First things first: many tourists from different parts of the world don’t always figure things out when traveling to the Tourist Capital of the Philippines. Boracay sometimes can be a tricky island paradise to analyze, especially for new tourists. That means you are not the only one wondering about the ongoing customs and culture of the island. No one wants to commit any mistakes as they travel going to or while in Boracay. Not only does creating mistakes may come as a hassle, but it may also get you some awkward looks from the locals. To help you understand where it can go wrong, here are nine travel mistakes (tips) for tourists to avoid on your vacation trip to Boracay.
Going around just with a credit card and no cash
When dining out in their home country, tourists are just fine bringing only their credit cards. It is more convenient to use in payments and portable. However, when you are in a sanctuary like Boracay, keep in mind that it is always good to carry cash. Many stores and stalls do not have many flexible payment options. Establishments like hotels, shopping malls, and a few high-end restaurants are the only ones who will gladly accept your cards.
One of the best tips for tourists you can learn is to always bring smaller bills on your Boracay travel vacation. There are infinite items that will catch your eye and make you spend. Some vendors would prefer if your cash is in a smaller denomination or the exact amount. This tip will save you a considerable chunk of your time.
Assuming the food and eating with bare hands are weird
Spoon, fork, and knife are the usual table-setting combinations that you will see in a restaurant, eatery, and diner. It’s rare to see people munching on their food using their bare hands. Well, this is the case in the islets. Eating while using a hand as a utensil is a normal activity in the Philippines. It is usually done during “boodle fight” or what is locally called “kamayan.”
For Filipinos, it is part of the culture. So, if you do not want to try eating with your bare hands, ask for the utensils. However, if you want to truly experience the life of a Boracay local, try doing it at least once. Who knows, you may realize that you enjoy your food more if it is delivered solely by your fingers.
Not greeting upon entry and saying not saying “Salamat” enough
One of the first lessons we learned in elementary school is to keep your manners and attitude under check. When entering a business or restaurant in Boracay, it’s also customary to say “Magandang Umaga” or “Magandang Gabi” (the first if it’s daytime, the latter if it’s nighttime) to the staff/servers. Eye contact (and smiling) is also a great way to connect with strangers. Recognize your fellow human beings.
Once you are finished, it is customary to say “Salamat” (thank you) to the staff who provided the service. Saying “Salamat” is applicable when someone did a favor to you or showed kindness even in their simple ways. It may take some time to adjust to this one because it is coded in a whole other language, but you will get used to it.
Forgetting to book your hotels or flights ahead
During the peak season in Boracay, all tourists are in full battle mode to go to the island. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Boracay to have a glimpse of what it can offer. Because of the tremendous crowd, hotels and restaurants have no choice but to increase their pricing. It is where accommodation and dining can get expensive.
To have the prime Boracay Experience, avoid being a procrastinator. Schedule ahead of time and call to reserve your accommodation at your desired resort hotel and preferred restaurants. The amenities and services of these establishments are genuinely competitive, and it is why they are always fully booked. Regardless of any circumstances, tips like being one of the early tourists or doing things in advance will never get you wrong when you decide to travel to Boracay.
Visiting on stale months
If you want to make new acquaintances or party all night, June and September may not be your travel months where there are fewer people on the island. It will be worthwhile of your time even if you are a first-time visitor or don’t care much for mingling if you will travel to Boracay outside these months. Restaurants, shopping centers, and scenic locations all remain open throughout the year. However, the city has a calm, closed-up atmosphere through these slumber months. Some people enjoy it though since it allows them to spend time alone with their thoughts, while others prefer the buzz and may find it too quiet.
Paying for tricycle fare without asking the price
One of the main modes of transportation in Boracay is by riding a tricycle. In the designated parking area, you can ask for a tricycle driver to give you a ride to your destination. Essentially, riding in a motorized taxi (tricycle) is often inexpensive. There are a few drivers that charge exorbitantly high fares to trick new explorers. Don’t be a naïve adventurer. To avoid this situation, make it a habit to inquire about the fare pricing ahead of time. Always ask questions and use your negotiating skills.
Littering and throwing things at the beach
Under the new regulation and policy of the Boracay, Philippines, Municipal Ordinance Number 311, series of 2012, the Malay local government prohibits the following acts:
- Littering in public spaces, waterways, and recreational areas.
- Urinating, spiting, defecating in public spaces, channels, and recreational areas.
- Vandalizing the walls or surfaces of public places, or private properties upon complaint of the owner
- Dumping of trash along roads that may impede flow of pedestrian traffic By doing so, violators may face fines and imprisonment.
This is the type of inconvenience that no one ever wants to encounter. So, be mindful of your own trash while on your vacation in Boracay. Even if it is just a candy wrapper, rules are rules. Be a responsible Boracay traveler and do what you can to help preserve the beauty of the island.
Touching things without permission
When it comes to being “hands-on”, avoid it as much as possible. This should go without saying now that we’re all living in a post-COVID era. Markets, on the other hand, have become more stringent. Merchants used to let customers pick their fruits and vegetables, but now it’s preferable to ask first. The same regulation applies to establishments like hotels. The local government has been implementing hygienic rules to prevent the spread of the virus. Because of this reason, it’s preferable to draw the seller or staff’s attention and point rather than feeling items as if you bought them already.
Trying only the expensive activities
One can still enjoy the island without going broke. Many people think that they can only experience the best by splurging all their money. This is also a huge mishap. There are different stuff in Boracay Islands at an inexpensive tag or even free. One of the best tourists tips you can get when you travel to Boracay is to enjoy the moment and collect memories.
In lodgings, you can find numerous hostels across different stations on the island. It often includes food and a bathroom. Or you may split the cost with a fellow backpacker to enjoy the nicer hotels. For the activities, swimming and sunbathing are some of the popular choices. Tourists should also try cliff diving or roaming the vicinity with a bicycle. In terms of foods, hole-in-the-wall eatery or street foods will make you realize that you do not need much money for quality.
A Well-Informed Tourist
Now that you are well-oriented on what things to expect, what not to do, and what to say, you are ready to embark on the escapade of your lifetime. If you commit one of these things, do not panic as there will always be a second time to do things right. One last thing that you should never ever commit is not to enjoy this exceptional paradise named Boracay.