Boracay is like Maldives for the masses. You’d probably leave all the little kiddies at home and escape to the Maldives for an adults-only getaway, but if your kids are above age three, why not have some all-inclusive family fun on the beautiful island of Boracay?
It’s very safe, people speak English, the beaches are gorgeous and you can travel there comfortable via SilkAir, which flies to Kalibo in 3h 40min.
I’m suggesting the minimum age of three as a benchmark because you’d want your kid to be able to sit upright in a boat without support, and not freak out while you disappear from his or sight for a bit to snorkel. Also, you and the other half might want to steal away for a few private moments.
Our family of three had so much fun in Boracay, Asher (turning four in a couple of weeks) didn’t want to come home! A little bit about our resort first. We stayed at Discovery Shores, a five-star beach resort located in Station 1, where the sand is so fine and white, it’s almost creamy. The resort staff greet each guest (even the little ones) by name every time they see you and go out of their way to make you feel at home.
By the end of the trip, Asher became so close to many of the service staff that he was greeting them good morning everyday, chatting with them and bidding them farewell when we left.
This has got to be the best hotel I have stayed at. When you check in, there will be bottled water, tea sachets, Nespresso capsules (there’s a machine inside the room!), a bowl of fresh bananas and mangoes, and freshly-brewed, cold Pandan water waiting for you.
Someone will come and give each adult guest a 15-minute foot bath as a welcome gesture.
There’s an iPhone charging station, a tic-tac-toe game, coffee table books and magazines to browse. A proper laundry rack can be found in the balcony outside the room, perfect for hanging out wet swimsuits.
A long, low wooden shelf is stashed under the wash stand so toddlers can reach the tap. Speaking of toddlers – there’s also divan in the room which serves as a sofa in the day and doubles as bed at night, so, considering that the main bed is king-sized, the room can easily accommodate two adults and two kids.
When you’re out, at least three housekeepers will come in to tidy and clear the trash cans. When you return in the late afternoon, you can look forward to having an afternoon snack – a homemade local tidbit or dessert – which will be placed on the coffee table next to a note describing the item.
When you return from dinner at night, the housekeepers would have drawn the blinds for you and laid out your bedroom slippers on beautiful handpainted cloth mats on the floor by the bedside. Bliss!
Before this blog post becomes “10 reasons why you should stay at Discovery Shores”, let me move on to the five kid-friendly activities in Boracay:
1. Island-hopping on a boat
On the way to Crystal Cove Island, your captain will find a nice spot for you to jump in and snorkel. The turquoise waters are so clear, you can see all manner of tropical fish, sea urchins and corals. One member of our crew even managed to spear a puffer fish and another sort of fish for their lunch.
Commercial fishing is banned in the waters of Boracay but I guess personal consumption is okay.
Junior won’t be able to join you underwater but you can bring him to swim and wade at the two coves in Crystal Cove Island. The sand is very fine and you don’t have to worry about your child’s feet getting cut by sharp shells or corals. Fish will swim all around your legs. We were told that Crystal Cove Island had been considered for a nudist beach, but thankfully, the owners of the island said that they wanted to keep it family-friendly.
2. Clear-bottom kayaking at Puka Beach
This beach is famous for puka shells, which are beachworn pieces of cone snail shells, often strung together to make bracelets, necklaces and chandeliers. The sand is rougher here because of the broken shell bits, but they’re all weathered and won’t cut your feet.
Puka shells were what made Boracay famous internationally in the first place. Story has it that then first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, gave Hollywood legend, Elizabeth Taylor a necklace made out of puka shells from Boracay. The latter wore it to an awards ceremony and shared about Boracay. The rest was history.
I didn’t get any puka accessories, but purchased an abalone shell cuff bracelet, a natural coral necklace and a matching bracelet, and two shark bone bracelets for a song. (Sorry, can’t remember exact prices, but please remember to bargain.) Oh wait, I was supposed to talk about the kayaking. We were supposed to go on a glass-bottom boat ride with Boracay Adventures but the boat was under maintenance at the time, so we went for this instead.
You can rent a kayak (seats two adults and one toddler) made of clear plastic, and paddle off. Asher liked the experience – he reported that he didn’t see any fish, but a lot of sponges. We adults were too busy yelling at each other to get the kayak going in the correct direction.
3. Ride a paraw
For around 1000 to 1500 pesos (S$30 to S$45) per pax, you can rent a paraw, a blade-shaped wind-powered sailing vessel not unlike a keelboat, for a 30-minute ride. It has two mesh “wings” on either side for passengers to sit on and a crew of three will bring you on a joyride out to sea. Life vests for all passengers, including children, are available.
Our captain took us out to a spot and passed us snorkelling masks – we adults splashed into the water but because the current was very strong – we surrendered after a few minutes. The kids should stay on board the paraw because trying to get back on board the “wings” is difficult due to the strong waves and slippery boat parts.
4. Get grounded
Take off your shoes/flip flops and walk barefoot on the soft sandy beach. This is supposed to be good exercise and helps your body absorb electrons from Earth. Anyhow, you know how kids LOVE playing with sand. They’re mesmerised and won’t be able to stop touching it. Thankfully, Boracay’s beach is flawless and you won’t have to worry about litter and debris, so your child can play in peace.
There are many sandcastle experts by the beach who can build you a beautiful sandcastle for around 200 pesos (S$6). You can get them to build one for your kid.
5. Watch a fire-dance performance
Boracay’s night life is quite vibrant. In Station 2, near D’Mall, which is the main shopping belt in Boracay, you’ll see lots of alfresco restaurants where you can bury your feet in the sand while you eat. Many of these places have performances at dinner time, at about 8pm.
We were brought to Astoria, where had a sumptuous dinner buffet while being entertained by a sizzling fire dance. The performances don’t cost extra but performers will come around to ask for tips after their number, so do get your cash ready.
Here are two extra things to do in case of wet weather – there is a small 3D museum called Dream Land Trick Art Museum which you can bring your kids to. It is located within a small amusement park with kiddie rides and other attractions.
Next, there is a Boracay Oceanarium located within the Crown Regency Resort. The attraction is home to the world’s largest discovered pearl that weighs 9 kg, with a diameter of 18 inches.
If you were to ask me, I would prefer the beach and outdoor activities any time, but it is always good to have contingency plans!
All-important tips for a successful beach holiday with kids:
- Book a hotel where nanny services are offered at no extra charge e.g. Discovery Shores! You can leave kids aged 0-12 at Discovery Shores’ Sandbox kids’ room, which is open daily at 4pm. It’s equipped with stuffed toys, board games, computer games and DVDs. There’s also a daily activity for kids – staff will do arts and crafts with them, play games, go on scavenger hunts and conduct simple cooking lessons. Make sure that you book a spa treat at the resort (ask for the couples’ room) when you get an hour or two of respite from junior. A well-rested mummy is a happy mummy!
- Leave your swimming toys and floats at home – the pool at Discovery Shores is well-equipped with inflatable toys which will keep your young ones entertained.
- Bring and apply sunblock (SPF 50++) liberally to your little darlings 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply frequently. Get those spray applicators for easy reapplication.
- Bring aloe vera gel in case of sunburn.
- Bring swimming hats and cotton bucket hats for the little ones (and make them wear!!). Baseball caps don’t really shield one’s neck and ears from the sun. Sunglasses are necessary to protect their eyes too.
- Bring at least two sets of swimsuits. You’ll be doing some sort of water activity every day and can’t count on one swimsuit to dry in time.
- Crocs are the best footwear for kids on this holiday. You do not need to pack any other shoes for them.
- If anyone in the family is a light sleeper, I strongly suggest that you book a hotel situated in Station 1 even if it is more expensive than those on Station 2 and 3.
- If your little ones are prone to motion sickness, you might want to go to the KK Hospital pharmacy prior to the trip to get over-the-counter medication. Of course, if you’re the natural, holistic sort, prepare aromatherapy oil blends, lollipops or what-have-you to ease nausea.
- Bring a light-weight baby carrier if you know your little one is gonna ask to be carried when he or she gets tired. If you’re thinking of bringing tiny children, I’d suggest that you pack a water ring sling so you can hold on to your slippery little guy/gal while in the water.
To get to Boracay from Singapore to Boracay, you could take a direct flight from Singapore to Kalibo (3h 40min) with SilkAir like we did. This is followed by another two hours via bus and ferry to get from Kalibo to Boracay. SilkAir offers thrice weekly return flights, direct from Singapore to Kalibo.
We are giving away five sets of exclusive SilkAir goodie bags! Each bag will consist of a limited edition SilkAir travel pack set, airplane plush toy and an in-flight Spongebob board game set. Details.
We have ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away three sets of exclusive It’s More Fun in the Philippines goodie bags! Each bag will consist of a tee shirt, a notepad and other attractive merchandises.
To win, all you have to do is…
Contest ends 30 August.