Boracay Island -- located in Malay, Aklan, Western Visayas. Boracay is just seven kilometers long, and less than a kilometer wide at its narrowest point - a postcard-sized tropical paradise.
To celebrate our 5 years together (and my 24th birthday), me and Gian had a blast last month in Boracay. We planned this excursion 3 months ahead of time. This was our first getaway together because we, wanted this one to be a rather special anniversary.
Day 0: Baguio to Manila03:00 AM - Good morning!
05:00 AM - Check in at Joy Bus Terminal
06:00 AM - ETD: BAGUIO to PASAY
11:00 AM - ETA: NAIA Terminal 3
12:00 PM - Check in at DG Budget Hotel
03:30 PM - Salem Domestic Complex to Mall of Asia
03:35 PM - Mall of Asia
09:40 PM - Mall of Asia to Salem Domestic Complex
10:00 PM - Arrival at Salem Domestic Complex
So I was so excited! I woke up at 3:00 AM took a cold bath and made sure I didn't forget anything for this escapade with the boyfriend. I was at the bus station an hour earlier before my departure and I haven't had any breakfast yet. I bought some chips and a chocolate drink just to satisfy my grumbling stomach.
When I arrived in Manila the traffic was so heavy that I needed to use the bus's toilet 2 times until I finally reached my destination at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay. The bus stopped at the departure area and I need to get to Salem Domestic Guesthouse Budget Hotel near NAIA Terminal 4 (based on Google Maps) and I don't know where that is. So how do I get there? What I did was to Google how to transfer from terminal 3 to terminal 4 without taking any taxi cabs which can cost hella expensive. From the departure area, I went down to the arrival area. Outside the arrival hall I took an Airport Loop bus at the bus station bay and I paid only PhP 20.00 for fare.
Finally I reached Terminal 4. I asked a personnel where Salem Complex located is. Luckily, it was just in front of terminal 4. So I just took the footbridge connecting NAIA terminal 4 and Salem Complex (where the hotel is located).
I stayed in the hotel before going to Mall of Asia, where me and Gian will meet up and have a little date after his work.
Day 1: Arrival04:00 AM - Good morning!
06:30 AM - Breakfast
07:15 AM - Check out at DG Budget Hotel
07:30 AM - DG Budget Hotel to NAIA Terminal 3
08:45 AM - Check in at NAIA Terminal 3
10:55 AM - ETD: MANILA to KALIBO
12:05 PM - ETA: Kalibo International Airport
01:00 PM - Kalibo to Caticlan
03:00 PM - Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Jetty Port
03:15 PM - Cagban Jetty Port to hotel
04:30 PM - Check in at Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay
05:30 PM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
06:30 PM - Food shopping at D'Talipapa Seafood Market
08:00 PM - Dinner
09:00 PM - Bay walk
Gian and I checked-out at DG Budget Hotel and we used Uber (because it's way cheaper than Grab) to NAIA Terminal 3. Our departure flight was scheduled at 10:55 AM. We were at the airport at 8:45 AM and we just grab some refreshments at Starbucks, hang out a little, and took selfies before heading to the pre-departure area.
Our plane got delayed for 30 minutes and at 11:15 AM we boarded the plane.
Touchdown Kalibo Airport at 12:45 PM!
Outside the airport there were rows of tour operator stalls where you can arrange your airport to hotel transfers and vice versa. As for us, I already arranged one through Azalea Boracay, two weeks before our travel. The transfers includes environmental fees and terminal fees. I called the hotel if there's someone going to pick us up, and they informed us that they made our transfer via Southwest tours. We approached the Southwest booth and I saw my name on a board. Tadah! I feel so "VIP". Haha. So I just presented my ID at the booth and the personnel gave as a bus boarding pass.
There's a 2 hour journey from Kalibo to Caticlan Jetty Port. Most passengers where catching up their sleep (and Gian too) but I would rather stay awake and enjoy the countryside view of Aklan.
We had a bus stop for 15 minutes and thank heavens because I really needed a toilet break before we continue for another hour of journey.
We arrived at Caticlan Jetty Port at 3 PM and waited for a few minutes while the guides our preparing for our boat for a 15 minute ride to Cagban Port in Boracay Island.
And here we go!
At Cagban Port, we waited while Southwest arranged our ride to the hotel. By the way, our transfer is not exclusive because private transfers are more pricey compared to shared transfers.
It's already 4:30 PM when we checked in at the Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay. We were upgraded from a deluxe suite to a 2 bedroom apartment type suite. Yep, for free! And it was so huge! We got our own kitchen, dining area, and living area, 48 inch flat screen TV, and 2 more TVs (one for each bedroom). Plus, there's a free buffet breakfast and we get to use the roof top pool for free (which is not offered for deluxe suites). Yay!
After a short swim at the hotel, we can't wait but explore Boracay. But we realized we didn't have any lunch yet and we're hella hungry. So Gian and I decided to go to D'Talipapa Seafood Market instead to shop for food for the next 3 days instead of eating outside the hotel which can cost us more. Besides we got our own kitchen and complete set of pots and utensils.
Day 2: Adventure08:00 AM - Breakfast
10:00 AM - Backbeach - Snorkeling Site
11:00 AM - Crystal Cove
12:30 AM - Lunch
01:50 PM - Puka Shell Beach
03:00 PM - Boracay Station 1
03:30 PM - D'Mall and D'Talipapa
05:00 PM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
06:30 PM - Stroll
07:30 PM - Cooked dinner at the hotel
08:30 PM - Dinner
09:30 PM - Movie and beer at the hotel
After breakfast, we went outside to find some Boracay activities. Then we rode a tricycle for PhP 70.00 going to Back Beach (Bulabog Beach). Little did we know that, it is just across White Beach and you can reach it by walking. We're tourists. Haha. Bulabog beach is where all the action is. All the activities Boracay has to offer is here: banana boat, fly fish, parasailing. Prices for the activities are reasonable and you can agree on a package price if you book at least one activity.
Since Gian and I were both a "budgetarian" we opted to take an island hopping excursion which cost only PhP 800 pesos ($16) per pax and it includes a buffet and drinks courtesy of Shingley Helmet Diving and Tours. Gian really wanted to try the helmet diving and that would cost us PhP 1,600 ($32) each but I got kinda wussy to try it out because of an accident I heard of from my colleague. So yeah, nope and nope.
Our first stop was fish feeding and snorkeling. This is an optional activity so there's an additional charge of PhP 20.00 each. Their snorkeling gears were old and it's not clear enough to see underwater, so it is best if you just bring your own.
Then we visited Crystal Island. If you want to tour the whole of Crystal Island you have to pay PhP 200 each at the entrance. As for us and few other tourists we just opted to take a swim on its shores (because it's free) while waiting for the others.
For lunch, we went to the mainland Malay, in a food stop called "Piknikan". It is located at the old port of Caticlan. Here we feast on a buffet of rice, pork and chicken barbecues, fish, some veggies, and more. The food here is not as you expected. Just right to satisfy your hunger. The drinks you get are limited though; one drinking bottled water and one 8 ounce of soda, per stub. Gian and I were given 2 stubs each, so we got 4 bottled water and 4 sodas.
*BORACAY ISLAND HOPPING TIP: There was no communication about pick-up times. Instead, we we're advised that each stop/activity would take for an hour only and then we move to the next. So always keep track of your own time to avoid getting left behind.
After lunch, we headed to Puka Beach where we enjoyed its untainted waters, quiet surroundings, and its beautiful scenery.
Puka Beach is the second longest beach in Boracay with a total of 800 meters of land area. It is located on the northern side of the island.
Here, there are different bar shacks in the area where you can grab some drinks or fresh coconuts while immersing your self with Puka Beach's beauty. By the way, it is named Puka Beach after its abundant Puka shells which are found here.
Oh Boracay, you are truly magnificent. The crystal clear blue waters makes me want to take you home.
At 3 PM, the boat dropped us off at Boracay Station 1. We then took this opportunity to enjoy Boracay's fine shores before going back to the hotel to rest our tired feet, have dinner, and back to explore Boracay again.
Look at me cooking Pinakbet for our dinner. Yes, this is the first time in 5 years that Gian will get to taste my own cooking.
Day 3: Departure07:00 AM - Breakfast at Kuya J Restaurant
08:00 AM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
10:00 AM - Hotel check out
11:30 AM - Hotel to Cagban Jetty Port
12:10 PM - Cagban Jetty Port to Caticlan Jetty Port
12:30 PM - Caticlan to Kalibo International Airport
02:00 PM - Kalibo International Airport
02:10 PM - Lunch outside Kalibo International Airport
03:00 PM - Check-in at Kalibo International Airport
05:05 PM - ETD: KALIBO to MANILA
06:20 PM - ETA: Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4
Last day. After breakfast at Azalea's Kuya J Restaurant, Gian and I waded in the roof top pool and enjoy the hotel for the last time before we checked out.
The hotel informed us that our airport transfer will going to pick us up at 11:30 and we check out at 10:00. We really regretted checking out early because we got bored for an hour and a half at the lobby. We should have checked out 15 minutes early before 11:30.
See, I'm now colored with life. Haha.
Oh I really want to extend our vacation. "Nakakabitin"... but it needs to come to an end. Although it pains me to leave the island, I am sure I'll be back here in this 24/7 paradise some day and maybe get to enjoy its nightlife which I didn't experience and experience all Boracay has to offer.