Three weeks ago, I went to Boracay to experience the luxury of resort living and to escape the cubicle space for a while.
The travel was spontaneous and unplanned. Due to desperateness of not having a plunge on salty clear waters for months, we booked a flight straight to the lovely island without even thinking for the accommodations, itinerary and budget.
Well the stupid notion turned out to be terrific and I didn’t regret either. There are several reasons why I chose to go to Boracay instead of other beautiful places in the Philippines.
Boracay is said to be the World’s Best Island in 2012, Best Beach in Asia for 2013 based on TripAdvisor’s survey, defeating other destinations across the continent. Worth trying, I thought.
I don’t want to be a foreign citizen in our own country. When my friend (an American) told me his experience in Boracay, I was just nodding stupidly. At the end of the conversation I laughed and said, “Yeah, I should go to that beach soon.”
I want to experience partying at the beach. While having a disco on the city lights may sound nice, I find it great to dance with a soft ocean breeze on a native hut.
Travel enlightens your ideas and imagination. A wider perspective enables us to visualize and prototype our thoughts clearly.
A prequel to my desire of living a nomadic lifestyle.
There are two ways going to Boracay from Manila, Philippines: (1) A direct flight from Manila (MNL) to Caticlan (MPH) or (2) Manila (MNL) to Kalibo (KLO). Convenience-wise, the first option is preferable. You can save 2 hours of travel, if you want to.
But we challenge discomfort and embrace adventure so we opted for the second option – Manila to Kalibo. Our flight was scheduled to be at 3 pm on a Friday afternoon.
Lo and behold, there was a notification to cancel all flights of ZestAir (AirAsia). So we ended up waiting there for seven (7) hours in the airport until we were transferred to another carrier.
Couldn’t blame them either. The reason of cancellation of all flights was due to safety issues being detected on the airline. Way better than being landed on the sea if it weren’t detected beforehand, I thought.
We arrived at Kalibo Airport at 11:30 pm. We searched for any means to travel going to the Jetty Port (the port where boats are stationed going to Boracay island).
Before heading to the exit, there was a banner posted “Php 250 going to Boracay thru a shuttle van.” I wasn’t paying attention instead, I asked the security guard if there is anything else we can ride going to Boracay. The answer is negative.
Considering the time, there was no other vehicles available except for the van. No choice so we hopped on the van and traveled for 2 hours.
While in the course of travel, we were laughing out loud and making fun of our travel experience and was so excited to see the island.
Both of us were first-timers in Boracay. When we arrived at the Jetty Port around 1:30 am, we felt hopeless. But the feeling was gone when we saw a boat still accepting passengers going to Boracay!
However, the fare was almost 7 times higher – Php 100 instead of Php 15 regular rate! The reason why it’s more expensive is because it was beyond their regular travel time which is from 6 am – 10 pm.
Boracay Travel Myths
First myth busted – you can go to Boracay anytime, no time limits!
We arrived at 1:40 am in the coast. I could still remember the amazement on my face when my feet were subsiding while stepping on the powdery sand.
After the boat ride, we rode a trike going to Boracay and paid Php 50 each. At exactly 2:00 am, I had my first step in Boracay.
But there was a problem: where would we stay? We haven’t booked hotels or anything. We thought that we could just find cheap accommodations by wandering around the place.
We went to places nearby for accommodations but all were closed! It’s already 2:00 am.
So what we did was still brilliant – drunk beer in the shoreline while watching the tides. It’s not until 6:30 am that we finally found a decent place to stay for just Php 1,500 a night.
While we were walking around looking for rooms to stay, a certain guy approached us and offered a room. He guided us to the place and we liked it at first sight.
It was great! Not to mention that it’s in Station 1 – the center part of Boracay. There are five (5) stations in Boracay. And I would say, if you want the party-crowd, go to Station 1 or 2. Else, go to Station 3 if you want a private moment. It is silent, less-crowded and serene. I’ve never been to Station 5.
We had our room in Casa Santa Fe. The room has two beds good for 3 people: 1 queen-size bed for two and a single bed. It already has an aircon unit, Wi-Fi, TV, and a hot & cold shower (no free breakfast).
So if you’re in three’s, you’re gonna spend Php 500 a night. The landlady suggested that we could buy something from the market and have it cooked for free, courtesy of her. That was part of their service. But we opted to eat outside and look for something new!
Second myth busted – you can book a room anywhere in Boracay, on-the-spot!
The man who helped us find a room happened to be our tour guide. He showed us the spectacular activities to do in Boracay at a LOW price. I was cynical at first but when I found out that he’s trustworthy enough, I was confident.
As a first-timer, our original plan was to go around and explore all the establishments, take pictures and discover all places there that are worth visiting the next time around. But we never failed to swim and experience the buzz about the soft white sands in the shore.
I fell in love with the beach and I couldn’t compare anything better than that. I already went to Bohol and Cebu. But for me, Boracay is the best.
When the dark gobbled the sun, the excitement rolled in. Party time! We dressed our best outfits and headed to the funkiest bar in Boracay – Club Paraw. According to our tour guide, Club Paraw has the largest crowd among all and the variety of people is great – Filipinos, Korean, Chinese, American etc.
For Php 150 entrance fee, you have a free 1 glass of vodka and you can dance all the way you want. I shouldn’t have danced, considering that I only dance with the rhythm of electronic dance music, but I gave in when after a while the DJ played Steve Aoki’s Boneless. Couldn’t help myself when my feet dragged me to the dance floor. And the party started until we went home at 3:00 am.
The last day was a blast. We had a dinner buffet for Php 280 and we ate like there’s no tomorrow. The roasted fish was so intense and I loved the pork and the chicken. We bought few souvenir items and then packed up, headed home.
For just a night and two days stay, I really enjoyed the short vacation (should have been longer if it wasn’t because of the delayed flight) and I hope to visit once again after some time, of course in groups.
7 Lessons I Learned in Boracay
If you’re in vacation mode, you can opt for a cheap flight. But never book on a budget airline during business trips. You’ll surely be in trouble!
Time is more important than money. We could have chosen a flight from Manila to Caticlan and save 2 hours of travel instead of Manila to Kalibo.
Make sure you arrive in Boracay in the morning. This is the check-out time of people in hotels. Perhaps you could take place on the rooms.
As a first-timer, you need to have a tour guide. They can take you anywhere and might give you discounts.
Travel light. Don’t carry anything that you won’t need. Save your space for souvenirs and goodies.
It is more fun & cheaper to travel in groups. Laughing out loud will never be the same if you’re in a group. Likewise, it is cheaper because expenses can be divided.
As an investor, book promo tickets in advance and save for the trip. Imagine how this trip could inspire you to work hard and think of the future. This could make you excited and enthusiastic of what’s going to happen ahead. Invest in something that money cannot buy.
How about you? How was your experience in Boracay? Any places that you plan to go?
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