Philippines 2013: Leaving Boracay; Kalibo to Angeles City

Date: 23rd May, 2013

I had some fun in Boracay these past three days, but I was kind of happy to leave the island. The humidity, the lack of proper sleep because of the same, and the sand… ugh, my body yearned for a proper shower and a thorough shampoo rinse. It was time to head back to ‘the city’.

I checked out from Frendz Resort, and made my way to boat jetty. I took a tricycle taxi, and for once paid the local fare of 25 pesos for the ride.

Boracay boat jetty
After paying ₱100 terminal fee + ₱25 boat ticket, I was finally leaving Boracay island
Boracay Aklan boat ride
And heading back to Caticlan jetty
Caticlan boat jetty Philippines
Back at Caticlan

Although I flew into Caticlan airport when coming to Boracay, my Air Asia flight to Clark was going to be from Kalibo airport, located in the north of Aklan province — which is an hour plus drive from Caticlan. Not to worry as there are several van taxis just outside Caticlan jetty. Most of them charge the same ₱175 for the journey.

Kalibo bakery Aklan Philippines
Even though the van is supposed to be air-conditioned, it was still kinda hot inside
Kalibo hospital Aklan Philippines
The journey took more than an hour

Still, we arrived at Kalibo airport with enough time to check in. I didn’t feel like going in just yet, so I had my lunch from a restaurant right across from the airport.

Bangus fry rice meal Philippines
I ordered a bangus fish fry rice meal; cost ₱150
Kalibo airport departures Philippines
Check-in was a breeze. The airport usage fee is ₱40. And this is how crowded the departures lounge was. I went upstairs and sat there as it was less crowded.
Zest Airways plane take off Kalibo
It seems some carriers fly only to Kalibo while a few (smaller planes mostly) land at Caticlan airport
AirAsia flight Kalibo airport
My flight was on time
Kalibo aerial view Aklan Philippines
Goodbye Aklan

Leaving Aklan shore aerial view

view-from-flight-philippines-island

Afternoon flight over sea Philippines island
It’s a short flight to Clark international
Flying over island clouds Philippines
Island after island, Philippines is just beautiful
Volcano lake island aerial view Philippines
Wait, is that Taal lake volcano?
View from plane Philippines
It was time to land
Landing at Clark airport Philippines
Landed at Clark airport at 4:50pm-ish
Diosdado Macapagal international airport Clark Philippines
Actually called Diosdado Macapagal International Airport
Clark airport arrival container
Oh, we have to enter through a container? Erm, okay.

I had requested my hotel for a pick-up from the airport.

PJ Hotel Angeles city Philippines
This is where I was staying. Turns out it’s owned by a Korean.
Tiger hotel Angeles city
And judging by the gaudy design of the hotel next door, I’m going to assume this one is owned by South Koreans as well
PJ Hotel Inn bedroom Angeles city
This room costs ₱1100 (Rs. 1560/$25/€18) a night, but I didn’t care. After 3 nights of Boracay humidity and sand, I was happy to be back in modern, non-sandy comfort.
PJ hotel room Angeles City
The amenities were standard and the wi-fi was great!

As soon as I had checked in, I asked the hotel receptionist to to inquire about the trek to Mt. Pinatubo, which is what I planned to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, the receptionist later called to my room after speaking to their the travel agent and told me there weren’t any tours planned for tomorrow as nobody else had inquired about the Mt. Pinatubo trek today.

Disappointed to hear that, I stepped out and tried my luck at a few other travel agencies and tour operators. Same story, and one even told me I was “late”. The season it seems was winding down. (Second time I heard that on this trip :-(). The agencies told me they need at least 4 people to justify a trip as it’s a long trek. The only other way I could go to Mt. Pinatubo was if I was willing to cough up the entire ₱3800 pesos — which is what it costs per trip. Some places said ₱4000 pesos, so around ₱1000 per person — which is what I was hoping to pay.

That was too high (obviously) and I was hesitant to go to such terrain all by myself or with only a guide in tow. Also, one of the travel agents informed me if it rains tomorrow, then we can’t do the trek. I wasn’t going to risk all that for the kind of money they were charging.

Disappointed, I walked to SM City to get some comfort food.

Charcoal grilled chicken sisig Angeles city
Lots of street food on the road leading up to my hotel
Deep fried chicken street hawker Philippines
But I sought to eat from cleaner places

Maingate friendship terminal traffic Angeles City

SM City clark mall Angeles City
SM City Clark is the largest mall in Angeles City
SM City Clark theme park
It’s got the usual gamut of stores — and then some

There were quite a few eateries at SM City but I spotted a busy vendor selling beef shawarmas for ₱58 and they looked yum. I also picked up a 2pc chicken+rice KFC meal for ₱129. Then dropped by a 7-Eleven and picked a Coors beer (₱40) and a Magnum ice cream (₱58).

Coor KFC shawarma dinner
This was dinner. Why KFC? Because in India, KFC no longer sells the Original Recipe anymore — only the spicy variants.

Date: 24th May, 2013

The next morning I woke up to a call from one of the travel agents I approached yesterday regarding the tour to Mt. Pinatubo and she informed me they still didn’t get anybody else for today’s trip. So my only choice was to go alone and pay for the whole trip which would cost nearly ₱4000 (Rs.5600/$92/€68). I said no, because that’s just too much money for one guy to spend for a trek.

I was disappointed. I really want to see this — but now I couldn’t. It didn’t help it rained today morning either :-/ Yet another sign I came to Philippines a bit late. The only consolation, I told myself, is that Angeles City is only 1.5 hours by bus from Manila. I could even do a trip to Mt. Pinatubo by joining a tour group from Manila.

I had the Magnum ice cream for my breakfast, did some work and stepped out after the rain stopped. The sun was out again and I decided to have an early lunch. I checked out a few restaurant along the main road, but ended up at an English pub.

Raining Angeles City pub
Not because I really wanted to have my lunch here, but it began raining again — and I wasn’t carrying an umbrella! Foolish me.
Sheperds Pie Angeles City Brass Knob
I had a Sheperds Pie and beer

I left when the rains stopped. I spend the rest of the afternoon in the room working. The wi-fi was really good, so I had to make the most out of it.

I stepped out again in the evening to get some fresh air because for some reason, it got a little claustrophobic inside the room. Maybe it was the lack of ventilation or the fact that some of the tiles in my room were not placed properly (there was a slight bump in the floor) which gave me a feeling of vertigo.

Angeles City market rainy evening
It was raining quite heavily, but this time I carried an umbrella
Shawarma Angeles City Philippines
One the way back, I bought a shawarma from another joint, but this one was owned by a Turk
Jollibee shawarma meal
Picked up a chicken and rice meal from Jollibee. I stayed away from ice-cold beer because I began to develop a runny nose.

Date: 25th May, 2013

The next morning, I decided to head back to Bulacan because Janet told me there’s a van service going straight from the Dau bus terminal to Bulacan.

Angeles City neighborhood Philippines
But before leaving, I found out there was a Citibank branch and ATM in Angeles City
Citibank Angeles City branch Philippines
In Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong, Citibank allows its customers to withdraw in local currency at no extra charge. But in Philippines, I incurred a 150 pesos withdrawal fee.
Pagcor casino Angeles City
You have a few casinos in Angeles City
Walking street Angeles City
I walked through Walking Street to get back to my hotel

I collected my bags from the hotel and said my goodbyes. As I stepped out, I met the driver who picked me up from the airport the day before and asked if the hotel could drop me to the Mabalacat Bus Terminal in Dau, a few minutes drive away. He gladly offered to!

Filipino taxi driver
I forgot his name but we briefly spoke about our lives and he told me about how big his family is, and how many kids he has… despite being younger to me and earning a lot less. I couldn’t help but advice him about something called ‘family planning’.

Anyway, I told him I had to go to Bulacan and he knew exactly where to drop me. I got off, thanked him for getting me to the right station, tipped him, and I boarded a van taxi to Bulacan. I got down at Caypombo as Janet told me to, and I walked to her place. I decided to spend the night at Janet’s house as I developed a slight cold. I figured it would be better to stay somewhere I could eat right and had access to hot water when needed.

Date: 26th May, 2013

SM City North edsa mall Manila
The next day, Janet and I went to SM North EDSA mall to watch ‘Fast & Furious 6’
Yellow Cab pizza Philippines
The movie was shit, so I’m glad the Yellow Cab Pizza we had for lunch after the movie helped rid the bad taste from my mouth (and mind)

After that, Janet dropped me off at a bus station and guided me to where I had to board my bus going Legazpi tonight.

Tricycle taxis Manila road
I left my bag at the locker in the bus company’s waiting room and roamed the area for a while as I had a few hours to kill

This being Manila, there’s no shortage of malls and there was one by Ayala just across the road. I hung around the malls and ate an early dinner before resuming my walk.

Wet market Ayala Manila night
When I saw this wet market, I was reminded how my friend Aimee told me this is where she used to come every weekend to buy fish and fresh flowers

I boarded my bus to Legazpi when it was time. I didn’t want to ride an expensive air-conditioned bus to Legazpi city because the regular buses just serve me fine. But this had wi-fi on board — which didn’t seem to work! I tried connecting, but no luck what so ever. None of this bothered me as much as the freezing air-conditioning. I was (unfortunately) wearing floaters and I soon regretted not wearing shoes. My feet were so damn cold and even though I had a hooded sweatshirt on, I still felt cold! 🙁

Bus to Legazpi McDonalds rest stop
We had a rest stop at a McDonalds where we could use the toilets. I used this moment to take some socks out of my bag.

Long story short, the night ride to Legazpi was far from pleasant. I could barely catch any sleep. And with a runny nose, this cold environment wasn’t helping any one bit.

None the less, I was beginning the second leg of my journey.

Next post(s) in this series:

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:

Beachfront hotels and resorts on White Beach, Boracay

Philippines 2013: Bulabog beach, Mount Luho viewpoint and sunset at White Beach

Philippines 2013: Boracay island tour, Puka beach and snorkelling

Philippines 2013: Flying from Manila to Boracay, White Beach

Philippines 2013: Taal Lake Volcano and Peoples Park, Tagaytay

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

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2 Comments

  • janet

    06/11/2013

    you’re right! what you saw was indeed tha Taal volcano 🙂

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks for confirming Janet!

    [Reply]

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