Stuck in a Boracay beach with a strict budget? Here are 4 tips that can really help you out if you either want to stretch that buck for a little bit more.
1) Eat Dollar Lunches
Meals in Boracay usually average on 200-300 pesos per person, without drinks – and this isn’t even the posh restaurants. Boracay is a place usually a place for P180 silog meals and P30 cups of taho. It’s ludicrous (somehow, my mind insists on spelling it as “Ludacris”), bordering on extortion and a legal form of robbery.
However, Boracay is a foodie place and I make it a point to enjoy myself with paella at Dos Mestizos or my favorite Chicken Madras with Lassi over at Crafty’s. I found that, when on a budget, the best way to go about this predicament is to go cheap on my lunches and go big for dinners. Diet experts suggest the other way around but food always taste better during or after a sunset, True Story.
So, with that philosophy in hand, I walked around in Station 3 and found myself in an alley that goes through the side of Watercolors Dive Shop. It wasn’t even that far at all, 10 meters from the main pathway at best.
I staked my claim at an eggplant omelet with a serving of rice and it all boiled down to a grand total of P35. Barely even a dollar.
Budgeting problem solved.
2) Drink Dollar Drinks
Ok, so the beer is about a dollar and cocktails go for $1, $2 and $3 respectively. Still, they are the cheapest beachfront drinks on the island.
For some reason, for the nth times I’ve been to Boracay Beach and hanging out at this place, I never seem to successfully take a photo of this place. But it’s pretty self-explicable to get there anyway. All you have to do is make your way towards Angol Point. If you don’t know that, walk from Station whatever and head to the left (if you’re facing the sunset). Keep walking until you’re a little bit tired. Then when you see the ARWANA HOTEL sign, stop. Right in front of it is the little bamboo shack that serves these cheap drinks. All with the awesome chill vibe and chill music to boot, almost always they have the Bob Marley playlist on.
3) Eat Less-Than-a-Dollar Breakfasts
Even if you decide to buy the close-to-extortion taho cups that go for P30 in Boracay, you’re still paying less than a dollar to have a semi-healthy breakfast of soy pudding, mini tapioca pearls and dark amber caramel syrup.
Take it from the locals. Wait for the walking Bearers of Carbs; there will be those walking around with plastic hamper looking things on top of their heads. They are sometimes the ones with horns that sound like horny and lazy ducks. Anyway, flag them down and sort through their array of rice cakes that go for a P10 per pack. 1 pack is good enough to satisfy hunger but if you want to weigh yourself down with rice cakes, then get another or a couple more.
Even if you got 4, it’s still only just a dollar. Budget breakfast is such a win. It’s affordable without being lackluster.
4) Sleep in Budget Accommodation
Since I first slept in White Beach Divers in 2011, I was always singing in praises about this homey little hole in the wall that offered a couple of large hostel rooms with shared showers and AWESOME WiFi. However, in the past couple of years, the place has changed ownership and the whole place got itself a facelift – like Michael Jackson kind of face lift.
They turned from a comfy and spacious room with living area to boot to just a claustrophobic room with barely any ventilation. I wish I had something nice to say about their new hostel room–well, for one the hostel bathroom was an upgrade – although the water pressure was pretty non-existent when I was there. To fill a 2-gallon bucket it would’ve taken me an hour.
THEN: Spacious, cool and refreshing with tons of space to stretch out, do yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Crossfit and Insanity workouts – all at the same time.
Anyway, about the room. We had 1 small desk and 1 double bed. We had windows but they really didn’t’ and I mean DIDN’T do anything in terms of ventilation. The fan merely swooshed around the humid exhalations we were producing.
We didn’t get a decent night’s sleep and I actually ended up catching some zzz’s on the lounge chairs on the beach.
If you can suck it up and stay there, then do so for P500 a night for 2 people – it’s one of the cheapest rooms on the beachfront. We couldn’t. We reserved a room for 2 nights and walked out of there by 10am the following day.
NOW: I took this photo from the door. Not that it’s a particularly small room but it was a downgrade from the mansion I stayed at before.
And we did find it in the form of Treehouse Resort and Bar – which was just a few meters from White Beach Divers.
The place cost us 800/night for 2 people. We shared our bathroom and porch with just one other room. And for the first few nights, we had the whole place to ourselves so the bathroom and porch were all ours. It was only during the last couple of nights that we got to share it- still, just 2 rooms sharing a bathroom , I’m down with that.
The rooms are spacious, ventilated and furnished. We had a dresser, side tables. Outside the room, there is a communal dresser and mirror, there was a sink and a very long counter. The bathroom is big with impressive water pressure – let me repeat that – IMPRESSIVE water pressure. The outside porch looked over the side street and had a table with 4 chairs.
It’s really your choice, pay P500 for a basic room in White Beach Divers or cough up the extra P800 and go for a room over in Treehouse.
If you have a tight budget but you have this hankering to hang out at a Boracay beach then go forth and arm yourself with these tips. Room and food are the two things that you will always need and so make it a point to save a few bucks here and there.
Like my cousin said (not verbatim), “If you’re traveling to a tropical island, why not stay in a place that doesn’t resemble the inside and outside of your run-of-the-mill hotels that I can see here in the US?” Go local. If all else fails, ask for air conditioning.