I have been to Boracay many times and surprised that I haven't blogged about it. A cousin of mine asked for tips that prompted me to backtrack my entries. Well since I found nothing except for the meals I tried, here's my Boracay on a Budget suggestion.
|Infinity Pool at Shangri-la Boracay|
Boracay has become so accessible, that I have tried almost all means of getting there except for the 12-hour ferry from Batangas Port. Since most of you are familiar coming from the airports of Kalibo and Caticlan, I will just write about the cheaper alternative, which are the RORO Options.
Manila - Batangas Pier = 2 hours, 157pesos
Batangas Pier - Calapan Port = 2 hours
Calapan to Roxas Port = 4 hours
Roxas Port to Caticlan Jetty Port = 4 hours
Caticlan to Cagban = 15 minutes
(I don't have the updated fares, but it’s less than 1.2K)
The advantage of this is that you can leave any time as most of the vans and vessel has continuous trips throughout the day. The disadvantage is that you’re stuck in a cramped van for 4 hours plus the bus ride, and can be tiring and stressful especially during the holidays when the ports are crowded.
RORO via 2GO from Batangas Port:
Manila - Batangas Pier = 2 hours, 157 pesos
Batangas Pier - Cagban Jetty Port = 9-10 hours, 820 pesos-1036 pesos
Caticlan to Cagban = 15 Minutes.
This is more comfortable if your not sea sensitive. Unlike the first option, you are free to move around the vessel during the 10-hour boat ride. Since the boat leaves at night, you can just use the time to sleep giving you energy to explore the island the next day on your arrival. The disadvantage is that it only leaves 9PM daily. It's important that you allow more time to get to Batangas Port, otherwise you have no choice but to do the first option. If you are going on a weekend, the ferry leaves early Sunday morning, and there is a great chance that you would miss it especially if you party hard the night before.
If you're going on a weekend and leaving on a Friday, you have the entire Saturday to explore the island. This is the must do for a 24 hour stay in Boracay.
7:00 AM ETA Once you set foot on the Island, you will need a place to stay. It's best that you book it beforehand to save time. If you have money to spare, then get one of the beachfront accommodations, but I would recommend the small resorts hidden on the many access roads to the beach. It's more practical since you would spend most of your activities outside. I would always book a room at Crystal Ocean Resort. Its in Station 2, with Bohol Tropics as the Landmark from the Main Road and La Carmela at the Beachfront. They are one of the few remaining resort that charges per room instead of per person. The fan room costs less than a thousand during lean days.
+63-999-714 03 44 (cell phone)
+63-36-288 66 48 (landline)
Check-in time is usually around 2PM, but sometimes, they would let you settle to your room if it’s available. In case it's not, just leave your baggage in their custody for safekeeping as you look for a breakfast place.
8:00 AM Go to Real Coffee
Walk your way at the beachfront from your resort to Station 1. Be cautious of the sign that says Real Coffee pointing to one of the alleys after passing Yellow CAB Pizza. It is one of the few remaining original establishment in Boracay that has kept its rustic charm. The place serves breakfast all day but is known for their Calamansi Muffins. Try the Pesto Omelet. The serving is actually good for two.
With a few hours to spare before lunch, try walking further to Station 1 until you reach Willy's Rock, where a Grotto was built. This is your opportunity for photos where your friends would easily recognize the background. Station 1 is the best area to swim since it's less crowded and has a wider beach. Most of the expensive resorts are also clustered here.
By this time, you would have a tan that would normally take ordinary people two days to achieve. With only 24 hours, you need to maximize the suns exposure to show for your trip. If you're still full from breakfast, visit the D'Mall or D'Talipapa to buy souvenirs and pasalubong. Also, be in the lookout for a place to have lunch. Jonas, another Boracay landmark is popular for their shakes but also serves Pizza's and Tacos. For a value for money filling meal, I would recommend Smoke near the Wet Section of the Market in D'Mall. All meals are cooked fresh and fast, and priced reasonably. They also have a branch near the beachfront side by side with the souvenir shops, but I still go back to Wet Market Branch.
After eating, you can just walk to the main road and hail a Tricycle to take you back to your resort. Hopefully your room is available by this time. Take a shower to cool down and rest a bit. I'm sure your feet are complaining with all that walking.
As much as you would like to stay comfortably in your bed for the rest of the afternoon, you need to drag yourself out again around 3 PM to go on a Happy Hour Bar Hop. Beverages tend to be cheaper towards Station 3. Start from that area and pick a nice spot to view the sunset away from the crowd. Try not too drink too much, and remember to leave room in your belly for dinner.
I would always go to La Carmela for their dinner buffet. It has a wide variety of viands and a Mongolian Stir Fry Station. That is, if it’s open and not catering to the many events they host. If it's not, then choose the nearest buffet that's less than 300 pesos and comes with a drink. It will only get more expensive as you move towards D'Mall.
Nightlife in Boracay would depend on you music preference. There are bars catering to folk, reggae, rock, pop and techno. Just follow the beat that lures you to their place.
By this time, you have exhausted all your energy that all you want to do is sleep. If your taking the 2Go ferry, you have no choice, since it leaves Caticlan around 9AM arriving in Batangas around 7PM. But if you're taking the 1st option, you can sleep late and wake up ate until your time to check out. You can take the last vessel to Roxas Port, which leaves at 4PM and arrives in Manila around 4AM.
Happy Hour: 500 (I drink a lot)
Of course there's always the turo-turo where a decent meal costs 50 pesos, and the occasional promo fares, which could actually be cheaper than RORO.