The king of The Philippines’ many beautiful islands, Boracay is dead in the heart of the beaten track, and re-builds itself every off-season to ensure it remains on its lofty 'must-see island' perch. You can certainly expect a modern, lively outlook and plenty of sun, sea and sand (and alcohol, should you be so inclined), though more seasoned travelers might feel a little short changed by the relative lack of genuine Philippino culture to be uncovered.
In truth, Boracay is tiny. It’s little more than a spec on the colossal island range of the Philippines, just 9kms long and 1km wide, and for most holiday makers the action revolves almost entirely around ‘White Beach’, the heart of the heady tourism district. Bars and restaurants galore line the strip, and most visitors spend day after day tanning on the sand or scooting across the water, indulging in the endless stream of water sports on offer from over 300 top-class resorts. Motorbiking, beach volleyball, mountain biking and windsurfing are all but compulsory for exercise lovers.
Away from ‘White Beach’, get on a boat to Laurel Island, and snorkel amongst the Crystal Cove Park, or climb the hills overlooking it. The early morning markets give a great glimpse of more authentic Philippines culture; grab a fresh fish and take it back for a beachside BBQ, or head for the sparkling depths and drift amongst the striking wildlife with one of a selection of local dive companies.
The nightlife manages to be both mellow and extravagant: it’s not nearby Bali’s ‘grab a partner’ ethos, but you could still do some serious damage to your liver with all-day technicolored cocktails and venues where dancing stood on your table (or the bar) is just part of the evening.
You’re unlikely to be writing home about Boracay’s culture then (unless you like to tell the family about your bar-top exploits), but it is striking, and though it’s often crowded, there are few better places for a hard working professional to spend a couple of weeks seriously winding down, sipping cocktails and soaking up some sun. You’ll have a great holiday; just don’t expect it to change your world.