IN BORACAY no two sunsets are alike, or so locals claim.
Since the tropical paradise first became a popular beach destination in the 1970s, Boracay’s dazzling sunsets have always been at the top of the list when it comes to relating the allure of the vibrant island. A sight to behold: The sky catching fire at dusk, bleeding pink, then red and violet, as the sun slowly sinks into the sea.
There remains no clear-cut explanation why Boracay has some of the most beautiful sunsets – and sunrises too, I might add – in the world. There are plenty of old wives’ tales and ati folk stories trying to account for the breath-taking natural phenomenon, but most chalk it up to the island’s unique geography: it’s horizon vistas unobstructed by any other nearby isles or landmasses – the closest to the east is Caluya Island some 60 kilometers away; facing west, Sibuyan Island is almost double the distance at least 100 kilometers of open sea.
Accurate scientific explanation be damned, every day without fail you’ll find travelers and islanders alike heading to White Beach’s endless stretch of mellifluous sand and pristine waters as 6’oclock approaches– all eagerly awaiting the vivid sunset. There’s already much ado about Boracay’s stunning natural light shows – both its sunrise and sunset – but what is one to do in between?
5:30AM – Sunrise Stroll
Boracay is perhaps better renowned for its postcard sunsets, but the island has some of the most striking and picturesque sunrises as well. Most of the white sand shores facing east are quiet and secluded, which is probably why Boracay’s charming and calm daybreak views are the isle’s best kept secret – and where can you witness the most beautiful sunrise on the island? No other than Boracay Newcoast’s private Cove 2.
Check in to one of the properties on the Newcoast township to gain access to the exclusive beaches: The Insta-worthy Savoy Hotel Boracay, the upcoming Chancellor Hotel Boracay, or the newly-opened Belmont Hotel Boracay – an elegant three-tower hotel overlooking the island’s eastern coastline.
Cove 2 is just a leisurely 5-minute walk from Belmont Hotel Boracay. On most days you’ll probably find the beach all to yourself in the early morning, granting you some peace and serenity as you watch the sun slowly creep up Newcoast’s iconic “keyhole” – a natural limestone rock formation that doubles as a gateway to the property (a dedicated pontoon and floating dock is located there, with plans of establishing a modern jetty port in the area also in the works).
It’s worth the effort of dragging yourself out of bed at the break of dawn to bask in the daylight glow while lounging on a tanning bed by the white sand beach – you may be even tempted to go on an early morning dip.
8AM – Morning Massage
After heading back to Belmont Hotel Boracay and partaking of a hearty breakfast buffet at Belmont Café – by the way, they serve some of the finest crisp croissants I’ve tasted, baked by the hotel’s highly-trained culinary team themselves – why not center yourself with a pamper session at Aqua Spa.
Located at the Belmont’s second floor, you’re in well-trained hands when availing of the spa’s services. Among their signature treatments are the Ocean Flow Massage and Isla Pura Hot Stone Massage, as well as the traditional hilot experience, of course.
There’s nothing like starting your day with relaxation to soothe your body and prepare you for a full day of laidback activities.
12 NOON – Sampling Seafood
It’s time to relish the island life with some sumptuous seafood. Inspired by Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, chef Alan Mathay of Belmont Café has a knack for elevating this region’s rich sea harvests – dedicated to utilizing only the freshest produce and ingredients, all the whole supporting the farmers and fisherfolk of Aklan and the neighboring provinces.
Belmont Café’s signature Seafood Risotto is quintessential island living served on a bowl – plentiful squid, shrimp, and clams served alongside some creamy risotto. Other must tries are the Sinigang sa Batuan with mammoth prawns, and my personal favorite grilled salmon with lemon caper butter sauce.
1PM – Siesta or Dip
In typical Ilonggo fashion: A fulfilling meal warrants a good siesta, a well-deserved afternoon nap.
Why not lay claim to a reclining chair by Belmont Hotel Boracay’s hotel pool to relish the cool sea breeze while dozing off for some quick shuteye. If you’d rather burn off the calories immediately, go on a few laps on the rooftop pool, with its lovely view of Newcoast’s untouched lush vegetation – 60 percent of the entire estate remains dedicated to green and open spaces. I for one am signing up for a short siesta before taking a cool plunge in the pool.
3PM – Beat the Heat
Speaking of cooling off, there’s nothing like a bowl of halo-halo to fan us down on hot afternoons, and Belmont’s signature dessert is the perfect antidote to tepid island heat. With shaved ice infused with rich carabao’s milk, the halo-halo is rich and velvety, topped with generous helpings of rich ube halaya, candied langka, and coconut strips, among others bite-sized goodies.
5PM – Sunset Watch
Dusk is fast approaching and White Beach remains the undisputed best spot for sunset watching! Commuting to the area is often a hassle, with the island’s downtown area still largely choked by traffic caused by ongoing road repairs and congestion. Thankfully, Newcoast has its own free shuttle service to ferry you to and from the calm of Belmont Hotel Boracay to the mania of Stations 1 to 3.
With the seamless transport service, you’ll have plenty of time to spare for souvenir shopping upon arriving at D’Mall. If you still have around 30 minutes before the sunset, go for Real Coffee and Tea for a hot cup of java paired with their famous Calamansi Muffin – watch people rush by the humble café’s store front as you take in the beachfront.
As you begin to see the sun setting, head for the stretch of beach near Station 1 for a perfect vantage point for sundown – where banca’s anchor for the end of the day. If you’re up for it, you can even book one of the boats for some sunset sailing, marveling and taking in the awe-inspiring sunset from the sea.
Still the best things in life are free: Nothing beats just laying down a towel on the sand to witness dusk paint the island’s sky vivid colors of purple and red, the soothing crash of waves lulling you to relaxation.
After the sunset, head back to Boracay Newcoast and Belmont Hotel Boracay. End your day with a satisfying dinner and a nightcap at poolside Zabana Bar – maybe even lounge by the pool for an hour or two before heading to bed and preparing for another day of enjoying Boracay Island. Savor the moment! Tomorrow’s another day!/PN