Monday, May 18, 2015

Boracay on a Budget

There is a saying "You can never have too much beach" especially if it goes really well with your budget. Boracay is a dream of many, both local and foreign tourists. The constant temperature of its crystal clear waters, powdery white coral sands, its breathtaking sunsets, beach parties almost anything and everything you can think of. Name it as the island has it. One thing that hinders some of us especially the local tourists from getting their feet on these gifts is the BUDGET.

Last month, I got the chance to revisit the island (By the way, I'm an Aklanon). 

The Challenge: Organize a 4days/3nights Boracay trip for our company of 14pax.

I'd like to share you some tips on how my colleagues experienced the beauty of Boracay without spending so much.

1. Plan your trip ahead of time. Plane ticket bookings could be a test of patience as local airline carriers' "Piso Fare" rates is like searching a needle in a haystack. And you should start searching for cheap flights months away from the travel date. 

Well on our case, since we only managed to get a promo flight on our way back to manila, we opted a P1,258.00 fare from 2GO Travel (shipping company) that leaves Batangas Port at 9:00 pm and arrives directly in Caticlan Jetty Port at 7:00 am the following day. A better option for backpackers who have to work during daytime as they can go straight to Batangas after work, then board the ship and recharge for the next day's activities.

Same thing with accommodation. During peak season (Summer months, LaBoracay, Ati-Atihan, Holy Week), accommodation hunting is not an easy task. And since we're on a budget, small transient rooms that are not located at the beachfront (resorts located at the main road usually. link located below.) will be your next best option. You might walk a couple of minutes to get to the beach but you get to save a lot to be used for other island activities.

2. Never leave your things unattended while at the Jetty Port. The booth where you have to settle the Environmental and Terminal fees are all located outside and is just beside the crowded waiting area for RORO (Roll-on Roll-off Transportation) passengers. You can never be too careful these days.

Terminal Fee: P100.00
Environmental Fee: P75.00
Boat Fee: P25.00

3. Tricycle fare starts at P20 per person. It could take you as far as Station 2. Add P5-P10 if your accommodation is located at Station 1 or beyond. The trick when you're traveling as a group is to haggle on the price with the driver. Don't be shy because that's what the locals do. A tricycle can have up to 7 passengers.

4. Craving for seafood? Stick to your budget without sacrificing your cravings by visiting the Talipapa for an array of seafood buffet restaurants instead of eating at fancy beachfront buffet restos. They usually serve the same quality of seafood but the Talipapa rates will surely make you more happy.

5. Budget water activities. Standard rates for water activities could be a bit pricey. The best way to experience it without spending too much? Have the "Best price gets the business" mentality. Offers for boating, banana boat, parasailing are everywhere in the island. So here's my tip.

-Have a walk along Station 2 and 3 to start the business. Standard rate for Banana Boat per person is P250. Well you can get it for P170/person. I'll give you Ate Judith's phone number. She's my contact in Boracay for affordable rates on almost every actvities you may have. 

5. Bring your own food and drinks during Island Hopping and save half the price! Boating package normally includes Island Hopping, snorkeling, and a lunch at Puka Beach for P800.00 per person. So if you're travelling as a group, you better slash the "free lunch" option and bring your own lunch. Here's how I computed it during our trip:

Standard Package Rate:
14pax X P800 per person= P11,200.00
-Island Hopping
-Lunch at Puka Beach

Budget Friendly Option:
P3,000.00 for 14pax
-Island Hopping
Then you spend

P6,000.00 savings! 

Remember, do not hesitate to ask for your options.
Here's the Breakdown of expenses per person. I did not include the amount spent on food as it depends per traveler. Hope it helps.


2GO                                                     1,258.00
Buendia-Batangas Port                        150.00
Batangas Port Fee                                  30.00
Environmental Fee                                  75.00
Terminal Fee                                          100.00
Boat Fee                                                   25.00
Tricycle from Cagban                             20.00
Tricycle to Cagban                                 20.00
Terminal Fee                                          100.00
Van to Kalibo Airport                            150.00
Airport Terminal Fee                             150.00
Airaisia Fare **                                    1,035.00
Total:                                                 P3,113.00

Other Water Activities:

Banana Boat                                       170.00
Fly Fish                                               250.00
Helmet Diving                                     600.00
Total:                                              P1,020.00

Always act like its not your first time in the island even though it is. Do not hesitate to haggle on prices whether your riding a "habal-habal", buying souvenirs, or buying fresh seafood for dinner. Boracay is a tourist friendly island. They understand. 

Should you be going to Boracay and on a budget, here are some contacts that might help you:

Judith- 09997759721 (for Boracay water activities. She's friendly and accommodating. She can also help you in looking for transient houses so you may contact her at least a week or more prior to your trip.)

Amount quoted are in Philippine Peso