Ready for some Boracay-fun? Check out how we made our way from Cebu to Boracay to visit one of the World’s Best 100 Beaches, as voted by CNN. Yes, you are right! This was a very popular beach we were visiting on Day 4 of our Philippines 10 Days Tour and all logistics required to get there would be worth it!
The first step was to take a domestic flight from Cebu to Caticlan Airport (recently known as Boracay Airport). It cost us only $88 per pax for a return flight via Cebu Pacific airline.
For those who are interested in making similar trip to Boracay, please read on as I’ve listed a few important tips that could help you save time, hassles and money. The rest of you – please join me in this travelogue as Boracay could very well be a strong contender for your next beach holiday destination.
Departure at Cebu Mactan Airport
We arrived at Mactan Airport at 12.20pm, a little too early for our 3pm flight as we had catered additional travel time for the expected congestion along Mactan Bridge. Surprisingly, traffic was rather smooth that day.
“Where shall we have lunch?”
Seeing limited eateries at the airport public area made our heart sank. Luckily, we decided to take a bet, hoping that the departure area (after checking in) would offer more food options. Indeed, there were ample food stores awaiting us offering Chinese, Western, Filipino cuisines and more. All were reasonably priced.
One store stood out. The long queue at Zubuchon indicated its popularity. It was so popular people would buy frozen Lechon (roasted suckling pork) for flight takeaways. Without hesitation, I joined the queue.
Unfortunately, my random order based on a non-English menu (dish name = Lechon Mami) turned out to be a poor decision. I didn’t know what I’d ordered was a bowl of soup noodle with fried pork skin soaked in it (Php 170). Shouldn’t ‘Lechon’ be roasted suckling pork? Why give me ‘Chicharon’? Sob.
As I’m not a fan of oily dishes, I could only take in the noodle and I did so quite reluctantly because the soup was very oily! I didn’t take any photo of my food – but here’s a photo grab from internet. Can you see the soaked fried pork skin? Honestly, it could be delicious, but just not my kind of thing.
Here you go if you like to know how fried pork skin (or Chicharon) looks like.
This was so popular in Philippines they were sold everywhere, from hypermart to mini-mart, to street vendors. On our long distance bus journey to/fro Oslob, vendors would board the bus to peddle this popular snack, and locals were grabbing it. I’m amazed at how the locals kept their slender figure.
Flight Delay in Philippines is so common!
Remember about my Filipino friend’s advice to expect delay in departure timings in Philippines? Well, other than the ferry delay we just experienced yesterday, our flight to Boracay also experienced an one-hour delay. Yes, we departed at 4pm. =(
TIPS: Be prepared for departure delays in Philippines. Better don’t plan your trip such that you depend on punctual arrival to catch your next flight (or ferry or land transfer).
Now, here’s another important tip! Please note that the plane model flying from Cebu to Caticlan Aiport was smaller than normal airplanes.
Hence, they were very strict with the stated baggage allowance, and this allowance was lower than what most airlines offered – at just 5kg for carry-on baggage. Do be assured that they would be very strict in checking each and every passenger’s baggage. They even weigh the passengers to ensure that the plane could take the weight. Er…yes, I meant we had to step on weighing machine. Ha Ha….first experience in my travel history. LOL.
TIPS: Please buy excess baggage allowance in advance if your total baggage exceeds 5 kg. We’d pre-purchased 15kg excess at $14 (two of us share the excess). It would likely be more expensive (and time-consuming) if you were forced to buy the excess at the airport.
Arrival at Caticlan Airport
The flight time from Cebu to Boracay was about an hour long.
After checking out of the airport, we walked 10 minutes to Caticlan Jetty Port.
It was an easy straight path. But if you are with family or elderly, you can opt to take a tricycle which were waiting in abundance outside the airport. Based on research, it would cost about Php 50 per trip.
Travel from Caticlan Port to Boracay via Super Rocky Boat
Now that we had arrived at Caticlan Jetty Port, the next thing was to take a ferry. You can buy ferry tickets (Php 25) outside the jetty. Foreigners have to queue separately to pay for environmental and terminal fees (Php 175).
The Bangka (pump boat) was a unique one with wooden structures (outrigger) by each side that probably helped the small boat to balance better.
Still it was a rather rocky ride. Those who are prone to motion sickness, get your pill or vomit bag ready.
TIPS: If the boatman reaches out and asks for your luggage during embarkation, please don’t pass your luggage to him. Just carry it into the boat unless you really need his help. With his firm gesture, I’d thought it was a requirement to hand him my luggage for stowage and was puzzled when I saw other passengers carrying theirs into the boat.
It was only during disembarkation that I realized this “service” was payable. The boatman demanded php 60 while pointing at a Chinese family in front of us. He didn’t speak English. A post-trip check online confirmed that Php20 per pax is payable if you need help with luggage. The boatman thought I was part of the Chinese family and demanded that I paid their luggage handling as well. Duh!
It was an unusual sight when we saw how people were eagerly donning life jackets without being instructed to. They grabbed the “best condition” life jackets they could find hanging by a thin rope near the ceiling. Apparently, boat accidents were frequent and common in Philippines and people seemed to be deeply concerned about their safety.
By the time we got hold of the remaining jackets after a brief photo session, we found them to be in poor condition. Not only were they wet and dirty, the strap buckles were faulty and had to be tightened with a thin string that could be undone easily if submerged in water. What’s worse was the life jacket was too big for me. If I am ever caught in a situation when my life depends on it, I am 100% certain the jacket would float out of my petite body.
TIPS: For those with kids, you may like to consider bringing your own kid-sized life jackets, just in case.
The boat ride took about 10 minutes.
Boracay Port to Accommodation in Boracay
From this point onwards, be prepared to pay tourist price or inflated price because of Boracay’s popularity, all thanks to CNN..
Our accommodation in Boracay would be somewhere off the central zone (i.e. Beach Station 2), in an isolated northern part of Boracay, a few minutes walk from Ilig-Iligan Beach. Hence, tricycle ride cost more at Php 250. If you stay in the central part (station 2), you may just pay Php 150 for the tricycle ride. Yeah, I know, an inflated price, but you better get used to it sooner than later. =)
The tricycle rode along a jammed, noisy and polluted road behind and parallel to the beach. I was a little surprised at my first impression of Boracay, as I’d expected beautiful, clean and resort-style walkways and roads, lined by tropical trees. Along the stretch of busy road were grocery stores, drug stores, eateries and miscellaneous services. My conclusion is that this road caters to locals while the “Atas” (classy and pricey) shops along the beach are meant for tourists. But I could be wrong.
Cebu to Boracay – Logistics Summary
To summarize, here’s what it took to get us from Cebu to Boracay:
- Take a 1-hr Domestic flight from Mactan to Caticlan Airport
- Walk 10 mins to Caticlan Port (or take a tricycle)
- Take a 15-min ferry to Boracay Port
- Take tricycle from Boracay Port to accommodation of your choice in Boracay
D Mall – The Happening Place in Boracay
By the time we finished checking into Oasis Resort at Boracay, it was already 7pm (Please watch out for a mini review of Oasis Resort in my next post).
We took free shuttle services offered by the resort to travel to Station 2 where D Mall was located. In case you think D Mall is a multi-storey mall, do note that it’s just an outdoor avenue with shops and restaurants congregating within close proximity of one another.
D Mall was busy, crowded and bustling even late at night. After strolling about, we decided to have our dinner at the highly-raved Lemon Cafe.
Each meal would cost Php 500 on average. Sure, it was expensive by local context. But I guarantee you that by the next day, you would get used to such inflated prices on the island (because most if not everything would be this expensive. =P). To be honest, we’d initially thought Lemon Cafe was expensive because of its casual and understated setting. After tasting the fine and exquisitely-prepared food, we thought the meal was value for money!
And how can you forget to order the national beer?
There were shops selling swim suits, souvenirs and beach accessories and apparels. If you need to get groceries like snacks and drinks, you can visit “Budget Mart”.
I bought a bottle of red wine and mineral water before taking the last shuttle service back to Oasis Resort.
That’s all for the Day 4. Tomorrow, we would show you the best beach in Boracay! Nope, it’s not White Beach. Stay tuned!
(Travelled in Feb 2016)
- Philippines Day 1: Cebu City Tour
- Philippines Day 2 (pt I): Oslob Whale Sharks and Tumalog Falls
- Philippines Day 2 (pt II): Aguinid Falls and Colon Street
- Philippines Day 3: Day trip to Bohol Island
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