Borawan Beach is probably the most visited and the most scenic beach on Lipata Island out of all the undeveloped beaches around the coastal village of Barangay Lipata. It is situated within lush mountains and rocky cliffs overlooking the Tayabas Bay in the Sibuyan Sea. Locals of Padre Burgos pride themselves of having Boracay and Palawan in one place – thus the name “Borawan”. It has its own spectacular rock formations like the limestone cliffs of Palawan and crystal clear water and white sand like Boracay.
I didn’t know much about this place except for the beautiful pictures that I had seen on Miguel Mapalad’s website, who organizes adventure tours in Padre Burgos area. I only needed to show one picture to Charlie to convince him to go here. He worships rocks and has spent many years climbing himself silly all over the world. Oh well, as long as I could laze on the beach and take pictures to my heart’s content, the trip was going to be a blast, white sand or not, with rock cliffs or none
It was almost four in the afternoon when we left Lipata Beach and we decided to spend the rest of the day at Borawan. There are still three undeveloped beaches around the island and we saw one of them on the way to Borawan Beach. It has a nicer shoreline with palm trees and a few nipa huts. It would have been a delight to explore this place too but we were running out of time and we couldn’t contain our excitement anymore to see this famed beach.
A few minutes later, we finally got a glimpse of the rock formations and the shoreline of Borawan. It doesn’t have the usual long stretch of white sand dotted with palm trees. Instead, its shore is dotted with huge rock boulders with a backdrop of high limestone walls. The beach doesn’t really have that fine powdery white sand of Boracay and the limestone isn’t as grand as those I have seen in El Nido. But to have a hint of both in one place is probably what makes Borawan Beach uniquely beautiful.
Charlie scrambled to put on his climbing shoes while I started clicking my shutter nonstop trying to catch the last rays of the setting sun the moment we set foot on its shore. It was a shame we only had one harness so I wasn’t able to belay him on a roped climb, but he spent the rest of the afternoon happily bouldering on some rocks.
Here is his account about the rock climbing potential of Borawan.
“The rock climbing and bouldering on Borawan beach beach is very good. The rock is limestone and generally very solid and clean. The cliffs range to about 20m in height, however there are no established bolted routes yet, so top-roping is really the only option for now. We didn’t have time to set up a rope, but it did seem that with a bit of effort you would be able to scramble to the top of the cliff and find a suitable anchor.
This place is really crying out to be bolted and developed into an established sport climbing crag. It would probably yield at least 15 quality routes, although unfortunately permanent beach shelters partially obstruct some of the cliffs. There are routes to be done here at all grades, from easy jug-hauls to desperate, steep crank-fests. There are also numerous boulders scattered around the beach that sport some interesting problems with nice sandy landings.”
We were the only people on the beach together with the two boatmen so we didn’t know whom to pay the entrance fee and the cottage rental. The previous guests of the Tamarind Tree Resort didn’t pay as well when they visited the beach the previous day. I would guess the caretaker collects fee for overnight campers only or perhaps we were just lucky that day. We were grateful anyway to have this beautiful place all for ourselves even for just a short while. It could get crowded on some occasions because it’s a favorite place of backpackers and adventurers. We left the island satisfied and grateful that we were able to set foot on one of Quezon’s best beaches.
(This is part of our 2 nights adventure at Padre Burgos and Pagbilao Quezon in 2010.)
Day 1: We checked-in at Tamarind Tree Resort in Padre Burgos around noontime and arranged an impromptu beach-hopping at Padre Burgos late in the afternoon. We were fetched by our boatman around 3pm. We first visited Dampalitan Beach and explored the rocky beach from its other end. We dropped by at Lipata Beach and mingled with the locals before heading to Borawan Beach.
Day 2: We drove back to Pagbilao and went to the wharf to arrange another impromptu island-hopping in Pagbilao. We haggled with some boatmen and found one who agreed to take us toPatayan Island and Kwebang Lampas and back to the wharf for 1000 pesos. After returning to Pagbilao town, we drove all the way to the end of Barangay Bantigue and visited the coastal village at the tip of the mainland. We also dropped by at Silangang Nayon and Pueblo Por Playa. Silangang Nayon was fully-booked while Pueblo Por Playa is a member-only resort so we drove all the way back to Padre Burgos to look for Villa Anita Butterfly Garden and Resort to stay for the night.