Boracay named as Fifth Most Romantic Island in the World


Crowded beaches don’t exactly make for a lover’s paradise, and yet Boracay, with its congested shores, has recently been named the fifth most romantic island in the world by the readers of high-end travel magazine, Travel + Leisure. Lovers continue to pepper Boracay’s shores, Valentine’s season or not.

Featured in the magazine’s February 2013 issue, Boracay was noted for its powder-fine sand, which Travel + Leisure’s Christine Ciarmello said “may just be the softest in the world.” Earlier in the month, the island was also featured in a sweet Department of Tourism ad that showed a man proposing to his girlfriend, though the beach is not quite as empty in real life as it is in the ad. The romance is obviously not lost on the tourists. According to Cara Lim, a Boracay resident and chef at a high-end resort on the island, many couples populate the island during Valentine’s season. “We even prepare set menus for the couples,” she said. Of course, there are those who prefer quieter, less-commercialized shores like Palawan or Bohol over cosmopolitan Boracay, which has long lost its backpacker charm to the various establishments that have mushroomed all over the bone-shaped island. Also, recurring reports of algal bloom along White Beach as well as travelers’ stories of catching E.coli infections from the water deter some tourists from heading to Boracay. Still, lovers continue to pepper Boracay’s shores, Valentine’s season or not. Many of them can be seen walking the length of the island’s White Beach hand in hand, kissing against the sunset, or sharing a candlelit meal at one of the beachfront restaurants. On one occassion, a newlywed couple posed for photographs in the water—in full wedding garb!

Samantha Brown will visit Philippines

Philippines is her next destination

Philippines is her next destination

Samantha Brown, the travel channel goddess will now explore the other side of the world. Her show will now open new series entitled Samantha Brown’s Asia to experience the taste of Asia.

This is the best continent where Samantha Brown can find the authentic experiences that she wants.

For most travelers, Asia would be the best place to experience the real meaning of exoticism. Asia is where you find the most exotic places on earth, affluent cultures, and gourmet local cuisines. 

For Philippines, what are the places it can offers the travel channel goddess?

Being a hospitable country, Philippines will first invite Samantha to eat merienda or snack in English. Merienda would be her first interpretation of the exotic.

Isaw for Merienda

Isaw for Merienda

Isaw would be the best choice for merienda. It is grilled chicken intestine with additional filipino flavor. Samantha need not to worry because Isaw will be prepared with repeated process of cleaning the two sides of intestine. Then, it will be boiled before the roasting process. Or she can pick Betamax. A dried chicken blood that is serve and cut into small cubes.

After having a merienda, her first destination awaits her, a white beach called Puerto Galera that is close to metro.

Puerto Galera is located northwestermost municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. It is located at the southwestern end of the Isla Verde Passage, about 130 kilometers (81 mi) south of Manila. Puerto Galera is only three and a half hours away from Manila first by bus to the port at Batangas City and then by boat.

Resort in Puerto Galera

Resort in Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera means “Port of Galleons”, it became popular among seafarers during the galleon trade at the start of the 10th century. Because of its magnificent natural harbor. Until now it is consider as one of the most beautiful and safest in the world.

The diversity of hard and soft corals, along with hundreds of species of tropical fish life makes Puerto Galera one of the most popular dive destinations in the Philippines. Pelagics, tropicals and Other fishes among the pristine coral reefs that nurture an amazing diversity of marine flora and fauna. (see Coco Beach Resort)

Pagudpud Beach

Pagudpud Beach

Samantha will have different choices depending on what she wants to see. If she decides to see more white beaches. She can travel north of Manila to see how bizarre the seashore of Pagudpud beach in the northwest tip of Ilocos Norte. Or she may go to 315 km south of Manila to see how dreamlike the sunset in Boracay.

Her travel must not end in those beaches. She also needs to see the following places:

Boracay Captured my Heart: A Love Story of Aklan

New friends, new families
One week was all I had to take a trip to Aklan better known for it’s Boracay Island. It was a very fulfilling and unforgettable travel experience for me because I reaped laurels in Kalibo due to the National Schools Press Conference, and at the same time, had a leisure trip to the tourist attractions of Aklan, especially, what else? Boracay! The sand and the smell of the sea was overwhelming. But I am most thankful for the tour guides and co-contestants in the NSPC who have become my buddies in my vacation-cum-contest. Everything’s worth it!

1st Day: I don’t love airports
I was so excited when I boarded the PAL plane bound for Kalibo at 3:00 pm. My adrenaline is surged up and I had a lot of misfortunes and adventures before I got the chance to go to Aklan for free. I won a Metro Manila journalism contest where the winners will compete in the national levels which will be held in Kalibo, Aklan for three days. The other days left will be for travel and leisure for us. So DepEd and my school sent me to Aklan together with another participant to bring back to Manila the much needed victory in the field of journalism.

The flight ran smoothly for us. After about 45 minutes the plane landed the borders of Kalibo Airport where the little hassles began. When we arrived, there was a blackout in the airport! It was drizzling and the machines used for scanning the baggages were not working. After a few moments, we saw our bags being drenched in the rain and were just piled up in a corner of the airport and we rushed to take our luggage! It gave me a headache. But that’s where the troubles end. We were welcomed in the airport by my adviser’s friends who served as our tour guides during our one week in Aklan. They drove us to our billeting area in Kalibo Pilot Elementary School. Unbelievably, their public schools are nice. We had dinner in a barbecue house near the school and unpacked our stuff. Everything is neat.

2nd Day and 3rd Day: Love the weather, hate the tension
On Sunday, we went to Aklan Baptist Church to pray for the upcoming contest and meet some people whom my adviser knew. They served us a sumptuous lunch and gave us a warm welcome. Hospitality reigns in their culture.
Monday was the official start of the NSPC. There was a popular ati-atihan dance (dance for a feast in honor of Santo Niño) and we enjoyed the warm welcome of Kalibo people. It  was my first time to see it and I my curiosity became satisfied. I’m beginning to adjust to the weather, which is really cold, and meet my new friends. Cristina, a senior, jogs around the school every morning when she wakes up and invites me to join her. The cool smell of fresh air soothed my lungs. It was a welcome breath after living in Manila for 15 years.
Despite the good events, the tension in my heart has started rising up. Wednesday was the schedule of my contest for Copyreading and Headline Writing. It doesn’t help that I’m having fun the whole time. 

4th Day and 5th Day: I Love Precious Moments, Bakawans, and awards
Wednesday was the day of the contests for my category. It was also the day our school principal arrived to join us for the contest and awarding. I did my best in writing a headline and my comrade already won an award for winning in Radio Broadcasting. What I cannot believe was when I heard my name being called for winning 4th place in the nationals! My Aklan trip was already well-paid. Our school principal was so happy about my win. My co-student also won third place in a different category.
Travel-wise, on Wednesday and Thursday, we strolled arround Aklan. We went to the museum of Precious Moments, dolls which are made by an American national based in Aklan. There were lots of dolls inside the museum which looks like a huge doll house, and I saw all the limited edition Precious Moments dolls. They were so cute. After that tour, I started to love the dolls with the trademark teardrop shaped eyes. We also went to a Bakawan park and marvelled at the aquatic trees. Of course we ate and ate during the tour, and probably gained weight. When night fell, we started packing up to get ready for tomorrow’s travel to Boracay Island!

6th Day and 7th Day: I’m in love
I never thought that Boracay is far from Kalibo. Our “tour guides” who are actually the best guides ever, drove us in a van from Kalibo all the way to Malay, Aklan for about 2 hours. During the travel, we saw lots of coconut trees and a view of the ocean of the province. It was beautiful. I have already fallen in love with Aklan, and I actually didn’t want to end my trip. After the long ride to Malay, we took a 30-minute boat ride to Boracay island.
When we arrived at Boracay, I immediately jumped off the boat and admired the fine white sand. I even put some sand into a mineral water bottle and took it home. We checked-in to a hotel and started swimming in the blue water of the sea. There were not much tourists because it was February, and I liked the serenity of the place. The only problem when you swim in February is that there were moss and seaweed around the shores. But then, I enjoyed every second of being there. I loved their green mango shake and mongolian buffet! Yum! But the best thing in Boracay is its sunset. Lovely is an understatement for describing it.
To wrap it up, Aklan is a province rich in culture, hospitality, and biodiversity. It’s people, attractions, and festivals are the reasons why tourists swarm the province. And I will never forget the moment I fell in love with it.

Manila Water bags Boracay water concession, to spend P1.2B

Ayala-led Manila Water Co. will soon be awarded the water concession for the Boracay tourist haven this month, the Tourism department yesterday said.

Tourism chief Joseph H. Durano said the government had decided to privatize the island’s water system and that Manila Water would be awarded the concession contract after the Holy Week break.

After that, the utility primarily in-charge of providing water to Metro Manila’s eastern zone should begin upgrading Boracay island’s water and sewerage system.

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Hottest DJ’s Star in Boracay’s Biggest Party

Now seen as the elder statesman of Hed Kandi, DJ Andy Norman was part of the founding line-up of one the UK’s biggest dance record labels. He started working with label founder Mark Doyle back in 1989; around the time when they held small local club events for a number of years. It was during this period that Hed Kandi was born.

Andy worked in the London club circuit for some years, working with The Crazy Club & Black And White Productions alongside the likes of Alex P, Smokin Joe and Fat Tony. Well-respected for playing numerous dance music styles over the years, he has played for a number of UK recording artists too, like The Pet Shop Boys and Jamiroquai.

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Time to travel: Room rates, air fares down

MANILA, Philippines — It’s a good time to travel nowadays as air fares have been slashed by as much as 50 percent while room rates are down by 10 percent.

Philippine Travel Agents Association (PTAA) vice president John Paul Cabalza said air fares have gone down by more than 50 percent to encourage more people to take a trip.

“There are some airlines that offer airfares for as low as P1,500 roundtrip for Palawan or Boracay,” he said.

Room rates have also gone down by 10 percent, still in an attempt to prop up domestic tourism to offset the slack in international tourism.

Because of the slowdown in the global economy, the government said tourism will have a negative growth or a flat growth at best.   [Read full article...]