Help Again? Next stop, Boracay?!

Hi everyone. Believe it or not, Marketman & Family have NEVER been to Boracay… and we were thinking of heading over for a few days now that the heavy season is over and hopefully before the monsoon rains and nasty winds kick in. I am a bit worried that with all the hype, we may just find it to be a bit over-rated… but we are willing to give it a go. You have to realize, we aren’t the “scene” or be seen type of travellers and the prospect of endless alcoholic or even fruit shakes on the beach seems a bit younger than we are, and older than the Kid thinks she is. So since I suspect the vast majority of Marketmanila readers are huge Boracay fans, all in their high skin elasticity twenty or thirty-something phase, we beg your indulgence again for insider tips on things to do, eat, and see on a short trip to Boracay. We have visited Wysgal, Anton, Joey’s blogs but the choices and suggestions are just so mind-boggling! What if you only had 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners and 6 meriendas to sample all that the island’s food outlets had to offer, where oh where would you concentrate? Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions!!!

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44 Responses

  1. Not really food-related, but I suggest you take a paraw ride. Here’s a link: to some of our pictures on the paraw, which took us to Malay Island. We then got off and took a trike to the interior and found ourselves in a really scenic and secluded stream. I’ve been to Boracay a lot of times, but this was definitely something different. Hope you have fun.

    Oh, and actually, they served us a lot of yummy and slightly exotic food at that river place. The river shrimp was the best!

  2. Try Nami or Discovery Shores, quite both upscale than most but fit for a really relaxing vacation, not the to be scene/party kind of agenda in Boracay. My mom and aunts liked those places. If you happen to have a friend who has club shares at the Fairways & Bluewaters, you may want to try it too since I’m not sure if they accomodate non-members. If you like cottages, there is a good one near the D Mall, couldn’t remember it though but will let you know when I get to ask my brother.

  3. Boracay is a foodie’s beach paradise! In some ways, it has better options than Manila does. The last time I went, my sister and I actually listed down all the places we wanted to check out, then made a per-meal schedule so that we could hit as many as we could. That’s so OC, I know, but we were glad we did it. :-)

    My personal faves (though I can’t claim to have tried even a quarter of the choices there): Real Coffee’s calamansi muffin, which is practically a Boracay institution (heard their sandwiches are good too); Lemon Cafe’s watermelon-ginger shake; Aria’s watermelon-arugula salad; Attica for seafood; Zuzuni for Greek; True Food for Indian; Crafty’s rooftop bar for the view (sunset’s a nice time), sandwiches and English breakfast; and the one place I can’t go to Bora without eating at, no matter if it’s VERY far — Banza for Portugese. Kind of pricey, with zero ambience, but delicious! I’m always going on about Banza whenever someone mentions Boracay, but I swear I don’t know the owner. After all, where in Manila is there Portugese food? Several places in Bora also have good pizza. I love that they serve pizza with mangoes! You never see that in Manila, but it’s yummy. Paradiso and NigiNigiNuNoos have it. For dessert, there aren’t that many choices, but Lemon Cafe and Cafe del Sol have some good ones. Oh, and you really do have to go to Jonah’s for the million and one flavors of shakes. I know you’re a purist, but I like the mango-choco-peanut-rum, or banana-coffee-peanut-rum.

    By the way, I think your enjoyment will have a lot to do with your expectations, as well as where you stay. It truly is a gorgeous beach — quite possibly the most beautiful sand in the world — but some people hate the fact that Boracay’s become horribly commercialized. It’s not quite Waikiki, but getting there. If you hate the crowds and noise, you should stay at Station 1. The sand is finer and cleaner, too. It can be a long walk to the main restaurant and shopping area, but at least you’ll burn the calories! Or, if you really don’t want to walk, you can take the tricycle on the main road.

    If you really want to get away, try and go to Baling Hai beach. You have to take a boat, but if you can manage it so that no one else is there, it’ll feel like your small private beach, complete with deck chairs and a bar. The restaurant’s up on a cliff, but they have this system where they’ll lower your order down to you in a basket. Charming!

    Have fun, MM, I wish you sunny weather and no crowds!

  4. For good foodie finds at good prices – Station 2 or 3. For a usually quiet spot on the beach that isn’t full of parked bangkas – station 1. Pearl of the Pacific offers a suite with direct access to the beach – you open the door and two steps you’re there. I had problems with the heater though and the food was…well….edible. I was there 2 years ago, so i guess there are a lot of new resorts that could offer better services and a better view. Nami is really nice…if you want to relax….write a book…perfect. It’s up on a cliff with your own personal jacuzzi facing either the ocean or the beach. The only thing i don’t like is it isn’t along white beach. If you plan to spend long nights along white beach, walking back takes a while and it’s kinda dark. For me having quick and direct access to the beach is best. The Station 1 area of True Home Hotel, Waling Waling, Seawind, Pearl of the Pacific and Fridays (one of the pioneers)for me is the best. This is the season for Habagat, which means white beach isn’t as calm during Amihan. It is calm on the other side which is good for snorkeling, you won’t get tired due to the strong waves. There is also a good chance you’ll land on the other side of the island if the waves are too strong. Have Fun!

  5. you are not alone MM, i’ve never been to boracay too! previous plans to go did not materialize and i haven’t been eager to go since most of my boracay plans went pfffftttt…. though i’m still hoping to visit boracay in the future since most of my friends kept telling me that i am missing a lot. i’m watching out for all of those suggestions too!

  6. On my last night in Boracay last December I ate baccala with boiled potatoes at Banza and had some wine with it.

    It was food I last ate more than 5 years ago. Essentially it was tuyo, on a slightly different level, but it brought back memories that shall forever be treasured.

    I loved it, and would go back to Banza if I can.

    If you are a people person, you can try Station 2 or 3. Otherwise, Station 1 is recommended.

  7. haven’t been to boracay although i was close to getting there, my hubby and i preferred to experience the ati-atihan in kalibo to be with my good balikbayan friend and her husband, one january…but from the blue waters of caticlan where we boarded the plane, i can already sense that boracay is truly ‘the beach’ to soak and dine…have heard of the good restos(most are even better daw, than the ones here in mla.)and yeah they go by stations…so you gotta be in right station too…have fun!

  8. PORK SPECIAL, mm!!!

    BEST LECHON KAWALI : Crystal Sands

    BEST INIHAW NA PORK CHOP : Honey Bee @ The Talipapa

    BEST CHORIBURGER : On the beach outside Pier One, after you’ve had your 6th beer, and having those tipsy hunger pangs!

    True Pinoy Comfort Food,
    Best of Boracay!!!

  9. I know my last comment was long already, but PeterB mentioned the bangkas parked on the beach, and I wanted to warn you: they no longer allow boats to take you from Caticlan to White Beach itself. On one hand, it’s great because the beach is clear of the dozens of boats that ferry tourists in and out, and should now be cleaner, too. On the other hand, your first experience of the island is not a good one — you have to take a 15-minute tricycle ride on a dusty road, and it is FAR from a scenic route. But once you get past that and arrive on the beach, it’ll be worth it. :-)

  10. The last time I was there was way back in the summer of 1994! I wonder how many changes had occurred since then…anyway, the things I did in Boracay then was: watched and placed bets at a local cockfight, played bowling in a rudimentary alley, went snorkeling (I wasn’t a diver yet at that time), island hopping around Tablas, Odiongan, Carabao etc., eating, and getting sick…
    Pizza with kangkong was quite memorable (‘pizza agli spinaci’ with the kangkong substitute for spinach).

  11. MM, assuming you will hang out mostly in the area of station 1 and D Mall, here is my recommended food itinerary:

    Six major meals…
    1. Zuzuni, station 1: for greek food, by geni psinakis of Mati. Everything is good, esp the saganaki, dips, spanakopitas, chocolate dessert and tahini ice cream.

    2. Aria, D Mall: for crispy thin pizzas and al dente pastas. Have coffee and dessert at Cafe del Sol right across. Consistently good italian food.

    3. Banza, Station 3: for the best portugese. The Portugese owner works the kitchen everyday and will come out to talk to you about his food anytime. Mmm, seafood…!

    4. Hawaiian Barbecue, Station 1: for tender pork ribs and other finger-lickin good grilled food. Try the spam and fries or pineapple rice with spam for something different. Very Hawaiian.

    5. Fridays, far past Sation 1: for the friday buffet and “cultural show”. The closest you’ll come to fine dining in Boracay. Great breakfasts too.

    6. True Food, station 2: for relaxed indian food. Indian standards available but dont forget to let the waitress know how hot you want or DONT want your food. Try the spicy tomato soup and lamb biryani.

    For in-between-meals, snacks and drinks…
    Jonahs Shakes, past station 1, open 24 hours. Go nuts with the options. Breakfast is ok.
    choriburgers, Boracay “street food” at its best. Grilled sweet spicy chorizo on grilled bread.
    Manana, station 1, for margaritas and mexican. Slow service though.
    Hey Jude, D Mall, happy hour cocktail specials. It changes almost everyday.

    ** For a world class experience, book a bone-softening spa treatment at Mandala Spa, then have dinner at their vegetarian restaurant, Prana. Five-star all the way.

  12. I was in Boracay 16 years ago and we stayed at “A Rock Resort.” I was there before all the hotels and restaurants mushroomed up. The inn is beautiful with its lush vegetation – lots of trees and well manicured lawn. I do not know the state of the inn now. The beach is beautiful with its white talcum sand – the sand is like a Johnson baby powder immaculately white and fine grain. I was really amazed and captivated by its beauty – blue sky, green meadow mountains, white sand beaches and friendly community. It is worth visiting our very own paradise Boracay. Our mode of transportation was the tricycle and its driver knew all the places in and around town. To me Boracay has the same ambience and atmosphere as Tahiti but more affordable and its guests are tamed – beach wear than Tahiti.


    forget those new resorts. there’s only seawind for a temporary residence, look for jj cocjin. have margaritas at manana by 11 a.m. with their burritos. have dinner at dos mestizos. party at juice til early morning then head straight to real coffee for real coffee with those great calamansi muffins the comments up there talked about. sleep til noon then have breakfast at 2p.m. at lemon cafe (look for peter). then thank god you’re alive and know that the Philippines is paradise.

  14. Marketman, I’m not a see and be-seen type of traveler either. I went to Boracay last August and stayed in a new, very homey resort named Sur in the least-busy Station 1. It’s beside Friday’s. We caught a gap during the habagat season and the water was very calm, the sand the finest and whitest you’ll probably see. The service at Sur was quite pleasant. They have a website if you want to check out the rooms. Have a good trip!

  15. It has been about 7 long years since the last time I was in Boracay These were my must-haves and I hope they’re still there: crepes for breakfast at that creperie right outside Red Coconut; True Food for Indian Food; Dalisay in Station 3 for a cheap and heavenly eat-all-you-can seafood buffet (go early). Massages on the beach. Fruit shakes every afternoon, of course. You can never be too young or too old for fruit shakes! I hope you have an enjoyable trip! I can’t wait to go back and take my family there.

  16. Hey MM! Don’t forget to hit the market and have your resort cook your finds. Just tell the trike driver to take you to D’ Talipapa. You can have stuff cooked there too but I prefer to have it in the comfort of my resort, preferably in a hut by the beach :) If you buy lobster, buy it from the market in the morning and not from those guys walking around the beach…

    I would stay in Station 1…away from the maddening crowd, and more importantly for me, it has the best, cleanest, and widest shore.

    You’ve got a lot of restaurant reco’s here so I wont go into that, most have already been said. I definitely agree with: Real Coffee (for breakfast…try to catch them making a batch of brownies or muffins right before your nose behind the bar), True Food, Banza, Zuzuni (although it’s the same owner as Mati, so the food’s the same…not that I care because I like Mati too…try the halva ice cream), Manana if you like Mexican, Jonah’s for shakes, and a chori-burger for late night cravings! :)

    Enjoy MarketFamily!!! Don’t forget your tanning oil…I mean sunblock! ;)

  17. was just there last month and stayed at Discovery. The rooms are gorgeous and you will be pampered like hell by the staff, I was telling Anton na kulang na lang subuan ka nila.

  18. and from time to time the staff will go around the beach offering you home-made sorbets for free :)

  19. Boracay maybe losing some of its appeal because everyone seems to be going there. But there’s really a reason why people keep coming back. Despite the commercialization, Boracay still has small pockets of privacy many people find refreshing. MM, you may want to try the Bamboo Lounge for Oriental cuisine. Check out their site at

    Enjoy your trip!

  20. then stay in station 1 you MUST. here, you take 2 steps out of your room and you are instantly in boracay’s storied shores. in stations 2 & 3, you walk out straight into a hairy armpit. overcrowded, you dive into a sea of people, it’s a mosh pit.

    i suggest waling waling in station 1, perfect location, beautiful cabanas, willy’s rock in 25 steps, jonah’s in 75. 2nd would be pearl of the pacific located next door. maybe fridays? or whitehouse? fairways and blue waters might be the most secluded spot of all but you WILL need a jeepney ride EVERYTIME you go ANYWHERE.

    although indoor spas are great, its not really the boracay way. get a massage on the shore. i walk all the way to the elizalde property for this. bring your own oils. while you’re at it, ask the old lady masseuse to tell you about how boracay was before all the bora brouhaha. well i always like talking to the locals anyway, it’s good local folklore and boracay history for an hour.

    good food’s aplenty in boracay. just make sure to squeeze in a trip to d’talipapa, buy fresh seafoods (crabs!) and have it cooked in the restos(?) right across, preferably the place with batibot chairs and red walls.

    get the kid a nice ‘tribal’ henna tatoo, have her hair braided, take her picture.

  21. Hi everyone, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for all of these Boracay tips so far. Yes, we are definitely staying at Station 1 (this whole station business is amusing). And I had definitely heard about the Portguese, Indian, and Greek restaurants mentioned so those sound like must try places… Sounds like The Kid will have more to do than the parents…

  22. I’m actually in Boracay right now as I type this! Third time this year! I’m a little nuts that way. Most of my food favorites have already been mentioned … calamansi muffins and breakfast at Real Coffee (station 2), pizzas and pastas at Aria (d mall), z-burger at Zuzuni (station 2), seafood rice at Banza (station 3), grilled seafood at Club Paradiso (station 2, near d mall). Enjoy!

  23. Hi MM– Definitely True Food for indian grub and Zuzuni for greek grub. Zuzuni food is way better than Cyma food, btw. (I’m sure may magre-react, haha.)

  24. You have to try the Chicken Coco and Ribs at Hawaiian Barbecue! I also love the pizzas and pastas at Aria while the Mango cheesecake at Cafe del Sol is so very yummy! Lemon Cafe is also nice.

  25. hi MM, try the Pearl of the Pacific, nice rooms, nice pool, friendly staff and they have a small chapel in the middle of a forest-like place (though that was years ago)…and buy some real pearls on the island.

  26. MM! Just have one more thing to add…I must echo Myra P. and say get a massage at Mandala…I had the Mandala signature massage the day before my wedding and it was heavenly :)

  27. Breakfast at Real Coffee – The calamansi muffins are to die for. The omelettes are great too. I loved the pizzas and pastas at Aria.

  28. try the resto at El Centro located at station 2 and the accommodation there is very nice and the price is very reasonable.

  29. I noticed a few people mentioned going to the talipapa (station 3) to have fresh seafood cooked for you… That uses to be a good idea, but when I was there in january, it was still gone. It burned down last year and the rebuilding plans were stalled. Has it sprung up again so quickly?

  30. binggoy’s (not sure if it’s called that now, but the chef is called binggoy)

    gastof’s for ihaw ihaw

    and then there’s this small cove from around the island (is it towards diniwid?) that you can sail to and then arrange for a nice lunch

    tons of places at the talipapa

    sunset cocktails at jude’s

  31. Okay, okay, third time to post already, but I’m just too OC to hold my tongue…MM, just so you won’t get confused if you decide to try it (’cause I was), the Attica I said had grilled seafood and the Paradiso Wysgal mentioned for the same thing are the same location. I say Attica serves the seafood and Paradiso serves the pizza, while some (like Wysgal) say the opposite. Whichever it is, look for either sign and you’re there. ;-)

    And because I just can’t shut up about Banza, my own must-orders there are the Bacalao con Natas, coconut rice, and steak with mustard sauce (I know, steak in Boracay?! But it’s good). But really, everything we’ve had there’s delicious.

    One more thing (promise, last!)…the coffee in Real Coffee (I just know someone will kill me for saying this) is not great. We were very disappointed. Go to Real Coffee for the pastries and sandwiches. Go to Cafe del Sol/Aria (same owner) for coffee.

  32. Wow! helpful post, now i know where im suppose to eat when i come back. Ü

    i went to bora and went to Cyma and Cafe Breizh (yeah – Cafe Breton), how safe could i be? Ãœ

  33. and by the way, since everyone’s coming back to post more, i counted 3 wine/liquor shops in d’mall area –> rams, ralph’s, and titania’s. just thought i’d let you know so you don’t have to lug around some alcoholic beverages through check-in and go another 12-rounds with the airport einsteins. ü

    some places are thankfully byob, but some charge around P300 to P500 for corkage. no problem really as most of the places come with a beachside view, and white sands under your feet, and no dress code.

  34. food: (1) go to dos mestizos, binggoy remedios’ spanish-inspired restaurant near the tourist center (take a trycicle and tell the driver to bring you to the coast guard station, then walk a really short distance down the road to dos mestizos),2. the salads, pasta and pizza at aria at d’mall and then dessert at lemon cafe afterwards. (3) breakfast at either real coffee (i love mark’s melt!! and the omelettes!), lemon cafe or the cholesterol-laden but wonderful roesti with gruyere and bratwurst with fried eggs and thick bread from the swiss bakery at barracuda snack bar (station 2, walk towards station 2, go beyond boracay regency and look for barracuda bar)

    where to stay? if you like the miami modern kind of luxury hotel, discovery shores, but my personal favorites are friday’s (unbeatable beach frontage, very good service, nice food likewise), sur’s okay; and for sheer luxury (no beach frontage but away from the noise and very luxurious): choy cojuangco’s asya hotel across the coast guard station, near dos mestizos and the police station, and mandala resort villas.

  35. just came from there this summer. found out i was pregnant too, so i was seriously regretting all the alcohol i consumed before finding out. RIBS! melt in your mouth ribs! Hawaiian BarBQ (only my husband makes better ribs!). No other resto in Manila has every compared (and that includes every hotel buffet I’ve been in here). Yes go for pizza, so many places serve good pizza. Yes to Zuzuni (better than Cyma in my opinion). go for the swiss baker near barracuda! Real coffee, yes (i brought home their whole morning stock of calamansi muffins). i’m not really a big fan of station 1 because the swimming there isn’t as nice as people say it is, but the stretch of sand between station 1 and 2 is soooo nice. just make sure that you do get to have one seafood spread complete with lobster, oysters, fish, shrimp, crab to complete the tropical experience. lemon cafe is nice, and the swiss deli in d’mall is excellent. my husband and i equate beach with beachside barbq, and the best we found was at mango ray. we mean barbq the kind they serve in galera, bora and in samal island – that unifying pinoy beach barbq that is all tomatoes and onion and garlic with no hint of banana ketchup that is seriously soft and served in huge skewers. ok, it could just be me equating that barbq experience with beaches, but city barbq doesn’t taste the same.

  36. my fave in boracay:

    1. pizza at Aria
    2. shakes at Jony’s
    3. seafood overload at dampa (the freshest cooked just the way you want it!)

  37. dos mestizos! great great spanish food. look for the mestizo — binggoy. he should be able to tell you all you need to know about boracay. he has made the island his home since…wow!…since…(yup!that long!)he makes a mean chorizo and paella.yum!yum!
    this might sound funny but eating andok’s near the beach is a totally new experience!try it and you’ll know what i mean.
    true food is the best indian food.
    don’t be limited by the”stations”. go around… walk around…swim…have fun!
    ok, so shakes at jony’s. aria for good italian food.
    and just before you go, don’t leave the island without riding a parao during sunset. beautiful!
    my husband and i were there for two months last 2005 during the lean season. great memories. we had the island all to our selves. hoping to go back there soonest. but definitely not with the crowd. the island looses its magic when there are thousands of people on the beach.
    wish you all the great experiences. happy yummy food hunting!

  38. My girlfriend is an avid fan of your site and when she told me ’bout your happy “dilemma” with regards to your boracay trip, i thought i might give my two cents worth (as i still vividly remember my excitement during my first trip.)

    Just a suggestion (which someone must’ve told you already but i’m just too lazy to read): Tally the food places everyone has or are still suggesting for you and your family to try and rank it according to your itinerary.

    The best food experience for me was the ihaw longganisa you’ll find along the beach walk (nearer pier 1 i think are the better ones.)

    Anyway, I’m quite certain that after your first boracay experience, you will most likely get hooked and eventually end up going back…just like me (my first trip was in 05.)

    Have a safe trip….fun nonetheless.


  39. Gay, when is the lean season? Did you guys stayed at a hotel or, rented an apartment, nipa hut maybe? I’m asking because when I get the chance to go to Boracay I would like to do the same, stay there for a month or two. That would be awesome. Thanks in advance.

  40. I suggest you stay in Station 1 since this is where the best part of the white beach is. And it is not overcrowded here.

    You have to try Hawaiian BBQ for their melt in the mouth ribs. Cyma for their yummy greek food. Jonah’s for their famous shakes & they also make good sandwiches. Aria for their pasta & pizzas.

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