Boracay: Paradise Reborn

I longed for returning to the island paradise as this was my first domestic flight destination way back 2013, with my college friends. That month of August, my birthday month, was the time where we had few days of vacation on the island packed with activities but welcomed by a stormy day that led us to stay in our accommodation for a day.

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Boracay’s White Beach on my first visit last August 2013 

Boracay, Philippines’ premier tourist destination, is flocked by tourists all year round. Famous for its white beaches and party life, it’s known for foreigners and local tourists alike. Hence, over the years, the island destination found unprecedented influx of income as well as…pollution. Last April 2018, our beloved president announced 6-month closure as part of the government’s efforts of island’s environmental rehabilitation. As part of the closure, Boracay would be closed except to registered island residents and employees of its business establishments. It was met with criticisms and protest from local and foreign media, but may believed it was for the sake of island’s sustainability. Anyways, there are various options and islands to explore.

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Paraw sailing like these used to dominate the seascapes of White and Bulabog beaches. Now, all water activities within the island are temporarily suspended.

Last March 2018, I booked a promo fare bound to Caticlan (Boracay) Airport. I knew this would be perfect hitting two birds in one stone: visiting rehabilitated Boracay and exploring Aklan province slated on February 2019. But after few months, on August, Cebu Pacific released another seat sale for Caticlan promoting flights on upcoming soft opening starting October 26. I was like: “Should I go for it?” I was tempted but lately gave in and booked! I thought of booking my return flight at Kalibo when my flight date approaches. Good thing we don’t have office work on holidays. Saving my leaves at last!

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Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (Aklanon: Paeuparan it Godofredo P. Ramos, Hiligaynon: Hulugpaan sang Godofredo P. Ramos, Filipino: Paliparang Godofredo P. Ramos) (IATA: MPH, ICAO: RPVE), also known as Caticlan Airport and recently, Boracay Airport by its developer Transaire, is an airport serving the general area of the municipality of Malay, located in the province of Aklan in the Philippines. It is one of the two gateways to Boracay, one of the Philippines’ best-known tourist destinations.
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Ati-Atihan Festival dancers welcoming us! Mayad nga agahon Akean!

Boracay is in the northwest tip of Panay Island in Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The island comprises the barangays of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag, and Yapak in the municipality of Malay, in Aklan Province. The island is administered by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the provincial government of Aklan.

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Walk outside the Caticlan (Boracay) Airport then across the street, there’s a queue of tricycles waiting for tourists. Fare is Php100 good for 1-3 passengers.
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Alight at Caticlan Jetty Port and go directly to Tourist Verification Counter. Since soft opening last October 26, tourists are REQUIRED to show hotel booking confirmation (electronic copy or printed form) only from ACCREDITED BORACAY HOTELS. You can also visit Facebook Page and website of our Department of Tourism for regular updates.
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You’ll get stamped and show it to security officer at the port before baggage inspection.
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Pay the required fees: Php75 Environmental fee, Php100 Terminal Fee and Php25 Passenger Pump Boat = Php200 in all!
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Caticlan Jetty Port is where one boards the 15-20 minute ferry boat going to Boracay Island.
From there, its a 15-20 minute boat ride to Cagban Port in Boracay Island.
Depending on the weather or during low tide, an alternate port is Tabon Port in Caticlan connecting to Tambisaan Port in Boracay Island.
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Arrived at Cagban Port located at the southern end of Boracay Island.
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Maligayang pagdating sa bagong Boracay!
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E-trikes as main mode of transportation within the island. I paid Php20 from Cagban Port to Station 2 Main road.
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Boracay Main Road under construction but one lane already passable (dirt road). Several roads and paths connect the Beachfront Path with this vehicular road which runs the length of the island.
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Boracay Travelodge Beach Resort
Station 2 (at the back of Victory Divers), Brgy. Balabag, Boracay Island,
Balabag, Station 2, Boracay Island, Philippines, 5609
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I got a Standard Room with Breakfast (good for 2pax) at Php1200 for 2D1N via Traveloka (originally Php1500 but I applied Php300 using their promocode).  Not bad as this was the cheapest available that time. I was asked to deposit Php1000 for any damages that will be incurred on stay but I got it back the next day. (n_n)
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The name Boracay is attributed to different origins. One story says that it is derived from the local word “borac” which means white cotton with characteristics close to the color and texture of Boracay’s white sugary and powdery sand. Ati tradition states that the name of the island came from the Inati words “bora”, meaning bubbles, and “bocay”, meaning white. Yet another version dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from “sagay,” the word for a shell, and “boray,” the word for seed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boracay
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Let’s protect our beaches. Practice Leave No Trace policy.
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Willy’s Rock is arguably Boracay’s most photographed landmark. It is a rocky outcrop that forms a tidal island with a statue of the Virgin Mary atop steps carved into the volcanic rock. 
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Willy’s Rock at closer look. It gets its name from the nearby Willy’s Beach Club Hotel and is situated near Station 1 on Boracay’s 4km stretch of white sandy beach.
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Teens playing frisbee at clear waters of Boracay’s Station 1
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Selfie atop Willy’s Rock #ItsMoreFuninthePhilippines (n_n) then time for a swim!
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I grabbed dinner at Station 2 Main Road’s Jollibee then walked a few meters to Jonah’s as I miss their fruitshake.
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Mango Banana fruitshake for Php140
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Good morning from White Beach, the most popular beach on Boracay, with 4km worth of fine white sands and crystal clear waters.
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White Beach, the main tourism beach, is about four kilometers long and is lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses. In the central portion, for about two kilometers, there is a footpath known as the Beachfront Path separating the beach itself from the establishments located along it. North and south of the Beachfront Path, beachfront establishments do literally front along the beach itself.
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Complementary BUFFET breakfast at La Carmela de Boracay. It turns out that my accommodation is a sister chain of La Carmela’s. Amazing! #happybreakfast #fullyloaded

As I walked on the beachfront path, there are still some establishments waiting to be accredited. Hence, constructions are ongoing, some building still cordonned and the main road is dusty, so make sure you have protective covering against dust. I salute all the citizens and inter-agencies for making a #BetterBoracay and let’s do our part to protect our very own tourist spots. I bid farewell to Boracay but not after taking a selfie on the newly-built BORACAY SIGN!

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Boracay Sign greet visitors arriving at Cagban Port, the main gateway to Boracay island.
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Across the sign are the official seals of inter-agencies who made #BetterBoracay possible such as Office of the President, DENR, DILG, DOT, Malay LGU and Provincial Goverment of Aklan.
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Cheers for #BetterBoracay! (n_n)
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Saylo kamo is the Akeanon of “Come in!”

EXPENSES:
Php799 Manila to Boracay (Caticlan) flight
Php100 Trike from Caticlan airport to Jetty Port
Php200 = Php75 Environmental fee + Php100 Terminal Fee + Php25 Pumpboat Fee (Caticlan to Cagban)
Php20 E-trike from Cagban Port to Main Road Station 2
Php1200 Boracay Travelodge Beach Resort 2D1N at Standard Room with Breakfast (good for 2 pax)
Php99 McDo Steak meal for lunch
Php31 Mineral water 1L at Budget Mart
Php105 Jollibee Chickenjoy meal for dinner
Php140 Jonah’s Mango Banana fruitshake
Php100 Boracay ref magnets 4 pcs
Php20 E-trike to Cagban Port
Php125 = Php100 Terminal Fee + Php25 Pumpboat Fee (Cagban to Caticlan)
TOTAL: Php2939

Hoping I could be back soon at #BetterBoracay with water activities resuming. (n_n)

NEXT: Aklan: Visita Iglesia at Philippines’ Oldest Province

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