I have had so many people asking me how I travelled around the Philippines. Yes it can be expensive and it was slightly more than I had budgeted for. After all it is not yet a well trodden path, which is one of the amazing appeals of the beautiful Philippines. But just as with any form of travelling there are cheap ways to do it if you research…
After chilling in El Nido and Puerto Princesa for 10 days, I needed somewhere new to travel to in the Philippines. One thing that kept appearing on my instagram newsfeed was the gorgeous beach of Boracay. My mind was made up. Boracay here I come!
Sadly, flights were showing as £120 from Puerto Princesa to Caticlan. This included a 6 hour stop over in Manila! £120!? What!? Ridiculous!
There must be a cheaper way to get from the worlds best island of 2013 (Palawan) to the worlds best island of 2012 (Boracay) (voted for by readers of travelandleisure.com)
Well luckily there is!
Most main cities on the islands of the Philippines have regular flights, daily
or weekly, and they are cheaper to fly into than the tourist areas or paradise beaches. After doing a lot of searching on the web and talking to my Russian travel friend, I discovered that you can fly from Palawan to Iloilo, a city 5 hours from Caticlan for just £40.You can then get the bus to Caticlan and the boat from Caticlan to Boracay (The boat trip is necessary no matter where you fly too as there is no airport actually on Boracay Island).
The cost of a taxi from Iloilo to the bus terminal is 100 Pesos (£1.50). Bus to Caticlan is then 350 pesos (£5.30). Including the flight this totalled £46.80 instead of the £120,we were quoted for the original flight. It even turned out to be the same time scale. If there are more than 6 people, it is possible to get a mini bus directly from the airport for roughly 500 Pesos each (£7.60).
All my calculations are done on the exchange rate of 66 Pesos to 1 GBP. Sorry it is in Pounds but I just can not get my head around the Euro or Dollar, no matter how many times I visit Europe! I work everything out in pounds!
The flight taken was with Cebu Pacific after researching on Skyscanner.
Once at Caticlan, the boat to Boracay Island is quick and easy. The boat runs every 10 minutes so no waiting around, Yay!
People will tell you it is 25 Pesos. Well it is. You just have to add 75 pesos for environment tax and 100 Pesos for Govenment tax. 200 Pesos in total (£3). When I asked what the taxes were for, the lady serving me replied ‘Well you are going to paradise’. I was sceptical. After all, you have to pay a tax to get on to Koh Phi Phi island in Thailand and that has sort of become a tourist trap in my opinion.
But the crossing on the boat to Boracay was smooth and quick, and when I arrived I was amazed. Having just come from Palawan, I thought El Nido was the most beautiful place I have ever seen, but Boracay’s beauty is breathtaking! I know now why I ad to pay the Govenment tax and environment fee, Boracay is one of the cleanest beaches I have seen.
I am so glad I discovered the cheaper way to get the Boracay. The £120 flight was going to be a deal breaker for me. Luckily, there are cheaper ways to get to most places with a bit of research, enabling backpackers and budget travellers to see the beauty without these places turning into resort only holiday destinations for the rich and famous. Boracay could even be my favourite beach destination!
If you see all problems as challenges then you will be able to come up with a solution. The internet is an amazing tool. Search it and you can definitely find the travel solution you are looking for!
I hate paying over the odds for something when there are so many ways to save money! After all, we work hard for our money, why just throw it away!?
So here is the run down
Flight from Puerto Princessa, Palawan to Iloilo. Bus from Iloilo to Caticlan. Boat from Caticlan to Boracay. All for less than £50.
Flight from Puerto Princessa, Palawan to Manila to Caticlan. Boat from Caticlan to Boracay. £120.
It is not about being a cheap skate, it is about being savvy!
Where to stay in Boracay
If you are looking for a place to stay. Check out Station One for the fancy resorts, Station Two for the mid range Hotels and Hostels and Station Three for the budget guest houses and Hostels.
We stayed at SDave’s Straw Hat Inn in Station Three. It was clean, friendly and at £19 for a double room, a great price for the island.