Seeking Alternatives to Thailand or Bali for a Tropical Wedding Destination?
Here's 8 reasons why Boracay or Palawan are the "Best Affordable Values" for island weddings in Southeast Asia.
Boracay is nestled among the 7,000+ islands that make up the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy. It’s a small but booming tourist island. This is a great time to visit, before it becomes "too well known" and risks being overdeveloped, though to some it already has...
1 International Accolades
In 2015, the readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine chose Boracay as one of the world's ten best party islands, while at the same time, Lonely Planet guides named the Philippines as one of the ten best countries to visit. Travel+Leisure magazine chose Boracay as the Best Overall Island of 2012.
Because it is the crown jewel of Philippine beaches, Boracay is popular as a party hub, but also it offers respite and relaxation, as well as adventures in parasailing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. (It is considered the top kitesurf destination in all of Asia.)
2 Increasing Popularity
American tourists spent $32 million in the Philippines last year, confirming interest yet lagging far behind Korea's $100-million-plus in visitor spending. (Travelers from Canada, Japan, and China contribute similar annual expenditures.) Boracay is among the most visited destinations.
3 US Dollar Buying Power
The USD conversion rate has steadily risen, has been nearing $1 per 50PHP; which in Boracay, can go a long way. Accommodations range from the budget-conscious $15 a night to $100+ for a luxury resort which, compared to similar resorts in Thailand or Bali, are an incredible value. The up-front costs of airline tickets are the only significant expense. Meal and drink costs average about $30 per day. From backpackers to families to corporate executives, there’s something for everyone at Boracay.
4 Foreign Investment
Multiple five-star holiday properties are set to open in 2017. The Philippine government has established Boracay as a special economic zone for tourism development, and foreign investment in tourism projects of $5 million or more earn exclusive incentives, such as income tax holidays, resident visas, and 100% foreign ownership (as opposed to the traditional 50% ownership).
5 Robust Island
A postcard-sized tropical paradise, Boracay is just over four miles long, and less than a half-mile wide at its narrowest point. Its world-renowned White Beach is 2.5 miles of white, powdery-fine sand dotted with resorts, shops, and restaurants. The island is big enough to entertain your group but small enough so that you won't lose your participants. Boracay still has room to grow within, too.
6 New Airways
In 2016, Philippine Airlines began flying between Cebu (just 300 miles from Boracay) and Los Angeles three times weekly, bringing long-haul flights from the US to the island. A direct international flight to Boracay from L.A. may also be on the way.
7 Booming Economy
International visitors have increased every year, reaching six million in 2016, surpassing the target set by the Department of Tourism (manilatimes.com). The government has pledged to attract 6.5 million foreign tourists in 2017, further rivaling its neighbors, Phuket and Bali.
The Philippine economy is set to expand more than six percent through 2018, to rank among the fastest-growing in the world, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
8 Language barrier: no problem. The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world, making it the destination of choice in Asia.
Boracay can provide the venue for an incredibly successful gathering because it has the power to surprise and delight, as well as to host and welcome, all in a beautiful setting at a fantastic value.
Bali and Thailand have been considered the pinnacle of tropical travel for the past few decades, but those who seek something new will find the Philippines’ Boracay and Palawan islands are overlooked alternatives.
Although islands like Boracay and Palawan may not differentiate themselves much in terms of air travel expense, they lead in overall value when you consider the cost of accommodations, sightseeing, and activities as one collective purchase when compared to Bali and Thailand.
Boracay and Palawan are two separate islands in the Philippines, and each have distinctive characteristics.
Boracay: Party Island Paradise
Of all the islands in the world, Travel+Leisure Magazine chose Boracay as its "Best Overall Island" in 2012. It is the crown jewel of Philippine beaches, popular as a party hub but also offering respite and relaxation, as well as the excitement of parasailing and kite surfing.
Located in Malay, Aklan, Western Visayas, Boracay is just seven kilometers long, and less than a kilometer wide at its narrowest point – a postcard-sized tropical paradise.
Most photos of Boracay picture White Beach — four kilometers of sugar-colored, powdery sand dotted along the edges with resorts, shops, and restaurants.
Another favorite area is Bulabog Beach, on the eastern side of the island, opposite White Beach. Bulabog has large waves and strong winds year-round. This makes it a hotspot for windsurfing and kite-boarding. In fact, Bulabog Beach is considered Asia’s top kitesurfing destination.
Palawan: Nature's tropical gift to the world
The Huffington Post points to Palawan as a hidden piece of paradise -- it was recently named “Top Island in the World“ by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards.
There, beautiful blue water mixes with emerald green, jungle-filled mountains that appear to rise from the ocean like a mirage, punctuated by tiny fishing villages that hug the coast. Together with its neighboring islands, it creates the Palawan province, a paradise for visitors.
High points include island-hopping around the Bacuit archipelago to view magnificent cliffs, venturing to Puerto Princesa for its culinary delights, and letting go of life's complications in one of Coron’s simple hotels.
Incredible (and rare) wildlife can be found on these islands, from purple crabs and shy mouse-deer to Philippine pangolin and beautiful butterflies.
Even after all the biking, swimming and exploring you’ll do have exhausted you — you’ll never want to leave.