Digital Nomad Philippines: My Boracay Experience Working Remotely

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #ttot

Digital Nomad Philippines

I have just spent one-month on a digital nomad Philippines trip spending my time on a small island with big character.

The island in question is Boracay, a popular holiday destination that is often referred to as paradise. Its golden sandy beaches make Boracay one of the most photographed destinations in the Philippines.

It’s also a place I have wanted to visit for some time.

The island features a 4 km sandy stretch that is listed amongst the world’s best beaches. Rather than staying in a busy city such as Manila or Cebu, I ended up selecting Boracay Island as my base for my month-long Digital Nomad Philippines trip.

Overnight train journeys, countless coaches, flights, and all the strains of long-term travel have taken their toll on me recently. Time to sit back and relax under a tropical palm tree for a few weeks…

Getting to Boracay

My 3+ hour Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur landed at Kalibo Airport. Flights tend to be a little cheaper to Kalibo as it’s situated a bit further away from the island than nearby Caticlan Airport. Taking around 2 hours by taxi, minivan or bus to Caticlan port.

Once you arrive at the port, there’s a small charge to pay to enter the island, and then it’s a short 10-minute boat ride across to Boracay.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #airasia #digitalnomad

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #airasia #digitalnomad

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad

Boracay Accommodation & Airbnb

Although you may have seen images of couples romantically relaxing on secluded beaches while flicking through Instagram, remember the Boracay Island is one of the primary tourist destination in the Philippines.

If you’re looking for action, then Station 2 is the main hub. As an unofficial rule, the further away from station 2 you the quieter it will be.

During my online search, the bulk of accommodation I came across advertised on the island was either hotel, resorts, or small apartments.

I found that low budget accommodation options were hard to find online. Basic studio apartment mostly started at 15,000 Pesos (£242.25) a week.

It during my second search on Airbnb that I found the following advertisement:

“Nice apartment for rent. 1 min. from the white beach on Boracay island.

Restaurants, small pubs, and stores a minute or 2 to walk from the apartment.

The apartment has a double bed, air-con, small kitchen with fridge, cable tv, & small veranda. No wi-fi, but internet cafe around the corner. Bathroom w/o hot water.

Enjoy the white beach for swimming, sunbathing, any kind of watersports or just relax or watch the beautiful sunset with a nice cocktail.

277 pounds (GBP) a month”

The apartment wasn’t exactly luxury but the price offered was lower than anything else I’d found. After staying in Cambodia, I had become accustomed to showering without hot water, but the lack of Wi-Fi could have been an issue.

Luckily Boracay has many cafes that offer free internet.

When I arrived the apartment setup was a studio style with a double sized bed in the main living area, along with a side table and wardrobe. Also included was a TV and a standalone fan to complement the air-conditioning. Apart from having a kitchen fitted, another major bonus was the location of the apartment.

Located about 30 seconds walk from back from the beach at Station 1, the apartment offered quick access to the stunning blue ocean.

Most of the time my apartment served only as a place to sleep and rest and I probably spent more time on the beach.

The only downside was there were a few power cuts during my stay and a couple of times the juice was off all night. Good job I packed my Fenix LD12 flashlight or I could have been stuck in the dark.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #airbnb #digitalnomad

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #airbnb #digitalnomad

Using the provided gas cooker during a power cut

Getting Around

Boracay is a small island and most popular attractions are situated within an easy walking distance of Station 1.

Although renting a scooter would be handy option to explore the quieter parts of the island, I found it’s not necessary.

Taxi trikes are a common site, and it’s convenient to flag one down or pay a local passer-by a few Pesos to take you to the destination.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #Pesos #ttot

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #trike #ttot

Working Remotely

The island is host to countless cafes and bars, and the good news is nearly all of them offer Wi-Fi. As my Airbnb apartment didn’t have Wi-Fi, I spent a lot of time hanging around in the various establishments.

My local hangouts included:

Nagisa – Some items on the menu could be pricey, but I liked it here. Customers are offered free water + peanut as soon as they arrive. Staff are friendly and provide excellent service.

357 – Wi-Fi speeds were perfect for Skype calling. I typically headed here for breakfast and ordered the omelette, brown bread + tea for 140 Pesos. The downside is staff wouldn’t let me charge my laptop and prices advertised don’t include a 10% service charge.

Zest – Positioned across the road from the gym I trained at, Zest offered reasonable internet speeds but due to outside seating could be noisy.

Hey Jude – Had a chilled out atmosphere with a beach view. The internet was ok however cut out twice on a Skype call. Happy hour is from 3-7pm offering 20 Peso discounts from beers.

Coco Loco – Another great place with a sea view. Set up in a bar style, Coco Loco plays uplifting reggae beats. Wi-Fi was a bit up and down but if you sit in the right spot its possible to log into the free Wi-Fi from next door. John, who runs the bar, is a top bloke.

Survivor 168 – Located a street back from the beach, Survivor 168 is more of a local’s café than the others I visited. The great thing besides the free Wi-Fi is the pricing, coffee for 23 Pesos, mango shake cost 55 Pesos, and ham + egg sandwich is a bargain at 38 Pesos.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

Boracay Gym & Fitness

What healthier way to shake off that jet lag by getting outdoors for some exercise. Take in the fresh sea air, all while being surrounded by Boracay’s stunning backdrop.

One great thing about the beach, apart from the magnificent views, is the firm sand is perfect for running at an advanced tempo.

The island has plenty on offer to the active traveller, with water sports like windsurfing, sailing, kite surfing, snorkelling, diving, and jet skiing available. Along the beach, you will find people running, swimming playing football, Frisbee and performing yoga.

The white beach is an ideal location those who want to exercise in a spectacular location.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

To mix the beach runs I also trained at Iron Throne Gym.

All I had to go one was a couple of old blog posts and not much else when I went for a wander looking for a Boracay gym to train at.

Iron Throne Gym is tucked away inside a little tourist market a few minutes walk from the beach.

Being located near a couple of small cafes it’s not the easiest to find, so keep looking for the gym sign hanging up outside. Once inside you will be greeted to a small, but well-equipped setup offering a weights workout during your digital nomad Philippines trip.

There are two pricing options for those who wish to work out here, a walk rate of 60 Pesos (£0.87/ $1.33USD), or a monthly rate of 800 Pesos (£11.16/$17.76USD).

Tip: Unlimited cold filtered water is available for an extra 10 Pesos. Totally worth it because you WILL be working up at sweat.

Iron Throne gym is separated into two parts. One with a range of different weighted dumbbells, benches, pull down machines and sit up benches furnishing it, with the second section being mainly dedicated to leg workouts with a power rack, leg press, curl and a calf machines.

Outside there are a couple of spin cycles and an old punch bag separating the two areas.

For the price paid, I wasn’t expecting much, but the gym atmosphere had me come back here again and again. They also have a decent sound system which will either be pumping out the latest dance tracks, or heavy metal.

If that’s isn’t enough, the guys training there are keen to mix it up and have a chat, probably as there doesn’t seem to be so many foreigners training here. I guess it’s too hard for most to leave the beach!

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #boracaygym

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #boracaygym

The location is a tricky one when trying to find the gym for the first time.

It’s not listed on any maps so the best bet is to head for the Zest Café, the Iron Throne Gym is located across the street in the market area.

Things to Do

Like me, I’m sure you plan on getting plenty of work done during your stay, but all work and no play on your digital nomad Philippines trip makes John a dull boy.

Depending on what grabs your attention, one of the below could be worth visiting:

Ariel’s Point – Five cliff-diving platforms (ranging in height from 3 meters to 13 meters) and ample opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and canoeing.

Yapak Beach – The second largest beach on Boracay.

Mount Luho – Climb to the top of Mount Luho and be rewarded with stunning panoramic views.

Talipapa Market – Anything can be bought, and all prices haggled.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in #Boracay #digitalnomad #ttot

Finally

The weather was perfect during my month-long stay on the island and the digital nomad Philippines trip.

The January climate was nowhere near the humidity I experienced in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok and was more on par to the Goad Coast. During the day, there was hardly a drop of rain and any downpours were limited to the night only.

Yes, the downside is the island can be a little touristy, pricey, and I’m not sure I would want to stay any longer than one month. Yet Boracay met all my expectations and offered a scenic location that allowed me to get creative.

I would certainly recommend it as the perfect Digital Nomad Philippines location….even though my phone was smashed during my stay.

Digital Nomad Philippines: Working Remotely in Boracay

You may like: A short guide for traveling to the Philippines

Digital Nomad Philippines: My Boracay Experience Working Remotely

Digital Nomad Philippines: My Boracay Experience Working Remotely images created by Tools of Travel.

Barry Sproston

Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.


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12 thoughts on “Digital Nomad Philippines: My Boracay Experience Working Remotely

  1. Danny

    Great article! Trying to figure out the best island to stay on to work remotely while in the Philippines and this was really informative! Just out of curiosity is there any other islands with similar atmosphere and infrastructure to support working online that you would recommend, perhaps with slightly cheaper accommodation options?

  2. Anna

    Very informative, thank you! I know a few people who went to The Philippines to do their diving courses (not sure which islands though), and they all enjoyed their stay as well. I’m surprised to hear your accommodation didn’t provide wifi, but I guess going out to cafes and bars can be pretty nice too.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Yeah, I hear the Philippines is a pretty common destination for diving. I have done a bit of diving before but I didn’t do any on Boracay. However, I did notice there were a few dive bars and diving companies advertising trips that appeared popular on the island.

  3. Dane Howick

    Great post, my Girlfriend and I will be heading the Philippines in January/ February next year and this has fed us with some good information we hope to venture a see a bit more but are undecided on length of stay, maybe 2-4 weeks. pictures look great and I’m sorry you broke your phone but I’m sure the experience was worth it. cheers

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Well, I hope you have fun Dane. Boracay is certainly worth a visit if you are travelling a couple and you can guarantee most of your friends will ask if you visited the island. Surprisingly the phone still worked fine after smashing it! I ended up getting it repaired though.

  4. Davide uTravelShare.com

    For sure one of the best islands I have been on Philippines but the lonely “bad” thing is that Boracay is becoming too much crowded! Maybe 10 years ago was the perfect timing to see this beautiful island! Thanks for sharing

    1. EG III

      I agree with Davide. Although I’ve never been, I’ve heard that tourism has increased exponentially within about the last ten years.
      All that aside, you can’t beat the price you paid for the room for the month….especially considering its proximity to the beach.

      1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

        Yeah, I would have loved to have visited 10 years ago, but then again I didn’t know about the island then. The price for the apartment was very reasonable, especially compared to booking a hotel or guesthouse.

    2. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Hey Davide, agree there’s no denying that Boracay can be touristy compared to other parts of the Philippines. Travellers who want a secluded beach to themselves will soon find this is not the place – unless they want to get up incredibly early. Unsurprising it’s very popular with couples.

      Having said I found the island has the conveniences of cafes with ok wi-fi that were perfect for me working remotely. I would more than likely chose a different destination next trip, but I’m glad I experienced Boracay.

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