It has been awhile since I’ve written about travel here in the Philippines. So therefore I’ll discuss the hotels, resorts, and miscellaneous about a place that very commonly visited: Boracay Beach. Boracay has seen explosive growth in both the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic, as well as the number of newly built or renovated hotels and resorts. Many people claim that Boracay has become too overcrowded and commercial. For the conservationist purists, that’s pretty much the truth during the peak seasons. During the peak rush, basically every hotel or resort in Boracay is at or near capacity. Notice how I said “near” capacity. In my experience, there’s no such thing as “fully booked”. When I went to Boracay over New Years, I didn’t have a room and the travel agent was giving me a “hopeless” look when she said that there were no rooms available anywhere. She didn’t understand why I’d still want to reserve a plane ticket. I went ahead because common sense tells you that there’s no way that the airlines could saturate that huge strip of Boracay resorts and hotels with the tiny planes they use. I was correct. Not only did I get a hotel room that was near the mall in Station I, I got no less than 3 resort salesmen who approached me offering rates within minutes of stepping off of the ferry boat.
The thing about most hotels in Boracay is that you should choose yours based on your level of crowd and noise tolerance during the peak times. Station I is where people go to see and be seen. It’s also where most of the live music and commercial setups take place, full of promos and exhibits. So basically if you’re between the ages of 15-30 and single, you’ll probably prefer Station I. Slightly older married couples or parents with children would be better off staying in Station 2 or 3. It’s much quieter on this side of the strip and is far less commercialized. This is where you can argue that Boracay, as a whole, is not 100% about a wild party with college girls running around having sex, or is not a commercialized atmosphere. Station 2 and 3 are also where you’ll find the less expensive hotels and resorts. Basically the rates are 100-300% higher in Station I during the peak season vs. the low season. In contrast, the range I’ve seen most hotel/resort rooms go for is roughly 40-100% more during the peak season for resorts in Station 2 and 3.
Boracay is becoming a favorite destination for Korean tourists. Actually Koreans are mainly what keeps the hotels and resorts alive during the low season. From what I’ve seen, most Korean friendly places are in Station 2. What this means is that you’ll see many Korean restaurants and Korean writing on the signs, meaning that there are specialists who can give better attention to Korean tourists.
It’s pretty easy to talk about where to go when in Boracay. You’ll pretty much figure it out when on the plane since the popular places tend to advertise heavily in the travel magazine in your seatback. Cocomungas, Pier One, Hey Jude, Summer Place, and the area outside of Aira Italian restaurant are always packed with people, especially during peak season.
Finally I say for all of those people on a budget, don’t be afraid of the cost of Boracay during the peak season. That’s where you’ll get most of your live entertainment for free. In fact, it’s hard to spend on anything other than your food and room. All of the commercialism guarantees more than enough to do and see.
May 29th, 2005
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