Feb 14

How to Extend Your Vacation at Boracay For Cheap

by in Guest Posts

If it wasn’t for tales brought home by backpackers and German writers, the world wouldn’t have known about one of the Philippines’ best kept secret. The island of Boracay, an idyllic playground for the ultimate getaway experience is fast becoming renowned to the rest of the world, thanks in part to recognition given by prestigious travel publications like T+L and publicity through CheapFlights.com and the HuffingtonPost. But with this fame must come at a price, doesn’t it? You see, that’s where a lot of people get it wrong. It’s very affordable to live in the Philippines, and living in Boracay can be just as so. What’s special about Boracay is that it accommodates whatever lifestyle you choose to live while vacationing there, be that a backpacker’s opting for bunkbeds or a celebrity wanting some privacy and seclusion.

The world famous White Beach in Boracay, featuring aquamarine shallow waters and sugary fine white sand. Photo by Graugart @ Wikitravel.org

Boracay has many hotels and resorts, inns and lodgings, and a wide variety of products and services within the island. It’s not one of those island getaways where price gouging due to limited supplies will almost always be likely. So how does one extend their stay in Boracay? Take a look at the following strategies, and you’ll be on your way of spending just a month’s salary to living in paradise for a month or two assuming you can save up about $2,000.

Fly Low And Stay Long

Are you comfortable with the idea of typhoons? You should be, since that’s when there’s not much people visit Boracay, which makes for that perfect getaway, provided you can fly and stay there for some time, maybe for a month or so. Expect to set aside $1,000 to $2,000 for your flight to Boracay. Visa? The Philippines has an arrangement with a good number of countries allowing their citizens to stay in the country for an average of 3 weeks, but do check the Philippine embassy based in your country to find out more. If you’re looking into staying for at least a month, you’ll want to apply for a visa. Stay long and consider budget accommodations such apartments. Shortlist and choose from your preferred Boracay accommodations. Rates typically start at around $400 to $500 for a monthly stay. That’s only a quarter of the $2,000 budget you just allocated!

You’ll want to plan long term though, as many of these accommodations are already accommodating other long term visitors.

Oh and make use of the affordable services too. Get your laundry done by the laundry services. They typically offer to wash your clothes at a rate of $1 a kilo.

 Every evening, guests to this island paradise are treated to gorgeous sunset scene. Would you like a beer with that? Happy Hour should be starting right about now. Photo by J. Ng, Raleigh @ Wikipedia.org

Go For The Grill and Local Delights

Boracay’s awesome for the many conveniences it provides. There’s not only plenty of international dining spots that cater to different budgets to choose from, but there’s plenty of supply for the basic essentials from the local pharmacies, the groceries, and the mini wet markets. Expect to spend anywhere between $5 to $20 for your weekly needs from the grocery, and maybe allocate $25 a week for the food. If your apartment has an outdoor grill – use it! Get a lesson from a local how to make this thing they call liempo, or pork belly barbecue, or head to White Beach and get someone to barbeque their meat and seafood for you.

Trust me, your $1 is worth a lot in the Philippines and you can buy plenty there. Backpackers can further their cultural immersion by dabbing into the non-touristy areas of Boracay. Expect your $1 to go even further when purchasing local delights. Here are some local treats you may want to try out:

ñ  Pinakbet – or a local vegetarian kind of soupy dish. Mostly served with squash. Great with bagoong or the Philippines’ version of shrimp paste.

ñ  Dinuguan – A soupy viand consisting of chopped pork and coagulated blood (did we scare you there?) Don’t let the description turn you away from this. Try it first. At times served with puto or a white rice cake.

ñ  Suman and Sapin Sapin – Sweet rice treats. One is rolled in banana leaf, while the other is often served on top of one.

ñ  Halo Halo – The Philippines’ version of this iced mix treat. Don’t miss this one if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

Don’t Forget Entertainment

It’s a party island, what are you expecting, miss this one out? Every evening, Boracay turns into one heck of a party. The restaurants, lounges, and bars at White Beach prepare for this every day, 365 days a year. No wonder Boracay has beaten Spain’s Ibiza. Bombom Bar, EPIC, Mint, Nigi Nigi Nu Noos, Red Coconut; these are but a couple of names that open up to guests every evening. Happy Hour starts and lasts at different hours depending on the bar, some start as early as 5 but end at 7PM, some start at 7 and last until midnight. Some offer discounts on select booze, some offer a buy 1 take 1 deal. If you’re hanging out by White Beach, expect to spend around $1 to $2 for a bottle (and maybe get 1 free). Cocktails and other mixed drinks are priced anywhere between $2 and $10.

While you’re at it, get a full body massage for as little as $10 an hour from one of the masseuse by the beach.

 Puka Beach, one of the 9 beaches in Boracay. Photo by Johnycanal @ Wikitravel.org

Let’s consider a sample budget list minus the flight (your mileage will vary, but this is just to give us an idea how much we’re spending while in Boracay) with the assumption you’re staying in Boracay for a month and there’s two of you traveling:

ñ  The hotel or apartment rental: $600

ñ  Grocery and dining budget: $500

ñ  Bar budget (2 beers per person per day): $240

ñ  Miscellaneous expenses: $300

We did not assume the cheapest scenario just to be on the realistic side, and this budget already pretty good, working at $1,640, leaving you with $360 to play around with for other activities or emergencies. But honestly, I’d say I can work with $1,000. Backpackers, even cheaper.

Convinced enough to adventure forth to the Philippines? It’s a little far, but it’s going to be worth it. And you won’t find it alienating with all the English speaking guests and locals around you (most if not all of the locals have English speaking skills of varying degrees.) Experience what this Filipino hospitality is all about, first hand.

For more about Boracay including resort and hotel reviews and the latest happenings in the Philippines’ not-so-hidden-now island paradise, visit www.AwesomeBoracay.com.


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