When I think of a tropical paradise my mind doesn’t automatically flip to the Philippines, well at least it didn’t until I visited.

However, after spending a week on the tropical island of Boracay, just a one hour flight south west of Manila my perspective has now been changed irrevocably!

Our morning routine consisted of waking early with the sunrise, a long walk along the beach collecting shells before breakfast.

Breakfasts were a sprawling affair with dishes from all over the world available, never seen quite a spread like the one at this resort, however the pièce de ré·sis·tance were definitely their assortment of tropical fruits and local dishes… As an FYI this is not the place to come and expect to lose weight. 🙂

This was followed by snorkeling (yes, everyday for an hour) in the ocean off the beach in front of the hotel. The reef was chock full of tropical fish with all varieties, shapes and sizes including sea slugs, huge purple starfish and the like…which you would only expect to find at an aquarium. Very cool!

I would never have imagined that schools of fish would be so close to shore, all darting and frolicking about as if we weren’t there. So much fun to swim amongst them in the ocean.

A veritable feast for the eyes…every morning!

By 9:30 am we were fully ensconced under a coconut palm by the pool, which was set in a colorful garden full of all kinds of tropical plants including orchids, frangipani and bougainvillaea to name just a few. 🙂

The routine for the remainder of the morning was to read and then take a nap before lunch, which we’d take by the pool…with intermittent dips to cool off.

Even though it was a warm 33 celsius most days it really didn’t feel too hot with a slight ocean breeze caressing you.

It was time to recharge and re-energize with afternoons spent either working out or at the spa…well, I did say I was spoiling myself didn’t I!?

Clearly staying at a resort like the Shangri-La is very special (spoiling yourself on your birthday is mandatory by the way!), so it wasn’t lost on me that this was a once in a lifetime experience.

White beach, which is the most famous place on Boracay was located some 3.5 kilometers (or 25 minutes on the rut filled road, maximum speed of 10 km per hour) from the resort which was perched on the north western tip of the island…and away from the madding crowds.

Blissful paradise!

We ventured into town on a couple of occasions to check out the hype, but was disappointed each time. White Beach was crowded and touristy, which as you know is not my cup of tea.

The other downside is that the infrastructure revitalization plan is not yet complete and so there is quite a bit of remaining construction, including roads and sewerage systems still being worked on.

And so this, coupled with the crowds make for less than an optimal experience in the main area of the island. A couple of short visits were more than enough for me…

I guess I really have become snobby in my old age…now, now, that you’re outside voice! 🙂

So, what did I like most about the week in paradise? Let’s see…there were a few things that were awesome other than what I’ve outlined already.

Firstly, the hotel was set on a large sprawling mountain side and peninsula with private bay and two beaches, both excellent for snorkeling or swimming in the warm ocean waters.

The views alone from our room was worth the price of admission, we looked out over the white sandy bay and coral reef just meters from our room with a brilliant blue azure sky during the day and a fiery red sunset each night as it set on the western horizon.

Another of the things I like was waking to the early morning sounds of the native birds in the trees outside our room at sunrise. This definitely reminded me of being home in Australia, and such a lovely way to wake up.

Just feeling the sand between my toes, the smell of salt water in my hair and sun on my skin felt divine!

It was the perfect place to get away and completely decouple from work and the stresses of life.

Strangely there were parts of my time on Boracay that it could have easily been confused with either Bali or Australia as there were a host of similarities with both locations.

This is definitely a place I would recommend, even though its a three flight, 20 hour trip to get there (ah, yes all part of the adventure in my book!), but once you get there you may just never want to leave. Just sayin…

It’s the sort of place where you have little choice but to relax and soak it all in.

And now that I’m back, OMG do I miss it! 🙂

Until next week