November 5, 2010

Boracay Part 1: A day in the Sunlight

Kablag!!! brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeewwwwwwwuuuuuuuuuuuuu....

Pilot: Passengers, the time is 10:30 in the morning we have landed safely at Caticlan airport. Thank you for choosing to fly with us enjoy your stay.

Finally I'm standing on land again and not have to think about crash landing just like what I do whenever I'm up in the air. I have better chances surviving in water rather than be just like a comet heading straight into the sea or mountain.

The Caticlan airport (Sadly I didn't have a photo because I was in a hurry to catch up with people I'm supposed to meet at Boracay) is a very small airport, I would even just call it an airstrip because 2-3 planes are only allowed to land there and once the 3rd plane landed on the strip the 1st plane should be boarded and ready to leave. There are no baggage machines, manual porters put the bags and luggage in a window and it's crazy looking for your bag.

Once you're out of the "airstrip" people will start asking you if you have been booked in a hotel in Boracay. Believe me, if it's off-season (when tourists and vacationers are few) it's better not to book ahead of time because there are tons of hotels, cottages and all sorts of accommodation that offer promos so low you'll have a hard time choosing. Me, who booked 2 days before the flight and had no idea where to stay on the island was ignoring them because it's irritating. They followed me until I got inside the tricycle.

After I registered at the tourism office there's a booth where you will pay everything from tricycle transport to the seaport, the environmental fee and transport fee via boat to Boracay which totaled PHP205 ($5). I think that's really convenient because I won't get cheated on transport fees.

11:00AM - I arrived at the seaport which I'll get into a small boat that can carry 20 passengers to the paradise.

That was the boat that took me to the paradise
The ride was smooth and windy, people started putting out their cameras as well as me. I watched my co-passengers as they took photos and chatted about what to do there and where to go, the 15 minute boat ride felt eternity to me because I was trying to catch up with my brother and his friends who went "Helmet Diving" and I just have to make it to maximize my stay there. Earlier he asked me if they should wait for me but I said that they should follow their Itinerary and I'll catch up because in the first place I don't want to be the cause of delay so we were updating ourselves through text messages.

11:30AM - I made it to Bulabog beach (where extreme sports like para-sailing happens) by riding another tricycle worth PHP100($2). I asked "Amihan Helmet Diving Services" about the whereabouts of 14 people who went out the sea. She had great knowledge that I was coming and quickly arranged a special transport via boat to where my brother was. So I paid PHP350 ($7) to experience Helmet Diving and I was transported to the float of Amihan.

I was finally relieved when I heard "John!" and they were waving at me and I said "whew! I made it on my own!" and when I stepped into the float they said "get dressed, you're next"...that was a fast greeting and I'm not even settled yet but quickly I got dressed into my beach attire and waited a few minutes for my brother who was under the sea making friends with fishes.

Hello earthlings, this is helmet diving.
 The helmet was really heavy and it's hard to move. We fed the fishes around the corals and we didn't have to worry about documentation because pictures and videos are free! We were able to enjoy swimming with the fishes. Here's a video of us under the sea.

12:30PM - We were hungry but I still didn't have a place to stay, my brother and his girl helped me find one since the hotels I listed were too steep for my budget. We stumbled upon "The Boracay Dream house resort",  We asked how much was the accommodation each night. Here's the conversation between me and the receptionist:

Me: How much is it per night?
R: Sir it is PHP3500 ($70) per night
Me: How about this promo you have? it says PHP1500 ($25)per night only.
R: Sir that's only a promo if it's the off-peak season. it's Peak season this October to December.
Me: If you give me the promo price I'll take it.
Brother: They can't do that because it's a fixed rate
Me: It's worth a try.
R: How long will you stay?
Me: 3 Nights
R: Maam! (referring to the manager) Should I give the promo? He'll stay for 3 nights.
Manager: Alright.
Me: I told you we could get it.
Me: Miss! (speaking to the receptionist) Can a get a towel?
R: Of course sir.
Me: For freeeeeeeeeeeee?
R: yes of course!
-End of Conversation-

This is the cottage I stayed in for the next 3 nights of my stay. The small house is made of bamboo and other wood materials.
So there! I got the place for a bargain! I was so happy that I'll stay in a traditional cottage in front of the beach  for $25 per night in Station 1( Station 1 is where the expensive hotels can be found) in a peak-season! I felt great that I was hitting my budget on target.

We went for a little walk on the beach to look for the others who were eating lunch and guess what, my place was meters away to where they were eating.

My brother's friends, sharing laughs after a big meal.

A little walk around the beach was what I did, looking around and taking tips from them about where to go and what places to visit, which restaurants to eat without depleting the budget.

"A sandy proposal" .
After a while we went to where they were staying, the "Residencia Boracay Hotel" iwas where they were at. The  concrete building is at least 1 kilometer away from where I was staying so we had to take the tricycle. The beach was less populated compared to my part of the beach, It's quiet and more relaxing.
The Boracay beach, the view from "Residencia"

It was only 2PM and the day has just started for me, I had great deals, big meals and it felt so real. I wouldn't mind trying a lot of crazy stuffs to conquer boredom, but for the meantime,  I just looked at the horizon thinking nothing, just staring and watching other people enjoy, they've become my entertainment.

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