I rented a bike today to check out some other parts of this small island. I was able to get a bike from one of the activities vendors on the beach path. The initial asking price for ‘a big bike’ was 1,000 pesos for 3 hours or 2,000 pesos for a full day. I was able to get the full-day price down to 1,500 ($30), but the 3-hour rate was firm at 1,000. I opted for the full-day rental but, as it turned out, three hours would have been sufficient.
The rental procedure was as simple as it could get. The vendor photographed my driving licence and I paid the agreed fee. No paperwork to sign. No insurance documents. He didn’t even want to know where I was staying. He showed me where the vehicle documents were stored on the bike and then told me that if I were to be stopped by the police I should say that I borrowed the bike – not rented it! That clarified the situation – he was renting me a bike that he owned personally, but it wasn’t an official rental bike.
The bike was a nice little KTM Duke (200cc I believe) that was in good condition. A sporty little bike with rear-set footrests. I never got it out of 3rd gear as the roads and traffic are not conducive to driving at speed. A lot of the riding was around 15kph, stuck behind the motorcycle tricycles that serve as taxis on the island. Private cars are not permitted on the island, but there are motorcycles, the tricycles and commercial vehicles such as vans and trucks to contend with. There are few roads on the island, so it is difficult to get lost but it is also difficult to go very far.
My first stop was at Puka Beach, at the northern end of the island. It is also referred to as the shell beach as shells can be found there. It seems that most visitors get to the beach via motor-tricycle taxis, which line up on the entrance road waiting for passengers. Upon reaching the beach, there is a row of souvenir stalls, along with snack stalls and at least one bar. I had a brief walk on the beach, had a fruit smoothie and then jumped back on the bike.
From Puka Beach I wandered along another side road and found myself at Ilig Iligan Beach, but not much to see there. The next side road that I took meandered around the coast somewhat and then took me to Bulabog Beach. There is really nothing attractive about Bulabog Beach but the winds on this east-coast beach are conducive to kite-surfing.
The above video clip shows some of the kite surfing off the beach.
I left the beach and rode to the southern end of the island, but there wasn’t much to see. The riding was stop-and-start in heavy traffic and it was hot at 32 deg (89F). After 2.5 hours of riding, I decided I’d had enough. I returned the bike early and retreated to my air-conditioned hotel room.
Based on the riding that I did, it was clear that White Beach is the epicentre of tourism on Boracay. There are other beaches and attractions spread around the island, but they don’t seem to hold the same appeal and don’t have the same vibe.