Writers Retreat in Boracay

Writing in Boracay on a Budget

Boracay in the Philippines is no doubt one of the most beautiful writers retreat locations on earth!

Boracay is frequently crowned the “Best Beach in Asia” (White Beach) and one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world — it sucked me in like a vacuum cleaner to a wedding ring. It was my dream to spend 6 months living on a paradise tropical island of such refined beauty. From its white sand, crystal clear blue water, scattered palm trees, and vibrant atmosphere — I fell in love with Boracay from day one.

First Draft Complete on Writers Retreat

First Draft Complete on Writers Retreat

I chose Boracay to write my first draft of the book because I wanted to live in a happy, carefree environment, where I could swim, relax, and socialize when not writing. One of the best things about Boracay is that everything is within walking distance. I decided that living the simple life was going to save me time and a bucket of cash by avoiding taxis and public transport. Boracay is not commonly seen as a cheap place, in fact it’s the most expensive destination in the Philippines. With the right know-how however, you can live for around $20 US a day including everything. I spent six months in total on the island and lived in two separate locations.

For the first 3 months I relaxed and lived in a reggae bar and had a great time but didn’t achieve much writing. I moved to a kite surfing resort on Bulabog Beach (the “Back Beach”) for my final 3 months, where I put my mind back on the job and finished my first draft as planned. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my 6 months in Boracay. I found that if you put yourself in the right working environment you really can write and enjoy the island at the same time without blowing you budget. While I was there I also became good friends with the famous author of “Marching Powder,” Rusty young, and also met some lovely directors and producers in the US film industry who are interested in looking at my book one day for film purposes. I followed my intuition to this beautiful island and it didn’t leave me disappointed. Although you can live much cheaper than I did, you can also live far far more extravagantly than my budget allowed me to.

After a 7 month break from writing the book I moved back to Boracay again to work on my second draft in Feb 2015.

Boracay Relaxing at Sunset

Boracay Relaxing at Sunset



-Surrounded by vibrant, happy people enjoying their holiday and always up for a chat.
-The beach and the weather are both perfect (depending on the season and time of year.)
-There are many cheap options if you want to survive on a frugal budget.
-There is a immigration office on the island to easily process visa extensions every 59 days so you can stay for up to 2 years without leaving the island.
-You can eat quite healthy meals and seafood caught straight from the ocean.
-Everything is within walking distance.
-Outside of writing and relaxing — there are lots of activities to keep you busy on the island including sailing, scuba diving, kite surfing, snorkeling etc.
-If you stay away from station 2 you can actually live very quietly and cheap and out of the tourist limelight.
-There are mediation and yoga centres to help keep you focused on your writing.
-The island has many famous and important visitors and bumping into people that can help you with your book is quite possible.
-You can pack extremely lightly — all you need is flip flops, shorts, and a t-shirt or tank for clothes.

Climbing Palm Tree in Boracay

Climbing Palm Tree in Boracay


-It is generally too hot and sticky to write outdoors or in a fan room (air con is a must to really concentrate.)
-The internet is usually extremely slow and inconsistent, which makes doing research a headache.
-Brownouts or blackouts are almost a daily occurrence especially in peak season and hot days.
-People are in holiday mood — making it hard to concentrate and be productive while everyone is drinking and inviting you out.
-The thriving night life and cheap strong beers become hard to repel and breakdown your willpower over time.
-If you’re a single man on the island, and surrounded by beautiful women  (temptation island) — it doesn’t take long before the local girls take your mind off the job.
-The wet season is extremely wet and the whole island seems to flood making it hard to bring your laptop around with you.
-The local food is quite bland compared to Asian standards and eating can become dull if you’re on a tight budget.
-It’s impossible to not be sandy and sweaty each day and you’re always feeling dirty.


 Don’t forget to check out my book trailer video if you haven’t already. Click here to be amazed and join the excitement!

Writing by the Beach in Boracay

Writing by Bulabog Beach in Boracay



Boracay Living Expenses

 *note can easily live for half the price or 10 time the price
Details Daily (Peso) Daily ($ US) Weekly (Peso) Weekly ($US) Monthly (Peso) Monthly ($ US)


Accommodation 1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Fan (on beach) 433.33 9.69 3033.33 67.86 13000.00 290.83
Utilities Included in rent 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Drinking Water 20L tank 5.00 0.11 35.00 0.78 150.00 3.36
Phone Unlimited text package Globe 15.00 0.34 105.00 2.35 450.00 10.07
Visa varies per 59 days 56.67 1.27 396.67 8.87 1700.00 38.03
Washing 1 load per week (2.5 kg) 14.29 0.32 100.00 2.24 428.57 9.59
Internet free wifi 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Transport free (walk everywhere) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Daily Average

Breakfast Bacon, 2x Eggs, toast, fruit, coffee 100.00 2.24 700.00 15.66 3000.00 67.11
Fruit Shake Banana / Mango (cheapest price) 50.00 1.12 350.00 7.83 1500.00 33.56
Lunch/Snack Shawarma / Tapsi 60.00 1.34 420.00 9.40 1800.00 40.27
Dinner Traditional Stir Fry 140.00 3.13 980.00 21.92 4200.00 93.96
Beer 2x local beers (bottle) 100.00 2.24 700.00 15.66 3000.00 67.11
Misc. Extras General 100.00 2.24 700.00 15.66 3000.00 67.11


1074.29 24.03 7520.00 168.23 32228.57 721.00
US Dollar Philippines Peso
 Exchange Rate as of  25th March 2015= 1 44.7

Click here to read another inspirational blog write up on living in Boracay for $20 US  a day. This was the article that helped me decide to come to Boracay to live and write. Enjoy 🙂

 Please click here to join the “Paul Wood Book” Facebook group to follow more progress.

Boracay Palm Tree Sunset

Boracay Palm Tree Sunset

Hanging with Marching Powder author, Rusty Young

Hanging out with Rusty Young was one of greatest things that happened this year from my writers retreat! For those who don’t know who Rusty Young is – he is the famous author of the best selling book and soon to be film “Marching Powder.” I met Rusty by the random chance of his friend Darcy accidentally walking into my bedroom, while I was struggling with writers block. The following day Darcy introduced us together and I quickly became mates with Rusty and he helped me with my book. Rusty was on the island writing his second book and was full of advice for me. Rusty invited me to his apartment for dinner with his lovely girlfriend and we discussed writing throughout the night. I found Rusty to be extremely down to earth and he hasn’t let his fame or fortune change him in any way. Most people don’t believe he is who is he as he keeps a low profile. I hung out and drank with Rusty on quite a few occasions and he even called me from Australia once just to help me out when I was on the verge of quitting the book. When Rusty left Boracay, he lent me his printer and gave me some stationary to help me along with my writing. It’s was a very humbling experience to see someone from such a successful writing background to help a struggling nobody like myself. Thank you Rusty Young and if you get a chance please read his book “Marching Powder.” Those I’ve met who have read his book claim it was being one of the best books they have ever read and they couldn’t put it down. You can buy Marching Powder here if you are interested!

drinking beer with Rusty Young, the Author of Marching Powder

Drinking beer with Rusty Young, the famous Author of Marching Powder