Every afternoon the hot air rising over the hills behind Caticlan on the ‘mainland’ creates this huge thunderstorm cloud - or ‘Cb’ (CumuloNimbus) called Grace. It is there every day and never goes out in the water. When the cloud is at its peak just on sunset (as in the picture) - as the sun sinks over the curved planet its light rises up the cloud lights up the distinctive ‘anvil’.
Boracay in the Philippines is renowned for its stunning sunsets. Everyday between 5.50pm and 6.20pm, the sky is full of magic....so many colours appear and change quickly, too. You just end up saying "Wow!" all the time. Those 20 minutes from around 5.50pm can put a smile back on ones face if they've had a bad day...I've seen sunsets like this in England maybe for a few days a year.
There are over 360 resorts dotted along the 3 main beach stations (Stations 1, 2 and 3) on the tiny dog-bone shaped island of Boracay in the Philippines. From my experience, two of the BEST places to stay at for families with kids, couples on a honeymoon or those who want to while away their holiday quietly and in stunning surroundings are the Shangri-La Hotel Resort at Beach Station 1 or Sundown Studios Boracay at Angol Beach Front. I stayed for 5 nights at the latter, which was designed and is managed by German national and long-term Boracay resident Jurgen Schatzle, a former engineer who spent his life building tunnels around China and India. His vision and immaculate attention to detail has produced a remarkable building with only 4 sophisticated and spacious luxurious suites - 40 solar panels providing its power when the island's electricity fails. This resort was highly recommended to me by my friend, James Nixon, who is an Airbus A380 Captain for a major international 5-star airline.
Each of the 4 neat and clean rooms come complete with air-conditioning, an electric fan, high-speed Wi-Fi internet, plenty of power points, Western style toilet, spacious shower, Espresso coffee machine, luxurious bath amenities from Amber Spa, daily room-cleaning service and most importantly, are located in a QUIET location so you don't hear any noise at night (the surroundings at Angol Point are quite anyways- perfect for families). You won't hear any of the noise from the manic bars at Beach Station 2. There is also a private bar, restaurant and a dive centre. The staff are very professional and provide a truly 5-star customer service taking you more personally.
Jurgen runs the business from his bar. His business partner, Peter, is an Austrian who runs the bar. He enjoyed a very successful lifelong career as an F&B manager on cruise ships before locating here.
Sundown Studios Resort is slightly expensive, but you get what you pay for- peace, quietness, and luxury, the creature comforts of good food and drinks and privacy. From my experience, I found the people here very nice. Whether you are with your family and kids, or if you are on a honeymoon, or even if you are a writer who wants to relax in tranquil surroundings and enjoy ultimate luxury, then this is THE place to stay at.
Unless you are into the manic noise and crowds, then I would personally avoid staying at any of the resorts at Beach Station 2 and even Station 1 (except the Shangri-La, which has its own quite private resort- you cannot even get in to the hotel if you are not staying there). Station 1 and Station 3 has some good-quality restaurants. Station 2 has some nice restaurants too, but it is all rather noisy cheap, tacky and perhaps even unclean in places.
Sundown Studios Boracay is the ultimate getaway resort.
Boracay Island is a tiny dog-bone shaped island located under an hour's flight from Manila with a Dash-8 aircraft (yep, they still use aircraft with propellers in some parts of the world!). The island houses a wonderful white sand beach facing west to the Sulu Sea. The eastern side - Bulabog Beach - faces the Sibuyan Sea. Voted by Conde Nast and many other travel magazines as having one of the best sunsets in the world, Boracay is a gem (though, not exactly hidden now!).
The island is a perfect getaway for families, couples on a honeymoon or those who want to escape the hustle & bustle of the city life. Getting to the island can be a bit of a hassle (Manila Airport is an experience!) but once you're there, it is a world away from it all. It is not exactly a backpackers destination, simply because it is expensive and caters for more of a middle-class crowd, and thankfully it doesn't attract any sleazy/seedy/desperado types of people that you may get in places such as Thailand or other parts of the Philippines. Boracay is definitely worth a visit. Put it on your bucket list. The BEST places to stay at, from my experience, are either the Shangri-La Boracay resort or Sundown Studios Boracay. Check them out.
Only a two hour flight from Hong Kong, the capital city of the Philippines, Manila, lies in the tropics...we were welcomed by hot and humid weather.
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