Published: September 11th 2008August 29th 2008
Boracay here I come
This is a view of Caticlan from our plane.
Planes, Tricycles & Automobiles…..& boats
Why restrict yourself to just one medium of transport? For a bit of variety - Why not try everything….And so I did! Planes
Cebu now has a low cost airline called ‘Cebu Pacific’ which makes it perfect for cheap & easy travel both domestically & internationally. (perhaps this company promo gives me a discount off my next fare?)
My only complaint is this…..Why do you weigh all of your passengers (domestic only) before allowing them to board the plane?
I almost died of humiliation as they brought out the big weigh scale and asked everyone to individually stand on it so they could record their weight on a piece of paper. In a country where the word 'small, medium & large' take on a whole new meaning to most western countries - I was waiting for them to burst out laughing - That or ask me to pay for my 'excess baggage’!!
Our landing into Caticlan (The main island where the airport is located to get to Boracay) was pretty hair-raising. The Cebu Pacific plane that we used was one of those really tiny planes (don’t know the plane type) with
'No fear' on the tricycle
Here I am posing on my tricycle
an external propeller blade on each wing. So, given the size of the plane, we felt every little bit of turbulence during the 1 hour flight and almost skidded off the runway as we landed. It seemed as if the pilot was coming in pretty fast during our landing and couldn’t find his brakes as he tried to land……Nothing like a jolt to the stomach to wake you up in the morning. Tricycles & Automobiles
Locals use tricycles to get along small roads so I have not really seen very many of them within the metro Cebu area. After our arrival into Caticlan we needed to ride a tricycle to take us to the port in order to catch the boat for Boracay. My younger sister & I rode in the first one, while the rest of my family jumped in the other one and off we went to the port in a little over 5 minutes. The locals - always friendly & always curious - usually wave & yell out to you as you drive by or daringly crane their necks in to say hello if they themselves are riding a motorcycle.
To add to my
Sitting on the boat
Are we there yet??? Here I am with my younger sister.
mode of transportation variety pack. I couldn’t go past a ride in the infamous Philippine Jeepney. These jeepneys are the equivalent of buses & trains for everyday Filipinos to travel from A to B - and in the cities & towns - they are everywhere.
The original jeepneys were previously army jeeps that were subsequently converted into PUJ’s (Public Untility Jeepneys). Most of them are decked out in fancy colours (florescent pink anyone?) with streamers, multiple headlights, streamers and a whole gamut of “stuff” (stickers, Hawaiian dolls, beads….etc) - not to mention the people hanging out of the jeepney, catching a ride while hanging on for dear life.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask) the one I rode was a plain, no nonsense one that we rode to take us from the jetty to our hotel - but at least I can say that I’ve ridden in one (albeit the tourist version). Boats
The pump boat ride from the pier to the island was slightly different to what I had previously imagined. I was expecting an old style wooden boat with an old man rowing us to the island, similar to a ride I took
A walk along White Beach
The footpath has no pavement....its just more of that wonderful soft sand.
a few years ago (I’m not THAT old….in case you are thinking!) to another island off Cebu. Back then we rode a banca style boat, sitting low and close to the water - a very idyllic way to get to your tropical island paradise.
But modern technology all the way - and so today‘s pump boats now have motorised engines, larger seats, hold significantly more people than what they used to and splash a significantly greater amount of water into the boat as well and into your handbag as well - so be warned. Boracay…Top 7 Fast facts (or myths) and other interesting tidbits
Of course I cant talk about my trip to Boracay without the ‘fast facts’ section, so according to the internet, my dad (a very knowledgeable tour guide…ahem!!) and other sources I can no longer remember, here are my fast facts.
1. Boracay is a small island in Aklan Provice. It is between 200kms-300kms (The 100km difference is because the different internet sites that I have researched have given such different values) south of Manila. It is 7kms long and is less than 1km wide at it's shortest point.
2. Boracay is
often listed as one of the worlds Top 10 beaches - but is rarely overrun with tourists (like some other Asian beaches) because of the difficulty of getting to its location.
Swimming with the locals
My sister & I with two of the local children swimming
3. Boracay is dotted with approximately 10 different beaches. The most famous is White beach which is 4kms long and has the most fabulous sunset. (I spent all my time here - so never really got to wander around to the other beaches)
4. To help finding a location in Boracay, most places provide the nearest boat station to access it. As a result tourists usually stay in either Station 1,2, or 3. Station 1 is where the $400-$500 p/night 5 star resorts are located. Station 2 is where the action is and where the bulk of the hotels/resorts are, while Station 3 is home to the cheap hotels and topless bathing areas.
5. The beaches of Boracay as spectacular, peppered with coconut trees, pristine soft sand & crystal clear water. The sand is soft & heavy, when you swirl it around in the water, it settles back to the ground almost instantly, leaving the water crystal clear. Apparently the reason for this is because the
sand is mixture of volcanic material and marble. (Thanks for the info Dad!)
How clear is the water!
My dad looking a bit bemused....
6. Has a whole strip of very nice bars & cafes, along White Beach decked out with bamboo chairs & bean bags on the beach with very cheap & tasty cocktails. (FYI Happy Hour starts from 4 - 7pm and costs approx $5 each). Always order a side order of garlic peanuts to go with cocktail & deck of cards to learn a few Filipino card games. (This interesting tidbit has been sourced by yours truly).
And my personal favourite……
7. Has tiny worms in the sand!!! (Another fact sourced by yours truly). I found that during low tide the fish are not at all hesitant to nibble near your feet as you walk in the water and come in droves if you kick up enough sand. Why? Because of the worms, of course. They are perfectly harmless and very tiny. And once I got over my initial shock (and the screaming) - My younger sister & I spent the next few hours happily picking up mounds of sand to find worms so the fish would come & eat near our hands.
There are more photos below