Jessa Cahilig

Not Your Usual Boracay Travel Blog

It feels great to finally meet the people whom I only knew by names. 	 	 

DISCLAIMER: If you are looking for a Boracay itinerary, you’re in the wrong place. I don’t have it in this blog. But thank you for visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the Philippines, beach is synonymous with Boracay. No doubt that when you ask someone about a travel destination in the country, though there are numerous tourist spots like Palawan, the island of Boracay will definitely be on the list. But for me, it’s more than just a travel destination. It’s a home that I’ve never been to.

The family tree…

Most ofย my friends know that I am a proud “promdi” (from the province) of Quezon. I always talk about my province. Sometimes, I think its becoming annoying to others. But aside from being taga-Quezon, I am actually a visayan (bisaya), my father is from Malay, Aklan. Yet, unlike my enthusiasm when talking about how I love Quezon, I rarely mention anything about Aklan. It’s not that I’m not proud of it, but it’s because I do not know anything about it. I don’t know what the place looks like, I can’t speak bisaya and I don’t even personally know any relative who lives there. That part of my ancestry feels like a myth, I only know stories. I keep on hearing names but I never saw their faces.

Growing up, I really wanted to know my relatives from my father’s side. Facebook was getting popular then so I used it and started adding people with the same surname as I am especially those who are from Malay. I even joined a group named after my surname, what a desperate move isn’t it? I eventually got tired of adding, chatting and accepting request from unknown people. They seem nice and I had a great time talking to some. But it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

Start here for the actual Boracay story ๐Ÿ˜€

Fast forward, I started working and got interested with traveling (who doesn’t?). I decided to book a flight with my family to Caticlan. Just like any typical trips, it took a lot of time before we finally agreed when to go. Since I am a “seat sale” enthusiast (a.k.a budget traveler), I got a promo fare from Cebu Pacific for the travel period of March to May 2018, it’s actually rare to find a seat sale for these months because it is considered as “flying season”. So better plan your trip!

Welcome to Caticlan!

After the looooong wait at NAIA, welcome to Caticlan! (Boracay airport)

Tips:ย ย 

  • Sometimes, flights from Manila to Kalibo are cheaper than Manila to Caticlan.
  • You need to get a ride from the airport to the ferry terminal. We were able to get a package from the flight, the flight attendant offers a voucher during our flight. It caters all transfers from Caticlan airport to hotel + environmental fee. You can try walking, if you’re fit enough.

So basically, there are three transfer in total:

Caticlan airport –(land)–> ferry terminal –(water)–>Boracay island —(land)–> hotel

There are lots of activities in the island. You will be overwhelmed by the number of locals offering island hopping and various activities. The standard price for local is 500 pesos, 800 pesos for foreigners (but you can ask for discount, the lowest rate that I heard was 400 pesos). Try to negotiate more if you can. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Aside from water activities, try to visit the highest point in the island. Just rent a tricycle for your land tour.

For me, a 3-4 day vacation is good enough to enjoy the beauty of the island. But I scheduled a week-long vacation because I have other important agenda than sightseeing.

Closing time… Thoughts?

A few days after we arrived, the Philippine Government officially announced that the island will be closed for 6 months starting April 26. The pending closure was an issue since February, so it’s no surprise for us that there were lesser tourists during our stay. Yes, it is less crowded and more relaxing. But I can’t be joyous about it because people are about to lose their jobs. I care about the environment, indeed. I am a volunteer in an environmental organization. But I think there are other ways to better the situation.

Boracay behind the white shore.
Boracay behind the white shore.

There are major improvements that should be addressed like street widening, proper sewage system and regulated establishments. These are just few problems that need solutions. The photo on the left side is just one of the many images of Boracay that we don’t see on usual travel blogs.

I feel bad for the people relying on the island for a living. Actions without proper planning is just another problem in the making. I hope the government can provide immediate support to these affected individuals and their families. The administration must also find other source of fund for the national treasury to support future projects since we are expecting to lose millions (or billions) during the island’s closure.

We all hope to see a better Boracay soon!

 

See you in the next six months!
See you in the next six months!

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