This tropical paradise off the coast of Panay island, specifically in Malay, Aklan, is less than an hour flight from Manila or Cebu to Caticlan. Since it’s one among the best tourist destinations in the Philippines, It is frequented by both local and foreign vacationers especially during the summer months. With promo fares and piso deals, there’s no excuse for Filipinos not to visit Boracay.
As the popular saying goes “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.” Translation: “Don’t be a stranger to one’s own land.”
In our case, it took us a full day of traveling. From Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, we hopped on a Ceres bus to Bacolod – 4 hours, then we boarded a fastcraft to Ilo-ilo – less than 2 hours, took a van to Caticlan – more or less 5 hours, lastly we rode a pump boat to Boracay port – 30 minutes.
We didn’t exactly feel bad about our transit plan, it was the cheaper option for us.The other route being via Cebu, then fly to Caticlan.
The mere mention of “Boracay” directly conjures up visions of sun, sea and sand. We’ve sought many a beach in the Philippines, but nothing this popular, controversial and alluring. Even though we prefer unspoiled beaches, yet there’s something special about this place.
Upon our arrival, we soon gravitated towards the budget hotels in the area, luckily it wasn’t a needle-in-the-haystack situation. We later found a cheap room in Station 2, located a few minutes away from the beach.
We made tracks on the beaten path in no time. It was a lot of fun walking throughout the entire stretch of the four-kilometer White Beach. There’s too much eyecandy and beautiful chaos along the way. We also got to ride the Ferris Wheel in D mall, which gave us a bird’s eye view of the mildly acrophobic scene below.
Oh, we almost forgot the beach-side massage that we didn’t pay in full because we availed of their services late at night. Their tent was already closed, but we were able to persuade them to accommodate us. The only drawback was the slight discomfort we felt as they were massaging us. It hurt a lot when the oil attracted very tiny particles of sand on our bed which got us sore all over.
Activities to do there include island hopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, Paraw sailing, ATV rides, helmet diving, banana boat, cliff diving at Ariel’s point to name a few. However, we were not in the mood to do any of them.
For the most part, we were at the beachfront mainly for the long walks, dinner dates for two and heart-to-heart talks. That’s pretty much the gist of our stay there.
Well, the important thing is that we were able to spend some quality time together and relish every moment of it. We shall return!
How to go to Caticlan from Ilo-ilo
There are two ways to commute from Ilo-ilo to Caticlan, by bus or van. One may board the Ceres buses at Barangay Tagbac in Jaro, which leave every thirty minutes or so. First trip at 4 o’clock in the morning. Fare is at P300 up. It takes close to 6 hours before reaching Caticlan with a stop over at Kalibo.
We would have chosen the L300 vans, but we didn’t like the jam-packed sitting conditions.
Caticlan to Boracay
From the Caticlan Port to Boracay Port, one is boarded on bangka pump boats at P25/head. There are also other fees to pay such as P50 environmental fee and another P50 terminal fee. The boat trip from mainland to the island is at least 20 minutes.