It’s a raging hot summer in Cebu! 33.7 degrees celsius, and that’s still indoors. To cool off, frugal husband and I went to Boracay Island.
What is Bora
Boracay is an island located across Caticlan, Iloilo. It is famed for its fine sand and long coastline that is free from fences between resorts. In the summer months of April and May, the youth and young at heart go there to party!
I only ever used to come to Bora with friends or officemates. Our nights were filled with alcohol and dancing while we spent our days doing water activities while nursing a hang over. It is different this time..
This was my first time to come here with a loved one and Bora now became a place for romantic walks down the beach, sunset cruises in the afternoons and sober watersports activities.
How to get there (Expenses listed are per person)
We each booked a PhP 6,072.00 (USD 121.44) Cebu Pacific plane ticket from Cebu to Caticlan. Note that plane fares to Caticlan tend to be more expensive than to Kalibo. Caticlan is closer to Bora while landing at Kalibo requires a 2hour bus ride to Caticlan jetty port.
From Caticlan airport, we took a PhP 50 (USD 1.00) tricycle ride to the jetty port. Don’t be deceived into thinking that the only ride available to the port are the vans lined up outside the airport. At PhP 600 (USD 12) per pax, these can be quite a rip-off. These van packages are inclusive of boat fare and transpo to your hotel at Bora.
After a 5-minute ride, we arrived at the jetty port. At the windows outside, we purchased pump boat tickets, paid the environmental fee and the terminal fee.
The boat ride to Bora took about 10-15 minutes. Once we arrived, we went outside the port and took a waiting tricycle (PhP 100/USD 2 for entire tricyle) to take us to our hotel.
The entire trip from the airport to our hotel costs a total of PhP 550 / USD 11.00 or around PhP 275/USD 5.5 EACH. Meanwhile the vans cost double at PhP 600/ USD 12.00. That’s why they’re a rip-off.
Accommodations at Boracay in the summer cost a king’s ransom, even more so during the Labor day week in May, which was the time we were there. Beach front hotels (the nice ones) charged about PhP 15-20 thousand a night, if you were even lucky to get a room.
Luckily, frugal husband and I were gifted with free accommodation (4d,3n) at Crown Recency Resort, a beach front hotel located at station 3. So plainly, our accommodation cost was the surcharge of PhP 3,000.00 / USD 60.
First things first, we checked out Jona’s fruit shakes at boat station 1. Easy to get around Bora when you stay beach front – you just walk and follow the sand!
We checked out Willy’s rock (just in front of Jona’s I think) and saw lots of teens doing a selfie in front of the grotto. Ugh. The beach was just so crowded it was pointless to take much photos.
For meals we opted for lots of seafood. The Bora coastline teems with outdoor and indoor restaurants so there’s never a shortage of places to eat. At night the restaurants swap out their tables for beach cushions as musicians come out and the fire dances start. Alcohol flows freely and cheaply too.
If you’re on a budget there are affordable places to eat on the main road. There are fast-food joints like Jollibee and McDonald’s. Just simply get off the beach through the many narrow alleys. Beware of pickpockets and well, mind your bag. If you tire of walking take an electronic tricycle and pay the minimal fare of about PhP 10.00.
For drinking water and chips just go to Budget Mart (back of station 3). Note that convenience stores on the beach front charge double what certain grocery items like fruits juice cost at the grocery.
The water activities
While plane fares, accommodations and food become expensive during peak season, the water activities become relatively cheaper. Frugal husband and I went parasailing for PhP 800 / 16 USD, paraw sunset sailing for PhP 250 /5 USD and paddle boarding for PhP 250 / 5 USD. Come to any Mactan, Cebu resort and you won’t get these prices!
Overall our 4day 3 night stay in Bora cost a total of about PhP 11,373 / USD 227. That’s inclusive of everything (plane fare, accommodations, food etc). I feel that’s quite steep as I’m not used to spending so much on local travel. However, I did not hold back on the water activities and food as frugal husband will start becoming busy in June when he starts his post-grad study.
Have you ever been to Bora?