While only 7km tall and at its bikini line 500m wide, tiny Boracay has rapidly  become the Philippines' top tourist draw, fuelled by explosive growth and a  tsunami of hype; in 2013 the readers of Travel & Leisure voted it the second-best  island destination in the world after Palawan.

The centre of the action is dreamy  White Beach, a 4km, postcard-perfect stretch of sand lined from one end to the  other with hotels, restaurants, bars, and dive shops now several blocks deep.

The  beach path is typically awash with visitors, including large groups of package  tourists drawn from all over Asia – most commonly Korea, Taiwan and China. The  ocean is full of romantic paraws (an outrigger sailboat) giving rides; colourful  parasails fill the air. After perfect sunsets, live music breaks out, and firedancers  twirl their batons.

The party goes on all night. All of this can be great fun, à la  Waikiki, and can easily occupy your entire visit. Just don't expect the Boracay of 30  years ago, when visitors revelled in the fact that their dirt-cheap nipa hut had no  electricity.

Beyond White Beach the island continues to undergo unchecked growth. New  multimillion-dollar properties rub shoulders with tin shacks. Construction  continues on the massive Newcoast development, a planned community aping  Santorini, Ibiza and other brand locations, which has swallowed 14% of the island.

If you're looking for authenticity, however, you can still find it. Head north to  peaceful Diniwid Beach for a break in the action, or east to Bulabog Beach, home  to the local watersports crowd, with its welcoming community vibe. All things  considered, Boracay is a place where you can find whatever you want if you know  where to look. Otherwise, grab that weng weng cocktail, sink into your waterfront beanbag chair and just marvel at the spectacle of it all.

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