Three weeks ago, I went to Boracay to experience the luxury of resort living and to escape the cubicle space for a while. Sharing this Boracay budget travel tips for everyone itching to go to the party island.
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The travel was spontaneous and unplanned. Due to the desperation of not having a plunge into salty clear waters for months, we booked a flight straight to the lovely island without even thinking about accommodations, itinerary, and budget.
I don’t want to be a foreign citizen in our own country. When my friend (an American) told me about 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 dance with city lights sounds nice, I find it great to dance with a soft ocean breeze in a native hut.
Travel enlightens your ideas and imagination. A wider perspective enables us to visualize and execute our thoughts clearly.
A prequel to my desire to live a nomadic lifestyle.
There are two ways to go 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 challenged discomfort and embraced adventure so we opted for the second option – Manila to Kalibo. Our flight was scheduled to be at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon.
Lo and behold, there was a notification to cancel all flights of ZestAir (AirAsia). So we ended up waiting in the airport for 7 hours until we were transferred to another carrier.
Couldn’t blame them either. The reason for the cancellation of all flights was due to safety issues being detected by 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 p.m. We searched for any means to travel to the Jetty Port where boats are stationed going to Boracay island.
Before heading to the exit, there was a banner posted “Php 250 going to Boracay through a shuttle van.” I wasn’t paying attention instead, I asked the security guard if there was anything else that could take us to Boracay. The answer is negative.
Considering the time, there were no other vehicles available except for the van. No choice so we hopped in the van and traveled for 2 hours.
In the course of our travel, we were laughing out loud and making fun of our travel experience and were so excited to see the island.
Both of us were first-timers in Boracay. When we arrived at the Jetty Port around 1:30 a.m., 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 the Php 15 regular rate! The reason why it’s more expensive is that it was beyond their regular travel time which is from 6 am – 10 pm.
Boracay Budget Travel Tips
Tip 1: Book an Economy Ticket
If you’re in vacation mode, you can opt for a cheap flight. But never book on a budget airline during business trips. You could be in trouble!
Tip 2: Time > Money
Time is more important than money. We could have chosen a flight from Manila to Caticlan and saved 2 travel hours instead of Manila to Kalibo.
Tip 3: Choose a morning flight
Make sure you arrive in Boracay in the morning. This is the check-out time of people in hotels. You could take advantage of vacated rooms.
Tip 4: Hire a tour guide
For first-timers, you need to have a tour guide. They can take you anywhere and might give you discounts.
Tip 5: Travel light
Travel light. Don’t carry anything that you won’t need. Save your space for souvenirs and goodies.
Tip 6: Travel in groups for more fun
It’s more fun & cheaper to travel in groups. Laughing out loud will never be the same if you’re in a group. Likewise, it’s cheaper because expenses can be divided.
Tip 7: Plan your travel in advance
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 about what’s going to happen ahead. Invest in something that money cannot buy.
Boracay Travel Myths
1st Myth Busted: You can go to Boracay anytime, with no time limits
We arrived at 1:40 a.m. on the coast. I could still remember the bliss on my face while sinking my toes in the powdery sand.
After the boat ride, we rode a trike going to Boracay and paid Php 50 each. At exactly 2:00 a.m., 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 a.m.
So what we did was still brilliant – drunk beer on the shoreline while watching the tides. It was not until 6:30 a.m. 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 in, a guy approached us and offered us a room. He guided us to the place and we liked it at first glance.
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. Otherwise, go to Station 3 if you want a private moment. It’s 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, 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!
2nd Myth busted: You can book a room anywhere in Boracay on-the-spot
The guy who helped us find a room happened to be our tour guide. He showed us the spectacular activities to do in Boracay at bargain prices. I was cynical at first but when I found out that he was 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 the places there that are worth visiting next time around. But we never failed to swim and experience the buzz of the soft white sands on 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 in our best outfits and headed to the funkiest bar in Boracay – Club Paraw. According to our tour guide, Club Paraw has the largest crowd, and the variety of people is great. “The more, the merrier, right?” Or so I thought.
For the Php 150 entrance fee, you have a complimentary glass of vodka and you can dance all the way you want. I shouldn’t have danced, considering that I only dance to EDM 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 a.m.
The last day was a blast. We had a dinner buffet for Php 280 and we ate like there was no tomorrow. The roasted fish was so intense and I loved the pork and chicken. We bought a few souvenir items and then packed up, and headed home.
For a 3-day 2-night stay, I really enjoyed the short vacation. It should have been longer if it wasn’t because of the delayed flight. I hope to visit once again after some time, of course in groups.
Boracay is a wonderful place to have a vacation. It certainly is one of the best beaches in the Philippines and one of the most impressive islands in the world.
How about you? How was your experience in Boracay? Any places that you plan to go to?
Hi there! I'm Daveril Dabuco, the man behind Juan Investor, one of the top personal finance blogs in the Philippines. I’m passionate about investing and digital marketing. When I’m not blogging, I’m either tinkering with my clients’ Facebook ads or beachbumming. You can read more about me.
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