Boracay is probably the most visited tourist destination in the Philippines. A true favorite for most local and international travelers. This small island’s timeless beauty accentuated by its powdery fine white sand like no other is just too captivating that it makes you just wanna come back over and over again.
Our local tourism industry was hardly hit by the pandemic so I’m really happy to see the travel industry slowly getting back on its foot, little by little.
And when I read in the news that they are now allowing domestic leisure travel, I immediately looked into Boracay travel protocols and planned my trip!
Join me as I rediscover the “New Boracay” post-lockdown in one of the best resorts on the island, Discovery Shores Boracay.
The last time I was here was in early 2019, just a few months since it reopened (after the rehabilitation closure). Almost a year and a half later, I’m back again and excited to explore the new and improved island of Boracay.
Stepping foot in Boracay again after so long felt a bit unusual. You can obviously see the changes especially when there are fewer crowds (if not none) wherever you go. I guess I just got too used to a packed island buzzing with tourists from all over the world.
The vibe somewhat changed, yes, but the island itself is still as beautiful nonetheless. It is now a less crowded and a much greener Boracay… and the thing I’m most happy about, no more roadworks!
Aside from the beach, the other thing that I’m really excited about this trip is to stay at one of Discovery Group’s hotels again. I capped off my 2020 by having a quick weekend vacation at Discovery Group’s Coron Palawan property: Club Paradise Palawan and now I’m starting my year with them.
I had the best time here and I’m excited to see what its Boracay location has to offer! Club Paradise Article.
Upon our arrival at Caticlan Airport (now renamed: Boracay Airport), we followed the new safety and health protocols for tourists which involved scanning QR codes via Traze, and disinfecting our bags and luggages.
At the exit, were immediately greeted by a DSB staff who helped us carry our bags into the shuttle.
We had to follow the new normal safety and health protocols which made the travel/process a bit more tedious but overall, everything went fairly smooth as there were barely any guests at the ferry station.
We then went straight to board DBS’s fast craft which took us to Boracay island proper.
You can really tell that hotels nowadays have really invested in overhauling safety procedures. The van that took us from the port to the hotel property has acrylic barriers and is complete with disinfecting equipment and non-contact temperature checking devices that are conveniently placed at all entrances.
We booked our stay at Discovery Shores Boracay and got the very spacious Junior Suite with a balcony facing the pool area.
The room was only good for two but it’s considerably big (definitely not your average hotel room) and it also came with a daybed that was perfect for lounging at noon when it’s too hot to hang out by the beach.
The daybed itself was even big enough to accommodate another occupant!
The bathroom, as expected, was also very spacious. It has everything you need: premium shampoo, soap, conditioner, lotion, bidet, except for a tub which honestly is unnecessary for a beach resort.
Discovery hospitality is unparalleled and they obviously thought about the guest experience and made sure each of us feels safe and comfortable despite the new normal protocols.
An eco-friendly practice here that I like the most is the use of refillable containers for its shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. A nice way to avoid single-use plastics.
Love these collectible tote bags! Each Discovery Group property has its own unique branding and tote bag design. This is my 2nd reusable tote bag from them if I recall it correctly. This is so useful especially now that you have a lot of things to carry around the beach like your alcohol, wipes, face shields, etc. etc.
The view from our balcony! Planning to soak up the sun here every morning while sipping on my coffee for the next 3 days.
Went for a walk after settling down and arranging our stuff back at the hotel. Right in time to catch the sunset by the beach.
Although the view was very beautiful and we got to appreciate the beach better because it was no longer crowded, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the closed stores and businesses I saw as I passed by.
Most of them had closed down for good. I guess they did not survive the sequential rehabilitation and lockdown which resulted to less tourists coming in.
The beach was so empty. I never imagined Boracay to be so empty that it almost looked like a deserted island in some parts.
You’ll rarely cross paths with other tourists especially in Station 1. Most are locals who are trying to sell you different goods and services (I got offered buko and island hopping tours about 10 times in that 20minute walk to station 2!)
At night time, you would expect Boracay to be swarming with party-goers.. but nope, not this time. Evenings here are serene and quiet now. Bars and restaurants that are usually playing loud music at night time are no longer allowed from doing so.
The quietness felt weird at first, but it was a change that was good for the island. I’m honestly happy to see a greener Boracay, a less polluted and less crowded one. I hope they get to maintain it this way (minus the failing businesses).
I got to appreciate the resort more during nighttime. It was quiet and peaceful and the lighting was just fascinating. You can tell just by the observation that the lighting design here was well planned and thought out.
We got back to the resort a bit late one evening and there was almost no one around. A couple of staff passed by but it felt like we were the only guests around.
Here’s a photo of a magical evening we had under a full moon. The moon was so bright that it almost acted as our “ring light” for this photoshoot.
I’m really glad that DSB has a workation-friendly environment that offers fast internet connection and strong wifi connection anywhere in the resort!
DSB also offers a special rate for longstays, perfect for those who want to work away from home.
The beach looks so enticing in the morning. Station 1 still is the best part of Boracay for me. That vast shore, glistening fine white sand and crystal clear waters is just incomparable.
Mornings here are so peaceful, the weather is perfect for most of our stay and I really got to enjoy my mornings by simply hanging out by the beach gazing at the clear turquoise waters and occasionally taking a nap.
Daily insta-worthy breakfasts courtesy of Discovery Shores Boracay breakfast buffet and mother nature for this amazing beachfront view!
Utensils are properly sanitized and sealed for that extra layer of safety and precaution.
There had been some minor changes in the breakfast buffet set-up. You point to the food that you like, and then the staff will hand you a plate of each serving.
It’s somewhat like “turo-turo” or cafeteria style now but with gourmet food!
Featuring my breakfast favorites: Corned beef, Crispy bacon, Champorado, and the real winner here.. the ube pandesal!
Nothing beats breakfasts at Discovery Shores! Apart from the thought of the beach, the breakfast here is what really makes me look forward to waking up each morning (always excited to get up and get myself some of that breakfast goodness).
After breakfast went for a quick dip in the pool. We usually get the pool all to ourselves during this time of the day.
It was a lazy afternoon so we decided to check out the spa. We only wanted to take a look at first but the ambiance and the vibe just seemed so inviting and relaxing so we just went for it.
I went for the signature massage. It started with a pre-consultation, they let me choose which aroma oil I would like from a range of scents. They have about 6 of them and I chose the lemon jasmine one.
After that, the therapist gave me a relaxing foot spa + massage.
The massage was relaxing and soothing, saying goodbye to those back aches I constantly suffer from by sitting too long in front of the computer back in manila.
The invigorating massage treatment ended with a hot cup of ginger tea which completed the zen experience.
New normal in-hotel dining: Since we loved the breakfast food at Discovery Shores so much, we thought of trying out their lunch menu as well.
We were seated at our favorite corner where we usually have our breakfast then checked out their digital menu by scanning a QR code. We were glad to see that the menu consisted of classic Filipino dishes.
We had Fried Chicken, Bacolod Beef Kansi, and Vegetable Spring Roll. All are very sumptuous and filling but my personal favorite here was the traditional fried chicken with banana ketchup dip!
For dessert we had Tiramisu. The cake was an ensemble of different layers of dark chocolate flavored pastries and mouse with each layer having different textures. It had just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness to it, a perfect dessert to top off this hearty lunch.
Things to bear in mind:
- Be safe, be smart, and be careful as the virus is still out there.
- Always wear a mask in public spaces.
- Avoid directly crossing paths with other tourists while walking in the beach.
- Bring your face shields (some establishments requires guests to wear one)
- Always disinfect and shower right after you enter your room or before you lie down.
Overall, we enjoyed every bit of our stay here at Discovery Shores Boracay. I felt very safe and well-taken care of, Discovery Group never disappoints!
With 2020 now behind us, we could all use a little R&R and a break from the stress and strains brought about by the pandemic. So if you’re thinking of going on a quick holiday in a tropical paradise, I would strongly suggest going to Boracay. It’s an inexpensive place, easy to get to, and most of all, Boracay island is the very epitome of paradise!
Also, if you want to take your vacation experience up a notch, try staying at Discovery Shores Boracay. Reward yourself with a nice vacation in a nice hotel. You deserve it!
After all the processes we’ve been thru. I’ve concluded that the trip is worth all the hassle of having to take swab tests, applying and waiting for a Boracay QR code, and all other procedures that we had to go through just to get here.
A friendly tip for the budgetarians travelers out there:
- Book your flights and hotel as early as now if you’re planning to go on a trip to Boracay in the next few months – to boost local tourism, flights and accommodations are as cheap as ever.
- Don’t be scared to look into good premium hotels – most of them are offering special rates now. Check out DSB’s special offers
- Avail of your subsidized Swab test service at PCMC: The Department of Tourism is giving a subsidy on RT-PCR swab tests for Filipinos and foreigners residing in the Philippines with leisure tourism as the purpose of domestic travel.
Instead of paying the usual Php 3,000 – 5,000 fee, you would only have to pay Php 750. [Register online via: http://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/]
Live an Awesome Life,
NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet