Sirenna's Boracay Travel Guide
January 1, 2005.
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
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
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.
December 29, 2004.
Rocks at Yapak
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!
June 18, 2005.
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.
January 2, 2005.
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
Try to avoid eye contact if you don't wish to be
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.
January 2, 2005.
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.