Travel and Food Living

Life's tastier adventures on the road and flavor


By July 04, 2013 ,

Gorgeous tropical environment, stunning coastline, sparkling water, romantic sunset, fun-filled daytime activities by the sea and vibrant night life, where else to experience it but at the dazzling island of Boracay in the Philippines!

Boracay Sandcastles! 
Every morning, locals create sandcastles as charming backdrops for photo opps,
 they will just ask for a donation.

Unlike other beach resorts in the country where visitors only enjoy the beauty of the seaside at day time, Boracay offers a unique experience of fun and adventure even at night time. As the sun dramatically goes down, Boracay springs to life and visitors are treated to an ultimate party adventure. 

I'm not a party girl and I hate night life, I don't like staying up late and I detested liquors and cigarettes but at Boracay yeah that was so hugely different. The laughter. The vigour. The vibes. I enjoyed watching people dancing, exchanging pleasantries, laughing and singing along. So many tourists from diverse cultural background fidgeted the area!! It looks like Ibiza, a beach party destination in Spain frequently visited by famous celebrities and European royals.

I have been into many islands and beach resorts in the country, in fact seaside is no longer a stranger to me because I grew up in the coastal area of Surigao del sur at the outskirt of Mindanao peninsula, but nothing knocks the splendour and magnificence of Boracay. Truly impressive!!

So why I love Boracay? I figured, it’s not just about the island’s sun-kissed shoreline, ivory sand and crystal water, but more about fun and discoveries, the exciting activities at daytime and lively scene at night time, the sugary sand, the sunset and the energy! Simply the best of both worlds!

Banana boat ride against the backdrop of West Cove, Manny Pacquiao's resort
Beautiful morning at Bora!

For three days and two nights it felt like I was in a completely different world, no worries, no concerns, no tension, I relished every moment of pleasure and freedom. It's good to think life one at a time. I had this very amazing, really incredible experience of fun and leisure. A million thanks to my very generous long-time friend, Anelyn Arcon, for sponsoring this once-in-a-lifetime moment of bonding at this world-class beach resort.

This travel was almost impossible because of the stormy weather that the country had experienced over the last week of June. We originally wanted to travel via 2Go at the Batangas port to Caticlan, but due to the low pressure forecast, we did not push through, too risky. We waited for another day. On July 1, the weather had improved so we immediately checked the promo rates of Zest Air, luckily for us, the airline offered a cheaper rate.

At the Kalibo International Airport after disembarking from Zest Air

We boarded Zest Air from Manila to Kalibo, Aklan last July 2, the air travel took only 45 minutes. I was quite surprise with the runway of the Kalibo International Airport, so narrow and rocky, felt like I was riding a bus hehe! Caticlan airport, which is nearer to Boracay, also serves commercial flights but the airfare is quite expensive so we chose the Kalibo route.

After disembarking from the aircraft, we proceeded to the arrival section of the airport, we looked around where to catch a ride for Caticlan. Along the exit area, travellers have lots of options to choose, either ride a bus or hire a van or  a package of van plus boat transfer, we chose the latter because it was more convenient (Php250.00 each person for this package).

At the Caticlan jetty port, we paid P100 for terminal fee and P75.00 for environmental fee. The boat ride took only 10 minutes. After disembarking from the boat, we hired a multicab to reach the beach area (fare is approximately P100.00 each).

Boracay at sunrise
So nice to have a morning walk at the sugary sand without footwear

There was a man named Sonny who worked for the tourism department of the local government and whose job is to help assist visitors. He guided us from the van to the Caticlan port and to Boracay, he also helped us find hotel because we did not book online. He brought us to Villa de Oro at station 2 located at the beachfront besides La Carmela. 

One good advantage of not booking online is that you can still have many choices where to stay, you can still change your mind what option to take. We visited La Camela first but it was already full so Sonny introduced us to another villa. Since it was no longer a peak season, resorts at Boracay offered promotional packages to visitors who will book personally. We got a cheaper rate at Villa de Oro. We stayed in a loft style villa good for 6 people, it has an original rate of Php7,000.00 and it was given to us for only Php 4,800.00, the package included breakfast and dinner.

We were amused with the villa's Mongolian buffet at dinner time because we're the one to choose and mix our vegetables and noodles. During our first night, it was truly an adventure haha!We mixed whatever ingredients displayed at the counter and brought it to the waiting chef and puff! the taste was strange haha! At breakfast time we had two choices: Filipino and American starters and I tried both starters for two mornings hehe!
On our last day, I chose American style breakfast  with hot tea

Villa de Oro loft where we stayed for three days and two nights.
comfortable and relaxing accommodation. Free breakfast and dinner!

There are lots of vendors/agents offering packages for daytime adventure/activities as soon as visitors enter the place.

The usual package offered by the locals:

Activities                   Rate             Duration

Island hopping    Php 1,200.00      3 hours (rate of one boat per group)
Snorkeling          Php    120.00      30 minutes
Helmet Diving    Php     700.00      15 minutes
Banana Boat      Php     500.00      15 minutes
Para sailing        Php 1,500.00       15 minutes  

We chose three activities: Island hopping, Helmet diving and Banana Boat. It costs us around Php 1,371.00 each. The island hopping lasted 3 hours, we passed at the crocodile island and at the crystal cove where we hopped in and spent lunch. We resumed after lunch and passed at the famous beach resort of Manny Pacquiao, the West Cove, and at the exclusive resort of Shangri-La. The island hopping was followed by Banana boat ride and Helmet diving.

At the crystal cove along Ilig-iligan beach during our island hopping

Preparing for our helmet diving adventure hehe

Helmet diving is a bit scary because you have to go down to the deep blue water wearing a pressurized helmet, a slight error can be very fatal. Before plunging into the water, a short orientation will be given first to the visitors explaining the basic movements and actions while underwater. I was so nervous that I did not immediately catch the instruction so I kept on asking my companions about those critical reminders hehe!
Helmet diving!

I’m telling you it was really terrifying! When it was our turn to go down, I hesitated at first but because it was non-refundable I forced myself to calm down and control my fears. Honestly, despite the orientation, I was oblivious what to do so when the helmet was put on my head scare for my safety stroke in my mind, I gripped hardly on the iron handle and did not release my hand so the diver pulled my body down and gently guided me. It was terrible because the helmet was so heavy and it felt like my eardrums were about to explode due to pressure! I was holding my breath and struggled to touch my feet on the sea bed. But when I saw Anelyn smiled and gestured the “OK” sign, I released a deep sigh of relief and slowly smiled back and realized it's safe to breath underwater hehe!

The diver had to pull us together constantly because we kept on moving due to the strong current of water and we could not be put together for the picture and video taking hehe! So nerve wracking!!! We were given slices of bread to feed the fishes but I was not concentrating, I was thinking more of going up back to the boat. We did not consume the 15 minutes, it was too much for our nervous system so I touched Anelyn's hand to send a signal to the diver to pull us up. Once back to the boat we could not help ourselves but poke fun with each other and laughed hardly on our bloopers!

Boracay is so lively at night. Tourists packed the bar lounges and street enjoying the music, the food, drinks, partying until early dawn. Yeah it was so vibrant, full of energy. The crowd is restless and foreigners enjoy the night away, but we did not savor this moment anyway, after walking around, observing people, watching the fun and scrutinizing the area, we went back to the villa and retired to bed, we're too tired to join the crowd spreading wildness haha!
Island hopping!
Walking around The Mall and high-end boutiques

Boracay is not your typical beach resort where the accommodation is ultra-exclusive, it is a city island where visitors are free to walk along the beach with their bikinis and swim trunks and just roam around the long coastline. The island also offers high end boutiques, Souvenirs shop and restaurants. The activities offered are simply amazing!

For visitors who dreamed to experience the best of Boracay choose hotels or villas from station one or station two, these are nearer to party junctions, restaurants and shopping destinations plus the scene at night is more fascinating and exciting.

Here's my itemized cost for each person based on our trip:

1. Roundtrip airfare from Manila to Kalibo (Zestair promo rates)  Php 1,656.00
2. Van plus boat transfer package from Kalibo to Caticlan            Php    250.00
3. Terminal Fee (from Caticlan jetty port to Boracay)                  Php    100.00
4. Environmental Fee (one time only)                                         Php      75.00
5. Accommodation (Villa de Oro) loft style villa good for 6           Php 1,600.00
6. Lunch at Crystal Cove                                                           Php     200.00
7. Island Hopping                                                                      Php     200.00
8. Banana boat ride                                                                   Php     500.00
9. Helmet diving                                                                       Php     700.00
10. Meals (for three days)                                                         Php     600.00
11. Multicab fare (from the port to Boracay and vice versa)         Php     200.00                        
12. Boat transfer (to Caticlan port)                                             Php       25.00
13. Terminal Fee - port (yes, you have to pay twice)                   Php     100.00
14. Van (from Caticlan to Kalibo)                                              Php      175.00
15. Terminal Fee (airport)                                                         Php        40.00
16. Shopping for souvenirs                                                        Php      700.00

TOTAL: Php 7,121.00 each person
boarding Zest Air going back to Manila
At the Kalibo International Airport @ 4:00 am 

We left Boracay on the 4th of July at 5:00 in the afternoon and travelled back to Kalibo for our flight back to Manila. The moment we arrived at the Caticlan airport thunderstorm greeted us, it was so awful, the weather turned pretty bad.

We rested at the nearby restaurant in Kalibo and went to the airport at 4:00 in the early morning. We had no sleep but still energetic when we boarded Zest Air back to Manila at 6:00 on the morning! Such a spectacular, relaxing experience at Boracay!

Thanks to Anelyn Arcon!!!

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