Work From Paradise in Banana Bay Boracay

Here’s a little Boracay tidbit: Bulabog Beach is where you’ll find a lot of long-staying tourists and remote workers. Also called “back beach” and “the other side of Boracay,” Bulabog has a few resorts, hotels, and apartments for those who looking for a peaceful slumber away from Stations 1 to 3, a.k.a. White Beach.

The accommodations in Bulabog are more affordable than mainstream Boracay, whether you’re looking to stay for just a few days or, like many Filipinos during the pandemic, work from paradise for a month or so. You’ll also find a lot of hidden gems—from kitesurfing schools to under-the-radar restaurants.

I booked Banana Bay through Agoda and took my work-from-anywhere set up there for a few days. My review below.

Banana Bay is between Palassa Private Residences and Levintin Boracay along Bulabog Beach.
Kate was here. Bulabog Beach, Boracay.

What I Loved

1. Free breakfast with an amazing view. Many travelers don’t mind having to look for breakfast outside the hotel, but I adapted this travel mantra from my backpacking friend, Martina: If there’s no free breakfast, I’m out! Even if it’s just a piece of toast and a small fried egg—any breakfast is better than no breakfast. I prefer lazy mornings. I want to crawl out of my bed, take only a few steps, and have breakfast at the property before starting my day.

Banana Bay’s breakfast is more than basic. Choose from a menu that includes pancakes, omelets, and good ol’ Filipino tapsilog meals. The best part: The breakfast hall is between the pool and a beachfront view of Bulabog. Both views are stunning.

2. The pool. The highlight of the property, the pool is surrounded by most of the rooms and common areas, including the breakfast station on the second floor and the Monkey Tree Café and Bar on the ground floor. You’ll get a glimpse of the pool as soon as you enter the lobby. For those who booked a balcony room, it’s your daily view.

It’s open from 8am-8pm, and you can take your laptop to the sunbeds and work on your deadline from the poolside. Bulabog Beach is a quiet location, so the pool hardly gets crammed. I remember having it mostly to myself.

Pool view from the second floor. Across is the breakfast area.

3. Boutique style. A little over 40 rooms—check! Artistic and contemporary design—check! Intimate vibe—check! Sprinkled with local flavor—check! I’ll take boutique hotels over splashy hotel chains. I could have booked one of those ostentatious 5-star hotels in Station 2, but Banana Bay’s unique charm won me over. Boutique hotels have a more personal service and experience.

Banana Bay is a 3-star boutique hotel in Bulabog Beach, Boracay.
Superior room for the minimalist traveler. Since I traveled alone, I turned the extra bed into my extended closet.

4. Peace and quiet. The pandemic has changed the way I travel. I can no longer stand elbow-to-elbow tourist spots and crammed lines, so for my Nth trip to Boracay, I chose the more reclusive Bulabog Beach, where BananaBay is located. I lounged at the beach without trampling on other beachgoers and without pesky vendors offering their services every 30 seconds. White Beach may look better on postcards, but Bulabog is a more peaceful paradise.

View of the pool from the lobby

5. Eco-friendly. I appreciate hotels that consciously lessen their carbon footprint. Banana Bay’s green efforts include the following: a salt-chlorinated pool instead of traditional chlorine, a structure built with the help of local artisans using locally sourced materials, toiletries in refillable dispensers, and complimentary drinking water in refillable bottles.

It’s important for the bathroom to be clean. Banana Bay’s bathroom is spick and span! As part of their green efforts, the toiletries come in refillable dispensers.

Room For Improvement

1. Better internet, please. Unstable internet is an issue not just in this hotel, but in many spots in Boracay. If you’re planning to do remote work here, you’ll need a stable backup internet connection instead of relying on the free hotel WiFi, which can get wonky.

2. Offer food service beyond 9:30pm. Boracay’s pandemic midnight curfew is lifted, so expect more late nights out. I found myself taking the P150 tricycle ride (Note: It’s pricier to hail a tricycle that takes you from Stations 1-3 to Bulabog) back to Bulabog and crawling to my hotel room past midnight many times during my recent trip.

The Monkey Tree Cafe and Bar is open from 7am-10pm daily, with the last call for orders at 9:30pm.

When my tummy was grumbling for recovery food past midnight, I realized that Banana Bay’s only resto-bar, The Monkey Tree, closes at 10pm with the last call for orders at 9:30pm. There are no 24-hour convenience stores, sari-sari stores, groceries, or late-night BBQ stands within the block. I was too tired to go out and wait for a tricycle to come and take me somewhere to get food. I settled for the emergency chocolate bar in my luggage.

The Monkey Tree Cafe and Bar offers Asian fusion dishes, such as my recovery lunch, seafood mee goreng, ₱325. Check out their menu here.

I used to wonder why other boutique hotels and hostels put vending machines in their lobby. Now I understand the need.

Would I Go Back?

Definitely! Whether it’s with family and kids, friends only, or just myself, I would book Banana Bay again.

Shots, anyone? Photo taken at The Monkey Tree Cafe and Bar.

Banana Bay is located at Sitio Bolabog Brgy Balabag, Malay, Aklan 5608, Philippines. Mobile no. +639761918401. Book through Agoda or direct at