach, are on opposite sides of the island’s narrow central area. The most popular, White Beach, is lined with resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars. Bulabog Beach is the second most popular beach on the island and is the main windsurfing and kiteboarding area.

There are two seasonal weather patterns, known locally as the amihan and habagat seasons. The amihan season, which runs from October to June, has moderate temperatures, little or no rainfall, and a north-easterly wind. The habagat season is generally hot and humid, with frequent, heavy rainfall and a westerly wind. The main indicator of the switch between seasons is the change in wind direction.

Tourism peaks during the amihan season when White Beach is sheltered from the wind and the water is very smooth. At the same time, the winds on the eastern side of the island make Bulabog Beach ideal for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

What to do on the island

There are plenty of things to do on Boracay, whatever your passion. Watersport enthusiasts can enjoy kitesurfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, diving, sailing, jet skiing, banana boating, kayaking, island hopping and paraw sailing. Those wanting to take it easy can head to the award-winning Mandala Spa, experience a sunset cruise or just relax on the beach. Foodies will delight in the many dining options, including Indigo at Discovery Shores resort, Caruso Ristorante at The District hotel and Aria Italian restaurant in D’Mall, or learn to cook local dishes at Boracay Cooking School. Other activities include horse riding, tennis, and golf at the 18-hole, par-72 championship Fairways & Bluewater golf course which was designed by Graham Marsh.

Expat life on Boracay

If you were thinking of relocating to Boracay, around 1,000 expats of all nationalities live on the island. The locals mix really well with expats and tourists alike. It’s a place where people from all walks of life tend to get along well.

For those with school-age children, the Boracay International School caters to children from Nursery to Grade 8. It was founded in 2008 by a group of parents living on the island.

Fancy moving there or discovering more about owning a place on Boracay? Get in touch with Claire Brown Realty.

The future of Boracay

Boracay is a year-round holiday destination and is growing in popularity; 2012 saw a 25-percent increase in tourists. The redevelopment of Caticlan airport, due for completion in 2015, will make it even more accessible. Its extended runway will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, so visitors to the island will no longer have to fly to Caticlan via Manila or fly to Kalibo Airport and get a land transfer. The airport will have direct access to a new jetty where ferries depart for the 10-minute trip to Boracay.

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