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Boracay for the Budget Traveler

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What can you do in just three days and three nights in Boracay with a limited budget? A lot. Especially if you aren't concerned with the accommodations (like me) but would rather enjoy the sand, sea and activities. From my experience, it's also the food that will eat your budget. For a Filipino, I honestly don't think there are any dishes found ONLY in Boracay. I usually splurge on food if it's a specialty of the region but in the case of Boracay, it's already too commercialized for authentic Filipino food. So what I would suggest is to limit expensive meals, choose cheap but functional rooms, and do all the activities. Enjoy the place! Read on to find out what we did.

Boracay Beach

We got a promo ticket from Cebu Pacific so we only paid 300 pesos for a round trip ticket each (yey!). We weren't concerned about the accommodations much. As long as it was near the beach, we were fine with it so I surfed the Net and found a possibly nice place, The Orchid Resort. I knew it was in station 3 but it was cheap, only Php 1,080/night for an aircon room good for 3 people and since our arrival was around 8pm in Boracay, we needed to make reservations in case the flight got delayed and we needed to call the resort to come fetch us from the port.

Turned out we didn't need to do this at all. We arrived at around 7pm in Kalibo airport and immediately after stepping out, a guy offered us a van ride to Caticlan for Php 200 including the ferry ride. The trip took approximately 1.5 hours. Upon arriving to Caticlan, we needed to pay the Terminal and Environmental fee. I think it was 45 pesos and 50 pesos respectively. I somehow recall we paid a higher price when I first came here but couldn't remember the exact amount. Then we took the ferry ride to Boracay. This took a mere 5 minutes.

Marine Walk

Maybe our group looked lost or something, but when we arrived, a woman approached us and inquired if we already had accommodations. We said we did but we hadn't paid the downpayment yet and actually, one of my friends was also suggesting we go to Bamboo Resort instead because it was in Station 2 for roughly the same price as the Orchid Resort. So in reality, we were still unsure where to stay. I wasn't worried though, because it was off peak season and I was sure we would find a place.

We took a tricycle to Station 2, because we decided to check out the Bamboo Resort first and if it was nice, we'd cancel the reservation in Orchid's. But during the ride, my friend called Bamboo Resort to re-confirm if there was still an available room that night. They said they no longer had any vacancies. By then, we were already at Station 2 and I almost asked the driver to take us to Station 3 instead so we can just go directly to Orchid's. But the woman from the port had hitched a ride with us and she proposed we take a look at the rooms she offered. Since we were already there anyway, we accepted.

The colorful fish we found while snorkeling

So we walked around Station 2, passing D'Mall, and followed the woman. She led first to one place where the rooms and the beds were too small for us. So she took us to another but this time it had only one double bed and one of us would have to decide who would sleep on the extra mattress. We couldn't agree on who would stay together on one room, if we would get the room, if we agree on the price, etc. Finally, she led us to another place named Eriko's, just behind the Summer Place bar. It was perfect. The room looked nice, had 2 double beds, a cable tv, a ref, a small veranda to hang wet clothes, an aircon, a clean bathroom, and even a small safe (but we didn't use it). We rented 2 rooms because we were a group of 6. It only cost 1,200 per night and was smack in the middle of Station 2 and only a few minutes from D'Mall.

We didn't do anything much that night. We just had dinner then rested.

Day 1.

Woke up at 7am. When we came out, a bangkero approached us to offer a snorkeling tour. His rate was Php 1,300 for 4 hours. We agreed but told him we had to eat breakfast first. He suggested we eat at Puka beach because there was a Carinderia there. I didn't think any of the eateries at D'Mall was open that early and we wanted some native food anyway so that sounded nice. So off we went. The food at Puka beach was great. we had gambas and adobong pusit and buttered shrimp. After that, our bangkero, whose name was Kuya Carl, took us to the snorkeling area and we fed the fishes. After that, we decided to do the Marine Walk (Helmet Diving). Kuya Carl offered us a rate of Php 450 each. So we went and received instructions from the diver what to do when we went under. It was a great experience since I'm a non diver and this is probably the closest I'll get to doing scuba diving.

The Buggy

At around 1pm, we were already back in White Beach and Kuya Carl promised to deliver the CD of our pictures and video of the Marine Walk the next day. For the rest of the afternoon, we either stayed in our rooms and watched tv, slept, ate or walked around.

Day 2.

We planned to ride the Zorb but ended up riding the ATV first. We met a guy on the beach who offered ATV rides for 300 pesos each so we went with him. We still needed to pay a 100-peso tricycle ride to the site. However, we weren't impressed with the ATV's offered to us. They looked old, dirty and looked like they would fall apart. Some of my friends didn't want to ride at all. So we looked for another place which offered better rides. We went to Red Corals and they had newer-looking ATVs and Buggys. Plus, they had a practice track and the sights we would visit were prominently displayed. The cost for an ATV here was 400 for an hour and 800 for a Buggy. Buggys could accommodate 2 people. The guide told us that there were 3 sights we would go to: The Butterfly Farm (entrance Php 60), where you could hold a live bat, The Aviary (entrance Php 60), where you could view birds in creative cages, and the View Point (entrance 50) at the top of Mt. Luho. If we used the ATV, we would only be able to go to 2 places because it was slow. If we used the Buggy, we could go to all 3. So we took the Buggy instead. My boyfriend let me drive. Driving the buggy was the same as the Go Cart in Subic. One pedal for start, and one pedal for brake. Just be careful because just a light pressure on the start pedal will already make the buggy go. We were only able to visit the Butterfly farm and the aviary, though, because one of my friends was a slow driver. But still, I liked the bat experience the best. We rode back to White Beach on the shuttle service.

Holding a live bat at the butterfly garden

After a delicious seafood lunch, we waited for another shuttle service that would take us to the Zorb. They had a little stand in white beach and that's where we made our reservations because the shuttle only came every hour. When we arrived, there was a group ahead of us who was also doing the ride. You had 2 options to ride the Zorb.

1. Harness Ride - a maximum of 2 people are strapped to the Zorb. The rotation is more vertical, like a bowling ball so it's more intense.

2. Hydro - a maximum of 3 people can ride inside the Zorb. It is also about a third filled with water to equalize the weight. The rotation is like that of a spinning teacup so you are not turned head over heels, more freestyle and splashing around. Also, with this, your other friends can lie down in the path of the Zorb to be run over. With Harness, this is not allowed.

We opted for the Hydro ride because our other friends wanted to be run over. I had the greatest fun riding this and also running like hell when about to be run over. For Hydro, it was 300 per head because we were 3 in a Zorb. 380 if you're 2 in a Zorb. Php 350 for harness Zorb for 2 people.

get rolled over by the zorb!

Those were the highlights of our day. In the late afternoon and evening, we walked around White Beach some more, ate Gelato ice cream and had dinner in Shakey's by the beach.

Day 3

Mostly souvenir shopping. You need to be a good haggler. Then off to the airport to go home.


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