Boracay is a tropical island South of the Philippines. A popular tourist destination especially during long holidays like Christmas and Summer.
Boracay is part of Panay province. It is located off to the Northwest corner or the island of Panay, Western Visayas region.
Best Time to Go:
While it is a cliche to hear, I’d still say Anytime of the year!
If you are looking for a party atmosphere, where tourists and locals flock the island, a sight of water sports everywhere, go during the summer months of March – May, especially during Holy Week. Christmas and New Year celebrations are big events too.
However, if you prefer a serene surrounding where you can lounge at the long stretch of the powdery white sand beach without challenge, go on the lean months of June – September, or almost any weekdays of the year except during Christmas and Summer Season.
Like any other tourist traps, there are issues beyond this lost haven, remember algae formation from the shore which scares few tourists away, waste disposal and rising cost of everything.
I scored our tickets at Cebu Pacific‘s Zero Fare Promo last May 2008. I was able to get hold of a huge discount on two-way airfare tickets for two and just paid P7, 566 excluding terminal fees. This is in time for a holiday vacation in the Philippines and thought it would be a great anniversary gift for my fiance then. I’m also checking about possibilities to get a pre-wedding shoot on this paradise island.
I also think that a weekday at Boracay on 2nd week of December is amongst the best time to explore due to the absence of algae or green moss on this time of the year. Plus the fact that there will only be a few tourists around. People will probably be still at work before Christmas.
So, off we go to Boracay last Dec. 10-12, 2008. Aside from minor changes like moving our flight at 6:30 am instead of 5:10 am, all went smoothly as planned.
We set foot at Caticlan Airport at around 7:30 AM. I admit as organized as I am during my trips, it was the first time I’m armed with no itineraries on hand. Our wedding preparation got in the way that I neglected to do one. I just thought it will be nice to let go of a program this time and just unwind and de-stress before the big day.
We were surprised how business has been going on in Boracay. I think the local government should review the fees table because we felt totally ripped off. I think the normal thing to do is set higher fees to foreign tourists and provide minimal cost to Filipino residents, so every Juan can enjoy and travel to this beautiful island.
Extra Expenses going to Boracay
Since we fly via Cebu Pacific, we headed to the new NAIA terminal 3 and paid P200 terminal fee per person. I always wonder where all these collections are going through and why other countries do not rob people of terminal fees. A 3rd world country where everything should be paid for.
- An environmental fee of P50 per person
- Ferry Port Terminal Fee of P50 per person
- Caticlan Terminal Fee of P20 per person
Anyways reaching Caticlan Airport, we filled out the tourist information sheets required for each visitors. We then went outside to look for ways to get to the jetty port and found the tricycle terminal. It costs us P50, to my dismay, the distance is just a mere 5 minutes walk going to the port.
We purchased our boat tickets at P25 each and paid additional fees I mentioned earlier. Landing to Boracay, we hopped on a tricycle to take us to White Beach. Now, we have not decided where to stay and where to get off. I wasn’t worried since its a weekday and sure enough there aren’t a lot of guests coming in these days. We can easily find a decent place to stay near the beach.
We paid P20 each for the tricycle ride, sharing with other tourists and locals. We have no idea where we were. I just knew that the beach is somewhere at the left side of the road and if we will walk straight, we’ll be seeing the crystal sands and the sea soon. So, off we walk to where the we hear the soft sound of the waves, while constantly checking in for a place to dine for breakfast and affordable accommodations for 3 days too.
After asking someone, we learned that we’re in Station 2. If we walk to the left, we’ll be heading to Station 3 and to the right is Station 1. Good thing, I did made some research about Boracay long time ago and realized that Station 1 offers high-end hotels and restaurants. While Station 2 is for mid-class, and in Station 3 we have a big chance of getting cheap accommodations.
Ferdie and I were hungry by these time. We realized that indeed, Boracay has a long, long, long white beach stretch. We were each holding on to our backpacks then. Oh, did I mention, packing for this trip is my biggest success in all my travels? I did fit in necessary stuff on my backpack, and a shoulder bag. Ferdie has his backpack too. Yay, can I call myself a light traveler now? =)
We found our way at D*Mall and since its too early to pick choices, we sampled the breakfast feast at Andok’s. Oh, let me warn you to not even try to use the public restroom nearby. It was nasty!
After breakfast, we head off to find a place to stay and luckily chanced on this promo by Alice in Wonderland between Station 2 & 3. Its a newly acquired resort with amenities such as huge garden and swimming pool, double detached rooms and a porch with rattan swing. We got an air-con room with its own t&b & television. Plus we can access through wi-fi. All for P1,000 a night.
Alice in Wonderland
Much as we want to explore Boracay on a sunny day, our body was craving for some sleep. We never had enough sleep for weeks, so we doze off after choosing our room.
We explored the place a little past noon. I know a perfect place to beat the summer heat and indulge in a sumptuous lunch. We headed off to Jonah’s at Station 1. There’s no place elsewhere which offers the best banana peanut shake in town but in Jonah’s!
We had calamares and sinigang for lunch. Yum!
From Station 1 we stroll towards Station 3 direction. The beach is calm with few tourists wandering around and a lot of locals offering variety of products.
There were amazing sand castles built everywhere, we even saw one that says “Will You Marry Me?” Awww, a sweet proposal by the beach.
After posing for our tripod and catching up with the sunset, we then search for a henna tattoo artist.
My fiance’s first and my… hmmm, nth time? I got a Sun and Moon Princess tattoo while he settles for a dragon.
We checked out some shell charms for pasalubong. Cute trinkets for everyone.
Our main goal for the evening is to find a good island hopping package tour for the next day. On our way back to Station 2, we came across Allan B. Fun Tour booth, they offer Island Hopping tours where we can join in group for P600 per person. The price includes a boat trip to nearby islands: Crystal Cove and Puka Beach from 10 AM – 4 PM. Snorkeling gears are provided for different snorkeling locations, as well as buffet lunch and drinks. Excluded are the entrance fees, environmental fees and such. We’re settled then. =) They made an arrangement to pick us up at our accommodation the next day.
We made our way to D*Mall for dinner. As budget travelers, we pick on items, food, and whatever worthy to spendin for. We were unsuccessful on finding a cheap alternative to the expensive Boracay restaurants.
We had dinner at Island Chicken Inasal. Bacolod chicken and sisig at its best. Bon Appetit!
On our way back to the room, we passed by several bars. We were not really up for a drink, but I wonder how crowded and loud this area could get during summer? We’ve seen these fire dancers putting of an amazing show for the audience. Makes me want to learn those moves too.
Its full moon, Ferdie and I decided to take a dip at the private pool. All tenants must’ve been enjoying the night away, we have the pool all by ourselves.
Tired and exhausted, we call it a night.
Rise and shine!
Woke up early for breakfast. We headed to Big Mouth at D*Mall. They have this mouthwatering big combo meal selection. Yay, gotta watch my diet.
Went back to Alice in Wonderland to prepare and get ready for island hopping. Ferdie dropped by at a barber shop for an impromptu haircut.
Our boat is big and has around 20 capacity. We were joined by about 15 people more including foreign visitors.
Our first stop was snorkeling. I have to admit I stayed out of the sun as much as I can since tan lines can ruin my perfect wedding gown.There’s not much to see at the snorkeling area, compared to what we have seen in Bohol. But I did enjoyed my encounter with a puffer fish.
Next is Crystal Cove Island. Did I just smell a photoshoot session? lol.
There are a lot of interesting areas to shoot. If you are like us, who takes hundreds of photos home, you might like to consider who you are with in this trip. We were the last one in the group to get out of Crystal Cove, its not like we were behind the group big time, but the guide was teasing us how we get to shoot to every corner and that we got the best value off our fees. Haha. We can’t explain further that the shoot is for our wedding program.
Off to the next island for a buffet lunch, then for a snorkeling stop again. There is a boatman selling ice cream in the middle of the sea, can you believe that? Priceless.
The waves were scary this time, but we were able to drop by at Puka Beach. Had a swim and pictorials here and there before going back to white beach.
We were exhausted by the time we got back and took some time to rest.
At 6 PM, we decided to have a light meal at Jonah’s. On the way, we realized its high tide. Our usual sand route was underwater now. I didn’t mind dipping my feet in and feeling the waves against me, except Ferdie is really worried about the camera getting wet.
By the time we’re finished with our sandwiches, waves are splashing hard up the walls near Jonah’s. We figured out that its a bit dangerous to cross the same path back again and decided to just take the road on the other side.
We call it an early night.
Last day in paradise.
We started the day early and went to stroll the beach and do some more shoot. The water is yet in its pristine, calm self again. The white sand is lovely!
We headed to the grotto to take some photos. At past 10, we went back to our room and prepared to leave. Our flight is scheduled at 4:30 PM.
Checked-out at Alice in Wonderland at 11:30 AM. We still have plenty of time to eat brunch, and search the nearest market for some local delicacies and pasalubongs.
We discovered about talipapa, and the local eateries located there. They serve affordable dining experience. Argghh… too late. They also accepts “paluto” (where one can buy seafood at the wet market and have the restaurant cook it for whatever dish you like). The food is much cheaper compared to the restaurants near the beach.
Boarded the plane at 4:15 PM.
Back to the hectic wedding planning.
No matter how crowded and busy it is now, I still lurveee Boracay!