Another night another day, what can I say? You’re still the same old, brand new you.
Boracay | After Six Months of Rehabilitation
Six months ago, President Duterte ordered to close Boracay for rehabilitation due to the famous island becoming a ‘cesspool’ as he termed it. The island was totally closed to the public and the rehabilitation work lasted for six months.
As time flies so fast, last Oct. 26, 2018, Boracay re-opened it’s doors to tourists. And so we came. Well, not intentionally after it’s reopening. My officemates and I booked our flight for Nov 2018 last year, on a piso-fare promo, not knowing the president would close the island three months after. Some booked flights falling to the date of rehabilitation program for Boracay were re-routed to Batanes, lucky for them. Our bookings were just right, three weeks after the re-opening, Nov 18-20, 2018. And lucky for us too.
The Old and The New
It is my second time in Boracay but my first time was just an overnight and was ages ago – 2013. So, I can barely tell the difference except for the obvious -the night life.
So, for the benefit of the others who doesn’t know what to expect in Boracay after its rehabilitation, here’s my observation from the same old, brand new Boracay.
1. No night life.
And by saying night life, I mean the bars, tables and chairs, along the beach – exactly from what I can remember before. No fire dancing babies igniting the night. No drinking along the beach and there are no lights. Well, there are still restaurants and bars on the side but that is the only place you can stay when you want to get drunk. Oh, but there is a parade of live band every six pm – drum and lyre band. 😉
2. The beach is so clean.
And the sand is still, for me, overflowing. What I love about Boracay, especially Station 1, is the ‘overflowing’ fine, white sand. It really amaze me how such a sand can be so fine and white like ‘polvoron’. (haha sorry for my lacking in comparison. I could have chosen iodized salt but I think, polvoron is much closer. :P)
3. No Drones Allowed!
This is important. As much as we wanted to fly a drone above Boracay to see its beauty from up above, we can’t. You have to secure a permit from the Local to fly a drone, otherwise, you will be escorted by the security on duty or the drone will be confiscated. Hehe.
4. You should have a booked hotel reservation before you set foot on the island.
They are limiting the tourists per day so as to prevent overcrowding on the beach. Tourists will be limited to 19,000 daily. There is a list of accredited hotels and inns you can book for accommodation with permits issued from the government. You can check here at BoracayCompass – Accredited Hotels, a list of all the approved hotels in Boracay as of Dec. 4, 2018. Also, you can check their page, https://boracaycompass.com/ for an ultimate guide and fun experience at Boracay.
5. Water Activities are regulated.
There is an established and approved price for all water activities now. Be careful of locals offering you tours and activities for discounts. Some of our friends tried an offer from a local for ‘island hopping tours’ but ended up just ‘island hopping on-boat’ because the tour guide said the current is too rough to dock on the island and they are not allowed to go near the beach. Our group managed to get a decent and legit offer for Parasailing (1500php regular price, we got a discount of 200php) and Banana Boat (200php discounted, 250php regular price). No Fly Fish and Helmet Dive just yet, as well as the ATV if you are into land adventure.
6. And lastly, the ambiance is, from night party to relaxation.
The good thing is, you can absolutely just relax on the beach without the toxic noise, the drunkards and the trashes along the beach. From a party beach, it now became a beach to relax to, unwind and chill.
Our ‘Sulit’ Three-Day Stay
From Caticlan Airport, we hire a tricycle to Caticlan Jetty Port. Fare is P100 each tricycle, maximum of three persons. You need to present your hotel bookings in Caticlan Jetty Port before they let you in and pay for Environmental Fee – P75, Terminal Fee – P100 and Pumpboat – P25.
It is just a 15 minute boat ride to Boracay, then we hire a multi-cab (P250 for 7 of us) to Station 1, where we booked our hotel accommodation at White Coral Hotel.
Our flight was around 5:20 am so we arrived at Boracay around 8 am. Check-in time was 2pm but we were allowed to check-in early at 10am, without charge. We got the Penthouse – a room for five people, complete with kitchen utensils where you can cook and another room for two. It is just a five minute walk from Station 1. And for a ‘feeling religious but not really’ person like me, it was just perfectly located right in front of a Catholic Church – Holy Rosary Parish.
Day 1: Chill Time!
For our Day 1, we didn’t do anything much. Just chilled out on the beach and see the majestic sunset. We went to the market, the D’Talipapa! (I’m not really sure why ‘D’ but our dear tricycle driver said it is a shortcut for ‘The’ since each letter of a store name signage is expensive in the old times). And bought shrimp (P550 – P700 per kilo) and pork for our dinner for two days. We also cooked our breakfast, Maling, eggs and hotdogs – you can never go wrong with that. We were saved by Andoks Manok and Mang Inasal so please, no chicken until the end of November. 😀 Fare in tricycle or E-tric is only 10php each so you can go around DIYing everything in Boracay.
Day 2: Adventure Time!
We didn’t get an island hopping tour and just go DIY on Day 2 to Puka Shell Beach and Mt. Luho. Fare for tricycle to Puka Shell Beach is P200 (for 7 of us). We had our lunch there at a karinderia near the entrance. After lunch, we went to Mt. Luho, an overlooking view of Puka Beach and Bulabog Beach for a fare of 450php (Puka – Mt. Luho – Station 1). Please see my gallery below:
Cut-off for Parasailing is 4pm so we went back to Station 1 around 3pm. Parasailing is one of the best! I’m not afraid of heights so I really enjoyed it. I am a self-diagnosed (haha) cymophobic. I fear the waves! So the speedboat driver also enjoyed teasing me on our boat ride to Parasailing station, in the middle of the sea. I’m sure I would definitely go for parasailing again next time, but not so much on speedboat.
Our Banana Boat ride is a heck of team effort. And by saying that means we enjoyed the ride not because of the ride itself but because of the crazy friends, exerting effort to make it enjoyable. Haha. And it is fun because of our Kuya Driver too, who took our photos while driving the speed boat – talk about multi-tasker in a team. He too gave an effort to take a good shot. Haha!
Day 3: Pasalubong Time!
For real, we’re not obliged to buy pasalubong for our office mates, colleagues and friends, so don’t be guilty going home with nothing to offer.
I only bought some banana chips (100g, 3 for 100) and t-shirts for my siblings in D-Mall (white shirts of any size, 6 for 500php and black ones, 150 each). Whenever I travel, I always bought t-shirts for my siblings, whenever available and as long as the budget permits.
Our check out time is 12nn so we had our lunch in Caticlan Jetty Port. You have to pay again for Terminal Fee and Pumpboat for 150php.
Once in Caticlan, that’s were we splurge on Pasalubong again. Haha. There’s a small store there selling Piyaya, Bronquillos, Turones and all the pasalubong goods you always see in any airport or terminal.
Our flight was 4pm and all I could say in Caticlan Airport is that even though it is small, it is so organized! Look at how organized they transferred us to the plane at the Departure Area. Buses have ‘formations’ while parked and convoyed to the plane. Not a chaotic scene, unlike here in Manila. Char! Fine, NAIA is different. 😛
There is a typhoon that day, Typhoon Samuel, so we’re lucky to have a safe flight back to Manila. 😉
So, I will end with a video of our trip. I am not a pro or a vlogger so please bear with the quality and the editing. I tried my best though haha.
Until next time katropang may nuna sa paa!
She’s a traveler, a frustrated accountant. An artist and a writer at heart. Unpredictable and spontaneous. A little weird and a little mysterious. So chase her and run with her. You’ll never get bored and you’ll never regret it.