Philippines 2013: Flying from Manila to Boracay, White Beach

Date: 20th May 2013

Although I told myself I would avoid as many early wake-ups as possible on this Philippines trip, I knew there would be certain days I would have no choice but to wake up at dawn. Today was one such day. Janet and I had to leave together at 6am. I had to be at NAIA Terminal 2 for my 11:45am PAL Express flight to Boracay, and Janet had to be in office by 7:30am.

Once we reached Manila, Janet and I took the MRT to Pasay.

Wow.

The morning rush. I barely had any space to stand, and was squeezed in an awkward position for much of the journey. I was sweating and just hoping Pasay would reach soon. When we did, I got out and stretched for a while to ease my aching back. Then I thanked Janet for hosting me and we said our goodbyes. She took a jeepney to office and I took a jeepney going to the airport.

NAIA Terminal 2 departures
I checked in and hung around upstairs as I still had plenty of time
DHC 8-300 Philippines Airlines plane Manila
When it was time to board the flight, I realized I would be flying one of these — a Bombardier DHC 8-300
Taking off from Manila naia airport
The take off was a bit rattling
Flying over Philippines
But the flight smoothed out later
Aerial view Philippines clouds blue ocean
Philippines looks beautiful above ground just as it does down below
DHC 8-300 engine fan spinning
I played around with the camera’s shutter speed
DHC 8-300 engine fan freeze frame
This is shot at 1/8000th of a second πŸ™‚
Cloud above island Philippines
I love island spotting
Aklan Kalibo island Philippines
It’s barely an hour-long flight to Aklan province
Caticlan beach Philippines
I was excited to visit Boracay

Godofredo Ramos airport Caticlan Philippines
PAL Express lands at Caticlan airport, which is the airport closest to Boracay island. There is another airport in Kalibo, which is where my return journey would be from when leaving Boracay in 3 days time.
Caticlan airport road Philippines
From the airport, you have to take a tricycle taxi to get to the boat terminal

There’s all sorts of fees visitors to Boracay have to pay before even arriving at the actual island. A sum total of β‚±75+25+50+100 is what I paid for everything including the environment fee, boat ride to Cagban jetty (on Boracay island), terminal fee, and trike ride to the boat terminal.

Caticlan to Boracay boat
‘Walked the plank’ to get on the transfer boat
Caticlan to Boracay boat taxis
It’s a short ride
Inside boat to Boracay Philippines
The tourists were a good mix of Filipinos as well as foreigners
Tricycle road Boracay Philippines
Then from the jetty, it’s another tricycle taxi ride to the hotel
Boracay map with hotels
I was staying near White Beach, Boracay’s biggest and most popular beach. For the sake of geographical convenience, the nearly 4km long White Beach is split into Station 1, Station 2 (center) and Station 3 — because these used to be points where boats would dock.

When I was researching on where to stay, Station 1 was described as the most expensive and the most crowded spot was around Station 2. I chose a place that was kind of in between Stations 1 and 2, because it had all the conveniences I needed within walking distance, but was away from the noise.

Boracay traffic beach road
I had reservations at a “hostel” / “resort” (Why both are in quotes, you’ll see in a bit)
Frendz resort hostel Boracay Philippines
The trike dropped me at a sign for Frendz Resort. From the Beach Road, it was easy to find the hotel a few metres away (heading towards the beach).
Frendz  Resort rooms Boracay Philippines
The reviews online were quite nice and I was happy to find the place quite like how it was described
Frendz Resort Boracay Philippines
I checked in after paying the balance 90% due from my Hostels.com reservation
Frendz guesthouse dorm bedroom Boracay Philippines
And this is what β‚±600 a night gets you around Station 1 in Boracay. I chose the corner bed.

Is β‚±600 (Rs. 850/$13/€10) a night a bit high for a bed on the floor? Sure, but this is what you get on this side of Boracay. And Boracay – in general – is expensive!

Frendz Resort lounge Boracay Philippines
Otherwise Frendz Resort was quite nice. The staff were helpful and the only irk I had was the wi-fi signal being very weak in my room. They had a lounge area with wi-fi books, board games, music, pool table, and a restaurant and bar (which was priced quite high). Most of the guests were European backpackers.
Path to White Beach Boracay
After dumping my bags, I decided to hit the beach
White beach Alchemy station 1 Boracay-philippines
White Beach is only a minutes’ walk from Frendz Resort
South Korean couple matching clothes Boracay
I wasn’t at the absolute north end of White Beach or anything, but I was happy with the location overall. And yes, that’s a South Korean couple. They take matching couple clothing very seriously πŸ™‚
Andoks White beach Boracay
This part of White Beach has enough and more restaurants, bars and generally, more buzz. (This was an Andok’s)
Dmall White Beach Boracay
D’mall was very close by as well. It’s a strip with plenty of shops, currency exchange centres and more eateries.
D'mall shops White Beach Boracay
Not that I planned to do much shopping
Beach road Boracay station 1 Philippines
You can walk through D’mall to get to the main road
Crafts of Boracay supermarket Boracay Philippines
Like I said, staying on the Station 1-2 side has a lot of conveniences
Tilapia n chips Boracay Philippines
After checking out a few menus, I ended up sitting here for lunch. I only wanted to eat seafood the next 3 days, but it was disappointing to see just how expensive seafood was here. (Something you’ll see me complaining about for the rest of my journey across Philippines)
Fish fillet sandwich Boracay Philippines
A sumptuous fish fillet sandwich and a beer cost me β‚±327 (Rs. 450/$7/€5)
Barber meat shop Boracay Philippines
Post lunch, I walked around some more
Footbikini Boracay Philippines
Footbikini?
White beach Boracay Philippines
Both the sand and the waters on White Beach feel splendid
White beach panorama Philippines
White Beach is really long and I intended to walk it all before leaving
I love Boracay sand art Philippines
I was feeling a bit sleepy after lunch, so I decided to head back to my room
Couple clothing South Korean Boracay
Oh Koreans πŸ™‚

After a short nap, I did some work. Yes, my freelancing gigs mean working a little even while I travel. It’s the compromise I made when I decided not to join a fixed job at a corporate office for a while. Anyway, I did step out again later at night for dinner.

For all the hype Boracay gets as a party island, I didn’t find a whole lot of partying going on after sunset. Sure, there are live bands playing at fancy beachfront restaurants, but they largely catered to a family crowd, and played your usual cover songs. The nightclubs seemed few.

Empty nightclub Boracay
This was an empty nightclub on Station 1

Disappointed by the lack of thumping music, I had a quiet dinner at a Greek restaurant called Cyro’s. I don’t know where the photo I took at Cyro’s went, but did make a note of eating something that cost β‚±380.

After dinner, I booked an island tour for tomorrow morning. There was little else to do, so I went back to my room and did some more work before going to sleep.

Next post(s) in this series:

Philippines 2013: Boracay island tour, Puka beach and snorkelling

Beachfront hotels and resorts on White Beach, Boracay

Philippines 2013: Leaving Boracay; Kalibo to Angeles City

Philippines 2013: Arriving at Legazpi; going to Donsol to see whale sharks

Philippines 2013: Lignon Hill Park, Cagsawa Ruins and Mount Mayon

Philippines 2013: Aerial view of Mount Mayon; arriving at Coron

Previous posts in this series:

Philippines 2013: Taal Lake Volcano and Peoples Park, Tagaytay

The crap I went through to get my Philippines tourist visa this time

Related Posts with Thumbnails

3 Comments

  • Escape Hunter

    17/01/2014

    Boracay is a dream place πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  • Sravan Rajnayan

    09/10/2014

    Hey Mithun,

    Pretty cool insights, and I love the way you write.
    Maybe I can be your travel buddy the next time you decide to go somewhere.

    Cheers to you…

    [Reply]

  • travel

    29/07/2015

    I always spent my half an hour to read this web site’s articles or reviews
    daily along with a mug of coffee.

    [Reply]

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