One of the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations, Boracay island lies just off the coast of Panay in the western Visayas region. It is comprised of thirteen areas, known by the Filipino name of Barangays, including Manoc-Manoc and Balabag. Boracay became an independent state in the 1950’s, and was something of a secret until, it is said, a film crew "discovered" the island while filming in the area in the 1970’s. The secret was out: tourists began arriving and have continued to do so ever since. Boracay is probably most famous for its beaches, especially the White Beach – at around four kilometres long, it is the island’s main tourist beach known the world over. The sea is especially shallow here, which makes it safe for water sports. The beach is lined with hotels and restaurants - some directly on the waterfront, others separated by a long esplanade. There are other beaches, too, including the quieter Diniwid Beach and the second largest Bulabog Beach which, because it catches the wind, is popular with windsurfers, kitesurfers and kiteboarders. In fact, the brightly coloured sails are a part of the beach's identity. Boracay is also famous for its nature and eco-trekking, its bargain shopping in markets, diving, parties and the many spas found in its holiday resorts.