[PHOTO - In Boracay, sunset ushers in the start of another Boracay staple—parties]

MANILA, JANUARY 4, 2011 (BULLETIN) By EUGENE Y. SANTOS - The Yuletide season is all about celebrations. And, in a tropical country like the Philippines, perhaps we’re lucky that beaches like Boracay are just within reach if we want to spend the holidays away from the hustle and bustle of Manila. For urban dwellers, it seems like an alluring idea to just walk on shores with powdery white sand and frolic in the sea during Yuletide vacation.

According to Alfonso Chusuey, COO and assistant to the president for Boracay Garden Resort, the Yuletide season is a peak period for travelers, with an influx of guests checking in for the holidays.

Holidays in Boracay often have a happy and laid back atmosphere. However, the revelry goes on a fever pitch after Christmas Day, when people flock to the beach after spending time at home with their families during Christmas Eve. “We’re expecting full occupancy for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” Alfonso shares.

In anticipation of the New Year, Boracay lives up to its epicurean reputation for the next few days, becoming a party-filled venue. The merry-making series hits a crescendo on New Year’s Eve, when hotels and resorts host New Year’s Eve feasts and promote special holiday promos.

To illustrate, Boracay Garden Resort offers a special package up to January 2, 2012. Based on triple sharing, guests may avail of four days’ accommodation in a deluxe room for as low as P7, 924.00 net per person. The package includes breakfast and dinner meals together with roundtrip transfers via Caticlan.

The resort is also gearing up for a lavish Medya Noche (New Year’s Eve dinner) buffet spread at its beachfront. “We all look forward to Medya Noche to share warm, hearty meals with our loved ones,” says Mario Gatmaitan, Boracay Garden Resort’s food and beverage manager.

Set to be served buffet-style are Pinoy Roasted Calf Leg with onion gravy, Lechon de Carajay, Adobong Sugpo sa Aligue, Chicken Galantine, Beef Bulalo with Bone Marrow, Chicken Sisig, Tokwa’t Baboy, Arroz Valenciana, Rellenong Sugpo with Crab Roe Sauce, Lengua con Setas and Seafood Kare-Kare.

Other treats include Maple-brown Sugar Glazed Christmas Ham, Lemongrass Grilled Salmon Fillet in Green Thai Curry Sauce, Kalbi Tang (boiled Korean Ox-Tail), Southern Fried Chicken, London Fish and Chips, Roasted Steamship with Au Jus, Roasted Tom Turkey with Chestnut stuffing, Giblet gravy and Cranberry Sauce and Braised Duck in Star Anise.

Desserts spanning from Filipino to international cuisines will also be present. Examples include buko fruit salad, tiramisu, cheesecake, leche flan, bibingka, among others. “We have also included in the menu popular holiday drinks like hot chocolate, peppermint tea, salabat, ginumis, and buko pandan,” adds Gatmaitan.

If you want to have your food any time of the day, the resort has the Garden Café, an al fresco restaurant serving local and international cuisines. Those looking to cool off may take a dip in the resort’s 450-square meter main pool with poolside bar and deck.

But more than gastronomic fare and fun-filled days, Boracay is one of the safest places to spend the holidays. Henry Chusuey, chairman of the Henann Resorts group, which operates the Boracay Garden Resort, says that crime rates are low in Boracay. Save for petty mischief, no major crimes have been committed in the ‘island paradise’ for a long time.

In relation to New Year’s Eve, Henry also shares that igniting fireworks on the beach grounds per se is forbidden. This seems like a reassurance for guests who may worry about possible incidents of fireworks-induced injuries on hand and on land.

But for those who look forward to some fireworks, no worries. Henry says that Boracay Garden Resort, along with sister resorts Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa and Regency Lagoon Resort, will showcase the best fireworks display in Boracay—in a safe manner, of course.

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Several residents in Manila opted to witness and enjoy the first sunset along the Baywalk area
on Roxas Boulevard last Sunday afternoon. (Photo by LINUS G. ESCANDOR II)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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