I ended up heading to Boracay during the super peak travel season, just before Christmas, with my family last year. We spent 3 nights in Manila and then flew Sky Jet Airways for about SGD 120 (1-way) to Caticlan Airport as we had a 1-way ticket booked back to Singapore with Tiger from Kalibo Airport (approximately 1 hour from Caticlan).
Our accommodation in Boracay was a pretty basic 3-star resort located just along Station 2 – Boracay Haven Resort. For just SGD 130/night for a deluxe room with breakfast, the best thing about the resort is the location! It is about 50m away from a Macdonalds (for all your late night cravings) and within a matter of another 100m your feet sink into the pure white sand of the beach paradise. How perfect and heavenly!
Being a beach haven, there is a plethora of activities to greet you once you set foot in Boracay. Plenty of tour companies are littered along the beachfront you will be spoilt for choices. We booked our activities with Jojo Fadrillan from Allan B Fun Tour for a rather reasonable rate. We got a private boat chartered for 4 hours (no lunch provided) for PHP 500 each. It totalled to PHP 2000 for the 4 of us for Magic Island (up to 10m cliff jumps), Crystal Cove, Coral Garden (snorkelling) as well as Crocodile Island.
There is an entrance fee of PHP 150 per person for Magic Island (payable on reaching destination) which grants you access for (unlimited) jumps. I did 8m and 10m jumps while the sister did the 8m and 9m ones. I reckon there are 5m and 7m jump options available too.
Crystal Cove was a picturesque place that was definitely worth the visit. Lying between Boracay and Caticlan mainland is this beautiful islet of white beach with pristine crystal clear water. According to legend, this islet was once called “the island of desire”.
If you are looking to get away from crowded beach, Puka beach at the far end of the island towards Station 1, is worth a visit.
For the other activities, if I remember right, I paid about PHP 400-500 for 1 hour of stand up paddle boarding (1 board) and PHP 1000 per person for parasailing.
Other activities to consider would be heading to the famous Aerial’s Point for cliff jumping. We gave it a miss as it is a whooping PHP 2500 per person due to the distance of the place from Boracay.
I was recommended Cyma restaurant for greek food as well as Dos Mestizos for spanish tapas by my brother who visited Boracay some time back. And oh wait, of course, everyone hears about Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar before even setting foot in Boracay. But, to be honest, it’s highly overrated in my opinion. Worth a try if you are in Station 1, otherwise I wouldn’t actually go in search of it.
At Cyma, we tried an eggplant appetiser, their famous and renowned flaming cheese, Solomos (tomato based salmon angel hair pasta) and lamb ribs (which were way too oily for any our liking). It’s a relatively small eatery within the area of D’mall which makes it appropriate if you are looking for a quick meal with an interesting culinary experience. Another very popular dish at Cyma is a crab pasta dish, yes, it’s a whole crab! So be prepared, for the dish to set you back by about SGD 30. Overall, I was slightly disappointed with my visit to Cyma. It might have been my poor food choices or it could have been the extremely busy restaurant which didn’t allow me enjoy my dinner in a laid back fashion.
Having said that, Dos Mestizos, blew me away for the quality of food as well as quiet and chill ambience which made the whole dining experience with my family a good one. We ordered a few tapas as well as a seafood paella to share. Fresh fish cubes in garlic marinade, blue cheese and bechamel croquettes, shrimps sauteed in olive oil and garlic and squid stuffed with chopped egg, chilli, garlic and tomato just to name a few tapas we had. The squid tapas (pictured above) is definitely a must try!
And saving the best for the last, D’ Talipapa wet market! Located in station 2, down a small alleyway near Victory Diver’s Resort, this is a very interesting dining concept especially for lunch as you get to buy your own fresh seafood from the market before proceeding to get your food cooked in your preferred stall.
A few things to note:
- Haggling is a MUST! It’s hard to know exactly how much you should be paying so be sure to walk around without being in a hurry to close the deal.
- Avoiding the lunch hour belt between 12-2pm would be good if you are looking to get the seafood at cheaper prices. It will be ideal if you are spending the morning doing half day tours and then you can head over for a late lunch.
- Apart from seafood, you can buy chicken, vegetable and fruits at the market.
Having tried just 2 stalls within D’Talipapa to get our food prepared, I’d suggest Plato D’ Boracay for their above average cooking service. Natalia’s Kusina although cheaper was pretty average. But, having said that, it all depends on the preparation style you request for.
Our seafood haul:
800g Lobster PHP 1200
1kg Prawns PHP 500
500g Scallops PHP 150
Long beans PHP 80
Cooking service at Plato D’ Boracay PHP 885
Dollars and Cents
Upon arrival at Caticlan Airport, you will be flocked with people looking to transport you directly to your hotel in Boracay. Just for your info, your means of getting to Boracay from Caticlan would consist of a 5 minute tricycle ride followed by a 20 minute ferry ride and then a tricycle ride to your hotel in Boracay (station 1/2/3). Apart from the transport fees for this 3 rides, you will be paying terminal fee (PHP 100) as well as environmental and admission fee (PHP 75) at the ferry terminal. So, be sure you know exactly what you are paying for and how much you should be, to avoid getting ripped off before your adventure even starts proper.
When you depart from Kalibo Airport, effective 1 June 2015, all visitors have to pay a international terminal fee of PHP 700. I think the 1 hour journey by a charted van from Caticlan to Kalibo costed us about PHP 200 per person.
Overall, my 4D3N in Boracay was a blast! If I could do it again, I’d definitely pick the low season to travel so that I can save more on transport and hotel costs and also have less crowded beaches to frolick in. Till then, let me continue dreaming about my next beach getaway!
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.