Boracay Island was voted one of the world's most romantic islands by Travel + Leisure magazine a few years ago. But where do you go for somewhere special on Valentine's Day, away from the crowds? Long-time Boracay resident Freida Dario-Santiago gives us her list of romantic things to do on the island.
1 HIT THE BEACH, PREFERRABLY A SECLUDED ONE
Boracay Island’s famous White Beach is but one of over a dozen beaches and coves on the island. Take your pick among the more remote and quieter beaches such as Diniwid, Puka, Ilig-Iligan or Balinghai.
Balinghai Beach, in particular, is a perfect hideaway. A tiny beach cove at the northern tip of the island, Balinghai is protected by rock formations that hide it from the rest of the island. Stay for the day and go for a swim or snorkel. The reef just a few meters from the shore has a rich and diverse marine life. Balinghai Beach Resort on the cliffs within the private cove has a beach bar and café. Spend the day here and wait for the sunset, or stay for a romantic candlelit dinner and a bonfire.
To get to Balinghai Beach, get a special chartered tricycle ride for Php150 from Boracay's Station 2, or get a regular tricycle ride from the corner of Balinghai Road. The best way to get to Balinghai Beach if you want to score high on the romance front is on a paraw outrigger boat. Balinghai Beach Resort is located at Yapak, Hagdan, Boracay Island, tel +63 36 288 3646. Visit Balinghai Beach Resort on Facebook
Blogger Estan Cabigas on Puka Beach: "So pristine and undeveloped, despite it being in popular Boracay."
Freedive Boracay owner Cat Craciun says, "Some of the quieter beaches in Boracay where you can escape the crowds are Puka Beach and Ilig-Iligan Beach. Puka Beach is a great place to watch the sunset and find some of the best value hotels."
The 200-meter long Diniwid Beach is also a convenient getaway from the more crowded and active White Beach. It is easily accessible through a footpath carved along the rocky cliff at the northernmost tip of White Beach. Relatively quiet compared to White Beach, Diniwid has a life of its own, with excellent restaurants and bars that exude the unique vibe and character of the area’s laidback residents. For more information, visit Boracay's Department of Toursim Office on Boracay Main Road, Balabag or call tel+63 36288 3689. For tourist facilities and services, visit Tourist Center Boracay.
2 GET AWAY FROM IT ALL ON A HINUGTAN BEACH TOUR
If you feel that you need a holiday from your holiday and would like to go on a mobile tech detox for a day, the Hinugtan Beach Getaway Tour may be for you. It's an all-inclusive day trip to neighbouring Hinugtan Beach in the municipality of Buruanga, just a 45-minute boat trip from Boracay Island. Offering ultimate privacy and a great snorkeling spot, take chill to the next level with NO Wi-Fi, just conversations with your loved one. Visit Hinugtan beach or call tel+63 926 268 0369 for inquiries.
3 SUNSET SAILING ON A PARAW
Book a romantic ride on a paraw, the island's double outrigger sailing boat with nets that serve as hammocks. Relax, gaze at nothing but sky and sea as you cut across the waters. Red Pirates Boracay Sailing Tours and Bar operates paraw rides for up to 12 people, usually taking passengers to secret spots around northern Panay and Carabao Island, with picnic packages and the thrill of a lifetime. Couples can rent it for a private afternoon of island hopping and a delicious grilled lunch cooked just for you on the beach, served with a chilled bottle of wine. Time your return back to Boracay to catch the sunset and see the island drenched in pink and blue light.
Private yachts, catamarans and boats are also available for hire on the island. Contact your resort's front desk for reputable service providers. Try Boracay Suncruiser for scheduled boat cruises and private bookings. Contact Red Pirates by SMS at tel +6336 288 5767. Visit Red Pirates on Facebook.
4 A SPIDER HOUSE BREAK
Getting to Spider House is quite an experience in itself as it is accessible through a tiny cave. Spider House has been around for the past 25 year, a giant open-plan treehouse built on the rocks at the base of a mountain directly over the sea. It's the best spot to watch the sunset. The house was built mainly with bamboo and wood, blending in naturally with its surroundings. Each of the more than 13 rooms in the house have sea views. Its restaurant has a sushi bar and a pizza station, open from 7am to 10pm. For Valentine’s Day, ladies get fresh flowers as the sunset sets the stage for romance! Spider House is located on Diniwid Beach, Boracay Island, tel+63 36 288 2350, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find Spider House on Facebook.
5 A ROMANTIC MANDALA SPA JOURNEY
Go for some couple pampering at Mandala Spa and Resort Villas. Mandala's Valentine's Special, a two-hour Romantic Mandala Spa Journey, which includes a royal footbath, Asian signature massage, and Cleopatra milk bath, and an aphrodisiac-spiced pineapple, cherry, and walnut bonbons, your choice of a glass of wine or fresh fruit shake, and a complimentary Mandala sarong. The treatment costs Php4,800 net per person. Book at Mandala Spa. Pre-booking is required. Mandala Spa & Resort Villas is located at Station 3, Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, tel +63 36) 288 5857 / 58, mobile +63 917 634 8430, email email@example.com. Find Mandala Spa on Facebook, and on Instagram @mandalaspaandresortvillas
6 TABLE FOR TWO
Boracay's popularity has seen a number of restaurants open on the island, serving a variety of local and world cuisine. Here's a list to get you started...
If you’re looking for good and healthy gourmet cuisine in a romantic setting surrounded by lush greenery, then Prana is it. The restaurant follows a “farm-to-table” philosophy, using herbs and fresh produce from the Mandala Natural Garden and what is locally available. Visit Prana Restaurant.
SUBO BORACAY (Filipino Fine Dining)
Subo Boracay's Chef Sunny de ocampo can arrange a romantic garden dinner with a special menu for you and your loved one. The restaurant, which enjoys good reviews on Tripadvisor and is recommended dining on the island, takes you back to Fil-hispanic Philippines. It is built from up cycled materials taken from a 115-year-old house, and is furnished with antique furniture and accessories. Subo Boracay is located along Calle Remedios (right across from Dos Mestizos), Station 3, Boracay Island.
LA COZINA (Latin)
La Cozina is Boracay’s beachfront Latin bistro specializing in tacos and churros, made using an ancestral Spanish recipe, a definite must-try any day. The interior is modern and cozy, with a dining area that extends right on to the beachfront, making for a romantic setting. We highly recommend their baby back ribs, Southwestern fiesta rice, the pizettas, and the aptly named Mati (Chocolate) Sin for dessert. La Cozina is located at the beachfront of Zuzuni Boutique Hotel, Station 2, Boracay Island, mobile +63 917 324 9051
ARIA CUCINA ITALIANA
Aria Cucina Italiana serves authentic Italian cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Aria Cucina Italia is at the D’Mall beachfront, Station 2, Boracay Island.
INDIGO RESTAURANT (Coastal Cuisine)
Featured twice in Philippine Tatler's Best Restaurants List, Indigo Restaurant at Discovery Shores Boracay, is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic al fresco dinner in style. The exclusive dinner-only venue is an oasis of understated elegance, serving contemporary coastal cuisine and a nouvelle approach to tropical dining. Indigo Restaurant is located at Discovery Shore Boracay, Station 1, Boracay Island.
THE SUNNY SIDE CAFE
Start the day right with your loved one. The Sunny Side Cafe serves all-day breakfast (7am to 10pm), right by the beach. Lonely Planet says “you’ll be amazed by the depth of the cuisine at this contemporary beachfront café, where even standard entries get a fresh spin.” And a look at the menu makes you realize it’s true. We highly recommend the bacon & mango grilled cheese sandwich with house-made bacon and mango jam, Earl Grey & orange pancakes infused with TWG Tea, and the avocado and bacon smash if in season! The Sunny Side Cafe is located at the beachfront of Boracay Sands Hotel, Station 3, Boracay Island, tel +6336 288 2874.
Published February 2016