Friday, January 7, 2011

It’s not BORA. It’s Boracay!

{April 2008} I’m very particular when it comes to budgeting, especially if it's a long-term trip. That's why I always check if there would be enough time to save up for a potential outing. I would also make sure that everybody’s schedules were made as cohesive as possible. Of course, who wants last-minute problems when you're already booked and paid, right?

Boarding the Cebu Pacific plane

Finally on the shores of Boracay

As I write this piece, let me share to you my big family vacation last April 2008. My cousin Dada from Texas, flew back to her native country to attend my niece’s high school graduation. Since it became a reunion of sorts, my Kuya and everyone else in the family planned a very special trip that summer. And since it was also going to be my niece’s last few months in the Philippines (as she decided to pursue her college education in Texas) we all decided to fly to Boracay for one major getaway. 

Imagine having to book all 15 members for this trip! I was actually assigned to coordinate with all of the bookings (including plane and accommodations), so I was a bit pressured to find the best deals out there.

Everybody was grown-up and having lives of their own, so this was a special trip that was worth putting all our best efforts in. And since I’ve been very particular about travel itineraries and expenses, I would like to share the outcome of this particular trip.

This is our journey

My cousin Ching knew someone from a travel agency. And she usually books her clients through this agency whenever her shooting locations are out-of-town. So we booked our roundtrip flights through this agency, care of Ms. Ayi of Manly Tours. 

But before finalizing our booking from the agency, we called-in a few other options. We inquired for ferry rates and schedules, as well as local plane companies that transported passengers to Kalibo, Aklan. But much to our efforts, we narrowed our options down to Cebu Pacific. Since taking the ferry was going to be long and difficult for the adults (and for the short attention-spanned young adults!), it was also going to take up too much time from our schedules. And since the rates weren’t that far from range, we opted to fly to save on time.

As for our travel expenses, you will see a rundown of what we spent below:

The Rate for one person (via Cebu Pacific – roundtrip) was PHP3495. Since we had a prior problem to having one of our house help’s name misspelled (the fault was on our end), we had to pay an extra PHP448 to have her booked name changed to the correct one. 

NOTE: Remember to always double check the necessary information on your booking before finalizing itineraries and/or payments. This will save you all the hassles.

Anyhow, for our 15th member Teyt,  who was less than two years old then, flew free-of-charge. Plane companies had this policy that didn’t charge infants under the age of 2. So that was a big savings for us. But we made sure that we supplied the agency (or in any case, the plane company) a copy of her birth certificate to show her real age.

Now, before getting all excited to finally board the Boracay-bound plane (and since most of them were riding one for the very first time), we still had to pay the local airport terminal fee that cost each of us PHP400 (PHP200 before and after leaving the Manila and Kalibo airport).

When we landed in Kalibo, I immediately looked for the L300 bus contact person that I booked prior to our trip. This bus service transported us to Caticlan, where we traveled for about two hours. When we finally reached the pier, we settled our dues with the bus service, and then paid him PHP150 each (amounting to PHP300 for a round trip). 

Now, to be able to get to the island of Boracay, we all had to take one last ride. And this time via boat. But before setting foot on any of the boats, we still had to pay Caticlan’s Terminal and Environmental fee/s (costing PHP50 each one-way) and boat ticket fare (PHP20 one-way).

This breakdown was from 2008, so these prices might have been changed throughout the years (*updated rates can be checked from my March 2011 and May 2011 Boracay trips):

Kalibo-Caticlan-Kalibo per person
  1. Airport Terminal Fee
PHP 200*2 = PHP 400
1) L300 Bus fare per person PHP 150*2 = PHP 300
2) Caticlan Terminal fee PHP 50*2 = PHP 100
3) Caticlan Environmental fee PHP 50*2 = PHP 100
4) Boat trip (From Caticlan Jetty port, take boat to Boracay Cagban) PHP 20*2 = PHP 40
5) Two taxi vans that cost PHP500 (PHP250/van) PHP 36*2 = PHP 72 (total divided to 14pax)
6) Day Trips (tricycle/pedicab)   PHP15*10 = PHP150 (PHP60 X 10 = PHP 600 — Total of ten total trips riding 4 pax each trike/pedicab)

Looking for the best lodging deals wasn’t all that easy either. I always had to consult my Kuya for the prices, the amenities, and the whole package of what was being offered. I also had to email and text all of my prospects, until we were able to narrow it down to one place.

It took me a full month before sealing the deal with Ocean Breeze Inn by Station 3. Vacationing with a big family could be very expensive. But we helped minimize our expenses by renting a house with cooking facilities, which the Inn offered. So for a family of 15, Ocean Breeze Inn was able to accommodate all of our needs.

Moreover, here's our expense sheet from our lodging:

Ocean Breeze Inn Station 3
Check in ( 2PM ):

April 5 – guesthouse 1st floor, ground floor, 2 cottages = PHP 5,620  
April 6- guesthouse 1st floor, ground floor, 2 cottages = PHP 5,620
April 7- ground floor, 2 cottages = PHP 3,530

PLUS: Internet = PHP 50
Cooking Facilities = PHP 200               
Juvy’s Services (resort keeper) = PHP 100

Check in ( 11 AM ): (This was for the boys since they had to rent another room due to a booking mix-up. in O.B.I.!) 
Trafalgar Cottages, Station 3April 7 – 1 Family Room = PHP 1,500
Check out for EVERYBODY (11 AM ): April 8

Now, here's the hard part --- FOOD! Since we were all on a vacation, we made it a point to also indulge in what Boracay had to offer. We had plenty of seafood (especially those weird tasting oysters!), pork (lots of liempo and BBQ), and beef (Gasthof’s steak was number one on my brothers' hearts and bellies. But the salad was my favorite!). We also drank a lot of Jony’s fruit shakes and a few alcoholic drinks! Don't worry, we were all under adult supervision.

Also, a trip to Boracay won't be complete if you haven't tried their famous Chorizo Burgers! I've tasted different versions of it in Manila. But the ones in Boracay tasted totally different, more flavorable at some point. And those were the best ones that I’ve tasted so far.

Anyhow, I wouldn’t be giving food breakdowns anymore since that might take me too long to write! But to give you something to ponder on, we spent more or less PHP30,000 throughout our stay in Boracay (this was for 15 pax).  


Before ending my trip details, my family and I also went on an island-hopping adventure. We spent a total of PHP3000, which we used to pay for the boat, tour and snorkeling gears.

If you’re ever interested in getting some of the services that we had, you can contact the following people below:

Manly Tours (Travel Agency)
Contact person/s: Ayi
Telephone #: 02-2540134
Referred by: Ching/Christine Reyes

Ocean Breeze Inn
Contact person/s: Juvy or Eya
Cell phone: 0926-4844-564

Summer's coming up! Where are you heading this time for summer? =) 

Explore & Be Free!
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