(Conversion rates: P43=$1, P96=£1) I've said before that I'm not a "beach-y" person. It's all that sun, sticky, sweaty, sand, and heat that turn me off. Plus, I can't swim and I'm very self-conscious. BUT, it doesn't take a whole lot to make me smile, so even with all those things I dislike, I found myself quite enjoying Boracay (in a wholesome way). The breathtaking atmosphere somehow melted my icy insides. All it took was P6,500 for a round-trip ticket from Manila to Aklan, which took all of 35 minutes on Seair. After that, there's about P90 for various fees and a boat to take you to the island of Boracay. From boarding the plane to stepping on the resort, that's 1.5 hours.
That's me on a boat, wearing flip-flops and shorts outdoors, without my contact lenses, without any product on my hair. Super-rare.
The first hotel we stayed in was The 2 Seasons. It's a relatively new resort and I was extremely impressed by the amenities. In the family rooms, as you'll see in the upper-right corner, a door opens directly into a shallow pool, perfect for kids. The television has Discovery: Travel and Living, so I enjoyed a tiny bit of Jamie at Home. Haha. This is really the kind of hotel you can spend the whole day in just curled up in bed, but of course that's not the point of Boracay. Anyway, they must not have ironed up the kinks in the kitchen, because breakfast took forever to arrive and wasn't even anything spectacular. Family room rate at the time was P13,000 a night. That's four queen-sized beds, so you can bring your spouse, 4 small kids, and both sets of grandparents. There are smaller rooms for less of course.
Here's part of the dining area that transitions into the beach.
Here's D'Mall, where you'll find the market, the grocery, various beach-oriented shops if you've forgotten to pack trunks or something, and restaurants of every persuasion. The grocery was weirdly stocked-- imported items that are extremely rare in Manila, like Bird's Custard, canned Spotted Dick, and Marmite. It even has 2 delis for any resident gourmets.
The restaurants nearest the beach transition into it like this, but we'll get to the food later. I imagine this is what those resort towns in Jamaica might be like (the Jamaican influence on the design of the island is very obvious).
Here's a re-imagined "The Kiss" by Klimt at one of the shops. I think it cost P22,000. Why?
This is just after the reception of The Tides, a resort located within D'Mall. I didn't go in any of the rooms, but it looks good enough...
Here's Willy's, the second hotel we stayed in. Not as decadent as The 2 Seasons, but as far as hotels named after penises go, it's quite a hoot. Just kidding. It's perfectly fine, but we get a few very short power outages during the day for some unknown reason. I think it taxes the air conditioner.
Here's Willy's very reasonable rates. Probably a benchmark for the rest of the businesses.
Now time for DA FOOD! This is the Sands Restaurant at Discovery Shores hotel. I'm quite embarrassed so I didn't want to go all-out despite the fact that someone treated us. I ate a crabmeat ravioli in a light tomato broth, which I didn't publish the picture of because food under ambient light looks like shit. But it was very good considering I pigged out at a buffet earlier and didn't want to overeat again.
We had lunch at Hawaiian Barbeque. The sauce was of course pineapple juice-and ketchup-based, and really good and hearty. The prices are reasonable too.
We had dessert at Real Coffee, a small cafe managed by an American woman. The Calamansi (Philippine lemon) cupcake costs P45. It's a very fragrant butter cake which is deceptively light. Beware, figures.
All my friends told me I had to drink a fruit smoothie at Jonah's Shakes. The prices are P75 for simple shakes and P90 for more complex ones. This is one of the simple Banana-Chocolate shakes. Yum! A complex one, for example, would be Banana-Chocolate-Peanut.
My brother and I had brunch (without breakfast or lunch) at Lemon(i)Cafe since I was feeling stuffed by eating one meal after another. Consequently, I had a tuna sandwich with egg curry. My first instinct was to have a steak sandwich. They gave me a choice to have it well-done or just seared. Unfortunately my allergies deterred me from eating rare fish, which I bet would have tasted better. I'm not even a fan of tuna, I was just tired of eating meat. Regardless, I still enjoyed the sandwich and my brother obviously enjoyed his big breakfast platter. They have a good-looking dessert tray which we did not dig into. Giant lemon bars! I must make those one of these days.
Sooo.... That is a short summary of my trip in pictures. If you have any more questions about Boracay, don't hesitate to e-mail me, though I'm obviously not an expert. I can ask other people, you know. It was definitely one of those things you had to do when you're in the Philippines, and I don't regret it one bit (thank you, Coppertone sunblock!). And this is coming from a beach-hater.
My gloriously hairy shins in the water.
I guess every now and then, you have to get something in between your toes.