It was a clever idea to nickname this location at the border of Boracay’s Stations 2 and 3 as “Station X.” By word of mouth, you’d have tourists curious to ask: “Is it an exclusive beach spot like Station 0?”
Not exactly. It’s not one of the island’s unpopulated beaches like the unofficial Station 0, which used to be known only to the locals and mostly celebrities who want to vacation under the radar. Pre-pandemic and pre-2018 shutdown, frequent Boracay fliers were getting tired of the loud and congested Stations 1, 2, and 3, and were looking for a respite.
People turned to Station 0 (where the exclusive Crimson Resort is located) and Bulabog beach (the opposite side of White Beach) for a quiet beach escape—plus other secret spots I won’t mention here, so just ask the local tricycle drivers to take you to there for a fee.
For those who’ve already had their fill of Talipapa, D’Mall, and classic ’90s Boracay food joints that dot White Beach, there’s Station X. A destination on its own, Station X is a lifestyle and food hub. It’s not for the Talipapa budget, but for those craving something a little more elevated.
In March, Spot.ph sent me to Boracay to write about the pandemic travel rules (read my article here). In the process, I rediscovered Station X, which has survived both the 2018 shutdown and varying levels of quarantine.
Here’s what station X has to offer in the new normal:
Hue Hotel and Resort
Strategically located in the middle of Station X, this four-star hotel has an open-air circular architecture with lots of space for social distancing. It’s one of the top choices to stay in Boracay if, like me, you need to put your travel anxieties at ease.
The pool is the main attraction of Hue Hotel, the first to catch your eye when you enter, and a favorite backdrop of many an Instagram vacation snap. There’s so much to explore in this 127-room hotel and resort. It’s almost like they want you to forget about Boracay’s famous White Beach and just stay in.
For Filipino and Visayan cuisine, there’s Hue’s flagship restaurant, LA-UD, a Cuyunon word that means “far sea” in English or “laot” in Tagalog. The restaurant first opened in Hue Hotel’s Palawan resort, and both branches serve local catch from the surrounding islands.
Aside from fresh seafood, a must-try in LA-UD is the chicken binakol, a favorite Aklan dish. It’s similar to the chicken tinola, a classic Filipino soup dish, but with additional ingredients such as coconut.
Need a buzz? There are several ways to order a drink from Hue Hotel’s open-air tropical bar called Prisma—via the pool’s swim-up bar under the makeshift falls, while getting a tan in one of the poolside sunbeds, or at the back of Station X, where you’ll find another section of the bar, along with Instagrammable lounge spots and a human-sized chess set. The bar’s second level holds social-distanced events.
Cocktails to try for your nightcap or happy hour: Caipirihna, ₱240, a mix of cachaça, fresh lime juice, and sugar; Jungle Bird, ₱220, which has dark rum, campari, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, and sugar; and Flip the Flops, ₱220, chili and basil-infused vodka, fresh lime juice, apple juice, and rosemary syrup.
Supermagic Burgers and Ice Cream
Dubbed by Esquire as the best burgers in town, Supermagic Burgers and Ice Cream, run by the Sunny Side Group, reopened on June 11. Meat lovers swear by their umami bomb, ₱420, and double magic burger, ₱490, both made with Kitayama beef seasoned with umami dust.
Don’t go anywhere, vegetarians and flexitarians! You’ll find something else to enjoy, like the shrimp roll, ₱390, almond and cornflake-crusted chicken burger, ₱260, and the Supermagic ‘Shroom, ₱270. Don’t forget the fries, ice cream shake, and scoops.
Next door is Nonie’s, which serves Asian classics with a modern twist, as well as fusion dishes and healthy fare. They opened in 2017, and like their neighboring establishments in Station X, have survived both the 2018 Boracay closure and varying levels of quarantine. After being strictly for takeout and delivery, Nonie’s cozy dining area is open again.
For the health nut, there’s an assortment of smoothies at ₱190 per glass, green juices at ₱190 per glass, grain bowls at ₱390, and salads at ₱350-420. But if you’re like me and you enjoy eating breakfast at random hours of the day, then zero in on their all-day brunch menu. Crowd favorites include the pineapple pandan pancakes, ₱350, eggs benedict, ₱350-390, and vegan sisig, ₱250. They also make their own kombucha, ranging from ₱140-300.
The Sunny Side Café
After one year of closing due to the pandemic, The Sunny Side Café launched summer pop-ups both in Boracay and Makati. When travel restrictions loosened in June, they reopened their Station X location.
Dubbed by foodies as the best breakfast in the country, Sunny Side offers breakfast and brunch all day. Popular picks include the heirloom rice champorado, ₱350, heirloom sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with macapuno, fresh banana, and vegan coconut ice cream from Coco Mama’s; roesti, ₱450, topped with house-made chorizo, arugula, tomatoes, and sour cream; ube and cereal milk pancakes, ₱345-690, topped with ube cream, cereal crumb, and cereal milk ice cream; kitayama beef tapsilog, ₱450; and spinach and mushroom baked eggs, ₱375.
Make room for dessert or a cool afternoon snack. Look for the small wooden kiosk across Station X’s human-sized chess set. It’s called Coco Mama’s and they sell Boracay’s famous vegan dessert—a ₱150-coconut bowl of lactose-free coconut ice cream with coconut shavings, mango, sticky rice, and pinipig (rice crips).
The sister company of The Sunny Side Café, Supermagic Burgers, and Coco Mama’s, Little Wave is one of the first coffee specialty shops on the island. They serve comfort food, such as all-day breakfast, pasta, sandwiches, wraps, desserts, and of course, specialty coffee in their industrial-chic interiors.
A must-have for caffeineaholic is the famous Death Cream, ₱290, a double shot of espresso mixed with creamy custard, which you’ll pour into a glass with a single ice sphere. Other coffee concoctions to try: The Little Wave (₱250), cold milk and espresso topped with sea salt cream; and pistachio affogato (P225), espresso poured over pistachio ice cream.
Pair your coffee choice with any of their bestselling dishes: creamed shimeji and eggs, ₱290, seafood cioppino, ₱490, maple-bacon sandwich, ₱490, mushroom-parsley fettuccine, ₱350, and waffles topped with mango, salted caramel, and coffee cream, ₱195. If you saved room, try their delectable desserts, such as vanilla slice, millionaire bar, and slutty brownie.
Unfortunately, Station X’s upscale food court, Street Market, is one of the casualties of the pandemic and tourist drop. The area has been temporarily closed since the start of the pandemic, sans a few social-distanced events and food pop-ups, which are announced on Station X and Hue’s Facebook pages.
If you order from any of Station X’s restaurants and kiosks, you may opt to consume them at the outdoor dining and lounging area, where you’ll find the Instagrammable bean bags, swings, and colorful lounge sets.
For digital nomads like myself, check out Hue Hotel’s Dip ‘N Dine promo. For only ₱599 (or ₱499 through Klook) worth of food and drinks from LA-UD or Prisma, you’ll get to park your traveling office at any of their poolside beds, Station X lounges, or tables from 10am-9pm all day with free WiFi access. That’s a sweet deal!
Perhaps the only Street Market stand that is surviving and thriving, Little Taj’s spot is open from Fridays to Sundays, but their chai teas and Indian food are available to order daily at their sister resto, Nonie’s. They also organize the occasional event at Station X, like Bollywood Nights.
When you’re done purchasing the usual by-the-dozen souvenirs from Stations 1 to 3, head to Station X’s Local Color, the island’s only artisanal souvenir shop. Browse through a selection of design-forward, local products from all over the country—such as Filipino-themed postcards and notebooks, maps, children’s storybooks, toys, home décor, chocolate, liquor, jewelry, and beachwear.
If you’re a fan of Filipino artists, you’ll recognize the works of the likes of Abra Linea, Gouache, Beyond Borders, Adarna House, Munimuni Studio, Fine Line, Theo & Philo, and Don Papa on Local Color’s shelves and tables.
Boracay, like most of the Philippines, has been going through zigzagging levels of quarantine since March 2020, so you can imagine how difficult it is for business owners to keep closing, reopening, restructuring, revamping, and tweaking their operating hours every week/month/quarter just to keep afloat. For accurate details on the operating hours of the establishments featured in this blog post, click on the hyperlinks that will lead you to their Facebook pages.
Station X is located at Main Road, between Station 2 and 3, Boracay Island, Philippines.