Last week we discovered, and wrote about, one of the most surreal waterfront/beach experiences we’ve ever had. Indeed, the ruins of the West Cove Resort are a sight to behold.
Today, another incredible and apocalyptic adventure; this one to one of the most exclusive and expensive beaches in Southeast Asia.
All of this is happening on the Philippine island of Boracay — where my wife, Ellen, and I have spent the last two weeks.
Boracay is a ten-minute ferry ride from the ‘mainland’ apartment we have rented while pausing our global wandering to wait out the COVID crisis. My mom, Diane, who remains ‘stuck’ with us since her 2019 winter vacation, stayed at the apartment.
During our Boracay “couple time”, Ellen and I have mainly been beach-combing. There is little else to do on this popular tourist island, often rated as one of the world’s best beach destinations.
This morning, we decided to try to access a small sliver of exclusive beachfront known as Punta Bunga. Rimming the steep hillside behind that beach are three high-end resorts (Shangri La, Mövenpick, Crimson – now closed due to the pandemic), boasting some of the highest rates in the country (up to $2,000 per night) for their cliff-side villas.
But today, Punta Bunga was ours alone.
We first noticed Punta Bunga on Google maps as we investigated the various beach options around our short-term Boracay rental near White Beach. Other beaches in the same area we’ve enjoyed during our stay include Diniwid and Hagdan. But getting to Punta Bunga looked like it might be a challenge.
In fact, we attempted to access Punta Bunga by presenting ourselves at the main gate of both the Mövenpick and Crimson resorts and asking for public access. Both places turned us away. We were told “find another way”. We did.
Access to most exclusive Boracay beach: Punta Bunga
We found the nearest public roadway – more like a driveway – running alongside the exclusive resorts, and walked as far as we could toward the water. After passing small homes, convenience stores, and kids playing, we came to some fenced private properties, the seafront still beyond them.
We inquired about public access from a Filipino guy who was in the area. He graciously directed us to a narrow, walled passageway; stairs, rocks, bamboo bridges, a steep dirt path which lead to the edge of the stunning Punta Bunga Beach.
Wow! Shockingly beautiful. World-class sand, water, swimming, and snorkeling – now abandoned. This day, at a place meant for hundreds of rich people, we were the only visitors.
We did encounter a small group of local fishermen preparing their outrigger boat and nets. In fact, one of the guys kindly raked a shaded spot in the sand for our beach blanket. We gave them a few pesos for their help and tolerance. They must have wondered how on earth we had gotten there.
Ellen was also scolded by a security guard at the Shangri La resort after casually strolling onto their beach area. No problem. She retreated to our amazing central viewpoint.
Ocean trash still a problem
After an early lunch and a couple hours of swimming and snorkeling we decided we’d had enough sun. We packed up our stuff, including our trash, and returned to the ‘real world’ – the rest of beautiful, COVID-restricted Boracay.
Incidentally, we did see quite a bit of plastic garbage at the one end of Punta Bunga where sea currents obviously deposit it (and no one cleans up during the pandemic closure). Sadly, even the most costly and well-kept properties on the planet are not exempt from man’s plastic pollution.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Access to the most exclusive Boracay beach.”
What to read next:
- Boracay tourism – slight signs of life
- Beautiful Boracay pictures, and a travel poll
- Christmas season in the Philippines starts in September
Ellen, Tedly, and his mom Diane were headed to Boracay Island on March 16, 2020, when the ferries shut down and they were denied entry. They canceled their island rental plans, and instead stayed on the mainland at the HangOut Beach Resort in Malay Municipality. Read their original quarantine story, which might inspire Ellen to write a book one day.