My first time in Boracay was 2014, and it was my 4th time this year and second year with Julia. Boracay is one of the best Island destinations in the world, located in the Aklan province of Philippines. The white sand beaches of Boracay, crystal clear waters, crazy party nights, the beautiful sunset, delicious food, fresh fruits and fruit shakes, the list could be endless, on why one should go to Boracay!
My primary reason for travel is dance! Of course, a travel plan without dancing is quite difficult at this point in my career but the good thing is that there is a festival in Boracay! Since 2014, I am teaching and performing every year at the Boracay Latin Dance Festival organised by such wonderful people - Michael and Ana and their team. Every year is special and brings in a lot of new memories for, I meet the salsa family in Philippines and meet a lot of new wonderful people from all over the world! The festival is a Boutique festival with a cosy bunch of dancers from different countries and gives enough time and reason to bond with the artists and participants alike. Please check their site www.boracaylatindancefestival.com for more info. If you haven't been to the festival, you should probably consider going once. Maybe you will go back again but it is a sin, if you don''t go at all!
This year, we were almost 10 of us (students, team and friends) who made the trip to Boracay, considering I went with 2 of my students my first time there. Waking up to rush to the beach to have the breakfast at Cha Cha's restaurant at Coast hotel and scouting for different restaurants for lunch and dinner by the beach, everyday was special. We never failed to get our drinks on discounts esp. the evening happy hours with buy one get one free offers, be it a Pina colada or a margarita or just any other cocktail.
I had one workshop to teach and this year, it was Salsa on 1 partner work. Thanks to Julia for assisting in my class. I did see a lot of familiar faces in my workshop, some of them consistently attending my workshops over the years at Boracay and of course, so many new faces. A simple pattern but filled with lot of tips, I hope the students took back lot more than just learning a routine!
We had 2 performances, a team shines routine and a Bachata team routine on the Friday Night at the Paradise garden resort. I was very proud of my team for putting in so much hard work every time. (Videos soon) The performers were Bonny Avanoor, Vijay Balaji, Sneha Vakkala, Julia Pauer, Teena Ramakrishnan and me!
The biggest past time in the Island is the sea! Shallow beach, crystal clear waters make it perfect to swim all day long without worrying! The moment you step out of the sea, the beach is set for dancing with the DJs readily playing our favourite salsa or bachata or kizomba tracks. Guess who were the DJs? Selva and Gupson among others. Stefan, our Austrian friend was there with his music instruments, busy playing music all the time. There is no reason to move out of the beach during the day. We were either dancing, chatting, eating, drinking or just resting. I don't know whether to call it being busy or not! The night was no different.
Knowing Boracay and its amazing waters around, we had extended our stay by a day after the festival and decided to do rent a boat for few hours and enjoy some activities. We negotiated the boat at 2200 peso for 8 people (Bonny, Vijay Balaji, Julia Pauer, Tajmal, Teena, Sneha, Ashish and me). I went snorkeling for the first time in my life in the beautiful waters of Philippines and only could wonder at the sight of the underwater flora and fauna. Wish I had pictures taken under the sea. (Snorkeling costs around 65 pesos per person). Of course, all the 8 of us jumped in the water to enjoy the view under the sea. A few chose to do the cliff jumping and maybe I will try it next year. (It was 150 peso per person). Another highlight of the boat trip is helmet diving (500 pesos per person). We were told we will be FINDING NEMO and exactly that's what happened. We have never heard of helmet diving before but it was fun. If you have come all the way to Boracay, it doesn't hurt to say a hello to the Nemo!
If you have time, plan to stay more than a week or two, as you would want to try out the other nearby islands and a lot of water activities. If you love sea food, dont forget to check out the fish market at D'talipapa. The locals claim that Boracay isnt even close to the best beaches in Philippines, but I let you decide on that.
To travel to Boracay, the nearest accessible airport is Kalibo. You will need a 2 hour bus ride and a 10 min ferry to reach Boracay. It might cost you around 750-900 pesos for a return ticket from the airport to Boracay, that you can book right outside the airport. The airport is tiny and is always crowded. When you exit Kalibo, you might need to pay the airport terminal exit fee of 700 pesos.