Thursday, April 7, 2016

Trip To Boracay, Philippines: Paraw Sailing / Sunset Sailing

Photo By: Elin Chow

Sunset watching is one of our favorite and most enjoyable things to do in Boracay island. Apart from sitting on the beach, sailing through the Paraw is another awesome way to enjoy the spectacular sun set in Boracay.

Just like Helmet Diving, I have read and heard so much about this activity that I wanted to try it myself. So, other than the Helmet Diving package, we also purchased a Paraw Sunset Sailing package from the same tour agent from Shingley Helmet Diving and Tours at 2,000 PHP (about RM 182).

The tour agent initially quoted us an exorbitant rate of 4,500 PHP (about RM 409) for an hour sunset cruise. Just like what I have mentioned in my previous posts, most of the vendors in Boracay will usually start with an absurdly high price because they expect to negotiate. Bargaining in Boracay is a common practice and whether you get a good price depends largely on your bargaining skill.

We decided to lower the starting price to half of the original price, offering only 2,000 PHP. Surprisingly, they were willing to accept our initial offered price. Not exactly cheap, but we decided to book them for Paraw Sailing even though we knew that we still overpaid.

Our Paraw Sailing package includes:

- Free transfer from the hotel to the boat pick up location in Station 3
- An hour sunset cruise on a Paraw

The agent came to pick us up from our hotel at 5 pm sharp and escorted us to the boat pick up location at Station 3. We were introduced to the captain of the Paraw and were surprised to find out that we will be sharing the boat with two other groups of people. For the price we paid, we actually thought that we would be having the entire Paraw to ourselves. This means that we might have ridiculously overpaid the tour agent. Even after slashing the original price in half, the package was still expensive. That was the time when we really regretted for not offering a much lower price.

One does not have to pre-book the activity to enjoy Paraw Sailing in Boracay. The White Beach is lined with hundreds of tour agencies offering tourists the same activities at different prices. Be prepared to haggle and negotiate for a lower price because if you does not, it is highly likely that you will be ripped off. 

For Paraw Sunset Sailing, simply walk and wait in front of the beach at 5 pm. You will find lots of white boats with bright blue sails docked all along the shoreline of the White Beach. While at the beach, a number of boat captains will approach you, offering their Paraws for sunset sailing. I actually recommend anyone to book the sunset cruise with the captain of the boat rather from an agent, who often charged a higher price. 

A Paraw is a traditional Filipino sailboat with two outriggers and sails. Its single shallow hull is usually made from wood and bamboo and there are two floaters or logs on its sides to help the boat balance and prevent it from capsizing.

Unlike pump boats which has outboard motors to give it power, the Paraw relies solely on the wind, so they are actually very eco-friendly. It was very relaxing and peaceful to ride on a Paraw as it does not have the noisy motor like most pump boats.

The hull of the boat is very slim, allowing only one person to sit in the boat. The captain of the boat will be the one sitting in the actual boat. There are netting stretched over the outriggers for passengers to sit and lie down to appreciate the beautiful sunset. In the center of the hull, there is also a compartment for us to store our belongings.

Before Boracay became a tourist attraction, the Paraws were mainly used for fishing and transportation of people and goods. However, since the tourism industry in Boracay thrived, Paraws are no longer used for fishing. Instead, local captains offer their paraws for island hopping and sunset sailing. Paraw Sailing is a great way to explore many beaches and snorkel site in Boracay. Due to the absence of a deep keel, Paraw has an advantage of being able to moor right on the shoreline, making it perfect for beach hopping.

Paraw Sailing can be enjoyed at any time of the day. But the best time to do this activity will be around 5.30 pm when the sun is just about to set. 

As the sun begins to set, we proceeded to board the boat with two other groups of tourists. The Paraws can accommodate 4 to 6 people comfortably.

Once we were aboard, we were asked to put on the life jackets for safety in case we fell out during the ride. There were enough life jackets for everyone on board the boat. You may want to bring along some drinks and food to enjoy during the ride while appreciating the beautiful sunset. But please remember to bring your trashes with you after the ride. Do not throw them into the sea. 

It is best that you wrap your valuables in waterproof plastic bags and keep them in the compartment in the center of the hull just in case you get wet. Also, remember to put on sufficient amount of sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful sun rays before you set sail.

We sat on the edge of the outriggers, our legs dangling over the waters. We could feel the waves splashing against our feet while the cooling ocean breeze blew gently against our faces. As we sailed further away from the shore, we also enjoyed a great view of the entire stretch of White Beach and Diniwid Beach.

It was nice to sail along the crystal clear waters of boracay while enjoying the view of breathtaking sunset. The waters were so clear that you can see the ocean floor. Surprisingly, the Paraw can get very fast, especially on a windy day. But they can only sail in calm waters as the waves of a open rough sea will break them into pieces.

It was fascinating to watch the color of the sky change gradually while relaxing on the Paraw's netted wings. As the color changed, the sky began to glow more brightly. The whole sky was glowing a brilliant orange as the sun slowly descend behind the low laying clouds while the Paraw gently sail toward the horizon. It was a very romantic and relaxing experience.

Be sure to have your camera ready to capture that beautiful moment. It takes only 15 minutes for the sun to completely disappear behind the horizon.

With one hand holding onto the boat and another holding my camera, I quickly snapped several pictures of the breathtaking sunset.

As the sun slowly descends over the horizon, boats were turning to sail back to the shore before the sky turns dark. The silhouettes of the boats and people added beauty to the sunset photos.

In the next instant, before we realized it, the crimson sun completely disappeared below the horizon. Even so, the sky near the horizon still appears bright, giving it a orangey glow.

The entire experience lasted about 45 minutes. It was short, but enjoyable.

Paraw sailing is a must do in Boracay. It is a lovely experience to catch the beautiful sunset of Boracay aboard a Paraw, especially when you are sailing with your loved ones. There is nothing more peaceful and romantic than sailing across the crystalline blue water as the crimson sun dips into the horizon.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on my 4 days adventures in Boracay! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.


  1. Thank you so much for a very informative post about paraw sailing! I can’t wait to try it on my upcoming Boracay visit ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Thanks for sharing. Will be going to Boracay soon via Caticlan. Knowing how they overcharge tourist even a Pinoy from other places, if you have a local friend ask them to haggle the price. Experienced it in ElNido, island hopping from 1800 we got 900php. But ElNido is laid back compared to Boracay I'm MYS by the way, but i look like citizen of ASEAN ๐Ÿ˜œ.