Boracay’s cool sports

Six of the best sport activities on the island to get you fit for summer, plus a guide to some of the best sporting events this year

By Jan La O’

Ultimate frisbee By Daniel Soriano

1 Ultimate (Frisbee)

By Derek Ramsay, actor and professional ultimate player

I love Ultimate! It's a combination of basketball, soccer and football, giving you a cardiovascular workout with plyometric moves and throwing exercises. Women are also into this sports and are proving to be good at it.

Why Boracay? Ultimate in Boracay is fun. The people are really nice and the parties are crazy! I believe that the kids of Boracay are some of the most talented ultimate players I've ever seen.

Best time to go. Sometime March to April. The Annual Boracay International Tournament (Boracay Open) is held around this time, usually on a weekend, and players from other countries come. Tournaments are usually held in front of Casa Pilar Beach Resort. For more information call +63917 716 1626, visit Boracay Open.

Big event. The 2016 Boracay Open is on April 15 – 17 this year. Last year's open saw players from all over the country as well as Singapore, US, and Australia.

Where to stay. During tournament season, ultimate players usually get a special rate from Casa Pilar Beach Resort and Hey! Jude South Beach. Casa Pilar’s standard room rate is about P1,500 (about US$32) per night for two. Hey! Jude charges about P3,750 per night for a standard room for two. For inquiries and reservations on Casa Pilar beach Resort, call +6336 288 3202, visit Casa Pilar Beach; on Hey! Jude South Beach, tel +6336 288 2401, visit Hey! Jude Resort.

Where to party. Usual hangout of Boracay Dragons and ultimate players are Hey! Jude, Pat's Creek Bar, and Summer Place.

Visit the Philippine Flying Disc Association’s Facebook page for more information about ultimate or email [email protected].

Kite surfing champion Susi Mai By Damien Francis

2 Kite surfing

By Jeena Llamas Lopez, Extreme sports enthusiast

Why? When you're out kiting for two to three hours, you don't hear any sound, just the wind and water splashing on your board. It’s extreme and serene. It took me months of going back and forth to Boracay and practicing to get the hang of it and I love it. The lessons take five days, but that's only because there’s only a two to three-hour window a day when you can kite in Bulabog, Boracay. Wind speed and tide are considerations. Another reason I love the sport is there are very few women who do it. And you don’t have to diet. I ate like a teenage boy and got abs like a body builder.

Why Boracay? Boracay has a natural lagoon and has consistent wind. Bulabog Beach at the back of the main White Beach is an ideal place for learning the sport. There are other areas to kite nearby. There's a place called Seco Island where they hold Kite Safaris, an overnight or four-day kite trip. People from all over the world come to Boracay for the whole season (six months) to kite. Many do it every year and have already taken up residence on the island.

Best time to go. November to March on Bulabog Beach. From June to October there is kiting on the main White Beach, but winds are not as consistent.

Big event. The January Fun Board Cup (International Windsurf Competition) has kite tournaments that offer freestyle, highest jump and fastest run categories. For more information visit the Facebook page of the Boracay Funboard cup.

Where to stay. Hangin Kite Center has standard rooms for about P3,600 per night, good for two, and offers kite gear rental for P4,100 for the whole day and a four-day kitesurfing lesson for P19,000. Habagat Kite Village has standard rooms for about P2,700 per night for two, whole day kite gear rental for P4,800, and a three-day full kitesurfing course for P19,000. Boracay Kite Resort has standard rooms for about P1,800 per night, good for two, and offers kite gear rental for P4,500 for the whole day and basic lessons for 6 hours a day for P9,000. Visit the Hangin Kite Center website, call +6336 288 2527; call Habagat Kite Village at tel +63917 328 6684, visit Kite Boracay; call Boracay Kite Resort at tel +6336 288 6043, visit Boracay Kite Resort.

Where to party. Bulabog Beach at daytime. From sunset to late evening, check out Hey! Jude, Summer Place, Juice Bar, Bom Bom, and Aria.

Windsurfing in Boracay by David Cheung

3 Windsurfing

By Nenette Graf, Boracay Beach Resort managing director, known as "Asia's fastest lady windsurfer" and "Boracay's Queen of boardsport"

Why? I am one with the elements once I am out there windsurfing. It's an individual sport and I really like it because I have full control of my schedule, plan my own training regimen and strategy in racing. Most of all, I don't have to deal with other people’s attitudes and emotions, a problem you face in team training for other sports. The sport is dominated by men because of the notion that one must be strong to windsurf; but it is wrong. Women can sail like men once they learn and develop the technique. I can use the same size of sail or outdo many men in slalom race or speed trials despite my size. It's just practice, good physical condition; and most of all you've got to have that killer instinct.

Why Boracay? It’s one of the best spots in the world — with the best tropical beach, with a shallow lagoon protected by a reef with winds blowing on shore.

Best time to go. November until March during the northeast monsoon season or Amihan. 

Big event. The Boracay International Funboard Cup, an annual event organized 21 years ago placed Boracay on the world map for windsurfing. CNN named Boracay’s International Funboard Cup as one of the top recommended weekend destinations in the world for 2010. For more information visit the Facebook page of Boracay Funboard cup.

Where to stay. Boracay Beach Resort, located on the beachfront, Boat Station 1, offers basic and clean accommodation, with rates at about P2,724. It also offers the Fly, Sail and Stay package, from P20,000 for a week of windsurfing sessions. Hangin Kite Center has standard room rates of about P3,600 per night, good for two. For inquiries and reservations, call Boracay Beach Resort at tel +6336 288 3208, visit The Boracay Beach Resort; for Hangin Kite Center, call +6336 288 2527, visit the Hangin Kite Center website.

Where to party. Cafe Del Mar, Hey! Jude, Summer Place, Juice Bar, Bom Bom, and Aria.

For more information visit the Boracay Funboard Cup Facebook page or call +6336 288 3663. For windsurfing lessons, call Hangin Kite Center tel +6336 288 2527, visit the Hangin Kite Center website

Skimboarding By Butch Bandolon
4 Skimboarding
TJ Guinto-Maigue, one of the pioneers of skimboarding in the country

Why? It's about the rush you get while gliding on water and the freedom it gives you to explore new things with your board. Skimboarding is just like skateboarding on water. It requires great balance. The best training for skimboarding is longboarding (skate) or skateboarding since the sport relies heavily on balance and body coordination to perform one fluid motion. Skimboarding became a real sport in the late 70's on Laguna Beach, California where it originated. However, it did not reach the Philippine shores until 2000.

Why Boracay? The best thing about skimboarding in Boracay is that the structure of the beach makes it ideal for beginners from various age groups. The long stretch of generally flat, fine white sand requires newbies' minimal effort in maneuvering the board.

Best time to go. You can go to Boracay all year round to skim barring any typhoons or strong gusts of wind. Although the structure of the whole of White Beach is perfect for skimboarding, the beachfront Station 1 is flatter, making it easier to run, drop and ride.

Big event. Since Boracay is most suited to beginners and flatland skimboarding, skim competitions aren't usually held there. What they do have there is the promotion of skimboarding as part of the fun in the sun entertainment rather than as an extreme sport. In October this year, Iba, Zambales will hold a skim and skate competition. For more information call +63949 195 3602, visit Zambales Attack.

Where to stay. Skimboarders usually stay in resorts in Station 1 all the way to the boundaries of D’Mall because these resorts are closer to the patch of White Beach that’s flatter, thus ideal for running, riding and dropping. Among these resorts are Zuzuni with room rates of about P4,000 per night good for two; True Home Hotel Boracay in Station 1 with room rates of about P3,200 per night for two; and Boracay Sandcastles Resort, P9,890 per night for two; and The Sun Village Central Beachfront Resort in Station 2 at P2,895 for two. For inquiries and reservations: Zuzuni, tel +6336 288 4477, visit Zuzuni’s website. True Home Hotel Boracay, tel +6336 288 3784, visit True Home. Boracay Sandcastles Resort, tel +63998 579 7412, visit Boracay Sandcastles. The Sun Village Central Beachfront, tel +632 893 7293, visit the Sun Village.

Where to party. There are no specific hangouts for skimmers in Boracay; but they can usually be found in Station 2 where most of the bars are located.

For locally made, all original handpainted, fiberglass-coated and customized skimboards for P3,000, call +63908 8815075 or visit Slicksurf Skimboard Pilipinas’ Facebook page.

Dragon Boat Rowing By Josh Cruz

5 Dragon boat rowing
Rachel Lobangco, fire dancer and dragon boat rower and former actor

What's great about this sport is the team spirit and friendships formed. The discipline I learned as an athlete is unbelievable. We train for three months starting January or February and start from 7am, jogging from Station 1 to Station 2 back and forth, then doing cardio for an hour after. Then we start pushing the boat to the sea and rowing until 11am. Our break time is only a water break for five minutes; then we row again until we lose our breath. We do that everyday except Sundays. We train twice a day when the competition is nearing. We have a diet to follow; we can't drink alcohol; and we try to sleep early.

Why Boracay? It's fun and you are rowing on crystal clear and clean water and meet different nationalities doing the sport and sharing the same passion.

Best time to go. Second week of January when training starts.

Big event. The International Dragon Boat Festival, organized on White Beach in front of Boracay Regency in Station 2, is usually held in April and May. This year, it will fall on April 21-23 and rowers from all over the world are converging on the island to compete. For more information about the event, visit the Facebook page of the Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival or call +63920 951 6321

Where to stay. Boracay Regency Resort and Convention Center on White Beach, Boat Station 2. Rates range from P7,728 to P35,392. For inquiries and reservations call +6336 288 6111, visit The Boracay Regency Resort and Convention Center.

Where to party. Bom Bom, Jungle Bar. Summer Place is always the choice for dancing and drinking after the award ceremonies at the Regency.

Boats and equipment are mostly from Hongkong. Visit the website of Dragon Boat Calendar.  

Beach volleyball in Boracay by Bert Canopen

6 Beach volleyball

Hans Montenegro, volleyball enthusiast and former actor

Why? I love volleyball. I also love the beach so being able to play beach volleyball gives me another activity to engage in aside from the usual partying and drinking (although I love that too!). As far as the proper diet or regimen is concerned, obviously, the lighter and fitter you are, the better for you because playing on sand is way harder than playing on wood or cement. If you are accustomed to jogging on the beach, this will be to your advantage because of the natural resistance that the sand provides, which builds your leg muscles.

Why Boracay? Playing on Boracay’s sand, which does not get as hot as the sand in any of the other beaches I've played on, is so much fun. When you dive for the ball, the landing is soft and there are no rocks or stones that can hurt you. Some of the best beach volleyball games I've played were in Boracay against many of the locals. The locals on the other hand kick butt. I prefer playing with them.

Best time to go. I'd still have to say summer is the best time. During the rainy season the wind kicks up and makes playing a little more challenging.

Big event. The Nestea Beach Volleyball tournament, which happens every April to May. People from the island join this but there are also a number of frequent Boracay visitors who join. I believe most if not all of the back volleyball tournaments are played on White Beach. For more information visit the Facebook page of Nestea.

Where to stay. Le Soleil de Boracay located on White Beach, Boat Station 2. Rates range from P6,200 for the deluxe room, good for two persons, to P15,000 for an Ambassador room, good for four. Villa De Oro in Station 2 has rooms from P2,000 to P4,100. For inquiries and reservations, Le Soleil de Boracay, tel +6336 288 6209 to 12, visit Le Soleil de Boracay. Villa De Oro, tel +6336 288 5456, visit Villa De Oro’s Facebook page.

Where to party. After sport parties are usually held at Hey! Jude.

How to get there. Cebu Pacific has regular flights from Manila to Caticlan. The round trip airfare costs about P3,670. 

Where to eat
Mati Chocolate Sin
La Cozina
, the beachfront Latin bistro located on the ground floor of boutique hotel Zuzuni. The menu is mainly Latin American.  Located in Station 1, White Beach, Boracay, Aklan, tel +63917 324 9051, visit La Cozina.

Aria for authentic Italian food. Price of dishes ranges from about P300-P870 per serving. Located at D’Mall facade, beachfront, Boat Station 2. Tel +6336 288 6223, visit Aria.

HAMA for Japanese fusion meals, the only one of its kind on the island. Price of dishes from P180 per serving. Located at D’Mall junction, near the Ferris wheel. Tel +6336 288 5978, visit Hama Japanese Cuisine.

OLé for Spanish, Mexican and Cuban cuisine. Price of dishes from about P165 per dish. Located inside D’Mall, Boat Station 2. Tel +6336 288 5940, visit Ole’s website.

Cream dori in lemon butter
The Lazy Dog Café, formerly known as the Courtyard Bistro. Price of dishes ranges from about P180 – P335 per serving. Located on Bulabog Beach, tel +6336 288 4128, visit The Lazy Dog.

Originally published in InFlight Traveller April 2010. Updated April 2016