Boracay Info

Sirenna's Boracay Travel Guide
Tourist Traps

Overcharging!
January 1, 2005.

 

Tricycle by sirenna
Surprise surprise, these guys take the p*ss. Some tourists I've met have been charged as much as P200 for a P10 fare. During the day, a short ride should be P7 and it usually doubles at night. Fares for longer rides should be displayed on a chart inside the trike.

If you take a tricycle thats parked by the side of the road they consider it a "special" charter trip and charge more, so it's better to flag down one that's already on the road. They are not all bad guys though - occasionally you'll meet a driver who goes out of his way to be friendly and helpful, and it's always good to reward this behavior with a tip.

Threaten to report them to the police, Mayor's office or Barangay Captain!
 
 
Another Nail in the Coffin
October 14, 2005.

 

Smashed - The Remains of Kiwi Phil's Bar. by sirenna
Many people will be saddened to learn that a large stretch of the southern end of White Beach has just been sold to a Korean developer. This has resulted in the closure and destruction of some of the island's nicest little native beach bars and cottages, including Sababi (Josephine's place), Kiwi Philip's place and Cogon Bar (Vangie and Steve's). This area was quiet and peaceful, and a welcome escape for those who wish to escape the noise and crowds at the centre of White Beach. Sadly, it appears that no part of Boracay island is to be protected from the big developers, who are no doubt planning to build another concrete carbuncle on the site. This is a sad loss for Boracay. When will the 'powers that be' realise that parts of the island should be preserved? It seems that they won't be happy until every square inch of Boracay has been covered in concrete, and by then, of course, it will be too late to turn back the clock.

Boracay's beauty spots are disappearing at a very rapid rate! Come and enjoy the island now, as in a few years it will be totally spoilt.
 

 

Snorkeling fees
December 29, 2004.

 

Rocks at Yapak by sirenna
Certain snorkeling areas are patrolled by the "sea rangers" who will try to charge you P20 for simply swimming in the sea! This has got to be the biggest rip off going. If they actually used the money for something useful, such as installing mooring buoys at the snorkelling sites (so that the banca boats don't have to anchor on the corals and damage them) it would be worthwhile. But no-one seems to know what they do with the cash. Also, if you are having a beach BBQ or picnic, these guys will turn up and linger about expecting to be fed.

Complain! They always back down. No-one should have to pay to swim at a public beach!

Tell them you didn't bring your wallet!
 

 

Ugly Advertising
June 18, 2005.

 

Enough Advertising!!! by sirenna
In the last few years, Boracay has been host to many sponsored events, parties and concerts. Originally, their advertising banners would be taken down after the event, but now the island has become the venue for the 'telecom wars'! Two major phone companies have festooned the island with posters, banners, inflatables & lights, and now they've even hijacked the sailing boats (the paraw captains were threatened with the loss of their working permits if they failed to display these corporate logos on their sails). It all looks cheap and tacky, and it spoils the view of the beach. Most tourists don't like to see this kind of all-pervasive advertising, and it is extremely annoying for photographers, who find it difficult to get a decent beach shot without including unwanted advertisements in the picture.
 

 

Begging
January 2, 2005.

 

beach path by sirenna
There are quite a few beggars in Boracay, especially in high season. Many of them come over from the mainland to earn more money. It's hard to know who the deserving cases are - very often the money is spent straight away on rum. Small children will often approach you with their hands out, but again, the parents will take the money and spend it on rum. There is plenty of work available here, even for unskilled people, so there's usually no need for a healthy adult to be begging. Sometimes they will ask for your watch or jewellry, and curse you loudly if you refuse to give. I always make an exception for old or disabled people - a few loose coins are an acceptable donation.

Try to avoid eye contact if you don't wish to be harrassed.

If you wish to help, buy something from the people selling shells and beads on the beach. At least they are making an effort to earn money, not just putting their hands out. Or give some shoes and clothing to an underpriveliged child.
 

 

Power Cuts
January 2, 2005.

 

Handy! by sirenna
Boracay island experiences regular power cuts (known locally as "brown-outs") - at least one every day recently! They frequently last for several hours. It's fine if your resort has a generator (most expensive resorts do), but many of the smaller or budget places don't have one, and this is something to bear in mind whan you are booking a place. It can be hard to sleep at night without an electric fan. There are also parts of Boracay which are badly lit, so it makes sense to bring a flashlight with you at night. The local electricity company charges some of the highest rates in the country, but they take the phone off the hook during power cuts so that they don't have to answer questions or deal with complaints. It's very frustrating!

Keep a flashlight in your bag/pocket!

Check whether your resort has a generator. If not, ask them to provide you with emergency lights/candles in your room in case of a blackout.