We spent the night in Cebu in a hostel really near the airport call The Stopover Hostel. We were only there for the evening and the next morning, on the 11th November 2017, we got a jeepney to the airport. This was a great experience as it’s the typical mode of transport for the locals in the Philippines. It’s like a converted truck with two rows of benches on either side of it. It only costs 7 pesos (10p) and they make sure to pack in as many people as possible. We thought it was full and someone else would come in and squeeze into a non-existent space. Luckily we had been the first ones on as we had our big rucksacks with us so it meant we could go to the end of the bus or I don’t know how we would have fit on. You’ll see jeepney’s all over The Philippines. They are all brightly decorated – especially in Cebu – and often have disco lights in them as well for when it’s dark. The ones in Manila look different from those in Cebu which I think is really cool, that each place has their own identity with regards to the jeepneys. We were told they used to have competitions for the best decorated jeepney so that they would make them all stand out but the government has now been talking about getting rid of them which would be a shame as they’re the most affordable mode of transport for the locals as well as being an iconic part of the identity of The Philippines.
(a jeepney from Manila)
We flew from Cebu to Kalibo airport where we then got a bus and a boat to the party island of Boracay. It’s here, in Frendz Hostel, that we would be spending the next five nights. After getting settled we headed straight to the beach for sunset. I only ever been on a beach as busy before and that was on Christmas Day in Australia – it was packed! There were sailing boats lining the shore to take you out to see and give you an unobstructed view of the sun set, people writing names or ‘Boracay 2017’ in the sand to charge people to take photos and everyone looking out at the orange and reds that were spreading across the sky. It was madness and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle the beach being that busy for the length of our stay here – fortunately we later found out that it was only that busy as it was a public holiday in Manila and so we didn’t experience such a busy beach for the rest of our stay!
The sunset was gorgeous. Once it had set and we’d walked the full length of the beach and got some food it was time to get ready for the night and find out what the fuss was about with Boracay. We met some nice people in our room called Javier and Luz-Maria from Chile who invited us to drink with them at the hostel bar. They made us feel welcome and soon we were all drinking with the rest of the hostel were we met a lovely girl called Danna who was from Israel and would end up showing us quite a bit of the island. Along with a guy called Henry who was from London (he had just arrived as well) and we were all taken to the Mad Monkeys hostel. Mad Monkeys have hostels throughout Asia and they’re all known to be a giant party hostel (this particular hostel gave out free shots at 8am just to try keep the party going!) Drinks were pretty cheap and after spending a bit of time here we headed to a popular bar on the beach called Exit Bar. Despite Mad Monkeys reputation, we didn’t find it as crazy as we had expected although I’m still glad we weren’t staying there as we were told they start blasting music really early in the morning so you’d get no sleep!
During our time in Boracay, Danna took us under her wing and helped to make sure we experienced Borocay properly. We got to meet her local friends who took us to a little cafe that we would never have found on our own that did cheap, local food. It was just a little flight of stairs on the side of the building and led to a small room with a kitchen in it. We had chop suey (vegetables in a sauce) and kek kong (stringy green vegetables similar looking to the green parts of a spring onion in a spicy soy sauce) – both tasted great! Danna also told us about a dish called Lugaw which is rice and garlic made into some kind of soup like consistency. We tried this for breakfast one morning and ended up having it a few times during our time in Boracay – there was something very comforting about it! Meeting Danna was so lucky for us as it helped us to get a taste of the real Philippines (most food is western here or very expensive to cater for tourists) and we were very grateful that she took the time to show us around and make sure we got the most out of being there.
Frendz hosts a pasta party twice a week for all the guests to get free pasta. This is all we thought it would be and signed up for the free meal without hesitation. We hadn’t anticipated that this would be one of our best nights in Boracay! After pasta, a live band started playing including a singer called Armand Tj who was great at getting everyone involved and in games that won you shots of rum (rum is the drink of choice in the Philippines and is very cheap!) It was also happy hour and so everyone got very drunk and happy, very quickly. It was a great way to get to know more people at the hostel and everyone had a really good night. We ended up forming a lovely group of friends here particularly with two lads called Tristan and Matt (both from the UK) as well as Bethan (also from the UK), her boyfriend Max and Max’s sister Camilla (from Jersey) By the end of the evening the hostel staff were coming around with a bottle of rum and pouring it into your mouths and then they took us to another club where they had an after party and we got more free shots there! It ended up being a cheap night out for us which was an added bonus on a great night out.
Our days were spent relaxing on the beach, often with a hangover to nurse. Our hostel had a deal with a restaurant called Globy’s that let us use their sun loungers for free. This was really handy and we spent every day here, soaking up the sun and relaxing before another night out. We had been lucky with our time in Boracay as we met a really great group of people to spend our time with.
On the 14th November, we headed out on a boozey boat trip with all of our new friends from the hostel. The boat trips in Boracay are a big part of the party life we all came to the island to get. They offer unlimited alcohol and then take you to a few spots in the surrounding area including an island where you do cliff jumping and Puka Beach. We all got on the boat at around 1pm and were instantly given a beer (we’d never be without a drink the remainder of the day).
After sailing out of the beach the hosts of our boat trip got out some drums and gave us a show of their skills before letting us all have a go. The drumming sounds really good and we ended up hearing drumming like it quite a few times during our time on the island – I really enjoyed it! The people who were our crew on the boat also looked really cool and were so friendly, they kept everyone involved and partied with us.
Our first stop was to an island to go cliff jumping. This was also where we had our lunch and started seriously partying. We would have been here an hour or so and had a really good time all together. It was nice having made a bunch of friends before going on the trip so that we could just relax and enjoy it instead of having to make a big effort getting to know people.
The island had a range of different cliff jumps. Many of these were just wooden planks hanging off the side of the cliff and everyone would queue up to jump off them. Saying that, each platform was manned by someone and they made me take my necklace off before I jumped on the highest one so they were obviously conscious of safety there. It was fun jumping off the different platforms into the water and extra nice when the water isn’t shockingly cold like it would have been if we were doing the same activity somewhere like New Zealand. Needless to say that me and Niall both went straight for the highest jump and didn’t hesitate in jumping off – after bungee jumping any height seems manageable now!
(Me and Danna)
The boat trip also took us snorkelling but the majority of people just swam around in the water, everyone having drank a bit too much to do any serious snorkelling and then we headed to Puka Beach for games, volleyball and a great sunset. It was a really good day on the boat and, after we got back at around 6ish, Niall also went out with everyone to some of the bars. I was a bit too drunk to continue the night so went to bed instead but I still had a great day with everyone!
Our last day in Boracay (15th November 2017) was the day after the boat party and we were all very hungover. After spending the day on the beach I had a rest whilst Niall, Henry, Matt and Tristan went to a bar called Spider House that was known for being a good place for the sunset. They had to walk through a cave to get there and then down some steps and the sunset transformed the sky a brilliant red – so it was worth going to! After they were all back and showered, we went down for our second pasta party of the trip and for the last party of the five of us all together (me, Niall and Henry all left the next day with the others only having a day or two left after us). We were all feeling pretty tired and a little worse for wear but after a second helping of pasta and battling through our first beers we were able to get into the spirit of the night. This was made a lot easier by three Koreans who had checked into our room that day. They had stayed at the hostel before and turned out to be the life and soul of the party!
Pretty early into the night, during a round of ‘country karaoke’ where everyone from a particular country would sing a song all together’ they got up and sang a live version of Gangnam Style with the band. This included them standing on the tables doing the entire dance routine and it was one of the best things I think I’ve ever seen. Everyone loved them and they joined in with the majority of songs that evening as well as performing more Korean songs and dancing constantly for the entire night. It was remarkable the energy they had made us forget how tired and hungover we had been all day! There was also a group of Korean girls at the hostel who had similar energy levels but on a slightly more discreet scale (they didn’t do any performances) which gave us a clear impression of how fun Koreans are and made us so excited for our upcoming trip there!
Frendz was a great hostel to stay in during our time in Boracay and I would recommend it to anyone staying on the island – particularly if you end up being there during one of their pasta parties. We had such a great group of people to spend our time in Boracay with and so had a really good time here – even if we got hardly any sleep and had hangovers most days! We were definitely ready to leave when we did, even if just to get a bit of a rest, but had the best time on the crazy party island of Boracay!
Next stop: Manila
Sending Love x