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Dare to DIY: Trip to Boracay

Summer fun in the Philippines is about to start! What can be more fitting is to go on a DIY trip to Boracay, the country’s most infamous beach. Afterall, it is one of the easiest trip you can plan by yourself, and yet one of the most fun beach experience ever (especially if you love white sands, clear blue skies, and crystal clear waters).

As for me, DIY-ing the trip is also the more cost-efficient choice, owing really to the lessons learned and experiences that made me smarter the next time.

And so I’m sharing my DIY notes going to a Boracay trip, it’s as easy as 1-2-3! It can be really quite cool: arranging the trip on your own, first-timer or not.

In this post, I am referring only to Boracay White Beach, the famous long stretch of white sand now known for it’s three areas: Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3.

Other beaches more appropriate for surfing or kiteboarding such as Bulabog beach are not included in this post.

Preps Before Actual Trip

  • Work on getting a flight schedule with reasonable price or lesser travel time. In general, Caticlan flights are more expensive than Kalibo flights, but have less travel time reaching Boracay.
  • Select a hotel based on your preferences — Stations 1 and 3 are the quieter parts of the beach, while Station 2 is the busiest area with the most evening events.

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  • Confirm your booking in the hotel. Ask for specific directions on the location.

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  • Pack light, as the transfers in the transportation can be inconvenient if you bring all your wardrobe.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

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1. Getting There To get to Boracay from Manila, transportation includes a plane ride, land travel, and boat ride. You cannot skip any of these, sorry..unless you are taking a private plane 😉

Via Caticlan Direct flights to Caticlan are available daily via Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

This will take:

  • just about an hour plane ride to Caticlan airport;
  • a few minutes land travel to the jetty port;
  • and around 20minutes boat ride to Boracay’s White Beach.

Usually, Caticlan flights are more expensive than Kalibo flights, as it will take less travel time getting to Boracay.

IMPORTANT TIP: Caticlan airport is a small airport which can only accommodate a few number of flights. Also, it does not allow flights beyond sunset, and this limitation affects delayed flights. When choosing a late Caticlan flight (ex. 3pm flight), you are risking the possibility of a flight cancellation when your flight gets delayed.

We had a particular bad experience with Cebu Pacific, in which our Caticlan flight was cancelled and we were asked to take the later Kalibo flight instead. I will do a separate post for this, but mentioned it here to suggest that if you have a choice, don’t go for a Cebu Pacific late flight. The unprofessionalism of their customer service is not my idea of starting a fun vacation.

Via Kalibo Flights to Kalibo International Airport is another option. It takes around an hour, and there are Philippine Airlines, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific flights that go there daily.

This will take:

  • just about an hour plane ride to Kalibo airport;
  • Two hours land travel to the jetty port, either via bus, van, or car;
  • and around 20minutes boat ride to Boracay’s White Beach.

As this will take two hours going to the jetty port, this route is not recommended to those travelling with small kids or senior citizens. Just outside Kalibo airport, there are lots of buses and vans going to jetty port.

Arriving at Jetty Port – Fixed Expenses

Boat rides from jetty port going to Boracay are now available 24hours. The boat ride usually takes 15-20minutes.

You need to pay per person for the following upon entry in the port:
as of 3/8/2015

  • Terminal Fee – php100.00
  • Environmental Fee – php75.00
  • Boat Ride – php30.00

Arriving at Boracay White Beach

Depending on the location of your booked hotel, a tricycle ride or pedicab can be taken. A solo trip can cost php100.00 (one tricycle, inclusive all passengers).

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2. Have Fun!

You can do endless things in Boracay! What makes DIY better than packaged tours is you get to decide what to do at your time, at your own pace.

You can adjust as necessary too, depending on what you feel like doing at a particular time. Afterall, vacations are meant to be spontaneous, far from the routine we do on ordinary days.

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You can do any of these, again depending on your personal preferences, budget, time, and personal definition of “fun”:

  • Enjoy the shore and the beach – dip, float, read, sleep, sunbathe, walk, run, take pictures, build sand castles, have your hair braided (php150, depending on the style), try henna tattoo, eat, eat again, taste Jonah’s shakes, people-watch, have a massage  in front of the beach, and just relax!
newly braided hair for php150

newly braided hair for php150

Mango Shake

welcome drinks at Boracay Beach Resort, where we stayed in our recent trip

eat taho while walking along the shore

eat taho while walking along the shore

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Calamansi Muffins can be bought from Real Coffee at Station 2. Pre-order is needed, so make sure to drop by the store to order.

Calamansi Muffins can be bought from Real Coffee at Station 2. Pre-order is needed, so make sure to drop by the store to order.

  • Enjoy water activities – island hopping, paraw, diving, parasail, banana boat, and a lot more.. just approach any “kuya’s” in the beach or even your hotel receptionist for information
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Looking for a place to dine? Try Tito’s at Station 2. It has yummy Filipino dishes good for lunch or dinner.

  • Enjoy non-water activities such as island tour, ktv
  • Shop!

3. Take Care While Having Fun

Lastly, travels are most enjoyable and stress-free when you are well and safe. When doing extreme activities, listen to instructions and heed the advise of the guides.

No harm also in keeping in mind basic health precautions such as not staying too long under intense sun heat, or not eating too much cholesterol food, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.

Practical Tip: Know the nearest clinic or hospital for emergency purposes. Get the contact number, if possible. In our last Boracay Trip, we had an emergency situation and needed a doctor while eating in a restaurant. The staff didn’t have emergency numbers, and someone has to run on foot to get the emergency team.

Here’s one of the private clinics that we actually called that time: Boracay Lying In and Diagnostic Center Address: Main Road, Station 2, Balabag, Boracay, Malay, 5608 Aklan, Philippines Phone:+63 36 288 4448

We paid for a fee for getting the “house call” late at night for the medical team. image

A DIY trip to Boracay might require few more time of careful planning of the trip’s details. But getting hands on with the travel makes you more aware of the trip, and adds more texture to your travel experince.

Instead of just waiting to be told by travel coordinators what to do, you get to talk to fellow travelers, ask around to locals, fall in line and absorb the travel time, and of course, decide on your own what to do based on what value you put on your time and money!

It might not always be “hassle-free”, but it makes the travel experience more ‘real’. And sometimes, the so-called “hassles” and bloopers make it up later as memorable stories you can tell.

Anyone can do DIY trips, and you can always start with the best but the easiest one.

DIY summer to Boracay… dare?

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2 Comments on Dare to DIY: Trip to Boracay

  1. Hi guys, I would like to recommend my tour guide. His name is Lawrence, a local from Boracay and his number is 09393283985. He can answer all your questions from which is the cheapest van to get, cheapest activities and how to DIY your trip to boracay including the prices. He assists me with all my van transfers and activities. If you also want to commute to save a lot of money, you can ask him to pick you up from the airport and he will assist you which public vehicle you should get and how much is the right prices. I always do this every year and I just give him a tip and his round trip fare to the airport. He also help me carry my luggages. I always recommend him to my friends I can say that he is very well trusted because I go to Boracay every year since 2008. The island is great but is getting crowded so you should hire someone who can look after your belongings. You can save a lot of money because he will assist you with everything and all the cheapest in Boracay. I am a DIY traveller and I am doing this to help him. Thanks for reading.

    Like

  2. Hello! You mentioned that boat transfers from Caticlan Jetty Port to Boracay now operates 24hours, is this true with transfers from Boracay to Caticlan as well? As I have an early morning (7am) flight from Caticlan to Manila. Thank you! Your blog has been a great help! 🙂

    Like

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