So, I need some space to be alone away from my family and my close friends to think, to reflect and to evaluate myself about what I have been doing with my life in the past and to be away with some pressure I am experiencing. It’s been a year since the last time that I traveled alone. Every time I planned on going alone some of my friends would buzz me during the last minute asking if they could come with me which is totally fine. But this time is different, I kinda miss the feeling of being alone in a new place, getting lost, then meeting new people, communicating with them and learning their culture.
I filed a 2-week leave from work to my employer stating that I’ll be having a self-development retreat. The next thing I caught myself booking a round trip plane ticket to Boracay for 4 days. Yeah, I know, when you hear about Boracay many of you will hear some bad rep about this place. Even one of my American friend who is planning a vacation here in PH said that many people advise him not to go there because it’s too commercialized. But, I am living a travel motto “Never judge a place unless you’ve been there!”, so yeah, I went there to check out the place and see if the statements I’m hearing are true. Plus the fact that I’ve never been to the Visayas Region and never flew locally so I’m counting this as a new experience.
My Self-Development Activities in Boracay
When I told my employer I’ll be away for self-development retreat I totally mean it. I got lots of flaws and imperfections especially on my life skills and social skills that is why I’m grabbing this opportunity to be away not only to relax but also to learn something new. There are tons of activities in Boracay that you can enjoy but I only chose three that is suitable for my purpose but sadly due to my sprained ankle I wasn’t able to fulfill one.
- Mermaid Swimming
The first thing I tried is the Mermaid Swimming in Boracay. Sounds funny right? Every time I tell people I’ll be learning mermaid swimming they usually laugh with a silly reaction on their faces. But, hey, it is so much fun. Trying on the colorful tails and swimming on the beach like mermaids is like a dream come true for people who are fan of fantasies and disneys. And oh, their instructors are certified mermaid swimming instructors with license in first aid so you are in good hands especially for non- swimmers like me.
Recently I’ve been enjoying water activities although I don’t know how to swim so having this experience is once in a lifetime.
This unique experience includes: Mermaid introduction, Mermaid tail fitting and rental, Education on looking after and how to swim with the tail, Safety briefing, Directed photoshoot- learning mermaid poses (but you need to provide your own camera, if you are alone the instructor will be your photographer), Mermaid lesson- four basic swim strokes and breathing techniques, Freestyle Session- practicing your own skill and the catch Certificate of Achievement sent by mail.
They also provide private Mermaid swimming lesson with the venue of your choice but for advance booking only.
If Mermaid swimming is not your interest but you want to impress your instagram followers with your mermaid tails, you can try their photo ops with the mermaid tails. You will be assisted and led through a series of Mermaid poses by the instructor. You just have to bring your own camera or your own photographer but like I said if you are alone the instructor is willing to be your photographer.
The daily lesson schedule is 10 am and 3 pm for Php 2,000 per pax.
For private lesson, anytime with your choice of venue and costs Php 3,200 for 1 pax, Php 2,200 for 2 pax and Php 2,000 for 3 pax and a minimal transportation fee may apply.
For photo ops Php 1,000 per for 30 minutes and Php 1,200 for private.
They are located at Fisheye Divers (Station 1 beside Starbucks) or you can send them a personal message at 0917 324 3947.
- Pubcrawl Boracay.
Honestly, my social skill really sucks! Adding the fact that I have a resting bitch face that scares a lot of people in approaching me. It makes them think and judge me to be very unfriendly.
One of my childhood bestie who recently visited Boracay suggested me to try Pubcrawl. It is an event for people who would like to meet new people and possibly become friends with them. With their theme, “TURN STRANGERS INTO FRIENDS”. This is perfect for me since I’m traveling alone and I need to check on improving my social skills.
To be part of this event you need to register for a slot either online or on their booth which is in Tribaz Bar (Station 1). Registration fee costs Php 990 for regular price and Php 690 for girls and Php 790 for guys for early bird. This includes a customized t-shirt which you can cut any style that you want, 10 shots (5 from them and 5 from different bars and clubs you are hoping or crawling).
This is just a pure socialization event not a speed dating game as others from the event think. It starts when you interact and communicate with people in the event before hoping to the first bar. There are also games played on the beach to get you guys closer in between bar hoping so it is not pure drinking and getting wasted.
- Muay Thai Lesson
My third activity supposed to be is to learn Muay Thai at Legacy Gym Boracay but I hurt my ankle while doing my cardio in the gym. Anyway, if you are heading to Boracay and thinking of learning martial arts the schedule is attached below.
Group Sessions are Php 500 per pax, no need for reservation just come during the scheduled session.
For private sessions boxing is Php 800 and Muay Thai is Php 1,000.
How to get to Boracay Island.
This is my step by step journey to Boracay from Baguio.
I ride the Joy bus from Baguio to NAIA 3. From there I have to transfer to NAIA Terminal 4 because it is where domestic flights are flying. So I entered Gate 6 and used the elevator going down to the Arrival area in which you can use the NAIA loop buses. There are 2 kinds of bus, one is circling around Pasay and Baclaran route and the other one is circling around Terminal 1-4 route. Don’t be confused about the bus you will take, just ask the person in charge. Upon arriving at Terminal 4, you check in and wait for your flight. I just observe that local flights are always delayed in my case my flight was delayed for 2 hours (grrrrr).
When I reached Kalibo airport I rode a van for 2 hours going to Caticlan port then pay the necessary fees (environmental, entrance, terminal, etc.). Next I get in a boat going to Boracay Island and finally took a tricycle going to my hostel.
Note: Outside Kalibo airport, there are people offering packages on transfers from airport to your hotel one way or two ways at a very reasonable price including your terminal fee, environmental fee etc. So it is not a struggle. In my case, when I was standing in line to book my transfer in Southwest (the most popular company), I was approached by a woman asking if I want to join them because a guy is offering them a cheaper transfer package than Southwest. They just need at least one more person to join them. I ask if they will take me straight to my hostel just like the Southwest and the guy said Yes! So I used this service.
If you want a cheaper bargain on your transfer, contact Kuya Jun Gelbolingo at 0918 462 7337 and 0908 539 9055. It costs Php 500 all in, from airport to your hotel. You can also contact him if you are leaving Boracay to pick you up in your hotel and take you to the airport. In my case, I got a lot of time from my hostel check out to my flight so I did DIY going to the airport.
*I had 2 hours delayed flight so my arrival in Boracay was late plus the fact that I left Baguio at 4:00 am so I was too tired to do anything upon my arrival so I made adjustments on my itinerary.
7:00 am: Breakfast
8:00 am: Beach walk, sightseeing, from Station 2 to Station 1, then, we settled at Boracay Rock or Grotto, Swimming, beach bumming and chika with my roommate.
10:00 am: window shopping at D’ Mall
12:00 nn: Lunch at a small eatery while watching Duterte’s inauguration on T.V (hehe)
2:00 pm: Worked out at King Fisher’s Farm Gym (Ops! Accidentally hurt my ankle so I have to cancel my 4 pm Muay Thai Lesson L)
5:00 pm: Back to my hostel, met my 3 other roommates, we suddenly start drinking in our room until 10 pm.
10:30 pm: start bar hoping ( Coco Bar, Aplaya, and Bamboo Bar)
2:30 am: Back to our hostel and had ramyeon , then talk until 4:00 am.
1:00 pm: Wake up, had lunch then prepare for my Mermaid Swimming Lesson (my ankle really hurts)
3:00 pm: Mermaid Swimming Class
5:00 pm: back to my hostel, eat dinner and prepare for Pubcrawl
7:30 pm- 1:30 am: Boracay Pubcrawl event. (It was LIT)
9:30 am: Pasalubong Shopping at D’Mall
11:30 am: back to my hostel to say goodbye to my roommates, check out and depart the island
My Expenses or Budget.
Round trip plane ticket: Php 2,502.56 (I booked it 4 weeks before my flight, Manila- Kalibo via Airasia)
Hostel: Php 1,350 ( I also booked it 4 weeks before the flight, it’s an 8 bed mix-dormitory)
Baguio-NAIA 3 Bus: Php 730 (Joy Bus)
NAIA 3- NAIA 4 Airport bus: Php 20
Kalibo Airport- Hostel transfer: Php 500 (including the environmental, entrance, terminal fee)
Food: Php 563 (these are the food I bought in grocery store, mostly snacks)
Porter fee: Php 20 (when the guy carried my bag outside the boat, tsk tsk, I should have known)
Food: Php 281 (water refill, breakfast at McDonalds and Lunch at small eatery)
Motorcycle from my hostel- King Fisher Farm and Vice Versa: Php 40
King Fisher Gym Walk in fee: Php 60
Mermaid Swimming Lesson: Php 2,000
Pubcrawl: Php 690 (Early bird slot)
Bar Drinks: Php 685 (when I went bar hoping with my roommates, we first started in our room then we visited 3 different bars)
Laundry Fee: Php 100
Food: Php 150 (these are the food while I was traveling back home, I ate at the airport and bus terminal)
Pasalubong: Php 600 (sarong, t-shirt, key chain and piaya)
Tricycle from hostel to port: Php 100 (I’m the only passenger, but if you have companion you can split the cost)
Boat going to Caticlan port: Php 25
Van going to Kalibo airport: Php 175
Airport Terminal Fee: Php 200 (Only in Kalibo airport, there’s none in NAIA)
Grab car fee from NAIA 4 to Victory Liner Pasay: Php 190
Bus to Baguio: Php 450 (Victory Liner)
Total: Php 11,431.56 (4 days, 3 nights in Boracay) J not bad…
All in all I think Boracay is not that bad the beach has its clear blue water, fine white sand at its best and hospitable, hardworking people doing their best to preserve the beach and attract more tourist to visit the place.