'So many beaches, so little time!' may be the cry of every traveller who's washed up on Boracay and wondered whether there's a holiday long enough to ever grow tired of its powdery shores, azure water and tropical vistas.
With so much to enjoy on the island, we round up the five essentials for couples looking to sample the best of Boracay.
1. Take to the water
Boracay's native paraw sailboats are made for these clear waters, and there's no better way to experience the island's magic than aboard a sunset cruise -- the sails billowing in the breeze, the bow skimming over the waves toward a blazing sunset.
A paradise for water sports, Boracay is the place to practice old tricks or learn new ones. Partner up for a kitesurfing or scuba lesson, descend into the deep with a helmet diving excursion, soar into the sky on a parasailing adventure, or try your hand at paddleboarding on the tranquil rivers of nearby Panay Island.
2. Go beach hunting
Savvy vacationers know there's more to Boracay than White Beach. Pack your swimsuit and a picnic basket and head for the lovely sands of Puka, Diniwid or Balinghai. If you fancy having a beach all to yourself, charter a paraw to bring you round to Ilig Iligan, or look farther afield to the deserted shores of Tablas and Hambil islands.
3. Spring for a Hilot massage
The little-known Filipino Hilot healing ritual has been around for centuries, and is a remarkably effective way to soothe sore muscles, restore circulation and put you in a blissful frame of mind for the rest of your holiday.
To experience the real deal, check in to the secluded Mandala Spa & Villas for their award-winning 'Hilot Trilogy'. The treatment features banana leaf stripping to detect areas of imbalance, ventosa or vacuum cupping, a traditional Hilot body massage with extra virgin coconut oil, and a therapeutic foot massage originating from the rice terraces of Banaue. Each spa guest is gifted with a complimentary sarong, and if you're fortunate enough to be staying at Mandala, you can always retreat to the tranquillity of the resort's nature-inspired garden villas.
Discover more: www.mandalaspa.com
4. Pick a spot for sundowners
Ready to kick back even more? Catch one of Boracay's famous sunsets from any one of many scenic spots on the western side of the island. Snuggle up in the cliff-hugging booths of Solana, spread out with a shisha pipe in the beachfront lounge chairs at Mint, or snag a bar stool at the rustic Red Pirates Pub. If you're in a party mood, join one of the sunset cruises that depart daily, offering drinks, finger food, music and opportunities to meet other travellers.
Discover more: Shangri-La Boracay
5. Sample Filipino favourites
Boracay is known for its international culinary options, but it's also a perfect place to feast on fresh seafood, or to encounter traditional and modern Filipino dishes served with a view at the many beachfront restaurants. When the temperature heats up, nothing beats a bowl of cold halo-halo – a mix of candied fruits, sweet beans and coconut meat served over shaved ice and topped with scoop of ube (purple yam) ice-cream.
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