With summer coming, people are no doubt looking forward to the holidays they’d spend out of town with friends and family. Where better to spend your summer vacation than in Boracay? (Well, there’s Palawan, Bohol and Puerto Galera, but Boracay is Boracay!) I’ve spent summer in Boracay before, arriving a week before Easter, and leaving shortly after. It was a wonderful two weeks of sun, sea and sand, and it was amazing seeing how the place change and get heavily populated as people come in by the plane and boat load to swim all day and party all night.
But before you dream about the fine white sand of Boracay beach, you have to figure out how to get there first. If you’re coming from Manila, Boracay is 35-minute away onboard Seair’s Dornier 328. Going to the airport from my house takes longer than the actual flight to another island! Seair also flies direct from Clark (Pampanga) and Puerto Princessa (Palawan).
The smaller aircraft in the fleet, the 19-seater LET-410 takes longer, around 50 minutes (from Manila), but hey, I can live with the 15-minute difference. There are other local airlines that flies direct to Caticlan airport, which is closer to the Caticlan Jetty Port (the jump off point to Boracay island), but only Seair provides their passengers with complimentary shuttle transfers from the airport to the jetty port, and from the jetty port to Boracay island.
If you’re flying in to Kalibo airport, simply hop in on a van bound for Caticlan. The fee for the 2-hour ride is Php 150 per person. If you’re flying in to Caticlan (and not via Seair), take a tricycle to the jetty port. It’s a short ride away, and shouldn’t cost more than Php 50. Seair passengers should go to the Seair office right across the airport. Inquire inside about the shuttle, and the friendly staff will guide you to the next shuttle bound for the port.
On the final descent to Caticlan airport. That’s Boracay island near the top, and the many ships plying the route.
Once at the port, a Seair representative will give you tickets for the banca going to Boracay island’s Cagban port. The representative will also lead you to the counter where you need to pay for the environmental and terminal fee (Php 50 each). For non-Seair passengers, you need to pay for the banca, which is Php 25 each. If you’re clueless (like I was when I went to buy my ticket after going back to Caticlan from the Ati-atihan in Kalibo), the girl behind the counter might sell you the ticket for the fastcraft, which costs Php 30. For the Php 5 difference, you get a bigger craft and an airconditioned cabin. The problem I had with this craft was that there’s only one plying the route, and you’d have to wait for it to come back from its run to the island. Whereas if you take the banca, there are plenty of banca waiting to take passengers to the island paradise, so you’ll be boarded and out to sea in no time.
From Cagban jetty port in Boracay, you need to ride a tricycle to the town center. If you’re staying at one of the reasonably priced guesthouses in Station 2 (and you should!) tell the trike driver to drop you off at D’mall. If you’re renting the whole tricycle, the fee is Php 125. However, if you’re willing to wait and share the tricycle with other passengers, the fee is only Php 20 per person. When you get off at D’mall, just follow the throngs of people walking down the pathway and you’ll soon see the sparkling blue sea.
Another option of traveling to Boracay is to take the roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ship. It’s definitely cheaper, but it takes a lot longer. I’ve no idea how it’s like to take the RORO from Manila, but from a friend’s story, it’s a LOT of effort. Still, it gets you to Boracay. The RORO docks at the same jetty port in Caticlan, so if you’re headed to Boracay, you just need to pay the necessary fees and hop on the banca to Cagban port.
To give you an idea how long the trip from the Caticlan airport to Boracay is, here’s a short run down:
Caticlan airport to Caticlan jetty port: 1 minute
Approximate time spent in the jetty port terminal (buying tickets, bag check, toilet breaks, boarding the banca): 10 minutes
Banca pulling out of the port: 2 minutes
Banca out in the open sea: 5 minutes
Banca pulling into the port and docking: 2 minutes
Approximate time spent in Cagban terminal (walking to the tricycles, haggling price, waiting for other passengers, etc.): 5 minutes
Tricycle ride to D’mall: 12 minutes
Walk from D’mall to the beach road: 6 minutes
Total time: 43 minutes
Isn’t it so obvious that I was bored? The times were actually taken on the afternoon I was flying back to Manila. It was on a Tuesday afternoon, and probably not as crowded as it would be in the summer, so times may vary. At the very least, it gives you an idea on how much time to allot when you’re going back to Caticlan to check in for your flight.
I hope this helps you in planning your trip to Boracay. I probably missed out some things or totally screwed up some facts (hey, it’s already 3:41 am!). If you see something amiss, or need clarification, just ask!