Beyond Boracay: Escaping the Island!

Featured

Contributor: Trudy Allen

For Boracay visitors, particularly those staying longer than 4-5 days, there can come a point where (heaven forbid) they want to escape the party scene or fancy a different view from the stunning White Beach.

Here’s a run down of some Boracay Top Escapes

Motag Living Museum

Motag

Harvesting the Rice

This interactive museum, the first of its kind in the Philippines, opened in 2015.

A social enterprise, Motag Living Museum is a recreation of a traditional rice farm in the 1920’s.  Every building, tool, farming technique, cooking implement on the site is historically accurate.

 

 

Motag 3

Pounding the Rice

Local villagers from Motag, including many Village Elders, are employed to help you make the most of your experience; encouraging you to try your hand at Ploughing with a Carabao, Rice Planting, Harvesting and Threshing the seeds.  See if you can match the rhythm set by the Rice Pounders.

At the end of the 2 hour tour experience, sit with the Elders and listen to the traditional songs, whilst you attempt to make toys and decorations from palm leaves.  Relax and watch the children playing games of old and enjoy some delicious treats made with rice.

Motag toys

Toys and Decorations made with Palm Leaves

Motag Living Museum is a 10 minute trike ride from Caticlan Port.  You can pre-book your tour before you arrive, here.  The trike ride is not included in the tour

 

1 Day Diving Trip to Maniguin Island 

Trips leave the island approximately 1-2 times a month, depending on the minimum number of divers being confirmed for the trip. In Low Season (May-September) trips may only take place once a month.

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1 Day Drive Trip to Maniguin Island: Early Morning Starts

Whilst the diving is restricted to those who are qualified as a PADI Open Water Diver, with at least one Deep Adventure Dive completed, this is still a great tour if you’re a “Dive Widow/er” as the snorkeling is also amazing, with visibility up to 50-70 meters.  There is a reduced cost for non-divers and snorkeling gear is provided.

Leaving the island between 5-6AM a delicious Continental Breakfast of fresh Bread, Croissants, Pan au Chocolat, jams, cheese, ham and cold cuts is served, alongside coffee and tea (*sample menu: items are dependent on availability).

Maniguin Island is approximately 2 hours from Boracay, by boat, so those who had a late night can grab a bunk bed and catch up on their zzz’s for the duration of the journey out to the island.

Divers will have at least 3 Dives at West Wall and The Ear and the trip is likely to bring sightings of Barracuda, Sharks and Rays, as well as Trigger Fish, Jacks, Pyramid Butterfly Fish and Napoleon Wrasse.  The Ear is prone to currents and features some of the deepest sections, hence the minimum PADI certificate requirement.

Blog day trips

The trip, which offers a greater dive, and snorkeling, experience than the sites located closer to Boracay, includes a chartered boat and crew, Dive Guide, full dive equipment and tanks, snorkel gear (for non-divers), breakfast and BBQ Lunch (sample menu: pork or chicken kebab, Pasta Salad – guests can also purchase fresh fish from the local Fisherman).   Beers and snacks are provided for the journey home, with the boat reaching Boracay between 7-8PM

Most trips include sightings of a pod of Dolphins, which enjoy racing the boat and making the onboard guests laugh and cheer.

Check here, for details of trip dates, or to organise a private trip (bookings require a minimum of 6 Divers)

** Tip: If you have the chance, buy some sweeties and lollies to take with you; often the local fishermen are out fishing, with their children who rarely get their hands on candy.

 

Day Trip to Carabao Island – book Here

Closer to home than Maniguin, is Carabao Island; a little like Boracay back in the 1980’s with abundant Palm Trees, empty sandy beaches and a day of relaxing, eating, drinking and beautiful views.

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Heading to Carabao in Party Spirit

Leaving the island around 10am the chartered party boat, with flowing beers and local drinks, arrives at Carabao around 11am.

Stopping briefly for a spot of snorkeling, open water swimming and boat diving, you be taken to the beach by dinghy.

Once on dry land you can wander the almost deserted beach, relax in the shade on coloured beanbags and loungers, swim, snorkel or play Beach Volleyball or Frisbee, whilst lunch is being prepared.  Lunch usually comprises of freshly grilled meat kebabs, fish and vegetables.  Salads and rice are also prepared and served, along with fresh fruit.  The Unlimited drinks, served throughout the day include: SML, SMB, Local Alcohol, Cocktails, Water, Soft Drinks.

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After lunch, there’s more relaxation before the chance to visit the other side of the island by motorbike.  (Take 50-100PHP with you to tip your drivers) Driving through villages, up over the mountain and down to the beach on the opposite side of the island, on an exhilarating ride.

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On return to the Private Beach snacks will be served, alongside drinks as the Boat is readied for your return to Boracay, coinciding with yet another stunning Boracay Sunset!

 

 

Lunch at Happy Buddha River Retreat, Nabaoy River!

A secret guarded well by residents of Boracay looking to escape the heat and excesses of Boracay, is Nabaoy River and the freshly named Happy Buddha River Retreat.

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Arriving at Caticlan Port for 11am you will be greeted by one of the staff team, and driven to the Happy Buddha River Retreat by either tricycle or minivan, depending on the number of people visiting.   The route takes you through local villages, along the coastline and then up past rice fields and locations, reminiscent of Jurassic Park or Full Metal Jacket, all just 10 minutes from the Port.

As your vehicle climbs the incline, away from the main road, you’ll travel further in to a thick and enchanting tropical forest and will instantly feel your shoulders and mind relax, and the intense heat drop. On arrival you’ll be greeted by the friendly resident Labrador/Askal, known as ‘Chili’.

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Happy Buddha River Retreat: Nabaoy River

The Happy Buddha River Retreat is set back from the Nabaoy River, with a large, vibrant garden featuring herbs and local plants, a soon to be restored Sauna, Pavilion and Children’s Playground area, and organic farm.  The sound of flowing water and birds singing complete the atmosphere.

 

You are welcome to take a seat in the garden, on the balcony of the main building or in the lounge area, or even in the river itself, especially if it’s a hot day.   Whilst you relax and unwind, the Retreats Staff Team will be creating magic in the Kitchen.

Lunch is cooked using fresh, locally sourced or grown ingredients so the menu may vary depending on availability.  Lunch may include Chicken Afritada in white wine, Grilled FishGarden Vegetables, in Coconut Milk, Garden Salad, Rice, Pancit Canton, Fresh Fruit, Fresh Tarragon Tea

 
Finca Verde 1Guests are free to wander up river towards some gentle waterfalls, relax in the grounds, request a Masseuse (for an additional fee), swim or paddle in the water (depending on the water’s height).  One definite recommendation is to bring mosquito repellent with you.

Time will pass quickly at this beautiful escape but at 4pm it’s time to depart.   You can request to be dropped back to Caticlan Port, or if you wish to extend your day a little more you could be dropped to the local market which is usually open until 6.30pm, and a short walk to the Port afterwards.

Do remember to keep your Tour Voucher with you, when you return to Boracay; you can present this to avoid paying the Environmental and Terminal Fee again, which should be only a one off fee when you arrive on Boracay at the start of your tour.

The Happy Buddha River Retreat is located 2 minutes from Motag Living Museum, so you could opt to combine the two visits on one day, to maximise your time.

Click here to book a lunch day, or inquire further about combining a lunch day with a visit to the Motag Living Museum

 

2017 Special Offer: Boracay Terraces Resort

Boracay Terraces Resort – The Boracay of Old

With many people mourning the loss of the ‘old Boracay’ it’s great to discover gems that still exist, offering that “Island Life” feel.

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Boracay Terraces Beachfront

 

Boracay Terraces Resort, is a family-owned resort located at the very end of Station 1 White Beach.  Set back from the beach, with its palm trees intact, it is one of the few hotels that still offers that “island feel”.   Not just in the sense of being away from crowds of tourists but throughout its accommodation and restaurant, which have been lovingly re-designed and painted by the very talented daughter, Lara.

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Taj Suite Balcony

 

Boracay Terraces Resort offers some of the most spacious rooms on the island, which include all the standard amenities, with Twin and Double Rooms good for two people, and Family Rooms.  All of these include a good sized terrace or patio with tables and chairs, which overlook the gardens whilst still offering privacy and seclusion.

The Taj Suites, great for families or Honeymooners, are situated above the restaurant.

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Taj A Honeymoon Suite

Sun loungers are located, under the palms, in an stretch of beach that is only used by resort guests. Additional touches are the hammocks strung between the palm trees, and little castaway and driftwood designs dotted around the beach area, restaurant and grounds.

The restaurant is open air with views of White Beach and Boracay’s crystal clear waters. Outside dining is available and offers the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sunset, accompanied by the soothing acoustic sounds of Aye Usero. The menu offers Philippine and Western cuisine, with a good range of vegetarian options, and a great fresh Juice, Shake and Cocktail menu. On occasional evenings singer song-writer, and the family’s youngest son, Armand Tj may perform at the mini-grand piano for restaurant guests.

We are currently offering a number of exclusive promos for Boracay Terraces Resort, including 30% off on Rooms and package deals for Easter Week and Laboracay.

Holy Week & Labor Weekend Package

Room Deal Promo

 

Cruising the Philippines

The Philippines has welcomed scheduled cruises with a number of Cruise Line Companies in the last few years, giving world travellers more ways to visit and see this beautiful country.

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Boracay Island Cruises

Cruise line passengers get a brief window for whistle-stop tours of destinations such as Boracay and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, but often find they are discouraged from booking tours outside of those offered by the Cruise Companies, with warnings of ships not waiting for late boarding guests, tour operators being unreliable or uninsured etc.

 

So how hard is it, to book outside of the Cruise Line’s own Tour Offerings?

Really not that difficult at all!

The Cruises are visiting destinations, with established tourism, tours and activities and it’s as simple as advising the tour operator, in advance of the arrival and departure times, to ensure guests are returned in time to board.

Boracay.travel and GoPalawan.travel have been offering bespoke tours for Cruise Guests for 2 years already.

Sometimes bookings are made by whole families, or by a group of cruise goers who post in the many Cruise Line Forums, inviting others wanting to take tours, to join their group and share the Tour Cost.

Even with dockings at 9am and departures at 5pm, there is sufficient time available for a Private, bespoke Tour to the Underground River, or Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa.  Or to have a range of tours or activities arranged for them, such as a Paraw Sail, Parasail or Helmet Diving on Boracay.

Helmet Diving with boracay.travel

Helmet Diving – Boracay

 

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Underground River Tour – Puerto Princesa

The benefits to the Cruise Guests is they can organise something that they truly want to do, and they can also talk to people who are ‘on the ground’ and able to put them in touch with local restaurants for pre-booked lunch tables, rather than the limited range of activities and options offered by the Cruise Line.  Often at a more reasonable price too.

In addition, the guests can be assured that they are contributing more to the local economy and can enjoy activities that others may not have the opportunity to do.

 

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Paraw Sailing off Boracay

How to go about booking tours and activities:

  • Tell us how many people are in the booking, whether they are established friends or family, or people you have pulled together through chats on the Cruise Forums.
  • Check out our Tours Pages Boracay.travel and GoPalawan.travel and see what is on offer, at least one month before your arrival.
  • Email us through the ‘Customise it’ button on the tour page, with your date and time of arrival, disembarking and departure time.
  • We can wait for you to gather more people via the Forum, if you want to make your tour cheaper, and then will email them a separate payment request.
  • We will then collect details, such as Names, Dates of Birth and Nationalities if this is required for particular tours
  • We can also add in the cost for snorkels and masks, for particular tours, so you don’t have to worry about that on the day
  • Once paid and confirmed, we will send you a Booking Voucher and an email, with all the information that you need and will be on hand to answer your questions.

New Year on Boracay; What’s going on 2015?

New Years Eve is such a fun night on Boracay, even if the last 3 years have been wet ones!

So what are some of the events going on around the island?

In No Particular Order of Preference:

Fireworks!!

From around 11.20pm onwards the fireworks along White Beach start up, with Hotels, resorts and bars competing with each other for the best displays.

The jury is out on where the best place to put yourself is; centrally at Station 2’s BomBom Bar Boracay or Exit Bar (which for the last 2 years has featured a handy Umbrella Installation) or ‘Steve’s Cliff’ at the far end of Station 1, with its views down the whole of White Beach.

Jack

photo courtesy of island photographer Jack Jarilla, 31st Dec 2014

Regardless of where you place yourself on White Beach, you’ll have pretty good views of the fireworks, opportunities to buy ‘bonce-bouncers’ and whacky headware and hats from beach vendors, and a beach full of fellow revelers, wherever you are.

 

Area 51

More an after-party, and this year something special is going on with Malasimbo Goes to Boracay!  A week of events starting on December 27 through to New Years Eve, where it completes at Area 51.

Area 51 will feature their in-house Dj’s as well as Kristian Hernandez

Funds will be raised for 4 island Projects; Friends of the Flying Foxes, Mangrove Reforestation, Coral Reef Preservation and Investing in Future Leaders

Malasimbo

 

Aloha Boracay Hotel & Aloha Bistro Boracay

The newest island and restaurant on the island (located at Station 3 on the beach road headed up by Boracay’s Best Western Tropics Hotel) is entering the Boracay party scene with a sumptuous New Years Eve 7-course Dinner starting at 6pm and including all you can drink drinks, live music from local artists and a fabulous Roof Deck from which to view the fireworks.

Check out their Facebook Page for more details of the 7-course menu.

Aloha

 

Nigi Nigi Nu Noos (‘e’ Nu Nu Noos) Beach Resort New Year’s Celebration & Nigi Nigi Too’s

Nigi Nigi Nu Noos (for short) is centrally located at Station 2 White Beach and with a fabulous, and dishy, Head Chef Mike, Nigi’s is a great place to see in the New Year celebrations.  Dinner starts at 7pm-11pm. See the Menu below*

Reservations only, so secure your booking at Nigi Nigi Nu Noos: call (036) 288 5042 or 0907 5033089

Nigis new ye

 

Nigi Nigi Too‘s, located on White Beach at Station 1, is offering from 9pm an All you can eat BBQ with :

Starter: Tomato or Pumpkin soup served with homemade country bread
Main course: Chicken, Ribs, Sausages and Kebabs, Rice, Potato Salad, Green Salad
Dessert: Apple crumble and ice cream

Seating by Reservation Only – 0362883150 / 09176226445
Cost : Php 1,000 + 10% Service Charge
Kids 1/2 Price ( under 16 years old )

 

 

Masquerade Gala Dinner, Seaview Restaurant, Monaco Suites de Boracay

Monaco Suites de Boracay is located in Manoc Manoc, with views across the sea and Bulabog Beach, a really rather special location with a renowned restaurant; Seaview.

This Masquerade Gala Dinner will feature Champagne, a complete program of events with prizes, Fireworks and International, 5* Cuisine.

Make your Reservation on 036-288-4800

Masquarade

 

Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa & Villa’s

This little restaurant went through extensive restoration from late 2014, until very recently in 2015, and many locals on the island had been eagerly awaiting it’s recent re-opening!

Located within the award winning Mandala Spa & Villa’s, it’s not surprising that this restaurant prides itself on healthy, nutritious and delicious gourmet cuisine; tasty AND virtuous!

New Years Eve Dinner is 6-9pm, a 3-course menu with a complimentary glass of red or white wine      *Advanced reservations are required, until December 30

For Inquiries & Reservations: T: (+63 36) 288 5858 M: (+63 917) 634 8430

Accommodation

Mandala

 

Sweet 16 Beach House Surf Party at Boracay Terrace’s Resort & Steve’s Cliff, Station 1 White Beach

Will BTR outdo their Avatar New Year Party?  They’re going all out this year with a Beach House Surf Party, counting on another wet New Years Eve, by hosting an event that can be in or or outdoor!

Why not welcome the New Year 2016 with one of the best locations to view the fireworks, performances from Armand Tj, DJ Alex and various international friends, as well as Beer Pong, drinking games, card games and Twister!

“Party like it’s Spring Break” is the tagline and the party starts at 5.30pm to say farewell to that last sunset of 2015

Attire: Swim-wear! Board shorts for guys, Bikinis for the ladies, Wetsuits for those still with pasty-white skin!

Accommodation

BTR

 

Discovery Shores New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet and Countdown Party

Starting at 7pm with a beachfront Dinner Buffet, priced at P5,995++ per person & P3,000++ children 7 years old and below

Followed by a 10pm Beachfront NYE Countdown Party
Discovery Shores Boracay sparkles this New Year’s Eve with a stellar countdown party and fireworks show. DJ Badkiss, DJ Javi Vargas and Smooth Band will keep the party going with groovy dance hits – definitely a memorable and dazzling welcome for 2016!

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White House Beach Resort, White Beach Station 1

Another regular contender for the best place to be for New Years Eve is White House Beach Resort

With 7 Food Stations for the Buffet, Special Deals on Branded drinks, followed by sets by DJ McCoy Navales and one of the best fireworks displays, you are guaranteed to have a night to remember

If you’re planning to eat and drink a lot you could precede it by popping along to their free Zumba on the Beach session, sunset Dec 30th

Accommodation at White House Beach Resort

White House Beach Resort

Shangri-La Boracay

For those who have thicker wallets than the average visitor to Boracay, who want to be away from the crowds and seek a secluded cove or International Menu for their New Year’s Eve, you can’t go far wrong with a visit to Shangri-La Boracay

Reservations are required.  Check out the restaurant and menu options here

Snang

 

Have an EPIC New Year!!

Where would Boracay be without Epic?

Epic, in Partnership with HENNESSY, is hosting its annual White New Year’s Eve Ball; BEACH HEAVEN.  Party all night with International Guest DJ BRAM TIERIE and EPIC’s Resident DJs; DJ ADN and Alfred Maligaya.

For tickets and reservations call (+63 917) 809 8149

or email: epicboracay@gmail.com

Epic New Year

 

And when it’s all over … why not start 2016 with some fabulous Tours or Activities? Check out some relaxing ideas or thrill-seeking, hang-over cures (we do not offer a guarantee of ‘hang-over cures’)

 

 

Valentines on Boracay

Valentine’s Day – the day of Love, almost coincides with Chinese New Year this year (2015) and hotels on the island are busy taking bookings for their remaining rooms and packages

Things to do on the Loveliest Day of the year:-

10. Zorb Ball! It’s not for everyone, and certainly your girl may not thank you for the suggestion if she’s not an adventurous one, but Zorbing is actually quite good fun; barrelling down a hill inside a translucent ball, not knowing which way is up! (As a tip girls – make sure you’re the 2nd one in and out to avoid unflattering facial expressions and angles!)

9. Zipline – another adventurous activity; zipping down from Mount Luho road, across Ilig Iligan Beach and then returning by Cable Car. As with Zorbing; girls, you may want to ‘zip’ second .. or first, depending on your butt-confidence!

8. Step Back in Time and visit the Boracay of the 1920’s! Pop on over to the mainland and

Collecting spring water the hard way

Collecting spring water the hard way

visit the Motag Living Museum; pretend you’re your grandparents on your own little rice farm.

Hang out in a traditional farm house, ride the caribou, sow, harvest and thresh the rice, try out some traditional games, weave a decorative wall or a toy. It’s all about the Philippines farming heritage

7. Parasail; take in panoramic views of Boracay in a duo Parasail.

6. Take in a fabulous band; such as Top Junk who will be performing at Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner on both 14th & 15th February in the evening. Enjoy the set along with some of the fabulous Grills or Steaks from an extensive menu.

5. Helicopter Tour of Boracay; short but oh so thrilling! This 10 minute flight will give you a true birds eye view of Boracay; a flight that you will never forget.

Underwater Love4. Make Valentine’s unforgettable! Book a Diving Activity … & PROPOSE to your lover whilst underwater! If you have never dived before, you could book in for an Adventure Dive (the ‘taster’ session) and still make your proposal a memorable one.

Even if you’re not ready to ‘put a ring on it’ doing a diving course, is something that you can both cherish as a memorable Valentine. Check out these Diving Activities

Spa Helios' 1st Floor Treatment Room3. His and hers Luxury Spa Treatment at the tranquil Spa Helios. Spa Helios is located in the quiet neighbourhood of Bantud, at the former Swiss Ambassadors Family Home; a beautiful building in a private location, set amongst tropical trees and plants, with a cooling swimming pool

2. A Paraw Sail :- you could enjoy a four-hour sail around the island, stopping off for a beach BBQ, or book a 1 or 2 hour sail finishing at sunset. Click here to make a booking with the infamous band of Red Pirates

1. The Traditional Rout but Always Priceless:- Enjoy a Boracay Sunset from a beautiful location. Some of the favourites for couples are Wahine or Spider House at Diniwid Cove, and Kasbah or White House Fusion Cuisine & Wine Lounge at Station 1, and Villa Caemilla or 357 Boracay, Station 3/Angol. Stick around at any one of these and enjoy a meal.

Wahine and Spider House, are both to be found at Diniwid Cove – accessible by trike from the main road or a lovely stroll along White Beach and then round the cliff side. You will reach Wahine first which is identified by its beautiful coloured sun umbrellas. Spider House is on the end of the next cliff; continue to walk along the beach, passing in front of Nami, and then in to the depths of the cliff until you reach the steps that will take you down in to Spider House.

Kasbah ValentinesKasbah and White House Fusion Cuisine & Wine Lounge are both on Station 1, and directly on the beach. Each has its own unique vibe; Kasbah serves delicious Moroccan food ranging from kebab wraps through to their delicious, and infamous, Tagine’s and delicate desserts.

The White House is popular with the younger Manila crowd and has also gained a massive following for its delicious menu.

Villa Caemilla & 357Boracay can be found at the end of Station 3, another quiet section of the beach away from the noise and crowds of Station 2. Villa Caemilla went through extensive refurbishment in 2013 and its light, bright and airy restaurant is a delight to eat in, and offers a varied menu of Philippine and International cuisine, including some of the best breads on the island. Coupled with lovely sun-loungers right in front you can pass the day in a state of bliss (sun-loungers have a surcharge of 500PHP, redeemable against food and drinks, if you are not staying at the hotel).

357Boracay is a hidden gem, ssshhh! Try to keep it on the QT. Not much has been done to the façade of this hotel, which has been open for at least 15 years, and this is why it might get overlooked by the first-time traveller. But locals and returning guests know differently! It may not offer fancy culinary delights but what is offered is good quality food and healthy servings; the ribs are a taste sensation and melt off the bone and on to your tongue, and then there are the desserts …… sigh! As with Villa Caemilla, there are sun-loungers available in front of the hotel

Check the facebook pages for each for any reservation requirements.
Check out our hotels running promo’s which coincide with Valentine’s Day

Chillaxing on Boracay

Boracay can be many things for many people; a beach destination, a sporting activity destination and a party island.

But Boracay, with its abundance of Spa’s and Spa Retreats, is also a perfect place to visit for those looking to relax and recuperate, for a Hen Party/Bridal Shower or for a get together with friends.  Visitors are assailed by calls of ‘Massage Ma’am Sir’ as they walk along the beach path, so how do you decide where to go for the best treatments.  Here we talk about two of the best Spa’s on the island and provide links to some of the treatments, which can be booked online.

Mandala Spa Reception Mandala Spa & Villas is renowned in Spa circles, and on the island, offering a real retreat from the modern world.

The villa’s are set directly within grounds that are surrounded by trees, tropical plants and the sounds of nature, at the ‘quieter end of the island’.

The Digital Detox Villa, in particular, offers a technology free (no Wi-Fi or TV) escape.  The Villa’s are all designed to give a sense of peace and space; with reclaimed Teak polished floors, vaulted wooden ceilings and cogon roofing. The interiors are walled in glass, providing a seamless flow between the lush tropical outdoors and the warm wooden indoors.

The Spa Treatments available include treatments that are specifically designed for women, and for men.  Some of their most popular treatments include:-

The Filipino Heritage lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes and starts with a floral footbath and a ritualistic smudging to clear the surrounding energy (Suob).  The scrub, made up of fresh coconut, organic rice and oils is designed to purify and re-energize your skin. Then relax in coconut milk bath, with amino acids, skin rejuvenating enzymes, natural oils and Hibiscus flower extract.

The Princess Treatment last 4 hours, and starts with a foot bath to stimulate the senses.  This is followed by a scrub and wrap of choice; a luxurious floral hot bath, Mandala Signature Massage and a facial. The treatment completes with a herbal tea on the veranda.

The Green Coffee Therapy last 3 hours & 30 minutes.  The therapy includes a slimming body scrub, which is designed to detoxify and firm the skin, and reduce signs of aging and cellulite.  Those who have had this treatment talk of revitalized and toned skin, and receive compliments regarding a new found youthful glow.

Mandala’s latest accomplishment is The Vessel, which was completed in 2013 and gives an amazing space in which many of the yoga and dance classes are held.  These classes are open to guests staying at Mandala Spa, as well as members of the local community and other tourists staying on the island.  Check out their Facebook page for regular diary postings.

Classes include Pole Dancing, Zumba and a range of Yoga Disciplines

Mandala’s The Vessel Classes include Pole Dancing, Zumba and a range of Yoga Disciplines

 

Mandala Spa & Villa’s often offer weekend retreats with renowned Yoga or Self-help Instructors. Check our Events Page for more information.  Click here for accommodation bookings.

Starting life as an Ambassadors Residence, a Hotel and now a renowned Island Spa

Starting life as an Ambassadors Residence, a Hotel and now a renowned Island Spa

Spa Helios, is located at Boracay Hills Hotel, just a 2 minute trike ride from Mandala and just like Mandala Spa, Spa Helios is set inside its own grounds, in a quiet residential area in Bantud.

Boracay Hills Hotel was built for, and belonged to, the Swiss Ambassador and almost all of its grandiose features have been retained, through its life as a family home, to a hotel (the first on the island to receive TripAdvisor Awards) and now as a dedicated Spa.  The spacious grounds include a swimming pool, with jacuzzi jets, for spa guests to use and enjoy.

Spa Helios’ treatment rooms give a sense of privacy and retreat, and are spacious making them equally Spa Helios' 1st Floor Treatment Roomgood for solo treatments, as well as couple treatments.

There is also one super big treatment room on the first floor of the main building,which is ideal for a group of friends who want to relax and enjoy their treatment in one large room together.  This Treatment Room has hosted girls on a Hen Party/Bridal Shower and special birthday celebration.

This group treatment room has an adjacent balcony overlooking the swimming pool, which is perfect for guests to sit and relax on whilst they sip on their refreshing, complimentary after-treatment drinks.

Favourite treatments at Spa Helios include:-

The Signature Spa Helios Package; 2 hour and 30 minute treatment, which can be taken by one person or as a joint treatment for a couple, or two friends.  The package begins with a foot spa, followed by some relaxing and gentle yoga techniques. Next you will be treated to an Asian Royalty Body Scrub to invigorate and nourish your skin, followed by a hot soak in a large milk bath, full of fragrant flowers and oils to prepare you for the full body massage.  The treatment is completed with a gentle, organic facial, which uses the following ingredients:- papaya, oatmeal, cucumber, coconut milk and placenta cream.

Spa Helios Spa TreatmentsThe 1-hour Pearl Massage is ideal for anyone who is suffering from sunburn, as it incorporates cream-based ingredients, during the Swedish Massage, which soothes sore skin and targets joint pain, stiffness and tight or sore muscles.

Swedish Massage is ideal for athletes, as it uses a pressure that is deeper than other techniques, increasing oxygenation of the blood, and releasing built up lactic and uric acid in the muscles.

The Hilot Massage * is another popular treatment at Spa Helios, which aims to relieve muscle strain and identify areas of energy imbalance in the body.  This imbalance is realigned, and energy blocks are released, through the use of warmed herbal leaves (‘Tapal’) and virgin coconut oil.. This treatment includes the use of Bentosa; vacuum cupping on the muscle areas, and a continous and deep massage along the body’s Merdians (Energy Channels). The treatment is completed with a hand and foot massage, to stimulate the energy points on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands.

Hilot* is an ancient, holistic, Filipino healing treatment; which centers on the belief that illness, disease and discomfort are the direct results of imbalance and disharmony within the body.

If it’s a plain and simple massage you’re after then there is another, slightly hidden spot on the island, at the border of Station 3 and Angol, on the beach in front of Coco Loco; This is the famous blind masseuse station.  Ask an island Dragonboater or Ultimate Frisbee player and they will tell you that the therapists at this station will give you some of the best and deepest, sports massages you are ever likely to experience, which find and kneed out even the toughest of muscle strains.  What’s more you can finish off your experience with a delicious cocktail from Coco Loco’s extensive drinks menu.

Eating out – some of the newest places to eat whilst on Boracay!

Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner is located on Boracay’s main road, just a 2 minute walk up from the top of D’Mall, and is easily spotted as there is a giant guitar hanging from the façade. (check out the link below for Exclusive discounted rates for YCL Hotel, which shares ownership with Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner)

Charlie’s opened in June 2014 and, unsurprisingly, is owned by  a man named Charlie; a guitar fiend, and musician, who plans to open many more Charlie’s Diners across the Philippines. Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner is managed by Michael, who is another mean musician and former bandmate of Charlie.

Charlie, owner and founder of Charlie's Steakhouse & Diner Boracay

Charlie, owner and founder of Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner Boracay

Charlie’s Steakhouse is fast gaining a following and many have said that the diner has the atmosphere of a British pub, with its stools, high tables and leather-backed seating. There is a polished mahogany bar on one side, with an array of beers and spirits, and the opposite wall is devoted almost entirely to Charlie’s guitar collection. Charlie’s is also great for watching live sporting events, with several large LCD TV’s around, and there is usually a special deal being run in conjunction.

Imported Angus Steak

Charlie’s imported Angus Steak

The menu at Charlie’s is that of a steakhouse, including a selection of imported Angus Steaks, grills and delicious salads, as well as some great platter options for sharing, delicious pasta dishes and desserts. You really are spoilt for choice.

If you visit for a late night session, to see one of the bands performing, get a selection of dishes and ‘share share’.  Firm favourites for sharing include the Fish Fingers, Calamari, Chicken Goujon and onion rings.  But be warned you may want to order it all over again!

Charlie’s Steakhouse and Diner also boasts the best sound system on the whole island, and bands and singers from across the Philippines, are literally queuing up to perform there. Performers have included 4th Clan from Pampanga, Coffee Break Island, Stephen Lu (Rizal Underground) and Roc Docs, to name a few. There is a house band and anyone is welcome to rock up and take a turn on stage.

Stephen Lu, Michael Deniega & Ronnie Badilla

Stephen Lu & Ronnie Badilla, photo courtesy of Stephen Lu

The Jerks will be performing November 28-29th, with 10% off orders at the Steakhouse and a buy one get one drink with any food purchase.

Charlie also owns the hotel above; YCL Hotel and there is currently an EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL OFFER of Reduced Rates for bookings with arrivals up until December 23 2014, for their single and double rooms. Click here for more details about the hotel; enter your dates, number of people, select the room type and then click ‘Book Now’ to check out a great final price (put Travel Insurance to 0 first, if you don’t require it)

 

Los Indios Bravos Boracay

Los Indios Bravos Boracay

Los Indios Bravos was an association, in the 1890’s, made up of Filipino writers living and writing in Europe, who wanted the world to know about the terrible and cruel treatment that the Filipino’s were experiencing at the hands of the Spanish who ruled over the country.

Indeed, “Indios” was used as a derogatory term by the Spaniards towards the Filipino’s. Jose Rizal, wanted to reclaim the word as something positive and to instil national pride and he coined the phrase ‘Los Indios Bravos’, which translates as “The Brave Filipino’s”

In Boracay Los Indios Bravos translates as one of the newest eateries on the island and a classy, chic one at that. The design is reminiscent of a French Bistro or trendy restaurant in the UK, whilst remaining friendly and inviting. Everything about this restaurant screams high quality, to the furnishings and fixtures, through to the presentation of food on thick wooden platters and uniquely shaped bowls and plates.

Pork Schnitzel with fried &, frankly, the best gravy ever tasted!

Pork Schnitzel with fries & frankly, the best gravy ever tasted!

Many of the appetizers are good to share, and you may have no choice in sharing your main course as everyone wants a taste. The Pork Schnitzel comes with home cooked fries and a delicious gravy, that just cries out for fry dipping.  The Chicken Tikka Masala rivals any served in the best UK Curry Houses, and the Beef and Ale Pie disappeared in minutes! The Desserts are also divine, as is the selection of alcohol, virgin cocktails and draft beers and bitters.
Applauds and Accolades to the Executive Chef Norbert Gandler, Heather Williams and Tantan Rosal!
Los Indios Bravos is located on Bulabog Road (the road running down past the lake on the main road), at the very end and on the final corner prior to reaching the beach path.

Nice Place World Food Art Café is located just off of Bulabog Road (take a left when you reach Munchies) and has been open around 8 months. This is a hidden gem and quite a small establishment so, if you’re determined to eat there, get there early or reserve a table.

Nice Place World Art Cafe

Nice Place World Art Cafe

The tables are all locally crafted, as are the chairs, including the bamboo chairs at the front of the café, which are actually swings.

Nice Place is not just a café but also an art showcase with installations and art work from local artists, as well as ‘native’ accommodation on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
The food on offer is ‘world food’ with a local twist, the produce is sourced locally and purchased fresh each morning so, on some occasions, certain dishes may not be available.

On such occasions you could instead opt to take the ‘Chef’s Challenge’; find out what ingredients are available, select some and then challenge the chef to make you something delicious.  Be warned though; your plate will be photographed before you get to eat the created meal and immortalised on their facebook wall!

Dynamite Chili Peppers

Dynamite Chili Peppers

Firm favourites are, from the starter menu, Stuffed Dynamite Peppers; chili’s stuffed with cream cheese, coated in a beer batter, fried and serve with sweet chili sauce, and the Nice Place Caprese.

From the main menu try the Rogan Josh Curry Meatballs, they take up to 45 minutes to prepare and cook but the wait is absolutely worth it.

Adobong Manok Sa Gata (Chicken Adobe) is also delicious, along with the Schnitzel and the Pad Thai.

Long are the days when people complained about the variety of food on Boracay, there is now such variety, taste and diets catered for here that the island could soon become recognised as a gastronomic paradise!