Getting Married? Have It At Discovery Shores, Boracay, Philippines

IMG_2431I promise this is the last post on Discovery Shores, lest you think I’m on their payroll. 🙂

Most people dream of a destination wedding, and if you want a beach wedding, I don’t think there’s a better beach than Boracay, Philippines, and Discovery Shores is one of the best hotel/resorts to have it in. As I said in a previous post, Discovery Shores is not only a beautiful hotel, but is also located in one of the best beaches in Boracay.

While lounging on the beach, we saw a lot of activity in front of the hotel: tents, tables, a stage, a sound system, flowers….what was going on? “We have a wedding at 4pm.”, we were told. So we saw firsthand all the preparations that went into a Boracay wedding.

The engineering staff of the hotel was a flurry with activity setting up the tents in front of the hotel. Apparently the ceremony was going to be on the beach (timed with sunset. How gorgeous!!), and the reception (dinner and dancing) was going to be on the beach as well, right in front of the hotel.

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Nearby, a gazebo was being constructed. The top photo shows the finished product (with DH and I posing for our anniversary picture).IMG_2398

Simple monoblock chairs were set up facing the water. This was around 1pm, and the ceremony was set for 5pm.IMG_2399

Underneath the tents, the presidential table was being set up. Fine linens and sturdy chairs were used, so at least the monoblock look was only for the outdoor ceremony.IMG_2403

The wedding party hired a band to play, and a stage was also being set up.IMG_2404

Part of a Boracay wedding is a sandcastle made of the famous sand, with the newlyweds’ names on it. Here you see the start of the sandcastle.IMG_2401

Carefully block letters are “carved” out of firm sand.IMG_2405

And the finished product! A very personalized sandcastle.IMG_2409

Stylish buffet tables, ready to be dressed up.IMG_2411

The reception area is cordoned off to ensure no “strays” wander in.IMG_2414

Almost done!
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The wedding attendants and coordinators get ready! The sun is starting to set.

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All waiting for the bride to arrive!IMG_2439Inside the tent….the finished scene! All lit up and ready to party.

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Island Getaway: Boracay, Philippines

IMG_2331I’ve been to countless of beaches, both local and abroad, famous and unknown, and Boracay has always been my benchmark. I love its dazzling, fine sand, so light that it never gets hot. This is no myth. You can go around barefoot without feeling any discomfort. The sea is so calm and clear: it’s like a giant swimming pool. Nature at its most beautiful, with creature comforts within reach. Bali, the French Riviera, Honolulu…all are more famous, but to me, they can’t hold a candle to Boracay.

To get to Boracay, you must take a domestic flight to either Katiklan or Kalibo. From there you take a local boat or a bangka for 30 minutes to Boracay. My advice to tourists is to land in Katiklan, as landing in Kalibo entails a 1 hour bus ride to get to the Katiklan.

I’ve been going to Boracay for about 20 years already, and was happy to see a modern airport! 20 years ago the Katiklan airport was a shed. Now look at it! IMG_2301With conveyor belts and everything! This was around December, which explains the Christmas tree.

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From the airport we were whisked to another comfortable waiting lounge to wait for the boat to take us to the island. This waiting lounge however, isn’t for everyone. It would depend on what hotel you’re staying. We were going to stay in Discovery Shores (next post).
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It was a gorgeous day!! This was the path to the beach of Katiklan, where we would board our boat.
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Sorry, no pictures of the dock in Boracay, but again, a big improvement from 7 years ago (when I last came here). 

As I said, Boracay’s sand is very fine and light-colored. It’s nice to see that the local government and the resorts take care to keep it that way by combing it every day to remove trash and debris.

IMG_2318White Beach is the famous part of Boracay. It’s a long stretch of this fine, light sand. Hotels are located on the beach, so make sure you ask for a room with a beach view. White Beach is divided into 3 stations (they are called stations because these were the stations where the boats used to dock. Now they all dock in 1 place, far from White Beach).

Station 1 is the best part of White Beach, in my opinion. It has the widest span of beach, and is the quietest part. Station 2 is where all the bars and restaurants (and yes, a STRIP MALL!!), so if you’re the type who wants to be on top of the action, stay here. Station 3 also has some bars and restaurants and is generally noisier than Station 1, but not as frenetic as Station 2.

Here are some shots of the beach in Station 1.This was around mid-morning, so there weren’t too many people walking around yet.
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This is an example of establishments around Station 2. Smaller, and very close together. You can imagine how noisy it gets when they’re fully occupied. Thankfully the local government put a height restriction on the buildings on White Beach, so we won’t be seeing the gargantuan hotels…..IMG_2346

7 years ago the beach was crawling with people selling local shell necklaces and sunglasses, while masseuses would go around offering to give massages for P150 (4USD at today’s rate). Today I didn’t see any of these. Instead I saw many hat vendors, such as the one below.

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Another difference is the presence of all these booths on the beach offering all sorts of water sports. They weren’t on the beach before, but a little at the back. They kind of ruin the beach for me.IMG_2339

Since it was December, some people took the holiday spirit to the beach!IMG_2345Boracay has really evolved. The first time I came here (around the 1990s) there weren’t too many choices of hotels or activities. It was really “just” an impossibly beautiful beach, and I just lazed away the day. Today it has really been developed to attract all kinds of tourists, with hotels of every level, and so many activities (and non-activities). IMG_2358

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