Boracay DIY Travel 3D 2N for P5474; A first timer’s experience.
Funny as it may sound but we are in our 30’s and we’ve been to lots of beaches in the Philippines but never been to Boracay. I guess we’re hesitant on traveling there since it has become very touristy these past decades. Boracay, one of the most popular islands in the world, have always been linked to lots of controversies about the environment, the government and showbiz as well.
Admittedly, we only planned to travel there out of curiosity. What does Boracay have that the other pristine and secluded beaches in the Philippines don’t have? Why has it become one of the top destinations in the Philippines? Boracay won’t be this crowded if it is not beautiful right? So yes, we are really curious.
There’s always a first time for everything and in this post, is our experience on our first visit to Boracay. Please note that we didn’t do any of the water activities or clubbing or cliff jumping, etc. If you’re looking for a guide on those, then this post won’t help you. As we have a really tight budget due to a big upcoming travel the same month, we only bummed in the beach, swam and watched people. I will lay out here all our expenses, itinerary, where we stayed and transportation guides so this post can still be handy to anyone planning a trip to Boracay.
Day 0 (March 3)
8PM – ETD from Manila to Kalibo. Flight’s delayed by 2.5hrs so we boarded the plane at 10:30PM.
11:30PM – Arrival Kalibo. Check-in RB Lodge.
Day 1 (March 4)
9AM – Board Van to Caticlan
11AM – Arrive Jetty Port
11:30AM – Explored D’mall
12PM – Lunch at McDonalds
2PM – Check-in MNL Hostel and rested
4PM – Went to White Beach, bummed around, bought snacks and beer while watching the sunset.
7PM – Went back to Hostel
Day 2 (March 5)
7AM – Breakfast at MNL Hostel
8AM – Bulabog Beach
8:30AM –Willy’s Rock.
10AM – Back to MNL Hostel
3PM – Puka Beach
5PM – Back to MNL Hostel
7PM – Dinner at Bite Club at D’mall
8PM – Shopped for souvenirs at Station 3
9PM – Back to Hostel. Sleep.
Day 3 (March 6)
7AM – Breakfast at MNL Hostel
8:30AM – Check-out MNL Hostel
9AM – Van to Caticlan
10:30AM – Arrive Kalibo Airport
12:40PM – ETD to Manila. Flight’s delayed for 6 hours! Boarded the plane past 6PM.
Going to Kalibo from Manila (and vice versa)
We booked roundtrip plane tickets from Air Asia at P1330.6 each (including seat selection fee, credit card processing fee and check-in baggage going back to Manila) during their seat sale. The flight from Manila to Kalibo got delayed by 2.5hrs and the flight going back to Manila was delayed by 6hrs! The 6hrs delay really tested the patience of the passengers. There were unfortunate ones that has a connecting flight in NAIA 3 and NAIA 2 and were only left less than an hour to board their next flight. I hope they made it.
Going to Boracay from Kalibo
We decided to stay for one night in Kalibo (due to our late arrival) and travel to Boracay the day after. In Kalibo, we initially planned to ride a Ceres Bus to Caticlan but the tricycle driver suggested us to take the van instead since it will only cost us P100 each plus the travel time is much faster (2hrs vs 3hrs). Our driver dropped us to the nearest van terminal from RB Lodge for P15 each.
Our travel time (2hrs) is a bit longer compared if you took a van from the airport (1.5hrs) since the driver was stopping from time to time to pick up passengers and deliver parcels.
Upon arriving in the Jetty port, buy tickets for a boat ride to Boracay that will cost you P25. You will also have to pay an environmental fee of P75 and a terminal fee of P100.
Once you’re in Boracay, you can then flag a tricycle/motorbike to take you to your hotel/hostel or any destination around the island. A special rate (tricycle) going to, say, D’mall is around P100. But if you are on a tight budget (like us), then I suggest you flag down a tricycle with people already in it (or just tell the driver that you insist on a non-special trip) so you will only have to pay P20 each.
Going Around Boracay
As mentioned above, you can flag a tricycle for P20 each only if it is a non-special trip, meaning, you will ride with other passengers too. For short distances, of course, it is advisable if you just walk.
Going to/from Puka Beach
Going to places farther away from the White Beach will cost you more. In our case, we went to Puka Beach and flagged a passing tricycle (non-special) and paid P30 each for a 20 minutes ride. That’s a lot less than paying P150 for a special trip. Going back to our hostel from Puka Beach was a bit tricky. In the entrance to the beach, there is a tricycle terminal there but they don’t accept a non-special trip and it will cost us P150 to our hostel. So we told them we only hope to ride a non-special trip for P30 each. Nobody agreed, so we walked away and told them we will just try to ride one in the main road. While walking, a motorbike approached us and offered P100 to take us to d’mall. We didn’t agree with his rate so he went back to the terminal. Another one approached us and offered P80 for a ride to d’mall for both of us. I told my wife, “Ok, this is a better deal. We should take this”. Off we went to d’mall. He told us that he is on his way to meet somebody in the town center so he might as well take us. How lucky!
Going back to Kalibo
If you’re near d’mall, then you can flag a tricycle or an e-trike to the port for a non-special trip of P20 each. Once in the port, you will have to pay another P100 for the terminal fee.
We took the boat and van combo transfer from the port to Kalibo airport for P250 each of one of the transport companies there in the port. It only took us 1.5hrs from Jetty port to Kalibo airport.
RB Lodge – 1 night, double fan room for P450.
For a place to rest our body and a goodnight sleep after a late night arrival, we opted to book a room in Kalibo for one night then travel to Boracay the morning after.
We booked a double fan room for one night in RB Lodge in the town center. Shared bathroom, double bed, a ceiling fan and a T.V. Nothing fancy, just a place to crash for P450 a night.
MNL Hostel – 2 nights, double aircon room for P1975
There are lots of choices of accommodation in Boracay but the rate goes higher during peak season especially if it’s fronting the beach.
We booked a double aircon room for two nights in MNL Boutique Hostel near bulabog beach and d’mall for P1975 per night. Nice bed, clean sheets, fairly new toilet with hot/cold shower, LED TV (cable), inverter type aircon, cool artsy wall designs and free breakfast. All good for its price. They also have dorms here so it’s ideal for backpackers and if you want to meet new friends.
It’s also good to note that they switch off the air-conditioning and heater on a certain period of time to save electricity. I think it’s from 2PM to 5PM, but I’m not sure. So if you really want air-conditioning all the time then think about it first. The good thing is they have a generator running when there’s no electricity in the island which we think is a common occurrence there. So a fan is better than nothing at all.
They serve decent breakfast at the roof deck like bread, coffee, juice, tea, eggs and fruits.
They also set-up a barbeque night in the roof deck for P200 per person but we didn’t avail.
Eat like a tourist
There are lots of restaurants in Boracay. And I mean, a lot! But since we are on a tight budget and didn’t really want to spend a lot on food, we only ate at one restaurant on our last night in Boracay and we’re really happy we dined at this restaurant. It’s called Bite Club. Familiar? Yes, I guess they took it from that awesome movie, Fight Club.
All we can say is the food here is darn good! They serve awesome char grilled burgers that will surely satisfy your tastes and hunger. The patties are made from 100% beef so expect meaty goodness here. We initially ordered Beef sliders (P260) that come in 4 small burgers and the Ultimate Chocolate Fudge (P180) for dessert. The beef sliders were a good introduction to their food so after devouring all 4 burgers and were really satisfied with how good it was, we wanted more! This time we ordered the Burgerella with blue cheese cream and fries (P350) on the side. It was even better!
And oh, the dessert. The Ultimate Chocolate fudge shake is to die for. It’s not too sweet and just full of chocolate goodness. It has chocolate brownies, cookies and marshmallows in it and topped with whip cream. Ok, maybe I’ll just create a separate post for my review of Bite Club but let this be a teaser!
Oh, I forgot. We bought a shake (P120) from Jonah’s shakes and it’s nothing spectacular. Just your regular fruit shake like the others. I wonder what’s the hype in this? This is definitely a tourists’ shake.
Eat like a local
Well there are small eateries in Boracay too so if you do not like to spend a lot then this is one of your option.
We also thought of buying seafood and eating it at d’talipapa (like Dampa style) but after reading some blog posts and finding out the prices per kilo of seafood there, we felt that it’s too touristy. As someone who goes to the public market, we can’t help but compare the prices. I just don’t know about the other wet markets there in Boracay, maybe the price is lower but the idea is you can buy seafood there and either have them cook it or if you know how to cook, then you cook it back to your apartment or hostel/guesthouse. This is the reason why I put this in the ‘Eat like a local’ section.
Eat like a pauper
If you’ve been reading my DIY travels here in my blog then you’d know that we always bring food with us be it bread, viand or anything to fill our hunger. Boracay is no exception. We are really on a tight budget on this since we have an upcoming bigger trip this same month.
Instead of a Tours or activities section, I replaced it with ‘Beach Bumming’ instead since that’s what we really did.
Of course we went to the famous Boracay White beach and bummed here for hours. It is lumot (moss) season but we still swam.
As expected, it is indeed crowded here but when we watched the sunset and gazed upon the stars above us while drinking beer and snacking on junk food, we felt that we are the only people in the beach. The technique is to focus on your moments and not the outside noise and you’ll definitely have a solemn time here.
I told my wife that there’s a grotto in Boracay to offer prayers so we went to Willy’s rock in station 1. Then just besides MNL hostel is Bulabog beach where beginners to professionals enjoy Kite surfing.
But our favorite of all is Puka beach! We were so happy that there’s no moss here. We enjoyed hours of swimming and people watching. Too bad we forgot to bring our sports camera so we don’t have shots while swimming. The water is crystal clear and the beach is uncrowded and cleaner than the white beach. Though there are lots of shells here (it’s actually called Puka Shell beach), I like the sand better than the white beach. It’s more powdery and fine. There are locals offering beach beds with umbrella with a cost I don’t know because I didn’t inquire. We just rested in one of the shaded areas of the beach from time to time.
Here is a summary of our Expenses for our 3 days trip in Boracay. Please note that shopping items and souvenirs were not included as this may vary per individual preferences. Food and drinks are shared between the two of us.
|Expenses||Per pax||Total (2pax)|
|Day 0 (Depart to Kalibo, stay at RB Lodge)|
|Air Asia Roundtrip tickets MNL-KLO||1330.6||2661.2|
|Trike from airport to RB Lodge||50||100|
|RB Lodge Dbl fan room 1 night||225||450|
|Day 1 (Depart to Boracay, MNL Hostel,|
D'mall, White Beach)
|Trike to Van terminal||15||30|
|Van to Caticlan||100||200|
|Terminal Fee - Jetty Port||100||200|
|Lunch at McDonalds||125||250|
|MNL Hostel DBL AC Room 2 Nights||1975||3950|
|Trike to D'mall||20||40|
|Ice cream, bottled water, etc||40||80|
|3 order of Rice for takeout at 10 each||15||30|
|Beer, junkfood, juice||67.5||135|
|Day 2 (Bulabog beach, Willy's rock|
Puka Beach, Bite club)
|Jonah's Shake for 120||60||120|
|Trike to Puka Beach||30||60|
|Motorbike from Puka to D'mall||40||80|
|BBQ, hotdog streetfood at 10 each||20||40|
|Bite Club dinner||434.5||869|
|Day 3 (Depart to Manila)|
|E-trike from d'mall to port||20||40|
|Terminal fee port||100||200|
|Boat and van transfer to KLO||250||500|
|711 siopao at 59 each||59||118|
|Terminal Fee KLO||200||400|
Of course, if you want to lessen the expenses more then find a cheaper guesthouse/hostel or stay at dorms. MNL hostel also has dorm rooms for a stay as low as 470 per night.
For souvenirs, a fridge magnet cost P50, bracelets range from P5 to P20, necklaces are P50, t-shirts are around P100 to P200.
I know some of you are thinking, what’s your point of going to Boracay if you don’t do the activities there? Like I mentioned in my introduction, we were curious and we are on a tight budget. Plus, my wife is scared of doing the water activities and I don’t want to do the activities without her. Maybe next time if ever, when we’re with our friends 🙂
Overall, our experience in Boracay is surprisingly good. Lots of travellers shy away from this place since it has become overcrowded with tourists and the number of secluded and unspoiled beaches in the Philippines being discovered by many has been increasing. Not to mention that the budget for these destinations are far cheaper than Boracay. For me, you either love or hate Boracay or somewhere in between. I guess we’re somewhere in between. As budget travellers and someone who doesn’t like overcrowded beaches, of course it seems not the destination for us. But we all have to embrace the place as it is. It’s just up to you on how to manage to make the trip memorable.
Will we go back? I don’t have the answer for that now but I’m pretty sure that if we ever will, it will be in a non-peak season.