Saturday, December 1, 2007

Boracay Island, Philippines

The small island of Boracay is a world class beach resort and the most popular tourist destination in the Philippines. I ended up spending three full days (and four nights) there. I had my own cottage, bathroom, and small kitchen for the bargain price of about US $9.50 per day. Boracay has the kind of beaches that you would imagine for a wonderful tropical destination:




This beach (White Beach) stretches for perhaps 3 kilometers and behind the palm trees is a row of restaurants, bars, and stores the entire length. Also, motorized vehicles are forbidden in this section. All in all, Boracay is a wonderfully relaxing place.

Here is a flavor of travel in the Philippines. . . to get to Boracay from north Mindoro island I had to take a jeepney for about two hours to a larger town. The coastal road was astonishingly beautiful. Then I took a hired van that had stopped along the road to another town 3 hours further down the road from which I could take a ferry. Then I took the four hour ferry journey to Caticlan, which is at the tip of Panay Island. Then a short but somewhat treacherous 20 minute ferry ride to tiny Boracay Island, then a tricycle ride from the Boracay pier to my cottage. Yes, transportation can be an adventure here.

For the first time in my trip, I didn't really make any new friends in a place. I mostly spent the days alone on the beach and reading my new book on randomness and algorithms and their application to financial markets (OK, I needed a small break from fiction).

But I did feel "in the zone" here. By that, I mean a place where I am enjoying my time and not spending much money. I did a quick calculation on what I have spent on my trip so far, including all internal flights, immigration fees from before I left the USA, and my flight back to Singapore, and it is about $53 per day -- including my one-way flight to Hong Kong (reasonable since my trip is a little less than half over) it is about $61 per day. This includes all my SCUBA fees, too. I could have traveled much more cheaply (for instance, I have never stayed in dorms yet). That said, traveling in the Philippines is much more expensive than either Vietnam or China (or Malaysia or Thailand).

6 comments:

Contractor said...

Good to hear that you found SCUBA fees so cheap elsewhere since you cannot find a single dive for less than $25 here on Boracay...not per day, but each single dive...kinda the law. In Pattaya, they wanted to charge us $70 for only 2 dives, and seemed to be the cheapest around.

I know of some of these budget places you mentioned for $9.50 a night...this time of year, and I hope you didnt stay in these slums, but the working girls pay double that for a roachmotel room with roomates. The cheapest place on the island now is about 1500 pesos a night. Anything less, and a person would have to be staying in one of the horrid nippa huts like the locals here live like.

Travis said...

Hello Contractor, I stayed at Trafalgar Cottages which are nice enclosed places with a patio and hammok out front. I was there in early November -- their rates increase starting around the beginning of December, I think, as you have found. A fan cooled room was just 400 pesos, it was 800 pesos with air con. Billy and Akaisha Kaderli recommended the place to me and I was very pleased. I think they have pictures of the grounds somewhere on their web site. The owner, Joel Tejada, is an interesting guy who speaks a wide range of languages, used to work for the UN. Overall however, I found the Philippines to be quite a bit more expensive than China, Vietnam, or Malaysia (the other countries that I have visited on this trip) -- I am not sure why it is more expensive, though. Travis

kEitH said...

i was trying to check trafalgar on the net and i saw ur blog. we stayed in trafalgar too! Mr. Joel(we call him tito joel cause he happens to be my college friend's uncle) i am happy that most of your experience with the filipinos are good. btw, contact me if your gonna visit the philippines again, we're planning to go to batanes but no exact date yet. i really love to travel but i dont have the luxury of time so most of my travles were just for 3 days.

You can reach me at this email address/ym: keith_1085@yahoo.com

Travis said...

Keith, Hey thanks for the invite to join you on a vacation. If I go back soon, that sounds like a lot of fun! My time is completely blocked out for the next month, however, with a trip to Myanmar and then Krabi, Thailand, all with my friend from France, Elena. Travis

kEitH said...

Wow sounds cool! I really hope i could travel abroad abroad too! I cant, because I am a fresh grad, no funds yet..lol are your trips work related or you just love to travel? Contact us if you are planning to go back here. Batanes I heard is a really good place, but I haven’t been there. I already gave you my YM right?? That’s in case you wanna go back here. Ü

You can check our pics here:
http://s200.photobucket.com/albums/aa108/aprilangco/

kEitH said...

Wow sounds cool! I really hope i could travel abroad abroad too! I cant, because I am a fresh grad, no funds yet..lol are your trips work related or you just love to travel? Contact us if you are planning to go back here. Batanes I heard is a really good place, but I haven’t been there. I already gave you my YM right?? That’s in case you wanna go back here. Ü

You can check our pics here:
http://s200.photobucket.com/albums/aa108/aprilangco/