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

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!

Philippine Street Food; our favourite snacks (“Meryenda”)

There has been a lot of discussion and posts about a recent blog, which included the statement  that they would ‘rather go hungry than eat Philippine Street Food’.  It upset a lot of people in the Philippines, locals and visitors alike.

We took a look at what this blogger had to say, and what some of the commentators had to say, and are inclined to agree that the blog article was primed to secure maximum attention. Whilst the blogger changed the title of the original post to include ‘Street’ it still did not truly reflect street foods that are to be found, and enjoyed, all over the Philippines.

We all have our own personal tastes about food; what is one persons food heaven is anothers food hell, but we decided to write a post about our favourite Philippine Street Foods.

Philippine Street Food Stall

Philippine Street Food Stall

Fish Balls – The clear winner for everyone polled today, fish in batter, freshly fried and served with a choice of 3 dips; sweet, sour or hot. Fish balls can be bought individually, at 1 pesos each or in bags or plates, usually 8 pieces. Vendors may have a fixed stall or a wooden cart that they push through the streets, often between 4pm-6pm in the evenings.

Isaw

Isaw

 Isaw – was the next popular, and is usually found at stalls selling a variety of BBQ ‘sticks’. Isaw is chicken or pork intestine in bbq sauce. One person said that the best Isaw can be found at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman Campus, Quezon City Manila, with dignitaries and celebrities arriving in cars, with body guards, in order to get their hands on these tasty treats.

Kikiam – Another fish/pork dish; traditional preparation uses minced pork and shelled prawns, with diced carrots, garlic and onion, and spices. The ingredients are wrapped in a bean curd sheet and steamed, before being fried. As with the Fish balls this is served with a choice of 3 dips and is delicious.

Kwek Kwek – are hard-boiled quail eggs in a tempura like batter and served with a spiced vinegar dip. Kwek Kwek is also sometimes confused with Tokneneng – which is, essentially, the same dish but using Chicken or Duck Eggs.

Siomai - served with a choice of 3 dips

Siomai – served with a choice of 3 dips

 Sharwama & Siomai – are not strictly Filipino food, but stalls and vendors are commonly found all over the country and these snacks are absolutely delicious.

Sharwama are basically very similiar to turkish or arabic kebabs, slow cooked meat, sliced thinly and wrapped in flatbread along with salads and dressings. The difference is it’s a mini version.

The Sioamai are little steamed meat or vegetable dumplings served in a paper tray with dips, and can be bought for 25-45pesos depending on where you buy them.  They are a flavourful treat enjoyed by many and sometimes 3-4 are just not enough!

For Sweet Treats there is also a wide range to choose from, including fresh fruits served from the stalls, or offered for sale in bags by sellers who walk the beaches or streets.

Turon

Turon

Our absolute favourite sweet treat is Turon, a sweet banana spring roll. People may prepare it by just wrapping a sweet banana, pre-dipped in sugar, in a spring roll sheet and then frying it until golden brown, or they may pre-cook the sugar-dipped banana and then wrap it in a spring roll sheet before frying it until golden brown. This second method results in a soft, caramalised banana. Turon can be bought for between 10-25 pesos.

Banana Cue is similar to Turon but without the spring roll wrapper. Usually sold on a stick, 2 small banana’s at a time and for the same price as Turon

“Dirty Ice Cream” is nothing to fear; it’s the name given to the carts that sell home-made ice creams, offering a range of different flavours. Similar to many western countries you will often find a Dirty Ice Cream cart outside schools or churches, waiting for children and families alike to buy from them.

Halo Halo (Mix Mix) is quite possibly the most famous of the Philippines treats. Halo Halo includes a mix of fruits, sweet preserves, shaved ice, evaporated milk and corn .. or sweet corn. This may sound odd for someone with a Western palate but it’s actually lovely, although very sweet. It is often topped-off with a scoop of ice cream and is also a favourite at birthday parties and gatherings.

Taho Vendors are usually to be found in the morning

Taho Vendors are usually to be found in the morning

Taho is a combination of a hot drink and breakfast in a cup, sold in the mornings by vendors who transport the ingredients in aluminium containers attached to a yoke, which they wear across their shoulders. Taho is made of Curd, caramalised brown sugar and Sago (Tapioca) Pearls.

The vendor makes a fine art of scooping up the curd in to a cup and then using a long-handled ladle to pour in the Sugar and Sago, before mixing these together.                                         Bagio famously serves a strawberry flavour Taho, substituting the brown sugar with a strawberry syrup. Vendors may sell different sized cups, ranging from 5-25 pesos, depending on where in the country you are.

The most important thing about the Philippine Street Food listed above is ….  they’re all ‘Meryenda’ or snacks and NOT meals.                                                                          These snacks are just to get you through the morning or afternoon, until you are back home and able to enjoy a fresh, home-cooked meal.  It is the family home, where the art of Philippine cooking is to be found, and in the locally-frequented Cantina’s and Restaurants.

Ssshh! The Delights of Angol, Boracay

Boracay has, quite possibly, one of the best beaches in the World, and the World is starting to hear about it!

So where do you go, if you want to visit Boracay and be close to, or on the beach, but you don’t want to be amongst the crowds or staying in ‘party central’….. ssshhhh!  Keep this very, very quiet … but Angol is the place to visit.

Taken in front of Angol Point Resort

Taken in front of Angol Point Resort

Angol is the last stretch of White Beach, after Station 3 and, so far, has been left untouched by the large beach front resorts that dominate Stations 1 & 2.

It has its own, delightful ambiance and laid back charm.

Relax and lie back, soak up the sun, do some snorkeling, get a massage from the amazing blind masseuse, who will unfurl tensions you didn’t even know you had. Have a sleep, get some food and an ice cold drink, and repeat as required.

Ahoy! Me Hearties

Ahoy, me hearties – grab a drink at Red Pirates

Whilst Angol is quieter, there are still plenty of options for places to eat and order drinks including Cowboys Cantina, Conga’s,  Surfside’s Nagisa Cafe which offers a pick & mix menu of items at 100PHP each, Treehouse and the famous Red Pirates which during high season, often run a Friday evening BBQ (with a delicious Banana Heart Salad), along with regular acoustic nights and their Paraw sailing tours, which can be booked all year round.

Angol also has some little snorkeling spots, some of which are very close to the shore, obviously you won’t see as much in terms of corals and marine life as you would if you took a diving excursion, but you can still amuse yourself gentle paddling around.  These spots tend to be even further down the beach but less than a 10 minute walk from the bars and restaurants.

The Marzon Beach Resort

The Marzon Beach Resort

One, unassuming hotel, just a 5 minute gentle stroll from Angol, is The Marzon Resort which offers a range of rooms.

Our favourites are the Deluxe Garden View Rooms, which are spacious and bright with a large, queen-sized bed, bedside tables and lamps, crisp white bedding and modern furnishings, as well as a wall-mounted Cable flat-screen TV.  The bathrooms are a good size, with a powerful hot & cold shower, as well as a separate outside area for hanging and drying your swimming costumes.

Each of the Deluxe Garden View rooms have a small outside area, with a bench and chairs.  Breakfast is included in the rates and is Filipino or Continental.  You can choose to eat this in the area outside of your room, or in front of the small cafe area, which serves snacks, drinks and very good coffee until late at night, and which has great views of the beach.

Where to eat after a night out partying in Boracay

Jammers Retaurant Station 2 D'Mall Boracay, open 24 hours

Jammers Retaurant Station 2 D’Mall Boracay, open 24 hours

If you enjoy partying or drinking with friends while vacationing in Boracay, you might want to know where to grab a bite after the party dies down and you start to feel hunger pangs.

People who travel to Boracay regularly and often take part in the island’s nightlife are familiar with some of the best places to eat after a night of drinking and dancing.

The top 2 places to eat before heading home are Jammers and Smoke. Jammers is famous for their 100% all-beef burgers, hotdogs, and tacos. One can also order another round of beer while your order is being prepared since Jammers also serves alcoholic beverages.

Smoke Restaurant Station 2, D'Mall Boracay open 24 hours

Smoke Restaurant Station 2, D’Mall Boracay open 24 hours

Smoke is another classic favorite of island party-goers where people can have rice meals or a hot bowl of bulalo soup. The restaurant’s sizzling bulalo is also one of the more popular items on the menu.

There are still more choices when it comes to after-hour dining and most of these places are located within walking distance of major Boracay hotels either on the beachfront or along the main road. There are affordable whole-in-the-wall diners spread out between Boracay Station 1 hotels to Station 3.

Christmas and New Year in Boracay Island

Christmas-boracayIf you are thinking of spending Christmas or New Year in Boracay Island, it would be best to make your hotel and airline bookings as soon as possible. December to early January is super peak season on the island.

In reality, you need to make your hotel bookings as early as 6 months before the Christmas season. It is still possible though, to find some Boracay hotels that offer peak season rates. It is of utmost importance to make and confirm your bookings to ensure that you will have a place to stay in Boracay during this time.

Christmas and the New Year are celebrated extensively in the Philippines and you can feel that holiday spirit on the island too. Travelers can expect to be treated to a special array of typical Filipino Yuletide dishes with the best dishes served during Noche Buena, on Christmas Eve.

These Christmas dishes usually include:

Paella
Lechon
Relleno
Macaroni Salad
Keso de Bola
Bibingka
Puto Bumbong
Embutido
Lengua Estofado
Sweet Christmas Ham or Cured Chinese Ham
Roasted Chestnuts
Fruits
Leche Flan
Fruit Salad

New Year’s Eve is also celebrated with festivities that include fireworks displays and a late dinner that usually include the following dishes:

Lechon
Pancit (noodles that signify long life)
Biko (sticky rice)
Whole Fish
Kare-kare
Fresh Lumpia
Tikoy
12 round Fruits to Signify each month of the year

Paella

Paella

Tourists can expect similar types of food being served in Boracay hotels during the Christmas and New Year season and as mentioned previously, most accommodations will be booked as Christmas gets closer. It would be in your best interest to reserve and confirm your hotel booking as soon as you can as you can still find Boracay accommodations in the early part of December.

Beachfront Boracay Station 1 Hotels – Nigi Nigi Too

View from the 2nd floor balcony of Nigi Nigi Too

View from the 2nd floor balcony of Nigi Nigi Too

One of the coziest places to stay in Boracay Island that offers ocean views and excellent food is Nigi Nigi Too Beach Resort. This beachfront Boracay hotel is located just steps from the famous Willy’s Rock at Station 1.

The hotel offers mid-range prices for spacious rooms in one of the best locations on the island. All rooms are decorated with oriental flair overlooking either the ocean or the tropical garden.

Each room is furnished with cable TV, mini fridge, hot shower, airconditioning, and WiFi. Staff and employees are some of the friendliest and most accommodating on the island. Nigi Nigi Too also provides room service, airport transfers, and a nanny service.

The bar and restaurant on the beach is a popular hang-out for both local islanders and foreign travelers. Food (international and Asian) and drinks are excellent as well as the dining and bar service.

The restaurant and bar, which are practically on the beach, serve international beer brands as well as the country’s famous San Miguel Beer served ice cold each time. Try the appetizers, the gourmet pizzas, and their signature burgers.

Massage area by the beach

Massage area by the beach

One of the highlights of this Boracay hotel is the massage area by the beach which offers the perfect setting and ocean views to relax while getting a massage.

Nigi NIgi Too Resort sits on one of the best parts of White Beach for swimming with a wide and clean beachfront. It is one of the most popular Boracay Station 1 hotels on the island for short or long-term stay.