August 24, 2010 (Tuesday)
They say never to go to Boracay in August. I say the adventure is worth it. We booked one of those crazy low-price off season tickets bound for Kalibo airport and another warning no-no came up on internet reviews. It seemed like my 3-day vacation would start and end at nothing. Determined as I was to make my stay worthwhile, the only thing I came up about the Kalibo airport was that it was the old way to go to Boracay, back when the Caticlan airport was non-existent. Kalibo comes to life only during the Ati-Atihan Festival in January, sadly as I approached one of the locals when we landed to squeal any hidden spots, he repeated that there was nothing special here except for the Ati-Atihan Festivities.
The check-in at Astoria took so long and we were hungry and tired by the time it was finished only to find out that we had to wait until 2 p.m. for any available rooms. As far as my research goes before this trip, our beachfront hotel was located in Station 1, supposedly where all the high-end hotels are located. I printed a copy of the D-Mall directory from the very informative My Boracay Eguide and encircled the featured restaurants I wanted to try out. There were also a few coupons with discounts but they were subject to the shop’s other conditions so ask first before you order. We chose Aria for its woodfire oven and ordered the seafood pizza and the chicken with rosemary.
The turnout chicken had a small serving and it was very very dry and flaky. The pizza only had cheese and toppings in the middle so when you bite in it, you take away all the toppings with you and you are left with the tomato sauce. The only explanation we got was that it was cooked via woodfire oven. We could have eaten somewhere nicer for that hefty price. I felt like I was robbed from that experience. Some of the restaurants there are indeed overrated. We could have stayed at Astoria and jumped on the offer from the promo ladies waiting outside the hotel instead for a free buffet lunch or dinner if we hear their “presentation”.
We checked out the famous D’Mall for our dinner choices according to the reviews but we were never really enticed to eat there. We ended up going to the parallel main road then made a U back to the beach via the dark market/palengke side of the D’Mall where a few people passed. We saw some smarter and cheaper food choices at the beachfront like buffets and set meals. Before I knew it, we were heading down to Station 3 in search of maybe cheaper and better deals since we were not hungry yet. We walked for around an hour up to the point where it was scarcely populated then headed back. We were famished by the time we got back and ended up eating at one of the restaurants from our starting point. It was a very nice walk though to get a feel of the nightscene in the island. Station 2 was really more lively with all the music and activities such as the sand sculptures, musicians and occasional fire dancers. Station 3 was beginning to look a little more lively and had nice hotels already. Visitors normally don’t know where the demarkation line is and there is no visible sign but you can feel the difference in ambiance.
We ate a very satisfying dinner at the 24-hour Jammers restaurant. It is near D’Mall by the beachfront. The Greek Salad and the Spaghetti with Meatballs is the perfect combo to fill our bellies. It’s a definite comeback place for its affordable price and yummy American food. We were also introduced to a must-try different concoction - the coconut-mango shake! I've included Jammers in My Favorite Guiltless Foodie Picks in Boracay post.
The foreign owner was there and he gave us a little background of himself and the restaurant. It has been open for 8 years and he has been living in the Philippines around 20 years ago. He talked about Boracay back then when the shoreline was longer and it was full of coconut plantations and there were no infrastructures yet. The main livelihood in Boracay before was the cash crop kopra taken from the coconut trees. He described it in a way as if it was an undisturbed paradise back in the days but modernization had to take its natural course as more visitors came into the island.
*Note: Please be reminded not to smoke or litter in Boracay. I heard violators who are caught would have to pay P500 per occurrence.
Read more about Boracay:
Of Underwater Cameras Nikon & Canon, NUDI Philippines, the Bora Crowd and Waiting for the Boracay Magic Hour!