A different kind of Boracay

The paradise that is Boracay. Photograph by Gep Pascual

The words "summer" and "travel" almost always make people in the Philippines think of Boracay as their #1 destination. The island's 4Km stretch of powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters make it enticing to anybody who is looking to cool down from the summer heat, unwind or simply escape the bustle of city life.

Anybody who has been to the island during the summer knows that Boracay is all about the exciting nightlife by the beach--a fusion of fabulous music, colorful alcoholic concoctions and beautiful people. By the beach is also the best place to get a relaxing massage--masseuses roam around the island looking to stumble upon a random vacationer in need for some pampering under the shade of a coconut tree.

Massage, Boracay style by Jennifer Rombaoa

Aside from the usual partying, relaxation and roasting under the sun, there are a lot more things to do on the island that are as equally enticing--if only people heard about them more:

Experience the sunset like no otherThe sunset on Boracay Island is simply the best in the Philippines. You can just sit by the beach (with a bottle of beer or wine in hand) and watch as the sun disappears over the pink horizon. The view of the sunset from Crafty's Rooftop Bar is one of the best on the island. Aside from the sunset, it gives you a grand view of the entire island, coconut foliage and all. The roofttop bar is located at the top of the Crafts of Boracay Deli (behind D'Mall, by the main road).

View of the sunset from Crafty's Rooftop Bar. Photograph by redpirates

Skim it, mate!
If you happen to be strolling down the beach on a lazy afternoon, you'll most probably catch sight of some locals skimboarding gracefully across the water. The whole technique behind skimboarding (which started in Long Beach, California around the 1920s) is really just running on the beach and dropping your board on a thin layer of water of an incoming wave. There are skimboard shops all over the beach where you can rent a board for Php200 per hour. It's a great and fun way to pass the afternoon, with the locals teaching you how to skim like a pro!

Local skimboarders at sundown. Photograph by Sheila Aurelio

Sail with the wind

The easiest way to tour Boracay island is by boat. Pump boats are a normal sight at the port of Caticlan, since they transport tourists to the island. Smaller versions of these are also used for island hopping. But if you're the type who is always eager to experience new things, then paraw sailing is a must-do activity for you on the island.

A paraw is a local outrigger sailing boat that's indigenous to Boracay. Aside from the fact that it's more environment-friendly than the pump boat (since you rely on the breeze to get you around instead of a gas-guzzling motor), it's a real treat to lay down on the nets that extend from the sides of the hull and feel the sun and breeze as you sail along.

Lazing around on a paraw. Photograph by Perry Aragon