Google ‘Boracay’ and you’ll find pictures and reports of a perfect tropical island with white beaches and clear blue seas – we did exactly that and decided it would be a great location for Anna’s birthday, Christmas and New Years Eve.
Our dramatic arrival could not have been more different to what we were expecting! 45 minutes into our flight from Kuala Lumpur the pilot did the usual announcement with our cruising speed, altitude, journey time etc. Then came the weather report at our destination with the news that a typhoon was on it’s way and that we could expect some turbulence but we’d land before the worst of it!
After a mildly hairy landing at Kalibo airport, we had to then travel 65km by minibus to Caticlan for the short boat crossing to Boracay. En-route, the minibus driver appeared stressed and then announced that the port would close at 6pm as the typhoon was getting closer – we only had a hour to make it so he put his foot down and rushed us towards the pier!
At the pier, with only 30mins to spare and an air of chaos, we were rushed through ticketing and onto one of the awaiting boats. Lifejackets on, we were then on our way. The swell was picking up, but was nowhere near as choppy as we’d expected and with the help of the distinctive stabilisers on the Filipino boats, the 15 minutes crossing wasn’t too bad at all.
Coming in to Boracay we could see beautiful palm tree lined beaches backed by some pretty ominous cloud formations. At the pier, we then had to get to the hotel on White Beach, the most popular location on Boracay. Thankfully, like a lot of countries we’ve been to they have their version of a tuk-tuk called a tricycle, which I had imagined to be like a cycle rickshaw in India but turned out to be a motorbike and sidecar…which can seat at least 4 people! After a short ride though the island’s quaint roads, seeing lots of local island life, we made it!
After checking into our hotel and Anna getting an early birthday surprise in our room, which she’ll tell you about, we went for a stroll down through White Beach’s three main areas, knows as station 1,2 and 3 – which historically refers to the three main landing points for boats along the 4km long beach. White Beach is very popular and very developed with bars, restaurants and hotels lining it’s entire length. Despite this and even with the typhoon preparations we got a good, relaxed feeling about the place and agreed it was going to be a fun place to celebrate the holidays.
We later heard that the Typhoon was to continue for three days and the lessen to a tropical storm. Thankfully, we’re on the island for nearly three weeks, so fingers crossed for some decent weather.