Philippines 2013: Boracay island tour, Puka beach and snorkelling

Date: 21st May 2013

I was up and ready early for today’s island tour. I had booked my tour for β‚±700 (Rs. 1000/$16/€) and included in the price was a snorkel mask. The tour itinerary listed stops at Boracay’s Puka beach, a few coral reefs for snorkeling, the private Crystal Cove island and lunch at another beach on Boracay island. I was excited, because this time, I had an underwater camera with me. Nothing fancy, just a simple AGFAPhoto camera on loan from my friend Janet.

White Beach beautiful sunny day Boracay
It looked perfectly sunny today morning
Allan B fun tour company Boracay
I booked my tour here (only read about their cartel-like operation in Boracay much later)
Diving gear oxygen tanks Boracay
Scuba diving gear. One day I will try scuba diving and get myself PADI certified.
Inside tricycle taxi Boracay
I was then picked up by a staff, taken by a tricycle taxi to station 3
Boracay lane to beach Philippines
We walked back to the beach
Boracay tour group Philippines
This was my tour group
Boat tour Boracay Philippines
The boat was full
Leaving White Beach Boracay
Time to leave. Alright boys, jump!
Grey skies Boracay Philippines
Not too long after we set off, dark grey skies appeared in our direction. Dammit!
Coral garden beach Boracay Philippines
None the less, a short ride later, we were at some coral garden not too far off the east end of White beach
Boracay snorkeling tour Philippines
Time to go snorkeling… with an underwater camera πŸ™‚
Coral garden underwater Boracay
The photos from the AGFAphoto camera produced a heavy green-ish hue. Instead the waters were very blue.
Scissortail sergeant fish snorkeling Boracay Philippines
I adjusted the colours on these photos as much as possible to bring out the blues
Snorkeling in Boracay fishes Philippines
Lots of fish! Even if the fish were mostly Scissortail Sergeants
Boracay coral fishes snorkeling Philippines
I followed the steps mentioned here to bring out the colours of the fish more accurately
School of fish snorkeling Boracay Philippines
Although it wasn’t the brightest and sunniest of skies above water, I was still happy to capture all this on camera
Mithun snorkeling in Boracay Philippines
Underwater selfie!

Here’s a brief video I took underwater:

I went back on board the boat once it was time to leave.

Ice cream vendor in sea Philippines
Want ice cream at sea? They’ll come to you πŸ™‚
Crystal Cove island Philippines
Next stop on the tour was the private Crystal Cove island
Boat Crystal Cove island beach Philippines
It was here we were told there is an entry fee of β‚±200 if we wish to enter the resort and check out the two coves
Beach Crystal Cove island Boracay Philippines
I didn’t want to laze around on the beach, so I paid the β‚±200 and went in
Crystal Cove island steps Boracay Philippines
I went to find Cove 1 first
Crystal Cove island huts Boracay Philippines
Crystal Cove island may look like a resort, but they don’t have rooms to stay in. They offer camping though.

Crystal Cove island resort Boracay panorama

Steps to Cove 1 Crystal Cove island
This is the entrance to Cove 1
Crystal Cove 1 Boracay Philippines
A cove is nothing but a small cave-like entry to an island
Cove island Boracay Philippines
I decided to pack up my Canon 7D and take the underwater camera back out
Mithun snorkeling Boracay Philippines
You have minders/staff at the cove who will help you take photos and watch over your stuff while you go swim
Cove island sea water Boracay
Looks calm, but we were told not to swim too far
Half in water photo Boracay
Time to go in
School of fish Cove island Boracay
Immediately saw this school of fish

Here’s a brief video I took:

Underwater clear water Boracay Philippines
Although it was very clear under water, not a whole lot of corals or fish
Parrotfish underwater Boracay Philippines
Parrotfish
Underwater Boracay bottom of Sulu sea
You can tell it was getting sunnier

Underwater clear Boracay Sulu sea

Crystal Cove island pathway Boracay
I left cove 1 and came back up
Caged bird Crystal Cove island Boracay
They had a few caged birds on display
Eagle Crystal Cove island Boracay
Not sure how I feel about this
Crystal Cove island Boracay Philippines
It seems they have two islands

Crystal Cove island resort Boracay Philippines

Path to Cove 2 Crystal island Boracay

Signs Cove 2 Crystal island Boracay
I went left
Treehouse Crystal Cove island Boracay
Our guide was resting here on this tree house
Cove island view sea Boracay
Nice waters
Steps to Cove 2 Crystal island Boracay
This is how to get to Cove 2
Entry to Cove 2 Crystal island Boracay
First you go down
Tunnel to Cove 2 crystal island Boracay
Then you go through this tiny tunnel
Cove 2 crystal island Boracay
And then you get to Cove 2
Mithun Divakaran Cove 2 crystal island Boracay
I didn’t feel like getting in the water because it didn’t appear as though I would experience anything different. So the minder here just took this one photo and I left. (Kinda looks like I’m floating, doesn’t it?)

Each stop on this tour lasts around 45 minutes.

Boy in water Boracay Philippines
When we landed back on shore at another beach on the main Boracay island for lunch, this boy came along for the ride until we docked. I envy their swimming abilities :-/
Private beach Boracay Philippines
This was Tambisaan beach
Beach restaurant Boracay Philippines
It was time for lunch
Beach buffet Boracay Philippines
It was your usual buffet lunch included in the price of the tour. Also included were free beer and soft drinks — although it was clear by what was on display they rather have you drink the (cheaper) soft drinks more.
Filipino rice meat meal
I ate light, as I intended to swim again
Boys on boat Boracay Philippines
These boys jumped aboard the bamboo poles to ask for money when we left. I didn’t want to join the few who threw coins and see these kids dive down to collect them. Kinda sad.
Bat cave Boracay Philippines
Our guide told us this was a bat cave
Bats in trees Boracay
Bats were aplenty up in the trees (yes, I know the quality is shit; took this using the underwater camera)
Private beach turqoise water Boracay
Our next stop was Puka beach
Puka beach tourists Boracay Philippines
Puka beach is on the western side of Boracay island
Puka beach shells Boracay Philippines
Most people from our group just sat under a shade as it got pretty hot
Puka beach hill Boracay Philippines
Puka beach is pretty big, and yet, not crowded at all
Puka beach clear water Boracay
The water looked amazing
Clear water wave Puka beach Boracay
I just had to get in
Mithun underwater Puka beach Boracay
But I couldn’t resist taking the underwater camera with me because I was having too much fun with it πŸ˜›
Puka beach in water Boracay
Puka beach is one of the best swimming beaches I’ve been to. The water was warm, clear, relatively calm and for a good 200-300 metres from shore, not too deep.
Puka beach Boracay Philippines
Definitely one of the best beaches I’ve been to
Puka beach boat Boracay Philippines
I didn’t find many hotels or resorts on Puka beach
Puka beach sea Boracay Philippines
Maybe that’s why Puka beach appears as beautiful as it does

Puka beach was the last stop on this short tour. At β‚±700+β‚±200, this was priced quite high compared to past island tours I have taken before.

Tourists between rocks Boracay Philippines
Our boat left Puka, and went around the island back to White beach
Shangri La Resort Spa Boracay Philippines
This is the impressive Shangri La Resort & Spa
Shangri La Resort hotel Boracay Philippines
Obviously very expensive
White resort Boracay
I forgot which resort this was
Banana boat ride Boracay Philippines
White beach is where you have several water-based activities on offer
Parasailing Boracay Philippines
On the opposite side of White beach is Bulabog beach, popular for wind-surfing and para-sailing. I planned to do all that tomorrow.
Sailing boats Boracay Philippines
Our tour officially came to an end
Sail boats white Beach Boracay
The boat dropped us at station 3 (Taken using the underwater camera)

Given I had to walk back, I chose to take photos of all the beachfront properties beginning from where I was standing, all the way up to the very end of station 1 and White beach. I’ll make a separate post for it as I feel it would be helpful for those seeking hotels right on the beach. (Because a lot of hotels claim online to be ‘very close’ to the beach or right on it — but aren’t)

After I took a quick shower and dumped my camera bag at the hostel, I went back to White Beach to resume my walk until I reached the end of the beach.

Evening White beach Boracay Philippines
I resumed making a note of all the beachfront properties on White Beach as I headed north

White beach coconut tree Boracay

Willy's Rock White beach Boracay Philippines
That’s Willy’s Rock
Dogs white beach Boracay Philippines
No, this dog wasn’t going to pounce on the other
End of White beach cliff Boracay
I reached the end of White beach
Steps walk way Boracay Philippines
There’s a narrow path to get to those steps
Russian girls posing Boracay Philippines
I used to think Filipinos love their corny poses, but they got nothing on some East European women and their ‘Diva’ poses! πŸ™‚
Sea side walkway Boracay
It was a fairly long walkway, and I wondered what was on the other side
Tunnel Boracay rock
What’s this hole in the cliff?
Diniwid beach Boracay evening
Oh look, a mini-beach
Diniwid beach Boracay Philippines
This is Diniwid beach
Mary statue Boracay tunnel
This is what was inside the small cave/tunnel
Boat Boracay sunset Philippines
It was time to go back
Amputee Boracay evening Philippines
:-/
White beach after sunset
White beach getting ready for nightfall

Sunset evening sky Boracay

It was getting dark, and I was getting hungry. I already had an eatery in mind back on station 1, but I passed by Boracay Terraces and one of their staff kept insisting I sit down for their happy hours. the restaurant wasn’t too crowded, but I was tired from the walk and was feeling thirsty.

I ordered some food as I figured I might as well have an early dinner. The service was not the greatest, but when the food came… ugh. It was terrible! The battered shrimps were obviously the frozen farmed prawns and tasted so artificial. And their chicken burger… I don’t know what the patty was made of! It was just bad!

Red Horse beer burger prawns Boracay
The food sucked! The Red Horse beers, they didn’t make, so that was the only thing I enjoyed. To think I wasted β‚±530 here!

I gave them my feedback and just left the place. I was upset over wasting money on a totally unsatisfactory meal, but alas, what’s done was done. Never again.

White beach at night
Completely dark, but they have lamp posts on the beach
Boracay beach light at night
Some people were still going in to the water. Not the best idea.
Boracay White beach at night
White beach was lighting up
Boracay sand art at night
These types of sand art are done by local boys who charge money for photographs if you wish to pose next to it

Next post(s) in this series:

Philippines 2013: Bulabog beach, Mount Luho viewpoint and sunset at White Beach

Beachfront hotels and resorts on White Beach, Boracay

Philippines 2013: Arriving at Legazpi; going to Donsol to see whale sharks

Philippines 2013: Lignon Hill Park, Cagsawa Ruins and Mount Mayon

Philippines 2013: Aerial view of Mount Mayon; arriving at Coron

Previous posts in this series:
Philippines 2013: Flying from Manila to Boracay, White Beach

Philippines 2013: Taal Lake Volcano and Peoples Park, Tagaytay

The crap I went through to get my Philippines tourist visa this time

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5 Comments

  • BoracayStories

    13/10/2013

    The name of the resort that you’ve forgotten is Boracay West Cove, which is known locally as Pacquiao Resort. Rumor has it that the real owner is the Filipino boxer and now congressman, Manny Pacquiao.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks, will update the post! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  • magichands

    02/06/2014

    wow.. that’s all are great information.

    [Reply]

  • Belinda Schafer

    02/09/2014

    Boracay is vivid and beautiful. Pity for the mass of local perverts taking photos of women in bathingsuits everywhere. I found this the biggest drawback, besides ripping you off wherever with your money, pathetic food everywhere and hawkers/touts/sellers bothering you non-stop when on Station 2 and 3 beaches. You have to work out a plan of action if youre a female who likes swimming and sunbathing without the whole islands perverts perving at you. All in all , I don’t know it I will go back..just been there for 9 days. No privacy and no relax.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    That’s unfortunate :-/ Didn’t really notice the local pervs much. Then again, I doubt they would be eying me. Having said that, I too wouldn’t go back to Boracay. The waters and beaches are amazing, but Boracay is way too commercial for my liking.

    [Reply]

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