Part 1: Boracay
14.03.2009 - 26.03.2009 32 °C
It was nearly 2 years since I had been to Boracay. Last time I was a lone traveler, looking to escape a hectic work schedule in Taiwan. This time however, I was coming for a very different reason. I had recently left my job, moved from Taiwan and was planning a big trip around the world with my new husband. Boracay was the first stop, but more importantly, the place where we would have a wedding ceremony for our friends and family. The hotel where we booked our wedding (Nigi Nigi Too) offered a basic package that suited our budget. We had a beach ceremony with flowers and a private eating area for the evening.
On the whole they did a good job but there were 2 big problems we had with the hotel. Firstly the woman organising the wedding ordered the wrong coloured flowers (pink instead of blue), and tried to blame the mistake on us, even though we could show her the confirmation e-mail she sent about the blue and white colour scheme! Secondly when our guests went to pay their bills, they were told there would be an 11% charge added for using credit or debit cards - Other hotels charged 3.5%! Our solution was to take out cash from the ATM but that took a few days to draw enough and ATMs are pretty unreliable on Boracay.
The location was great for a wedding. It was along the far side of the beach, where fewer people wandered, and had the famous 'rock' (man made though I think!) as a backdrop to the photos. We had a fantastic day, ending with some of the guests out in the water for an evening swim in a storm! Our guests stayed for a week on the island and all had a good time, especially the females who liked pearl shopping.
After our wedding guests went home, my husband and I downgraded our hotel and moved to the Casa Pilar Beach resort (where I had stayed on my last trip to the island). I could already see changes on Boracay since my last visit and while the price of the hotel was the same as before, it had lost a little of it's previous tranquility. I could hear a continuous bass from the 'Pirate' bar next door and hammering at the building site on the other side. Boracay island is getting more commercial, with further hotel developments and the new Starbucks, which was preparing to open on the beach.
These things aside, the beaches are still beautiful across the island, the people are friendly and the weather gets better as the monsoon season passes. There are many mediocre eating places on Boracay but some restaurants serve amazing food. 'True India' is a barn-style restaurant with low wooden tables, reed mat floors and big cushions to sit on. The food is great and the ambiance is very relaxing. The owners could make better music selections, but you can't have it all! For Chinese food, we went to the Regency Hotel. It looks posh, costs a bit more than your average restaurant but makes fantastic chicken with cashew nuts and sweet and sour pork.
There are many activities available for those who having the money (unfortunately we didn't on this occasion). You can do various water sports (scuba diving, snorkling, parasailing etc), quad biking, or go on a boat trip or sail boat. Prices are reasonable and it's a nice way to get off the beach and see different parts of the island.
There are a number of foreigners living on Boracay, most with restaurants or hotels. One guy told us that if you watch Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels you will see most of the characters represented on Boracay!