Travelling to Boracay, Philippines

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Boracay Jetty Port

Made a decision to set Boracay in Philippines as the travel destination in 2017 last year. I vaguely remembered it was jotted down in my travel list during varsity life, like few years ago. Ariel's Point was the first one in that list because I really want to do that cliff diving, as bungee jumping wasn't in my list anymore. Oh whyy. It's simply because courage dwindles as I grow. Noooo. Still reminding myself 'heyy just do it' when the moment comes because sky diving is still in my list.

Another travel milestones achieved this year. It definitely will be a more peaceful 6D5N journey if I stepped onto it few years ago... Ungentrified island. Now, we really have to be well prepared that we were actually exploring a hustle bustle tiny island, surrounded by stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water, fuelled by traffic chaos and human crowds. It gonna be even worse during weekend and peak season, as we were told by local. I must say we've been really lucky to visit Boracay during a low season (appx 30% flock). It is the end of October, there're rain and drizzle, but it's alright, we were blessed with some good lucks.

6D5N probably too long if water sports weren't the cup of tea. 5D4N would be just nice, with well planned itinerary and good island tour. By the way, I really got to strengthen haggling skills. Everyone is friendly and polite, but everyone needs to earn for a living isn't? Vendors everywhere. You can't really trust anyone (what I mean is to be smart and alert). To be really frank, we all do saving for a worthy trip. Every penny counts. Hope those who set sky high price understand this. (I'm going to share the reasonable price of tours here.)

Anyway, It was still a worth remembering journey, with little joys found exploring the natures, street foods, cultures, buildings and people.

Top 8 things to know while travelling to Boracay:

  1. Transportation from Kalibo airport -> Caticlan Jetty Port -> boat to Boracay Jetty Port will cost not more than 250 peso/pax.
  2. Tricycles are taxi.
  3. Transportation from Boracay Jetty Port to station 3 shall not be more than 150 peso/tricycle trip (less than 10 mins journey).
  4. There is a huge difference in cost for transportation between Boracay Island and mainland. It's much more reasonable in mainland, we spent 100 peso/pax for a 1.5 hour journey from Caticlan Jetty Port to Kalibo town, and 10 peso/pax for a less than 1km trip!
  5. Haggling skill needed.
  6. While boarding from Kalibo Airport, everyone has to pay the international terminal fee, 700 peso/pax. (keep some balance before leaving Philippines!)
  7. Learn some name of the local food before ordering - curiosity kills
  8. D'Mall isn't a mall, it's actually rows of outdoor shops and restaurants arranged around a central.

We went for an island tour, some got it for 500 peso, we got it for 800 peso. 
It includes the trip to
- Crocodile Island (snorkeling fee 40 peso/pax)
- Puka Beach
- Magic Island (Cliff diving 150 peso/pax)
- Crystal Cove Island aka Laurel Island (200 peso/pax)
- Lunch

There are also other activities can be done
- ATV slow and steady ride up to Mt Luho (120 peso/pax for ATV riding)
- Zipline (something like flyingfox) and Cable Car (return)
- Parasailing
- Sunset sailing on a yacht
- Kiteboarding
- Paddle boarding
- Pub Crawling

I'm in love with this crystal clear water.

Here are some places that I'd been (my top 6 favourite):

Puka Beach

My favourite beach in Boracay is Puka Beach, also known as Yapak Beach, in the northern tip of the island away from the busy and crowded Boracay Stations 1, 2 and 3.
I got to try paddling boarding there (150 peso), met a nice kuya (it means brother) who brought me further away from the shore, swimmed and dived with me despite a sudden downpour! I feel like a Robinson Crusoe at one moment when he was pushed away by the strong wave. It was a fun experience that I can checked out what are at the seabed - sea urchins, starfishes, sea creatures, cute little fishes and some corals (dead or dull coloured).

Generally, coral's brilliant color comes from the zooxanthellae (tiny algae) living inside their tissues. Several million zooxanthellae live and produce pigments in just one square inch of coral. These pigments are visible through the clear body of the polyp and are what gives coral its beautiful color. 

Paddle boarding

This is a living baby starfish!

Watched this baby doing tiny movement.
I returned it to the sea after awhile.

White Beach

The sun set at around 5.40pm here. We did Sunset sailing on a yacht at the White Beach (almost everyone did). Remember to take note on how long is the journey. I definitely wish we could sail further away and spend longer time catching the sunset. I ended up soaking myself in the water under the beautiful red orange hue, it's a little dangerous during that hour as most of the yachts and boats are getting their parking.

HDR effect

There is a Willy's Rock near the Station 1. It is an oddly shaped volcanic formation with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on one corner. I wanted to have a look and Norman said it's just a few rocks. Yeah he was right. And it was impossible to get a nice photo without someone photobooming, but I'd got a lit bit of luck.

Bulabog Beach

Crystal clear water, long stretched of shallow beach with algae bloom, good for kiteboarding. Not suitable for swimming or soaking in the water. I was told by the local that this beach is blocked by a bay, causing it to be shallow and filled with algae. I borrowed a pair of covered shoes from Aissatou Beach Resort, walked in the water, hunted for some sea urchins and starfishes. 

Bulabog Beach

Crystal Cove Island aka Laurel Island
(Entrance fee 200 peso/pax)

The cove in this island is my favourite place if it wasn't packed with crazy amount of people. It's a little windy when we were there, wave get stronger and water level increasing. Rocks, blue water, clear sky, fresh air, adequate amount of sunlight, these made the best combination. I must have spend longer time here if I wasn't following an island tour package. 

Mt Luho - ATV ride
(150 peso/pax)

The highest place in Boracay, we got up to the viewpoint of Mt Luho with ATV. Not an adventurous ride, slow and steady 15 mins ride from a bird park and trick art museum up to the viewpoint of Mt Luho. (Bird park and trick art museum shouldn't be one of a tourist spot in Boracay. It is not well-maintained.) There are two viewpoints, it will be good if you can go to the highest one.

Let me drive faster okay? - Noooo rule set a speed limit 20km/h.

Cliff Diving in Magic Island
(Entrance fee 200 peso/pax)

I actually wanted to go to Ariel's Point for cliff diving. A cheaper tour option is to do it in Magic Island. It was raining but we did it anyway. The first step needs so much of courage! I was in fear before letting my feet off from the board. Feel like committing suicide gosh. #iamnotbraveenoughactually

If it scares you it might be a good thing to try?

Swimsuits and sport bra almost all the time here :'D I realized that the best idea to motivate one's to exercise is by putting on sportswear, psychologically boosts the initiative to enter a physically active mood lol.

I did learn a few basic Tagalog phrases but no worries everyone speaks English. We had good food and we chose the budget way. It was better and cheaper than those hype one.

Physically active all time here. Travelling does make me healthier. Not only because we walked a lot and spent much time strolling around the beach and D'Mall, it's also because we hardly get good snacks with reasonable price (except some in 7-Eleven). Shall bring this no-snacks habit back to daily life.


He said we are partner in crime.

I love water. He loves hiking. He can endure the long journey during a hike.
I like hiking too. I'm lacking of aerobic capacity. 
Some differences and some similarities, they made us. #bond

Our last day was in Kalibo town, just a short while experiencing Philippines' cultures off the well-worn path. Sige, hanggang samuli, Philippines.

Where shall be the next?
I'm in love with the Travel 3sixty magazine on the plane. It triggered my urge to save for another adventure. There are good beaches, beautiful sunset, uncountable hidden gems in Malaysia. Considering cuti-cuti Malaysia next time (Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang are hidden gems)!

Unavoidable sunlight and tanned skin

"Use one word to lift your spirit."

Slow down and derive pleasure from simple everyday things. It wasn't a perfect journey but I enjoyed it. Like enjoying some good food, savouring it, or laughing with loved one. I hope I remember this for life. Because slowing down seems to be hard for me. #fidgetingalltime

This probably will be the last oversea journey for 2017.
Kumusta, life.

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