Planning the Trip to Boracay 2009

This trip is actually a collaboration between me, Ysa Nunezca and ate Grace Concepcion. We were the three persons who originally vouched to have a vacation at Boracay. So we decided to arrange this trip ourselves. I received a text message from Ysa sometime in March inviting me to spend sometime in Boracay. She wanted the dates to be in June because she told me that she’s gonna be busy all summer for some reason. I asked her who are we gonna be with, and told her to invite ate Grace. Ysa said that ate Grace just came from Boracay and so it would be impossible to tag her along. Miraculously I received a message from ate Grace herself that she and her husband would be coming along. So, a plan has already been made. We are going to Boracay! The big question is when? Ysa suggested that we got to Boracay by June because by then the rates are lower due to the fact that it’s the off-peak season. Since I have always travelled using the packages offered by different airlines, I suggested that we take PALakbayan package from no other than PAL of course. They have packages that include the round-trip airfares going to Boracay and back Manila, 3 days and 2 nights stay at a chosen hotel, daily breakfasts and airport transfer going to the hotel on the arrival day as well as going to the airport on the departure day from Boracay. All these for as low as Php3500.00 excluding taxes at that time. We were so thrilled all the more because we thought it’s affordable. So I booked 4 people for the PALakbayan package for June 13-16, 2009. I waited for sometime before I received the confirmation email from PAL. When I received the confirmation, I called PAL hotline and inquired how much is the total package for the reservation. I was shocked to find out that the entire package for one person costs roughly Php8000.00! Whoa! I paid taxes for the rest? Oh no, I really can’t believe that. So we decided to just plan the trip ourselves. Ate Grace suggested that we book airfares seperately, meaning try to search for airfares on a one-way trips, then search for hotels or hostels that offer cheap rates but decent rooms.

How To Get To Boracay Island?

And the search is on! More people are vouching in to join us for the trip until the number grew to 18 persons. What a vacation! Most of these people are coming from the Magno clan. Honestly, it would be my first time to be with them for a vacation, and Boracay pa! Naisip ko nga na family trip nila ito at sabit lang ako. Whatever! Since we started with PAL, I searched through their fare offerings. Luckily I was able to find Econolight. They offered Php750 for one way fare from Boracay to Manila. Comparing with other airlines who offered the seats ranging from Php1500 and more, I reserved 4 seats. For me, Ecs, Ysa and Aboy. Only for these people because they were the ones who vowed in going to Boracay whatever happens. Browsing through Cebu Pacific‘s site one day, I saw their seat sale. Offering Boracay one way fare at Php688! Realizing  that this is a good deal, I sent a text message to both Ysa and ate Grace. They said that they’re okay with the rates and the other charges. So I purchased 17 tickets online through Cebu Pacific going to Kalibo, Aklan. The tickets are settled by April and so the search for the rooms is now finally on. But there are also several airlines who offer round-trips to Boracay via either Caticlan or Kalibo. If one is to choose the Kalibo flight, it would take 2 hours to travel from Kalibo airport to the Caticlan Jetty Port via a rented van.  The van costs anywhere from Php120-150 per person.  But the airfares for this flight is cheaper.  Now, if you’re gonna choose Caticlan flight, the rates are higher but the travel time from the Caticlan airport to the Jetty Port is only 5-10 minutes. For me, I really don’t mind the extra 2 hours travel probably because I have been to the island several times. But if you’re really excited to go to the island, then I would suggest you take the Caticlan. Based on the latest news that I have heard, all the flights going to Caticlan are temporarily suspended. The Aviation Authority I think is planning of diverting all the flight to Kalibo in the future to maintain safety of the passengers. At this time that I posted this page, there’s no advisory as to when are they going to implement the rule but at this point, all the travellers going to Boracay Island shall take or use the Kalibo airport, no choice.

The Caticlan Jetty Port is actually your gateway to Boracay Island. This is the port where the banca ride takes roughly 20 minutes to take you to the island. There are several fees to be collected at this port, the environmental fee which is Php50 and the banca ride fee which is Php30. The banca can take you to several ports of the Boracay Island. As far as I know, all the routes are diverted to Tambisaan Port.

Where To Stay In Boracay Island?

The rooms are the hardest to find. It took me around 2 months searching for the best place that would accommodate all 18 of us. There was a criteria in searching for a place to stay and they are as follows:

  1. air-conditioned rooms
  2. beachfront
  3. with swimming pool
  4. has a mini-bar (mga sunog liver kasi karamihan)
  5. comfortable beds
  6. should be at Station 1 or 2
  7. with beach beds for lounging
  8. affordable or cheap rate

Di ba, ang daming requirements! Whew! Na-pressure ako dun, actually! Kaya naman I really had a hard time in choosing the accommodations taking into consideration their small requests. The choices that I originally had in mind were the hotels that I have stayed at previously. But since I also have to consider the financial limits of the people involved, I had to search for several others. And they were as follows but not in the order of my preference:

  • Island Nook owned by Francis. This is located near D’Mall according to the owner, but it’s not beachfront and no swimming pool or mini-bar. The rooms are newly built and looked very mod and stylish. One of my personal favorites actually but can’t accommodate all of us unfortunately. Francis was short of 1 or 2 rooms for us. He rates offered were at Php1000/night for twin sharing and Php1500/night on quad sharing. Very affordable talaga!
  • La Carmela de Boracay where ate Grace stayed on her previous trip. This was one of the cheap hotels that passed 95% of the criteria, only that it’s located in Station 3, very far from the limelight ikanga nila. Since I have stayed here as well several times, the owner gave me the rooms at Php1750/night at quad sharing with 2 free breakfast, all amenities free of use.
  • Taj’s and Tan’s Guesthouse but I’ve never stayed here not even once. There were several good reviews about the place, that the owners are friendly, rooms are clean and spacious, etc. And it’s highly recommended by most do-it-yourself Boracay people. These hostels are located near D’Mall at station 2 going to Station 3 part of the island.
  • Casa Asia is located along the main road near Station 1. The rooms are offered at Php1100/night for twin sharing and Php1300/night for three people. Doesn’t include any breakfast but the rooms are spacious and clean.
  • Aissatou which is located in the Bolabog Beach. The rooms here are very modern! I like the fact that it’s a beachfront hostel and very near the kiteboarding scene of Boracay. The rooms are offered from Php1500 and up for twin sharing. One of my personal favorites as well.
  • Ocean Breeze Inn which is located at Station 3. The owner is very accommodating. We even exchanged hearty emails and she’s very jolly. The rooms too are spacious and they nipa huts at Php700/night for twin sharing. The air-conditioned rooms were offered to me at Php950/night for twin sharing.
  • La Bella Casa de Boracay is a fairly new budget inn located in Station 1, near Willy’s Rock. When my friend Julie and her husband together with their kid went there last August 2009, their superior aircon room was priced at Php1000 per night, good for 2 persons. The kid was free of charge. What I like about this inn is that the breakfast is included along with the charges.  They also offer rooms for big groups who plan to stay together in one big room. They have an attic room which can accommodate up to 15 people. For the lean season, they have a promo which is valid until Nov. 15, 2009.
  • White Beach de Boracay Resort is located in Station 1 and one has an option to choose from their beachfront and non-beachfront accommodations. The resort is very accessible to most of the popular spots and hang-outs in Boracay. This is one of the budget accommodations where you can enjoy being at the prime location at very reasonable rates. They also have promos all year round!
  • Fairways and Bluewaters where I stay most of the time, offered me their Mulligan room at Php3500/night with free breakfast for 2 plus the use of all the amenities. I have booked at this hotel for the reason that I really love their service and their private beach. Unfortunately hindi kaya ng mga kasama ko ang rates so hindi na din ako natuloy. Waah, one year of not staying with them, nainis ako! Next year na lang siguro hehehe!
  • Last but not the least would be Alta Vista de Boracay where I stayed last year. They have spacious rooms too and infinity pool, one of my personal favorites. They also had a promo at that time. I think they offered me Php2500/night plus 2 free breakfast and free use of amenities.

There were several other choices in fact. The only hindrance that I encountered was the room availability. Some of the owners told me that June 13-16, 2009 starts the Habagat Season which would be an off-peak rates. But to some of them, the rates should follow their regular rates. My Boracay is also a website that helped me a lot as far as inquiries are concerned. I have learned that it’s not only Fairways and Bluewaters and La Carmela de Boracay are existing but there are also several affordable accommodations in Boracay.  It also made me realize that there are also several beaches in the island that already has accommodations like the Diniwid Beach, Bolabog Beach, etc. My Boracay was also the gateway for locating the hotel that I have long been looking for (this is for personal reasons, that I really can’t tell). Probably I’ll stay at that hotel sometime in the future, maybe next year, who can tell?

Among all the hotels, hostels and cheap rooms that I have found, the winner was Boracay Residences located near Diniwid Beach. It’s in the center of all the beaches known in the island. Near White Beach (where the famous Stations 1, 2 and 3 are located), also near Diniwid Beach (where the famous Mika’s Path is located) and Bolabog Beach (where the kiteboarding scene is very much active). It’s more of a private hostel that offer cheap rooms and good quality service. Tita Fe is very accommodating and a very nice lady at that.  She answered all of my questions at the best possible honesty that she has. She’s also very patient with me, because of all the questions that the group has raised, I could have asked the same questions for several times. The hostel is newly built, very classy and has Zen style for their interiors. Minimalist decorating I should say. We were allowed to use all their facilities and amenities which included the use of their dirty kitchen (but we have our own kitchen in our villa) where we cooked Marla’s pancit, their family table downstairs, their personal computer for viewing our pictures, their ihawan which we used on our 2nd night, their extra bathroom, the kubo style siesta place and most of all their mini-van for our service. Grabe! Sobrang bait ni Kuya Richie! Hindi niya nipag-buhat ng nipamili sina Magno and Hanzel. He even drove us to Bolabog Beach for our island hopping, to Cocomangas nung last night namin and even to Tambisaan Port nung pabalik na kami ng Manila. Tita Fe was even the one who offered me the person who would fetch us from Kalibo to bring us to Caticlan Jetty Port since medyo late na ang biyahe namin. She is really very nice. She made the trip planning easier for me since I was also working at the same time.

What I liked about the hotel is that there are several functions that can be done during the stay at their place. You can have team building at their rooftop or inumain sessions with your barkada at their siesta room or have family dinner at their family table inside the compound. And like what I said, you can cook your own food! Medyo may kamahalan nga lang ang mga food sa Boracay. Just watch the video and you’ll see how much it the ingredients costs hehehehe!

Below are some of the pictures of the hotel that we stayed at. Enjoy!

the stairs leading to each villa

the stairs leading to each villa

the bamboo chime at the entrance

the bamboo chime at the entrance

terrace overlooking the road

terrace overlooking the road

their mini-fountain inside the compound

their mini-fountain inside the compound

modern effect

modern effect

the kubo-style accommodation

the kubo-style accommodation

the stairs leading to the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms

the stairs leading to the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms

inside our villa

inside our villa

2-bed room

2-bed room

master bedroom

master bedroom

the daybed at the living room

the daybed at the living room

the hallway leading to the other villas

the hallway leading to the other villas

the rooftop view

the rooftop view

view from the rooftop

view from the rooftop

siesta room

siesta room

These are the videos of the things that we have done during our stay at Boracay Residences.  The video below is the part where we cooked pancit bihon (my favorite hehehe!) on June 14, 2009. It was Marla’s birthday that’s why we decided to start the celebration with the pancit cooking. Parang buong pamilya ang nagluto hehehe!

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