Again, I was in Boracay! This post is about my third time going to this beautiful island resort in Visayas where I just came from earlier today. I fondly remember the first time we went here with my family last 2003 (or is it 2004?) via overnight ship that stopped somewhere in the middle of the sea early morning the next day where pumpboats were waiting for the passengers to take to the island. My family took a budget trip back then. It included a stay in a transient house (an ample space of airconditioned room for the 6 of us actually) and full-board meals. Breakfast was served in our room but lunch and dinner are in form of meal coupons redeemable in a restaurant that required us to hike up like a couple of kilometers away. The second visit which was just last Christmas season was definitely notches higher when we stayed at La Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel and took their barkadahan package, inclusive of accomodation and full-board meals serve in the hotel. Only downside is we need to return to the hotel every meal time for eating. We flew to Caticlan airport and took boat transfers of the hotel to and from the airport so it was worry-free, except that on our way back to Manila, our boat has to stop at least a hundred meters away from the shore due to low water level and men have to literally carry us over on their back!
This time, it was a quick trip with me and my girlfriend. We arrived via Kalibo yesterday because Caticlan is not served by bigger planes anymore for safety reasons, at least not until they have remediated the issue.
one of the welcome murals along the tarmac
Kalibo Airport is actually farther from the jump-off point to Boracay island as compared to Caticlan Airport. From here, we took a van that costed us PHP200 each, but it is already inclusive of boat fare to Boracay.
After 1.5 hours of scenic ride, we arrived at Caticlan Jetty Port Terminal. We were asked to pay each PHP100 for Environmental Fee (PHP50) and Terminal Fee (PHP50).
We then took this ferry boat and in 20 minutes, we were already in Cagban Jetty Port in Boracay island!
We then took a tricycle (PHP25 each) and were dropped off near our beachfront hotel in Station 3 - the Crown Regency Beach Resort Boracay!
My mom gave me a voucher redeemable for one night in this hotel making it more a sweet escape to stay with less expenses. :)
The room was spacious and cozy and includes the usual amenities of a luxury hotel in the island - A/C, cable TV, internet (complimentary), toiletries and even an area to dry clothes and walking further, a small balcony (although the view is at the roadside, back of the hotel).
But hey, we didn't go here for the room - but for the view and the beach outside! Because the hotel is beachfront, we just had to walk out from the lobby and we're already there!
the beachfront area for use of the hotel guests
Because it was already past lunch time when we arrived, we were very hungry and ate at the nearest (and fastest to serve) place from the hotel. Around the island are quite a number of dine-in outlets of the famous Andok's Litson in Manila..
.. and we had liempo (grilled pork belly and grilled milk fish! yummy!
We strolled around the area after eating and walked around a kilometer towards Station 1 just to see the place around.
As always, anywhere you look, there's a picturesque view of the beautiful beach! It was good timing that the sun is up and sky is clear. Perfect day for a beach!
Later on, we realized its too scorching hot so we went back to the hotel, had a few minutes to dip in the pool and decided to take a rest first.
On our way back to the hotel after (late lunch), we were approached by a boatman to do island hopping via sailboat. I haven't done this yet, even on my previous visits to the island, and it sounded lovely so we agreed to take his service (PHP1200 from 3PM until sunset time, around 3 hours.).
Our first stop was at Crystal Cove Island. It is a private island and they charge PHP200 per person as entrance fee.
Based on a number of articles over the internet, it is a 2-hectare island, sitting between Boracay and Caticlan. A number of team buildings and activities happen here. There are also accomodations on the island. But most visitors come here for their underground sea caves.
There are a number of facilities for daytrippers, huts and open cottages as well as stations for photo opportunities.
The first cave we went down to was easily accessible by stone-carved stairs on the way down.
Water was a bit high at that time and waves was splashing along the shoreline so we didn't bother going further as it looks dangerous.
The second cave is a bit farther and around 5 minutes walk from the first. We had to walk on the other side of the island and then over floating bamboo bridges to reach the entrance..
.. then we entered a small opening and crawled our way to the other side leading to the sea.
The second wave was definitely better. We had time to stay for a while on its small beach shore and swam a bit before we came back.
After 1.5 hours on the island, we went back to the sailboat waiting for us near the entrance..
.. this time we're off for snorkelling. It was somewhere deep enough to see the corals and fishes below but far from the shore. Roshie went ahead while I stayed at the boat.
It was surprising to see vendors on small paddleboats selling their stuff like this one selling coconuts..
.. but I find this guy more interesting..
because he was selling ice cream products! Right in the middle of the sea!
Can't fault him though. It was hot that day and an ice cream cone is a perfect treat while waiting on the boat.
The sailing was a fun experience although I'm not sure I'll risk doing such again because I didn't realize at first that we were supposed to sit on the outrigger (supporting beam on the side) and not on the actual boat as it was too small and already occupied by the crew - a team of 3, although one was sitting on the outrigger on the other side of the boat. As you may know, I had a traumatic experience that I thought I was about to get drowned when I jumped off the sea to follow and swim with whalesharks last March.
It was almost dark when we reached back Boracay island. We just rested at the hotel and later went out for dinner. Dinner was cheap almost everywhere in the island! A lot of establishments offer buffet dinner for cheap prices and we had ours at Bamboo Beach Resort and Restaurant for PHP250 each, buffet dinner, inclusive of drinks (help yourself). Our deciding factor was this poor roasted pig.
Tables for buffet served fish, meat, crabs, sweets and even pasta made to your liking!
The tables were all at the beachfront, so a cool wave of breeze and low lighting make the dinner sweet and romatic.
We then walked farther around the island and saw a number of entertainment options, mostly bars, drinking joints or dancing clubs, but we're not into those. We also saw firedancers and stopped for a while.
It was already late so we went back to the hotel and took a good rest for the rest of the night, recharged for the next day's activities.
We woke up early today, took a dip at the pool and the beach while it's not yet hot and stroll around the beach line. We found the famous sand castle (because we see it in almost all Boracay-related albums of friends and families) and had our picture taken with it. No payment needed, the person tending the castle said, but tips or donations are extremely appreciated.
the sand castle and the beautiful sea on a beautiful day at the background
After breakfast we had fun doing helmet diving where a speedboat took us to a floating structure nearby which served as our jump point to climb down and walk on the sand below with the fishes and corals. I'll blog about the experience next time.
the floating structure
After the helmet diving, we immediately went back to the hotel, took a few minutes rest as we pack up and checked-out of the hotel, now enroute back to Manila. I know! It was such a short trip but fun and filled I should say!
We took a ferry back from the Cagban ferry to Caticlan.
The hotel, however, suggested and called up our airline for us to take their free shuttle from Caticlan to Kalibo instead. So from Caticlan port, we took a tricycle to the Philippine Airlines office and waited for the shuttle that took passengers from Caticlan to Kalibo (and back). This is something that most of the passengers didn't even know existed. Perhaps it's their way to lure passengers since the flight to Kalibo going to Boracay is a bit off and some visitors opted to take other airlines who operate smallers planes who can land to Caticlan.
The rest of the day is uneventful as we took our plane back to Manila.
To calculate, we were just in the island in 24 hours. Arrived yesterday after lunch and left Boracay Island today after lunch, it was definitely a quick trip but it was a fun time well spent with my love one (cheesy!).