30 AUGUST, 2017


 “Becoming Filipino” is a popular vlog by backpacker Canadian Kyle Jennerman. After graduating high school, he spent most of this time on the road discovering foreign lands and meeting new people. He has traveled to almost 30 countries including the Philippines. “I have never experienced before what I got to experience in the Philippines. I have never met such kind, giving, friendly, hard-working, outgoing, proud and happy people. I have never experienced a culture like the Philippines; a culture that every single day inspires me, and that I look up to,” Kyle wrote. His YouTube channel serves as a travel guide for foreigners, even Filipinos, who'd like to explore secluded parts of Visayas and Mindanao. 

How can a tourist truly experience a place like a local? Kyle Jennerman mingled with local folks, joined public gatherings and munched on native delicacies. His journey to “becoming Filipino” involved an assimilation with the local culture and its people. For your next Boracay trip, explore with a keen eye and an insatiable curiosity. Here are 10 ways on how to visit Boracay like a local.

1: Unwind away from the crowd

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To know how to travel to Boracay like a local, you can ask yourself how you would explore your own hometown if you're a tourist. Will you go to spots teeming with vacationers, or relax in a quieter destination? Alta Vista de Boracay offers premier Boracay accommodation within your budget. The hotel is perched on top of one of the island's highest peaks, giving you the sweet solitude you deserve. Enjoy the sun on the infinity pool overlooking a majestic golf course and the beautiful landscapes of Boracay.


2: Take environmental issues to heart

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Locals in Boracay take environmental issues seriously, especially water pollution. Millions of tourists travel to the white sand beaches leaving tons of waste. The appearance of dark green strands of algae on shores is linked to pollution due to the influx of visitors and rapid population growth on the island. Visit Boracay like a local by being conscious of your acts. Observe proper waste disposal and safe scuba diving to protect coral reefs. Smoke only in designated areas. Be warned that an ordinance prohibits smoking beyond the vegetation line to prevent the throwing of cigarette butts at the beach. Boracay's natural resources provide life and livelihood to local folks, and it's your obligation to respect the environment.


3: Savor a fresh catch

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Skip the salty chips and sodas, and dine like a Boracay resident. Feast on fresh fish, oysters, shrimps and other seafood. You can have these cooked in any of the restaurants surrounding the public market (paluto) or grill them in your place, as long as your accommodation allows you to. Are you a foreigner wanting to explore Filipino cuisine? Order sinigang na hipon, adobong pusit and kilawin. Don't forget the white rice!


4: Chilled beer and good company

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True, Boracay is a popular party place. The dancing and drinking can last way past midnight especially in the summer. Locals, like Filipinos anywhere else in the country, love good company. Add bottles of beer, and you're sure to have a fun night/morning ahead. Consume liquor only in allowed areas and nowhere beyond the vegetation line. There is a Boracay ordinance prohibiting the drinking of alcoholic beverages within five meters of riverbanks, public parks and beach areas. This is to ensure the safety of tourists and residents, and to protect the environment. If you need a place to get a buzz and casual talks, visit Alta Vista de Boracay. 


5: Karaoke nights with your friends

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Visiting the Philippines for the first time? Make sure you're ready with a song or two. Filipinos are a music-loving people. A party is not a party without the karaoke. Alta Vista de Boracay is equipped with a karaoke room that can accommodate your whole gang. You can choose from 1970s retro hits to pop ballads.


6: Eco-friendly activities

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Boracay and the rest of the Aklan province is endowed with amazing landscapes and rich natural resources. Celebrate the island through eco-friendly endeavors such as paraw sailing, kayaking, mountain biking and trekking. You can explore neighboring islands including the breathtaking Homonhon islands in Guiuan, Samar. It was the same historic place where Ferdinand Magellan first landed in 1521. The Calicoan Island in the Leyte Gulf is another destination worth your visit. Discover its isolated coves, cave and lagoons. You can go there for surfing, swimming, spelunking and trekking.


7: Stroll the plaza

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 After frolicking in the white sands of Boracay, drop by  the public market. Visit the Bantayan Public Market for dried fish, traditional cloths, home decors, and handicrafts. Need to buy pasalubong? Ditch the malls and swanky shops. You can buy native souvenirs, locally-grown fruits, and spices and herbs in the market. Get yourself refreshing coconut juice while shopping around.


8: Visit churches and religious sites

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There are numerous Catholic churches across the country. Many are centuries-old, some are evidently modern. These houses of worship have become witness to the Philippines' long history, making them important spots to visit. Boracay is also a popular pilgrimage destination. Explore the island by visiting the churches and religious sites including Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Station 1, Nuestra Senora Lourdes Chapel, St. John The Baptist, and Mary Mother of All Nations Chapel.


9: Join festivities

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Fiestas are Filipino traditions of Spanish influence. These are organized to pay respects to patron saints. There are also modern festivities by local and international organizations. If you're in Boracay in January, don't miss the island's version of the Ati-Atihan Festival. The locals also celebrate the Yapak Festival (February), Malay Municipal Fiesta (April), Parochial Fiesta (May), Manoc-Manoc Fiesta (May) and the Balabag Fiesta (December). Boracay hosts grand parties on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. 


10: Observe the locals' way of life

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Get up early in the morning. Stroll the streets and find a diner or coffee shop. Find a good spot for people-watching. Observe how locals go through their daily routine: schoolchildren walking to school, vendors prepping their stores and mothers doing their morning marketing. Learn from the locals — the pillars of Boracay society.

For your next budget traveling adventure, look around you with the eyes of a curious explorer. Travel like Kyle Jennerman who wrote on his blog; “I would love to better understand some of the beauty of this amazing country and hope that will help me learn from this culture and these people that have inspired so much happiness in my life.”