We spontenously decided to fly to Boracay for my Birthday. I fell in love with the idea of spending the big 3-0 on a small island – the sort of island you always see in Maldives or Seychelles advertisements. I had heard from a lot of travellers that the Philippines was their favourite destination – so I was intrigued to see what they meant.
The Philippines was not planned. And I’m so glad we came.
I was worried that Boracay, known as a party island, would remind me of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand and I was not going to enjoy it. Then I landed in Boracay and indeed, my first impression was ‘Oh my goodness this is crowded!’. We had arrived in the beginning of April and with Easter just a fews days ago, there were still hordes of people cramped on the famous ‘White Beach’. Even at Station 2 or 3 (which are supposedly less crowded than Station 1, I felt it was too full).
So, we decided to look for a secluded hide-away and if we felt like partying or go for a meal under the stars on White Beach, we would simply travel backby Tricycle (the Filipino version of a Tuk Tuk). We followed our gut instinct and booked three nights at the Baling Hai Beach Resort.
Baling Hai seems rustic and a bit outdated in comparison to the shiny brand new hotel complexes dotted around the island. But, the photos on booking sites are deceptive. Yes, being one of the first resorts on the island, it definitely kept its original charm – but that is a good thing!
This place is out of this world.
If you want an off the beaten path & authentic paradise island experience: this is the place for you. No loud banging music which distorts the blissful relaxing island bliss and serenity you came for….The place is about a 10 min drive to Station 1 – so if you fancy visiting the hustle & bustle – it is really not far away. We even had our own secluded beach!
I could not have been happier with the choice of hotel for my Birthday week-end!
What we immediately noticed upon arrival in Boracay: people greet you with a smile. People are friendly. In fact, the friendliest people we had encountered in Asia so far. The Spanish and American influence can be felt and somehow Filipinos are not quite Asian – they are somehow…different. Throughout our stay there, we didn’t have one bad experience – never felt unsafe – never harrassed. In fact, especially staff at restaurants and hotels, always went out of their way to do absolutely everything for you.
I loved it here and I never wanted to leave again.
I even played with the idea to prolongue the stay and join Ben in Australia later – but then I decided, you know what? We’ve got all plans set and flights booked…but I will be back for much longer next time. There is something about the Philippines and it has catapulted itself right to the top of my favourite countries ever.
What I loved the most about it, was that it was a country where luxury is well and truly affordable. We rented our own private sail boat (through Baling Hai) for two hours at £10 an hour (yes…i know!), we watched the sun go down at the Shangri La, drank Champagne and ate delicious Tapas for a surprisingly good value (these places are usually never overly cheap – but we still felt like what we paid for was warranted for the set-up and choices ordered), we had a two-hour private windsurf lesson which was so much fun. And Ben organised a private dining experience on the beach (all i’m saying: rose petals, candlelight…).
Everything was perfect!
The shopping on Boracay was fun too (and I’m usually not someone to shop much): I bought an absolutely stunning Bikini from my new favourite brand Anemone Swimwear. I bought sunglasses from Boracay Bamboo Shades. I sipped on Cocktails looking out to the crystal clear blue sea and the white sandy beach. We had the most ridiculously delicious Milkshakes from Jonah’s Milkshakes. We tanned. We swam. We laughed. We kissed. It was Paradise on earth. I would not hesitate to go back.
In fact, I could quite easily live here.
The Philippines’ official slogan is ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’. Hell yes. And when we serendipitously walked into a small beach bar on Station 2 on the night before my Birthday and danced the night away together with tourists and locals – all of us not having a care in the world and having the times of our lives –
I really thought…there is no place like the Philippines indeed!
What was your first impression of the Philippines? Do these photos make you want to hop on the next plane and fly to Boracay? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.