Friday, 26 May 2017

Boracay, Phillippines

Hello peeps!

Went on a trip to Boracay, Phillippines recently. 

Fun fact- I actually have a picture on Instagram dated June 2015 (while I was in Krabi, Thailand) with the caption, "Want to go Boracay next". So my wish came true, after a lengthy wait of two years. 

So. Let's get started on this trip, shall we? 

A lot of people were asking how much the trip cost. I'll write down my mini itinerary for your reference! Hahaha. 

I went on 20-23 May. Four days, three nights. 

Cost breakdown (RM1700 for the whole trip):
Flight- Air Asia. KLIA2 to Kalibo Airport. RM500 (approx, inc taxes).
Accommodation- Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay. 3 nights. RM500. (approx, inc taxes).
The flight and accommodation together were a few tenners short of RM1000, about RM961 if not mistaken. 
Expenses- RM720 or 8000 pesos changed at local moneychanger. Can try the Desa Park City money changer or Tesco Kepong money changer. The rates are not too bad. Quite similar too if you change your cash at Phillippines. Cash is king over there. 

So the whole trip per pax was about RM1700. 

We spent most on food and activities. 2000 pesos/ RM171 for our 2nd and 3rd-day activity which included helmet diving, parasailing, sunset sailing and island hopping. They give outrageous prices on their catalogues and brochures, so ignore the prices written. To break it down, each activity is approx 500 pesos/ RM42.

Island hopping they usually put 800 pesos per person but you should ask for at least half off, 400 pesos per person. Helmet diving alone was supposed to be 1500 pesos but we got it for 500 pesos. 

Island hopping usually includes Crocodile Island and Crystal Cove for snorkelling, Magic Island for cliff jumping and Puka Beach. 

Crocodile Island is where the boat will stop in the middle of the ocean and let you snorkel for about 30-40 minutes. Lots of fish swarming, especially when they feed the fishes with bread. Then Crystal Cove is where you can climb down a ladder and enter a cave beside an ocean and snorkel. 

Do bring extra 500 pesos per pax for entrance fees etc. Snorkel mask rental was 20 pesos. You can buy/bring your own as well. Some people went down without snorkel mask. Crystal Cove entrance was about 100 pesos. Worth visiting. Lots of fishies when you enter the cove.  Magic Island entrance fee was about 150 pesos. You pay once, and you can jump as many times you'd like off the cliff. 

Another thing I would say, Boracay was really clean especially considering how crowded it was with tourists. There was very little littering. Krabi was quite bad with littering. I don't mind paying the entrance fees because it seems like they take care of the environment well. 

As you can see -,- 
The price for parasailing is 5500 pesos , or a ridiculous RM421. But in reality, it was only 500 pesos (RM42)  each for parasailing. Zzzzzz. But they will usually but the asking price to be 1500 pesos. 

So. When you reach there, go to Station 2/ Station 1 that stretch of shops, there will be loads of tour agencies. Even more so in the morning, where there will be street peddlers. You can ask if they have a license to make sure they're legit. 

Just keep comparing prices, ask for name cards, write down the price. Write down prices of Agency A, go to Agency B and tell them Agency A offered this price. Can you offer a better price? Of course, feel free to exaggerate. Keep asking for best price and cheap price. If they can't offer you a good price, simply move on to another agency. Lol.

Learned my lesson at Krabi!! Where we paid 1000 baht instead of 600 baht and below for island hopping. -,-

In addition to food and activities, do note. If you are an international traveler, Kalibo airport charges a whopping 700 pesos (RM60) as terminal fee when you take your return flight. SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MONEY LEFTOVER!!!!

We were "lucky" because our hotel kept 3000 pesos as deposit and we only got it back the last day. 2000 pesos a day is a good figure for expenses. We were there for 4 days, so 8000 pesos per pax. 

Once you reach Kalibo airport, you will have to take a tiring 2hr van ride to Caticlan Jetty. Then, take a 10minute boat ride to reach Cabgan Jetty and you will reach Boracay island. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE BOAT. They don't have any bridge for motor vehicles to cross from Caticlan to Cabgan. Cabgan is counted as Station 3 for Boracay. 

They do have flights to Caticlan airport, but only if you go Manila airport first as it's only for domestic flights. Kuala Lumpur to Kalibo is 4 hours, Kuala Lumpur to Manila to Caticlan is about 7 hours. Hence the best option for us is still the former. 

Van & boat transfer from Kalibo to Cabgan is 250 pesos for the total. REMEMBER TO ALLOCATE ENOUGH TIME TO RETURN TO KALIBO AIRPORT. Leave your hotel at least 4 hours in advanced.  We left at 11.30 for our 3 pm flight. We reached 2.20pm at Kalibo airport, about 2hr 50 mins from hotel to Kalibo!!!! Also, the van ride from CPTMB was slow, asking us to wait 30 mins to fill up the van, so we paid another 175 pesos to catch a van that was already leaving. Good quick decision, otherwise we would have missed our flight.

I have been close a couple of times. HAHAHA. Both times flying Cathay because the Hong Kong airport is so big. So much shopping and walking to do. When I was 13 years old I think, the intercom actually called my full name to ask me to board the plane. When I reached the gate, holy, my Dad was so livid. He stood there with his arms on his hips. HAHAHAHA. 

CAGBAGAN BEACH is on the Station 3 side. My hotel Fairway & Bluewater is highlighted in green, so it's near Station 1. Our private beach is Lapuz Lapuz Beach, which you can only access if you stay at Fairway. The water there was much clearer due to having so limited visitors!

Station 2 is most happening, with the center being D'Mall. It takes about 10mins tuk tuk drive from Station 1 to Station 2, and 20mins from Station 1 to Station 3. Boracay is not that big! 

This is inside our hotel/resort. 

Fairway is actually a resort with golf course, hence the place is really huge and you need a shuttle to get from hotel room to lobby. Like legit huge. I would recommend this hotel for your last two nights of stay, but maybe the first two nights to stay nearer to Station 2/ Station 1 to save time. 

This hotel is good if you want privacy, laidback and private beach and lots of swimming pool. But the first two days we were more interested in the happening side of Station 2, hence I feel that it was quite time-consuming to travel back and forth! But I really enjoyed snorkeling in the private beach though, hehe.

We stayed at Laguna, which is one of the swimming pools in the hotel.

There are six swimming pools spread across the resort. Lol. We only managed to swim in three- Ventana, Atlantis and Infinity pool which is the one in the picture.

The private beach, Lapuz Lapuz Beach.

Ventana pool is the most beautiful pool in my opinion! It's also the newest.

More pics of Ventana pool :)

Infinity pool!

Hehe with the boyfie. Happy three years! :*

Lapuz Lapuz Beach aka Private Beach.

The water was so so so so clear. 
I swam in bikini, lol. Most Koreans would opt for full cover, as in a diving suit/ wetsuit because they like to stay fair. Erm, for me. I do think protecting my skin is important and I do wear sunscreen (SPF130!) but I don't mind getting tanned on beach vacations. BECAUSE WHEN ELSE CAN I WEAR MY SWIMSUITS RIGHT.

FISHIES!! They are actually shadows of fishies!!!!
If you dip your head underwater while wearing goggles, you can see the fishies.
And there were a lot, even at the shore. Even close to the beach, the very shallow waters 10 inches deep.

Epic is right outside of D'Mall. It's the prettiest restaurant, in my opinion!

Fire juggling shows are aso very common during night time.

Coco Mama ice cream! Coconut and mango. The mango there was really sweet and got me addicted.

Their trademark grilled chicken.

Actually, if you want to eat on the budget, 150 pesos per meal per person is doable. But we usually went for seafood, which is about 300 pesos per person. 

Tuk tuk is the best way to get around.
Tourists are charged about 100 pesos, considered private charter ride. If you want to, you can hop in with the locals and it will just be 20 pesos each. But we usually just went for the first option because it was what they gave us.

Breakfast is settled by hotel! By the way, the hotel was booked through I always use Agoda, even back in my trip for Krabi.

Station 2 beach is much more crowded. I would like to stay in a beachfront hotel next time for convenience!

Taking our boat to Helmet Diving Station.
It's literally a platform in the middle of the ocean, about 10mins boat ride away.

The helmets!

We had to wait quite long for our turn though, I think about 45mins. Then you get to dive for about 20mins. But it only felt like 10 mins.

Worth trying for 500 pesos! But if it were 1500 pesos I don't think I would go for it. The helmet is quite heavy. Haha. 

It's nice when they give you bread to feed the fishies and they swarm at you. They also take pics for your and video too! 

After that, we went for parasailing. Did not manage to take pictures! HAHA. I kept falling asleep on the boat around this time. Parasailing was not that scary, because I am quite afraid of heights. It's quite still once you're up there. I like the beginning where you sit down and get dragged off the boat by the parachute as the boat sails quicker.

This BBQ restaurant at D'Mall was quite popular! A lot of tourists, especially Koreans lining up. Something backyard BBQ??

We ordered this seafood paella, the portion is for 2. About 750 pesos I think. The portion was enough, though!

Then we went sunset sailing on Paraw. Their traditional boat. Really windy, and you sit on the edge so you'll get splashed by the waves a lot.

I'm quite used to boats/ships so I don't get seasick often. I just roll with the waves. I saw a Korean lady vomiting at the helmet diving station though. That must've sucked!!! The only thing is I will fall asleep when getting rocked by the waves.

Boracay sunset is a bit earlier, about 6.15pm. Our boat took off around 5.30pm. 
This was second day by the way ! We started off with helmet diving at 10am, the parasailing then sunset sailing. All at Station 1 or 2.

Jonah's milkshake near Station 1/ Bulabog Beach is a must try! Just opposite Willy's Rock.
I love their Melon Mango with milk powder. 

We ate on the beach for day two. Hehe. Gerry's Grill near Station 1. OR 2.

Fried rice and seafood nom nom.

Phillippino food is pretty ok for Malaysians. I still prefer Thai food though ahahah.
Food is cheaper at Krabi. I feel that on the whole, Boracay is more catered towards tourists and their prices reflect that. 

Hotel gave us some cute souvenirs! Waterproof pouch and sunnies lol how thoughtful!

Day 3 was Island Hopping.

Our first stop was Puka Beach, which was a long boat ride away. Snoreeee.

After that was Crocodile Island for snorkeling, because the island literally looks like a Crocodile from the side. Pictures stolen off the net for illustration purposes cos I did not take pics! It was much more crowded with ships IRL. You can see a lot of fish though, because they know you come with food.

Next is Crystal Cove. I think it's really pretty! But I feel sad. The island hopping tour felt quite rushed, most activities were 30-40mins. A lot of time was spent moving point A to point B because the attractions were spread wide apart. The duration was six hours but half of it was spent on being on the ship! Was also afraid of the boat leaving. 

Cove 1 was really pretty. You go down the ladder from upstairs and you'll reach the sea. 

Then you can snorkel around the area. They actually mark the area though, so you won't go out too far. 

Crystal Cove 2 was much less crowded. 

Our last spot was cliff diving at Magic Island. Again ahahaha no personal pictures. I did take videos of Edward jumping off the highest (15 meters) platform though. I only tried the shortest one (5meters) and chickened out because my ears hurt!!! It's really exhilarating when you're free falling but I do not look forward to the crash into the water. Ouchhhhh. Edward said it was scary and the feet hurts when breaking the impact into the water but it was fun.

Some seafood at night again. Edward was craving crab crab. Their gambas style prawns are also good, quite similar to sweet chilli but more spicy.



I did side braids for about 150 pesos while Edward did Henna tattoo for 150 pesos too. 
They use henna to draw the tattoo, you leave it on for 10-15 minutes and ta dahh. You have a tattoo that lasts 7-10 days. 

Some night walk. A lot of Korean tourists!
They are really going places and spending a lot on travelling lol, them South Koreans.
Even when I went to Santorini, there were a lot of Koreans. 

The street peddlers can also easily tell your nationality though. A lot of them guessed right, Malaysian. A couple guessed Singaporean. And some of the locals actually know quite a few chinese phrases like come back, very fun etc. Their English is also good, so don't worry about language!

The last day, we basically woke up early like 8AM and played at the beach/swimming pool in the hotel till around 10AM. 

Totally got roasted on the last day.

But, no sunburn. HAHAH. I've never ever gotten a sunburn before in my life even though I do go out under the hot sun for long periods of time. 

I know people who sunburn easily will often be fairer because they can't tan. Every time they are supposed to tan, their skin peels and a new layer of fair skin comes out. HAHAHAA. 

SO. If you asked me. Yes, I would recommend Boracay to others especially if you love the beach. I would recommend 5 days 4 nights because the first day is quite wasted from the airport transfer. But, we did manage to fit a lot of activities especially by sleeping and waking up early. The island also felt much more humid and sunny than Malaysia. Keep dipping yourself in the ocean to stay cool. 

I would love to go Maldives next! 

I love the beach, but also seeing different cultures. Cuba would be really interesting! Anyway, I'm really glad to have been able to go on this trip and come back safely with a pocketful of good memories!

Take care peeps~! xx