Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Where to Go: Map of Boracay

Summer's here! Flights are being booked, trips are being made, sunblocks are slowly disappearing from department store shelves. One of the most popular tourist destinations is Boracay Island in Aklan, where the white sand is always cool and postcard-ready and the fruit shakes always lead to brain freeze.

I asked good friend and brilliant designer Cla Ines to help me make a map of the island. Feel free to print it or share it (I only ask that you keep the watermark and credit back). You'll find the island's more popular sites here.

If you're visiting Boracay, you can fly in from either the Kalibo Airport or the Caticlan Airport (shown on the map). Make your way to the Caticlan Jetty Port and take a pumpboat or a fastcraft to get to the island. Most resorts will offer to pick you up at the Cagban Jetty Port. If not, you can hire a tricycle to bring you to your destination.

A long time ago, Boracay used to be divided by boat stations: Station 1 was the farthest from the mainland; Station 2 in the middle; Station 3 just a few barangays from the Cagban Jetty Port. Pumpboats would drop guests off at the beachfront of their respective resorts, then later on at the designated stations. The old boat stations are gone but people still give directions based on this. Station 1 is known for its wider beachfronts and more expensive resorts, and this is where Boracay's most photographed rock formation (Willy's Rock) is found. Head towards Station 2 along the stretch of White Beach and you'll come across D'Mall, a bustling hub of shops, bars, and restaurants. D'Mall is located near the narrowest part of the island, making it easy to cross to Bolabog Beach on the other side (not to be confused with Balabag which is where Station 1/White Beach is). Bolabog is well-known for its kiteboarding activities. During the rougher habagat months (wind blows from the west towards White Beach), this is where the island's water sports are found.

Boracay is also the setting for my first novella Cover (Story) Girl. Like its main character Gio, I live just a short drive from the island. Sometimes I'd be with my family and relatives, sometimes with my friends, and sometimes even all alone. I've once taken a shuttle to the island just to buy Bite Club burgers then come back home. Trust me, when you've been in Manila traffic, the hour-and-a-half/forty-five ride to Boracay won't seem so bad!

I don't claim to know everything about Boracay. But I've been going there annually for over twenty years so I really felt that I could write this story. I still have a ton of (mis)adventures that I've kept from the book! People can complain that it's crowded or overrated but the truth is, I have so much history with this island that it will always have a special place in my heart. The next time I go, it will be with a book in one hand, a mango shake on the table, and lots of sunshine on my SPF-protected shoulders. No worries.

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