By now, you’ve heard the opinion from some Filipinos that “Boracay is too commercialized”, but you have to understand that the definition of the term 'commercialized' can be different from person to person.
I think that most people enjoy shopping while they are on vacation; specially when the opportunity to find a gift for someone back home exists. Boracay’s commercial success and popularity have both positive and negative consequences. For the sake of this article, we are only focusing on the positive. Here are the four BEST locations for shopping on Brocay:
4 City Mall by Robinsons
Best to shop for: Wine and liquor that may be hard to find elsewhere on the island
Summary: The first indoor shopping mall on Boracay island was completed in 2017. City Mall by Robinsons is located on the main road, at the entrance to barangay Din-Iwid. Tricycle is the easiest way to get here and should cost between 100 and 150 pesos to get here from D Mall, expect 150- 200 peso fare to get there from the Jetty Port.
City Mall has a nice food market, wine and liquor store, and a few small shops, but has little draw otherwise. The prices are much higher here than other places on the island. There is nothing here that you cannot get cheaper anywhere else on Boracay… except for bottles of imported wine and liqor.
So why even mention City Mall when it is overpriced and you can get the good here just about anywhere else on the island? The massive façade and chilly aircon are new sights and experiences on this particular island, but I have a feeling that they are only a small sample of what is to come.
3 D Mall: The Commercial Center of the Island
Best to shop for: Data, Food
Summary: It is literally impossible to go to Boracay and not pass through D Mall at least once. Located near the geographical center of the island, over the years, D Mall has grown into the shopping and commercial center of Boracay as well.
This outdoor shopping mall has several ‘phases’ which are essentially, just a walking path from the national road (the islands main street) to the beach, with shops and restaurants on both sides. It is at D Mall that you find Globe Telecom, a great place to take care of your cell phone and data needs. Coincidentally, this area has a high concentration and variety of restaurants to try out. At D Mall you feel close to everything and can stay well connected with the free globe wifi.
Above, D Mall Phase 4 in 2017 is undergoing construction and they are redoing the pavement. Its crowded, but not to miss!
2 D Talipapa Public Wet Market
Best to shop for: Beach things, Souvenirs, Food
Summary: Talipapa market can be difficult to find if you do not know where to go. It is on the border of Station Three and Station Two. To make things easy, find a trike! Any tricycle driver can get you to D Talipapa public wet market very easily and inexpensively.
I wrote a separate article on the DIY food at D Talipapa’s wet market, incase you are hungry.
The winding maze of walking paths at this public market can be overwhelming at times, but each takes you to either the National Road, or the beach, so you really cannot get lost. The small stores, shops restaurants, and stalls here are the best place on the island pick up things kike dry bags, hats, sunglasses, and all the beach supplies you can think of. Most of the vendors selling on the beach work for the shops here are Talipapa, so walking here will save you some money. This is a MUST do and perhaps the best prices for souveniers when in Boracay!
1 The Beach
Best to shop for: Beach things you forgot, Souvenirs
Summary: Sometimes exploring can be a rewarding activity, and sometimes, it is best to let things come to you.
Because of Boracay’s alleged “commercialism” most of the best selling products will find their way to you with little effort. Vendors on the beach (not so aggressively) offer you their goods without the need to make a special shopping trip. To me, that is the best part of Boracay, the ability to VACATION and have the shops come to you, maximizing beach time. You don't NEED a shopping mall when on vacation, but having a City Mall close by is a nice to have amenity.
At night, an overwhelming amount of lasers, flying / flashing / spinning toys will be presented to you and it adds to the electric experience of Boracay’s nighttime transformation.
Embrace and enjoy the commercialism! See you on Boracay!