Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roxas City Trip, Boracay Part II

Capiz is in the northeastern tip of the island of Panay and its city is named after the former president of the Philippines, a local, Manual Roxas. It is also the city where my dad grew up in.

It's closest neighbors are Iloilo and Aklan. For people living in Roxas City it's easy to get to these two provinces via land. The roads are smooth and very manageable with available signage and stop over points. Whether you have your own car or commuting via trusted bus liners and van shuttles, it only takes up an average of 2 hours to get to the cities of Iloilo and Aklan.

Being in Roxas, it was an advantage and a possibility for my friends and I to go to Boracay. When I told them the estimated travel time, the cost and the convenience of traveling, it was immediately put to our list of things to do. So, in our first night in Roxas, we still pushed through with our drinking session only now with a conscious effort to mind the time as we were arranged to go to the station at 6 am.

The Trip:

To get to Boracay from Roxas City, one must go to the central bus/shuttle station. It's located in the main road of the city, the only place where shuttle franchises are to be found. These shuttles directly bring you to the main city of Iloilo, Aklan or Antique and some can even accommodate dropping passengers at the main shuttle stations of those cities. To get to the station, one can just ask a local where they could be found. Everyone there knows this place.

The best time to travel to Boracay is early in the morning to avoid intense heat and to maximize the entire day. At around 6 am, we went to Shuttle station in Roxas City, paid 100 bucks each to directly take us to Kalibo Aklan shuttle station to take another van to Caticlan. The travel time from Roxas to Kalibo Aklan is 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.




Going to Kalibo is a breeze. The roads are brilliant. Though expect the driver to maximize his trip. He might stop and accommodate passengers in certain towns he passes by so prepare to secure the seats farthest from the door.

At around 8:30 am, we were directly dropped at the vacant lot in Kalibo city which showcases vans going to Caticlan, a small town of Aklan, which is the gateway to Boracay. We got to an air-onditioned shuttle, paid a 100 bucks each and traveled 1 1/2 hours from Kalibo to Caticlan. Like our trip from Roxas to Kalibo, the travel was smooth except for the occasional stop overs to pick up passengers on the side. By 10 am, we were already in Caticlan Pier.

If you're not a native of AKLAN, one has to pay 50 bucks for environmental fee, 50 bucks for the port fee and 30 bucks for the fastcraft ticket one way. So all in all that's 130 each to get to Boracay island. If you are a resident of Aklan by telling them your exact residence, you only have to pay for the fastcraft. Actually, when I first heard the word fastcraft, I didn't actually believe the term's usage. Ever since going to Boracay via the Caticlan Port, we all rode motored bancas that are open, bumpier and smaller than outrigger boats going to Puerto Galera. I have never ridden a fast craft. Little did I know that we were directed to the farthest point of the pier where a Montenegro fast craft was waiting for us. The fastcraft unlike the ones I've ridden to Bohol and Cebu, is relatively smaller, more cramped and older. Despite the negative observations, it's still air-conditioned and constantly manned by staff, but the presence of lifejackets was missing and there were no brief orientations of some sort. The cross to Boracay island from Caticlan port may be short, but I'd prefer a safety first attitude in things.

We got to Boracay port and it was becoming gloomy then. We rode a tricycle to take us to D'Talipapa for a hundred bucks. Khae, who was in Boracay a couple of weeks ago, prepared us for what we were about to see. According to her, there are man-made bamboo walls erected on the beach. To swim, one has to enter into a small door to get to the main shore. Frankly, I found it hard to envision it in my mind.





When we got to D'Talipapa we went to various hotels to check the best deal we could get without compromising our needs. We checked in at De Paris in Station 2, a beachfront resort with a large air-conditioned room, a large clean bathroom, a veranda, tv, and mini-ref for only 1,500 bucks. It was also during our search that we saw the bamboo walls and we were just completely weirded out. Aside from it looks weird, there were small boxed doors where people could go in an out if they want to swim. This was done to prevent sand flying to al fresco dining areas and to be an inconvenience to strolling people. The wind was that strong and the tide was high, it was a precaution they couldn't live without. It was understandable though since it's the rainy season.



During our stay, it was gloomy and it rained, but nothing that we couldn't handle at least there's no lumot so despite my expected allergic reaction, I braved the waters. There were times when we feared of not being able to leave the island due to the gusts of the wind accompanied by rain, but the locals kept on reassuring us that we were not seeing anything abnormal. We had lunch at Smoke and the usual afternoon trip to Jonah's was fulfilled.

After having 2 hours of power nap, we woke up for dinner and walked around. While walking, the gust of wind became intense and grains of sand kept on hitting us like little ants. It was a challenge to walk and most people are dining inside restaurants with temporary barricades. We understood now. Nobody was dining al fresco. WE immediately saw a closed restaurant just after Starbucks where they offer buffet dinner with live performance by a local singing group. With the sand attacking us, one look of the closed space, we immediately grabbed it. The food may not be great, but we filled ours shells and got away from the so-called "Boracay-sandstorm."



By around 9:30 pm, we went to Guilly's for a simple night out. Unlike summer, Guilly's and other neighboring bars aren't packed at all. Waiters were everywhere to attend to our every needs, spoken or not. Personally, I found it more relaxing than summer crowds. Our orders arrived on time and we were attended to like royalty. By 12 am, we ran from Station one to our hotel in station 2 because it was already drizzling and preparing to pour.



The morning after at 9 am, one of us was sick and all of us were hungry. We walked towards Station 3 to find a good breakfast spot, but couldn't find one. I suggested Real Coffee in Station 1 so we headed back. Jim decided to just have soup at the hotel instead as Khae and I braved through the gloomy shores of Boracay each having umbrellas in tow. As usual, Real coffee didn't disappoint us.



By 11:00 am we were scrambling to check out. By this time it was already raining hard. It was a struggle for us to walk from our hotel towards D'Talipapa to get a ride to the port. We were soaked and we walked towards filthy wet streets in mere slippers, but we even managed to buy shirt pasalubongs.



By 12:30 we arrived at the packed Boracay Pier where we found ourselves with numerous eager tourists waiting for the only fast craft that is allowed to cross the turbulent and murky seas. We had to squish ourselves to get to that trip because waiting might seem forever and all of us were not feeling great at that time. We all just wanted to cross the island.




The fastcraft ride may be smoother than most people had imagined, but getting inside the fast craft and getting off may be more challenging to some. Everyone just had to walk the makeshift wooden ladder while the whole ship was swaying like a child in tantrums. It wasn't very easy.

In Caticlan pier, we did our bathroom businesses and rode a shuttle going to Kalibo, Aklan. From Kalibo Aklan, we rode a shuttle, the exact same shuttle that took us from Roxas to Kalibo. By 6:30 pm we were already in Roxas City where I met my aunt and my other aunt from Jeddah who just arrived last weekend. Together all of us went to my dad's beach house and had dinner at 7 pm.



Going to Boracay via Roxas was exciting, tiring, but fun. Adding the weird weather and travel inconveniences, it could be stressful sometimes. But it felt like a healthy accomplishment with a taste of what hardcore traveling is all about. Good thing none of us was squirmish and posh enough to whine or chronically complain or else the entire trip would've been painful.

ROXAS-BORACAY TRIP

1. Take a shuttle from Roxas City to Kalibo Aklan= 100 pesos, 2 hours, open air van (sometimes)
2. Take a shuttle from Kalibo Aklan to Caticlan Port = 100 pesos 1 1/2 hours (airconditioned)

Vans are there as long as there are trips from Boracay port to Caticlan. Although, I'm not sure for Kalibo to Roxas City. It's better to leave before lunch or just a little after lunch in Boracay just to be on the safe side.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, i came upon your blog while searching for info on montenegro caticlan-boracay. is the fastcraft always available, even at around 7pm? how convenient is it to get a trike from cagban? no-fuss ba talaga? i'm booking a vacation for my titas kasi and i want to make it as convenient as possible for them. thanks! (pls reply to ness_doctor(at)yahoo(dot)com)

opinionatedbanana said...

Tricycles from airport to Caticlan Port and Tricycles from Boracay port to your hotel are very much available. It's definitely no fuss getting one.

As for the montenegro, I'm sure the fast track is always available as long as crossing at this time (7 pm) is allowed. Just check up to what time they allow ferries and fast crafts to cross.

Anonymous said...

hello can you help me on this, i booked a flight from manila to roxas going to boracay, how can i get from roxas airport to the central bus/shuttle station? what kind of transportation can i take? and can the shutle to kalibo directly drop me off the kalibo airport? lastly is the shuttle station in kalibo close to the kalibo airport?
thank you so much, i would appreciate your help a lot, im going to boracay next week and it'll be via roxas..
please email me at rcasedo@yahoo.com thanks so much!

Boracay Hotels said...

Wow this is awesome, love your photos and your blogs too. I hope i can go there too in boracay.

So how is your vacation?




Tanya Gemarin