Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan in the Visayas group of islands of the Philippines is widely known for being a tropical paradise, making it in various lists (e.g. of CNN and Condé Nast Traveler) of best beaches in the world. But while it’s good to highlight the natural wonders of the place – e.g. the azure waters that mirror the sky, and white beaches with sand that mimic sugar more than soil – what every visitor (perhaps particularly LGBT revelers) need to know is that the place is one party venue worth checking out (and repeatedly visiting). Because here, when the sun sets particularly at specific dates/seasons, people do not only let their hair down, all hell break loose (as the saying goes).
Outrage Magazine checks out five of the best times when Boracay Island is a must-visit for LGBT merrymakers.
Usually pronounced as a conjugation of “labor” and “Boracay”, it’s the term visitors use to refer to what’s happening in Boracay in the week of Labor Day (May 1), when the island hosts intense partying by the beach, heaps of booze and (generally) good music. There is no “official” organizer for LaBoracay (perhaps as of yet), so there’s no “central” party to go to; instead, expect basically all the bars (many of them co-organized by Metro Manila-based eventologists) to have parties after parties to mark summer in the Philippines.
2. Holy Week
In idea, this should be a solemn occasion to mark the demise and subsequent rising of Jesus from the dead to save humanity. But the entire Holy Week in many parts of the Philippines has long been dedicated to partying, largely because it’s one of the few times in the year when those who slave at work get a (relatively) long break from work. There’d be lull times particularly on Good Friday and Black Saturday to mark the sanctity of the occasion (Hello, the son of God is dead, about to rise again!); but the island (as many beaches in the Philippines tend to be at these days) is generally full of energy.
Similar to LaBoracay, there’s no “official” event to go to here, so just head there and party wherever the entire week.
3. Full moon party
This is a “tricky” proposal here, mainly because this was largely patterned after the full moon celebrations held in countries with people who are (largely) Buddhists. Add to this the part where, in Boracay, there is no official organizer for the event yet, so that – basically – it’s just really a party/series of parties held when the moon is full.
But – Oh, my! – what a party this can be, complete with international DJs heading out to the island to make some to-die-for dance music.
Pay attention to the dates when full moon parties are expected to be held overseas; particularly if they also fall on/close to holidays in the Philippines – e.g. Feb. 12 (before Valentine’s); March 12 or April 11 (start of summer vacation); May 11 (extension of LaBoracay, above); Oct. 6 (in time for sem break); Nov. 3 (Halloween season); and Jan. 1, 2018 (New Year).
Yeah, this is the time when the ghouls are out, we know. But who cares when you can be the fiend yourself, and party while doing so. Starting on the 31st of October, the whole of Station 2 of White Beach becomes one big party venue, with revelers parading up and down the beach path in costumes. Yet again, there’s no official party to go to; but just about all nightclubs have parties that celebrate (and even reward) the macabre (often presented sexily more than ghoulishly, of course).
5. New Year’s Eve
This is an easy proposal, in a way, since the end of the year/start of a new year is celebrated just about everywhere. But in Boracay, this can be beautifully done, with just about all hotels and bars having fireworks displays that can be watched by the beach. Starting from 11.30PM to just around 1.00AM, position yourself along White Beach (or head to Steve’s Cliff at the far end of Station 1, where you can see the entire White Beach), and watch colorful explosions happen, often poetically reflected on the famed waters of Boracay.
Then when the displays are over, party, party and party some more to start the new year truly celebrating.
All airlines fly to Boracay Island from Manila, with some taking the Manila-Caticlan (shorter) route, while others the Manila-Kalibo (which means a few additional hours on the bus) route. You may also take the overnight RORO ferry off Batangas City. In all instances, you head to Caticlan wharf, where you then take a bangka (dinghy) to Boracay Island. After offloading, you take a tricycle to White Beach, where the accommodations are, and much of the partying happen. Off-peak season in Boracay, the costs can be cheap (e.g. check Cebu Pacific’s “peso fare” promos, or Air Asia’s discounted flights if you’re taking the Manila-Kalibo-Manila route, or PAL’s economy fares; while accommodations could be as cheap as just a few hundreds per person per night). But during peak season (e.g. LaBoracay or New Year), these can be staggeringly expensive. Suffice to say: Plan well ahead of time.