What’s New in Boracay in 2010? (Part 2 of 2)

Read First: What’s New in Boracay in 2010? (Part 1 of 2)

5. Battle of the Best Spa on Boracay Island!

Mandala Spa.

Considered as one of the best spas in Asia, Mandala continues to push the envelope in holistic wellness with its Shodhana Karma rejuvenation program and The Mandala Spa Hilot Trilogy. Recently, an innovative 24-hour stay-out Detox program was offered, where you can do the cleansing program while still enjoying the life on White Beach. Also, you can stay in the Mandala Villas and enjoy healthy food in the Prana Restaurant.

What I like about Mandala is it provides you with an escape from the busy, urban life, and it empowers you to strengthen your mind, body and soul without being preachy about it. Mandala tries its best to give you an experience of the “old Boracay” before its commercialization and before the 650,000 tourists/year trooped to this small island.

Related PostsMy Mandala Spa Experience [ The Bora Life #2 ]

Tip: Don’t forget to meet Ria (also known as Batang Dagat — check out The Real Batang Dagat blog).


Tirta Spa.

Tirta provides the best pampering packages in Boracay with its signature 3-hour rituals, which includes something for the men (Gentleman’s Quarter Packages). For this spa, details are important — guests ascend the grand entrance flanked by Balinese guards; gong sounds are made to get rid of any bad spirits; and an image of the Buddha is present as if to greet you, “Peace be with you”, as you enter the garden.

Personally, I like Tirta’s relaxing ambiance. It’s like stepping into an oasis in the middle of busy Boracay. (I’m not surprised that a Korean-owned spa opened a similar concept near the Bulabog area.) It is slowly catching up with Mandala in terms of opening up a Day Spa and a Bed & Breakfast villa. Tirta leads in terms of pampering massages and not-the-usual spa ambiance.

Related Posts: The Tirta Spa Difference


When you are in Boracay, experiencing Footsee’z foot spa and reflexology treatment is a must. It is the innovative leader in Foot Spa on the island and it is conveniently located near Budget Mart in D’Mall. Removing kalyo, Foot Reflexology and making your feet beautiful are its specialties. Having nice bare feet is a definite plus  when walking along the white beach. 🙂

Tip: Don’t forget to meet the owner, known as Mommy Anne among the locals. She is one of the most-respected, influential Boracay locals. From her, you can get the insider scoop on what’s happening around the island.


6. Cyma the Original is still the BEST!

Cyma lost a bit of its exoticness when it opened in Manila, because it’s no longer unique to Boracay. Nevertheless, the pioneering branch hidden in the corner of D’Mall continues to serve the best-tasting Greek food and the wildest “Opa!” versus any Cyma Branch.

For the ultimate Cyma experience, order these bestsellers: Saganaki, Flaming Cheese served with an enthusiastic “OPA!”; Roka Salata with its secret Greek Vinaigrette sauce; Cyma char-broiled Lamb Chops; and end the meal with Flaming Mangoes with Vanilla Ice Cream and another serving of the stress-releasing “OPA!”

In Boracay, specifically, you can have a shot of Ouzo liquor. It is a tradition to shout “Opa!” before drinking the shot straight up. Try to shout it at the top of your lungs and beat the loudest “Opa!” ever.

Kudos to Sunshine de Leon and team for maintaining the top quality of Cyma Boracay! 🙂

7. Aria, still the best Italian Restaurant on the island.

Whenever people ask me for Boracay Restaurant recommendations, these immediately come to mind — Dos Mestizos (top of my list), Cyma (still our favorite), and Aria (consistently part of the top 3 restaurants in Boracay). Over the past years, though, Aria has been getting mixed reviews. Some foodies commented that the quality of ingredients declined over the years, and that it lost its charm as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country.

Personally, I find that Aria is still the undisputed king of Italian Pasta, Salad and wood-fire oven-cooked Pizzas in Boracay. The spicy Tuna Tartare is a recent favorite. 🙂 Italian Chef Gino Amodio still runs the kitchen, which makes this one of the most authentic Italian Restaurants — not only in Boracay, but in the Philippines.

Tip: Don’t forget to order Aria’s creamy (never gelatinous) panna cotta with its signature, innovative flavors like Panna cotta with fresh strawberry and pandan syrup, and Panacotta with gata.

8. Kasbah – a unique Moroccan Restaurant – only in Boracay.

Kasbah in Boracay.

I was asking the Boracay locals about what they would consider the best restaurant in Boracay, and Kasbah was often mentioned after Dos Mestizos, Cyma and Aria. According to them, this is one of the unique, only-in-Boracay restaurants and a must-visit for those looking for exotic food that you won’t usually find in Manila. The only thing is it is quite far. It is located beside Discovery Shores. You can take a tricycle up to White House resort to get there.

Lamb Tagine with prunes, hard-boiled eggs, honey and almonds.

Tagine refers to the slow-cooked stew and the special pot (with a conical cover) in which it is cooked. The stew is flavorful and rich, with very tender meat. The prunes and eggs give it a different texture that contributes to the overall enjoyment of this dish.

Some say that it is authentic Moroccan cuisine. I honestly wouldn’t know for sure, but I like it because it’s something refreshingly unique. Have you tried Kasbah?

9. Frozen Kefir and Yogurt Mania!

The hottest dessert craze in Boracay is a healthy one, too. Most people there are raving about Swirls Frozen Kefir. It has a creamy taste like ice cream but you can still taste the tanginess of yogurt. At the same time, it uses Kefir, which has more probiotic organisms that are very healthy.

Swirls Frozen Kefir was also a hit during the Ultimate Taste Test 4.0. 🙂 Only thing is you have to go all the way to the White House resort near Discovery Shores to get a taste of Swirls. But it really is a perfect treat for a sunset merienda.

In D’Mall, the healthiest dessert is Fling by Fruits in Ice Cream. It is conveniently located near Cyma. Its Frozen Yogurt is made from fresh yogurt versus others that are powdered or reconstituted. Toppings are carefully selected from organic, lite and homemade options.

Healthy desserts are in because you don’t want to have a bulging stomach while you’re in your boardshorts or two-piece swimsuit.

10. The Latest Bars on the Island.

The Boracay Station 2 bars are still popular with the beach-going crowd — with Hey Jude’s techno music djs, Juice Bar’s innovative drinks, and Summer Palace, which is a bit of a combination of Hey Jude and Juice Bar but with a “bahay kubo” ambiance. Sand Bar also has its following because of the performance of its fire dancers.

You can also hop on over to Guilly’s and Club Paraw in Station 1 if you want to dance the night away with pop, hiphop and dance music. Cocomangas is losing its appeal among local tourists because it has a reputation of being a pick-up bar for foreigners.

Tides Hotel Sunset Rooftop Bar hosts some of the best parties in Boracay and is known for its New Year Countdown Party. Tides Hotel is owned by the same party-people who own Encore in Bonifacio Global City. The Jungle Bar in Bulabog beach has the best Full Moon parties on the island, where you are guaranteed to get wasted and enjoy a party that you will never forget.

My personal favorite is Bombom Bar because of its acoustic chill-out and reggae performances. I’m the type who enjoys bars where you can conveniently talk without having a shouting match with the super loud music.

So, what’s your favorite hangout in Boracay?

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:


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P.S. Let me know if there are other new and cool things in Boracay that I missed…

13 thoughts on “What’s New in Boracay in 2010? (Part 2 of 2)

  1. This is a great listing Anton. Wish I can go with my family soon. It’s been 9 years for me and everything that I knew about Bora seemed to have disappeared behind the many hotel/resort developments, there’s just too much na don’t you think? I just hope they’d stop “developing” before mother nature gets “angry”, and the rustic island charm completely disappears.

  2. thanks for the heads up, but too bad, i just came back from Boracay. but at least, i’ve got something to look forward to on my next trip to paradise 😀

  3. I’m a fan of massages and hilot. Would be great if one day you’d post more about the best hilot places or masseurs in Boracay. Got a real big knot that needs some kneading!

  4. Hi Anton!
    I love Bora and make it a point to be there at least once a year since 2002 🙂
    For me, the best Italian (Pasta/Pizza) – Hey Jude
    Buffet – Friday’s
    Unique Resto experience – True Food
    Seafood – Gastof
    Breakfast – The English Bakery (Station 3), and Real Coffee
    Best Bar – Hey Jude / Tides / Ariels/ Bamboo Lounge / Bomboms but I’m given the choice to pick just one, Hey Jude
    Best Mexican – Manana
    Best kept drinking secret place (when you want a quieter spot) – Sea Wind
    Best drinking find – Bailey’s Shake at the Mongolian Grill
    Best spot to laze around by the beach, after lunch – Pearl of the Pacific / Nigi (beside Waling)
    I have not tried Kashbah but would love to after reading it here . I’ve also heard rave reviews about a Japanese resto near Tides that’s supposedly good too?
    Kai 🙂

  5. I was just there recently for a whole week and had a fab time, as always. Kasbah was definitely one of my stops, as I love Moroccan/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food. One thing that Kasbah has that I haven’t seen anywhere else here is Pastilla/Pastiya. It’s a flaky pastry, like phyllo, wrapped around chicken and then dusted with cinammon and sugar. It’s a savory dish but sweetish, and one could almost have it for dessert! ;-)I also still like Zuzuni (Greek resto, former owners of Mati and more authentic than Cyma — less noisy, too, since there’s no “Opa!” shouting), True Food, Manana, and ADORE Fishbar! A popular beer deal there is at White House, where Beer Below Zero is 3 for P100 from 7am-7pm (yes, you read that right). And Loco Frio is a novel concept that allows you to take your frozen cocktails with you in an insulated container. You should’ve checked out Ariel’s Point, Anton. I haven’t been, but it’s the new attraction there. And have you never gone to the other side, Bulabog? Sigh…I miss Boracay already. It’s sadly become extremely over-developed and over-populated, but I still never fail to have a wonderful time there. (If only because of the food! ;-))

  6. I tried Kasbah the last time I was in Boracay. It’s awesome! Easily the the best meal I had when I was there.

  7. Hi Katrina,
    Thanks for the comment! I'll try that Pastilla/ Pastiya next time I'm in Kasbah.
    I've been to Bulabog but have not really stayed there. I'm planning to hangout there for some time…
    Yeah, I missed Ariel's point… nakakatakot rin ha. I'll go back for it.

  8. hi everyone,
    i fell in love with boracay for about 3 years now. i usually go there 5-6 times a year, basically every other month 🙂
    would just like to share some island secrets i recently discovered:
    spa: yeah, mandala and chi are the prime spa experiences in the island. but i think the best value for money, and surely one of the most underrated facility there is is Kai spa of boracay regency. masseuses are mandala trained and one would love the interiors of the place, and not to mention, you pay so much less.
    regarding shangrila: when you book there, do not hesitate to ask for the local resident’s rate (if u r pinoy of course :-)). or if you cannot afford to book there, avail of the luxe day tour (2500 pesos) wherein you can stay and use facilities from 9am to 8 pm and avail of free buffet lunch. sulit di ba?!
    most comfortable bed and comforter in the island: the one at friday’s… hands down!
    best breakfast: still at real coffee’s
    one of the best hangout place and underrated resto in the island: the courtyard bistro at white house resort (near two season’s). their twice cooked adobo, is the best adobo i tasted (not just in bora but as in, ever!). The yohgurt place beside it is closed (i hope just for the meantime)
    that’s it for now 🙂

  9. bakit walang matinong wifi sa boracay?
    stayed at microtel. ang bagal ng internet sobra. sa mga restaurants sa stn1 sa ambassador in paradise slow. sa red coconut sa stn 2 slow.sa nigi nigi wala or mabagal ang wifi. ang nagiisang consistent wifi ay sa rhumbas english place sa d mall. sa harap ng ferris wheel sa gitna. yun lang.

  10. Thanks for this great listing! If you wanted to stay in a place where you wanted to escape the noise and wanted to relax, we can give you the right place to visit. Private beach located at Ilig iligan cove far from the night life scene in Boracay is the perfect place for you!

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