Two bright blue pools – one small and shallow, one wide and deep. A pure white building with blue accents, vivid colors often found in Santorini, Greece postcards. The brown of bamboo and other native materials popping up in walls, woven lamps, and comfy angled chairs. Beyond the wide pool is a carpet of green and palm trees, and at the end is a bar, which I later found to be quite a lively place at night.
This was Mad Monkey Hostel in Bolabog, Boracay, just around a ten-minute walk from Boracay’s hub D’Mall, which, in turn, is just five minutes away from White Beach. It is one of the island’s newest hotels, having opened middle of this year.
While I knew we were checking in a hostel, it felt more like an upscale resort or a cozy hotel. The design was tasteful with a touch of elegance, and the pool was generous in size, perfect for swimming in laps. Or for a big pool party.
And in strategic locations are hammocks and chairs with angled back rests perfect for lounging and relaxing.
More comfort and luxury at a backpacker’s price
Walking into the area of the white building, I was able to appreciate Mad Monkey Hostel’s tasteful design and promise more. I loved the comfortable chairs and hammocks.
The private rooms were simple and tasteful. The design reminded me of a hotel room. And the bed was perfect for a restful sleep the three nights I stayed there. And the price is quite a steal – P1,400 during off-peak season.
Even Mad Monkey dorm rooms look tasteful, and they are quite comfortable, too, accommodating up to only four people, with one en suite bathroom for sharing. For someone who has experienced eight-person dorm rooms, I would say sharing a toilet and bath with only three other people is a kind of luxury.
The dorm beds also each come with sockets for charging and a reading lamp. Dorm beds are around P450 to 500 during off-peak season, which is quite a steal considering the comfort and luxury the hostel offers.
Indeed, according to Luke, the hostel manager, luxury was very much their intention when they were planning Mad Monkey. He said that while backpackers aim for affordable rates, they appreciate some comfort and luxury, though. Thus, Mad Monkey focused on the atmosphere and the experience, which is evident in the overall design, the huge pools, and the bar with a comfy hang-out area.
This experience also extends to breakfast, with many delicious options like Filipino, English, American, and healthy breakfasts. With servings good for two or more than one, like my travel companions and I found out, the average price of around P200 is quite reasonable.
Parties, parties, and more parties
Of course, more than or equal to being known as a luxury backpacker hostel, Mad Monkey is also making a name as a party hostel. In fact, Luke told us that the “mad monkey” i the hostel name can allude to fun and parties. While there’s “madness,” as the name may imply, it seems to be a calculated madness as there are measures to keep parties safe.
There are parties every night at the bar (even those not checked in at the hostel can join in!), and with featured affordable mixed drinks which change every night or so. During our stay I remember there was piña colada and rum coke.
There’s also shisha to smoke in different – and colorful – flavors, and there are spirited games like beer pong.
Of course, the perk and the highlight for some would be the free shots at the bar. They’re more than free shots, though – they’re part of a drinking competition. The shots are called the “grenade,” and there is a running tally of number of shots downed by each nationality. The Philippines, for some reason, was ranked first when we were there, though I understand Mad Monkey Hotel guests come mostly from the US and Europe. I wonder what the tally is at the moment.
And yes, my travel companions and I who went to the bar decided to try the challenge ourselves and had our votes counted!
Drinking can be particularly fun at Mad Monkey Hostel as there is actually a staff in charge of keeping guests drinking and happy. (Too bad I don’t have a picture of him in action, though!) And, during our stay he made sure we had our fill, too.
The parties at Mad Monkey are not just at night, though. At certain days of the week, there is the “Booze Cruise,” which, as the name implies is cruising around Boracay while drinking to your heart’s content. The tour usually includes cliff diving, snorkeling, Boracay’s famous Puka beach, and with unlimited booze.
We were supposed to join one, but we already had an appointment for a massage at Mandala Spa during the scheduled Booze Cruise. I heard it could be quite fun, though. The cruise costs P1,300, which is quite near the price of a regular Boracay island hopping trip.
Of course, you can have your own party, too, especially in the pool. Our group gamely swam and frolicked in the water.
You can still have your quiet time
And, even though Mad Monkey is known to be a party hostel, you can still have some quiet me time especially if you need to pull away for a bit from the high energy. Here are some things you can do:
Parties for causes + more causes and contribution to the community
What first caught my attention about Mad Monkey is its effort to contribute to the communities they have built their hostels in. With its first several branches in Cambodia, they have already raised funds that helped develop school facilities and equipment, as well as assisted them in their own micro-businesses for the schools’ long-term sustainability. Mad Monkey also has clean water and renewable energy initiatives for different schools and organizations. Mad Monkey ensures that the organizations they contribute to are verified and have genuine need.
In the Philippines, as Mad Monkey is just starting, it has so far one successful project as of this writing: organizing a party for a cause, whose proceeds will fund school equipment for a local public high school.
As Mad Monkey is quite new in Boracay and the Philippines, I expect it will have more meaningful projects in the future.
Proximity and convenience
What also makes Mad Monkey worth staying in is its proximity to White Beach (and all its conveniences) and Bolabog Beach, the beach on the other side of the island. As mentioned earlier, Mad Monkey is just around a ten-minute walk to D’Mall, Boracay’s hub and one of its main landmarks. D’Mall is a five-minute walk from the beach, making Mad Monkey 15 minutes away from the beach.
Also, there are convenience stores, eateries, and restaurants just nearby and on the same street as Mad Monkey, making everything accessible.
Whether it’s for a budget accommodation, a little luxury and comfort, parties, support for causes, and conveniences, there are more than enough reasons to stay at Mad Monkey.
Book now at the Mad Monkey Hostel page. Choose “Boracay” from the drop-down menu.
How to get there: From Manila, Cebu, Davao, or other areas with applicable routes, take a flight to Caticlan (nearer) or Kalibo. From Caticlan Airport, take a tricycle to Caticlan port. From Kalibo, take a van or bus to Caticlan Port. From Caticlan Port, ride the passenger boat to Boracay. Once you get to Boracay port, a motorcycle, tricycle, or multicab can take you to Mad Monkey.