When people asks how can I travel often with my friends (and not asks my parents for money), it is because I/we travel cheap! Yes, that's right.. C-H-E-A-P. Sure, we could sometimes indulge to a more expensive stuff in our travels, but most of the time, when I'm with my friends- it's always about how we can scrimp off some few bucks that we could allot for something else. Which is why I'm gonna start a new segment here in my blog how to travel more without busting your wallet and of course, share some good tips on how to save money without sacrificing your itinerary. I love travelling and hopefully, this blog can help. :)
So for my 1st entry: Boracay
I got lucky when I stumbled upon Air Asia's intro promo for their introductory flights to Kalibo. Base fair was P70 only! (my flight was from Clark-Kalibo-Clark) and costed me only P2000+ total. Cheap, considering I booked a few weeks before the flight date aaaaaand to think it was April (which is a high season) and everyone is heading to boracay since it was a long weekend! So just a tip: watch out for ticket sales, book 2-3 months advance and make other options such as getting flights outside manila and to other airport hubs such as cebu or clark.
my first domestic Air Asia flight
Upon getting to Kalibo, you have to travel 1 1/2-2 hrs to Caticlan in order to get to boracay. There are 3 options available:
- taxi- pros: comfortable and you have the whole car to yourself. cons: expensive
- bus- pros: bigger, thus more roomy and comfortable. cons: takes longer as you have to wait for other passengers and costs P300.
- van- pros: travels faster than bus and costs P250 (with free boat ride to Boracay). cons: you also have to wait for other passengers and much smaller space.
Upon arriving Caticlan:
- you have to pay for terminal fee: P50
- environmental fee: P75
- options of jetty boat: P25
waiting for my boat ride
Where to stay:
Since me and my friends were a big group ( we were atl east 15 people at Boracay that time) but among those 15, 8 of us were gonna share a room. It was kinda hard to look for somewhere to stay during that season since it was the peak month which also means: more expensive! Luckily, a friend recommended IL Portico which suited our budget, the size of our group and was near the beach front and market area (where we can buy pasalubong, grab dinner and all..)
Our room cost P4700/night (good for 8 people!). The nice people of the IL Portico even gave us free use of extra mattress without charge and one day free breakfast! They are very accommodating and was pleasently easy to talk to which is why I highly recommend this hotel!
accessible to the beach front, (only few steps away)
close to D' Talipapa market
located at station 2
with refrigerator inside the room, kitchen and sala outside and free water and coffee. :)
my only qualms is that they don't allow aircons to be switched on unless you are in the room. So unless you have a problem going back to the room after a long hot day in the beach. well, maybe you hafta ask them nicely if you could leave your aircon on for the whole day.. :)
If there is one discovery I would really like to recommend to you guys on where to eat in Boracay it is Smoke! Located in the nook and crannies of D'Mall. If you are lost, just ask around and definitely locals would know where Smoke is at. Smoke food array consists mostly of filipino food and some asian food with a filipino twist. food costs: from P90-250 only! and by boracay standard, that is definitely CHEAP!
Must try are: Sizzling Bulalo, kaopad (their version of Bagoong rice), bicol express and more!
must try-chori burger (costs: P40)
another must eat! Isaw (chicken intestine!) costs: P10/stick
here are what most people do in Boracay:
island hopping at puka beach
Banana Boat: P200
Island Hopping: P200
flying fish: P500
helmet diving: P500
paraw sailing: P150 each or P500/group
ride the zorb: P350
ATV ride: P600/hr
Drinks and Hangouts:
Okay, so this one is a bit challenging... As night falls, everyone wants to be in the scene, (read: where the party at?) So yes, this is what I call the few exemption to scrimping. Here are some few Boracay hangouts that I found were most people went: Epic, Club Parao, Summer Place, Cocomanga's. Depending on your group and budget, a night of drinking can cost from P200 and up!
But wait! here is a frugal tip: lets say you just wanna have a good time, why not order your first bottle at that place and for your next bottle why not buy it at the sari-sari store nearby and just casually in discreet bring it to the place where you guys are hanging out! (hahaha, yes we did this!) Saved us some few bucks! Beer at the sari-sari store: P40! Beer at let's say Epic:P 80! double the price! sheesh! So, that's a frugal tip for you! :)
and if you wanna dare yourself, why not try Cocomanga's legendary 15 shots which costs P1000 and comes with a free shirt saying:" Still standing at 15.." and if you get to finish all 15, your name will be posted at their wall along with thousands else who've tried!
and when you have nothing else to do, why not seat back and relax in the soft, smooth sand of Boracay and watch for the most amazing sunset (for me). Boracay really is a wonderful island, don't you think? :)
So you see, travelling is not all about being expensive and all... You just gotta make your way around the city, in this case, an island to definitely see it's beauty without the dollar sign! :)
*1 us dollar=P42 (do the math :))