The last day left in paradise and we decided to spend it enjoying the sea breeze on the sun decks and occasionally dipping the the clear waters, after our breakfast. The weather cleared up and was especially sunny, pity that we had to fly home in this weather though.
We had our lunch at one of the restaurants at the mall. A little more walking around and then we had to get ready for our flight back to Manila and then a connect back to Singapore. As there were many modes of transportation back, we had to go earlier (upon checking with the resort on the best time to leave).
The airport transfer between the domestic and international terminals again required a taxi for faster transfer. Otherwise it was just smooth sailing on the way home to Singapore.
This escape plan was really meant to get away for a short while to enjoy ourselves in a different way from the usual Lunar New Year visits. However, we found that it was a little too short and we couldn’t visit Ariel’s point where you could jump off a cliff into the water. The beautiful beach and waters at affordable prices would really entice us to return when we run out of places to go.
Started the day with breakfast in the resort. The entrance was where the tables were set up to give the alfresco setting with the beach in view.
We had booked a day trip out for snorkeling and a visit to Crystal Cove island the previous day from one of the makeshift counters. It was an enjoyable walk on the white sand in the fine weather towards the meeting point for boat boarding. The boat was filled just enough for all to sit comfortably before moving out.
A less than 10 mins ride out into sea around the island and the boat stopped for the snorkeling session. Donning the loaned mask, I was able to enter the colourful underwater world and see fishes around and corals a few meters down. The sea was slightly choppy and was challenging without a life jacket (was provided) for me.
After the snorkeling, the boat ferried us to the next destination, Crystal Cove island. After another short ride, we disembarked on a white sand beach of the isolated looking island and began exploring. We walked towards the few huts that could be seen on an elevated ground upon arriving, we were “wowed” by the picturesque setting, small pathways and huts with the turquoise waters surrounding the island.
Other than the numerous picture perfect spots to admire, there were also 2 coves underneath the surface that’s worth a visit. After descending the stairway beneath the surface, these coves had sea waves crashing in and filling the ground with water and bubbles. The feel and visual of seeing this was therapeutic.
The final location of this half day trip was the buffet lunch. Boarding the boat, it was a short transfer to Tambisaan beach. We were brought to an area where a buffet table was set up for lunch. Nothing fantastic about the food though.
After lunch we got to roam around the beach till the time to board the boat for the return back to Station 2, enroute we passed by Crocodile island, which looked like a crocodile.
The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around the sun decks, dipping in the clear waters and enjoying the day without a care.
Nearing the evening, we proceeded towards Station 1 to catch the sunset. Some of the restaurants were preparing for Lunar New Year feast as we could see some roasting pig on a big pole. It was the eve of Lunar New Year. We didn’t really experience that much feel though, after all the place wasn’t packed with Chinese people (thankfully!).
Sunset was beautiful but could have been better on a clear day. We were grateful for the improvement of the weather compared to the previous day but it was our last sunset at Boracay, a little too soon.
We popped over to the famous Jonah’s Fruit shakes to get the popular and very delicious banana avocado milkshake. From the sitting area, we watch the skies changed to twilight before we headed out for dinner.
The rest of the night involved more window shopping and listening to the music band.
There wasn’t any countdown to the Lunar New Year, no drama at all, it was like just any other day.
Though I wasn’t looking forward to any major celebration, I was ironically a little disappointed with the mellow night probably because of the noticeable Lunar New Year decorations that had been put up all around had raised some expectations of the presence of some form of party – nothing. We went back to the resort after midnight.
The long weekend for Lunar New Year on 2012 presented a great opportunity for a island getaway. We also wanted something easy and preferably a place where the population would not be dominantly Chinese, in order to avoid a shutdown of the country (like Singapore). Haven’t been to Philippines before so we chose Boracay, one that seemed the best option of affordable beautiful beach and a relatively safe location.
We took the Jetstar flight after midnight to gain on more day time for exploring Boracay and transfer to Cebu Pacific for the flight to the Caticlan airport, which was closer to Boracay then Kalibo, removing the need for a longer road travel to the Caticlan jetty. Only slight problem was the transfer from an international airport to a domestic one, which we had to do it via a taxi. It was a nice feeling riding on a propeller aircraft.
Upon arrival, we took a trike to the nearby Caticlan jetty for a more or less fixed price. Transfer to the jetty after purchasing boat tickets at the jetty itself, and caught out for the need of additional fees (environmental fees and port fees). It was then a short boat ride to Boracay.
From the jetty, we got our luggage onto another trike for another negotiated fees to Station 3, the closest beach station to the jetty where our resort, 357 Boracay was. Short 10mins drive and we found ourselves waiting to check in with welcome drinks.
The issue with arriving early was that the rooms weren’t ready. So we took what we need and started our exploration.
There were 3 “stations” where each station represented one section of long white sand beach. We were at station 3, the least popular of the 3, being further away from the “action”. This also meant that the accommodation was cheaper there and not as crowded. Walking from station to station was not difficult though.
As we walked the streets, we came across a shopping arcade called D’Mall, shops there sold mostly clothes and souvenir and dive/swim wear. We settled at Ole Boracay for some lunch.
Walking further after lunch, whatever that could be seen on the streets become repeated, agents trying to sell you day trips were common.
I couldn’t get enough of the white sand and the beach, other than Maldives a few years back, I couldn’t remember any other beach destination with such smooth flowing white sand and clear waters. Weather was slightly rainy, few occasions drizzle came and we had to hide.
Our first activity was to take a trike to Mt Luho and get to the top for a view. Took a trike and soon we arrived at the bottom of a flight of steps that would bring us to the top. The panoramic view of Boracay was worth the climb.
There was also a small section where I got to take a picture with a hawk on my arms and see some animals in cages.
We returned to hotel where our rooms were ready and took a rest before heading out for dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby. Ordered Filipino seafood of course.
Rest of the night was spent roaming the same street, a different view now as the darkness fell and the night craft vendors took over. There were also various tentages with their own entertainment programs such as music bands and fire dance. Spent the night enjoying the music, stress free.
Total duration 3D2N Singapore is in the same time zone as Boracay. Flight time is 4hrs on Jetstar from Singapore to Manila and 1hrs on Cebu Pacific from Manila to Caticlan airport Boracay.
Morning flight on 21st January at 2:20am and arrival in Manila at 6:20am, transfer to Cebu pacific at 9am and arrival in Boracay at 10am. Return flight is on the 23rd January at 4:40pm and arrival in Manila at 5:40pm by Cebu Pacific, transfer to Jetstar 8:35pm flight and arrival at 1235am in Singapore.
This escape plan was to get away for the long weekend due to the Chinese New Year. Wanted to go to places where it’s not predominantly Chinese so we chose a place known for it’s beautiful beaches, Boracay. We weren’t there for the scuba diving though it would be one of the nicest dive places (because we can’t scuba).
Budget nature: Affordable
Beach resorts came with touristy prices but in Boracay, it was not over the top, still affordable comparably.
Complexity: Easy to get around on Boracay, different forms of transportation to get there
Having taken 2 flights and an airport transfer, there was still a short trike ride to the jetty and a boat trip to Boracay. Not difficult though.
On Boracay itself, due to the size of the island, getting from place to place is usually in a trike and from station 1 to 3 can be done on foot, strolling on the beach of course!