04 July 2011
Travel: Boracay Island
Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila. Boracay, with its powdery white sand and turquoise blue waters has been voted in 1990 by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as one of the best beaches in the world, and again in 1996 by British publication TV Quick as the world’s number one tropical beach.
Our trip to Boracay has been booked as early as April 2011. Anticipation has been high since May 2011. No one and nothing could stop us from going to Bora – – or so we thought. That was until Thypoon Falcon hit Metro Manila. It was raining non-stop. Most major streets were flooded. Classes were suspended. Flights were cancelled. Our fervent prayers were non-stop from Thursday to Saturday morning, all fervently praying for airports to resume normal operations come Saturday noon.
Prayers answered. Despite the heavy rains, airports resume normal operations on Saturday morning. Hurray! Hurray!
Forty-five minutes after leaving Manila, our small propeller-type Seair plane landed on Bora. We were greeted by chirping birds, clear blue skies, and perfect sunny weather! Ahhh – – the perfect Boracay weather. We’re ready for 3 days of Bora adventure.
Our group availed of Seair’s Leisure Package. Package included return flights Manila-Caticlan-Manila, airport shuttle transfers from the Caticlan airport to the port and vice versa, boat transfers, 3D2N accommodation at La Carmela de Boracay, daily buffet breakfast, free use of the hotel amenities, and free wifi at the hotel’s public areas.
La Carmela de Boracay is relatively one of the newest beachfront resort hotels in the island, which offers beachfront convenience at affordable rates. La Carmela has average amenities inclusive of children’s and adult pools with waterfalls, air-conditioned rooms, cable tv, phone system, mini refrigerator, private bath, safety deposit box, and a 24-hour restaurant. It would have been nice if there were hot and cold showers in all rooms. We had to endure 3 days of bathing with cold water. The 24-hour restaurant served our free buffet breakfast. Positively scripting re food, I’d say, Mr Salt and Mrs Pepper were our bestfriends every morning.
I’d usually spend equal amounts of time inside the hotel enjoying its amenities and outside the hotel enjoying the different tourist mini-spots. Given La Carmela’s facilities and amenities, we spent most of our time outside the hotel doing the following activities:
Reef Walking aka Helmet Diving. We got a good deal, worth PHP 400 per person, inclusive of helmet rental, aqua socks rental, shuttle transfers from the hotel to the beach, and boat transfers from the beach to the diving spot.
Food Tripping. Enjoy grilled, stewed, barbequed, sauteed food in Boracay. Choose from the several restos and bars along the beachfront.
There have been a lot changes in Boracay – – growing commercialization, increasing tourist and foreigner population, less beachfront to enjoy (as some stall have been put up fronting the shore). The old restaurants I reviewed are nowhere to be found. They have been replaced by new ones. Same buildings, same facade, but with different resto names and owners. I’ll be back in the next 2 to 3 years or so. I am anticipating more changes. But I am still looking forward to seeing Boracay’s natural beauty — turquoise blue water, powdery white sand, picturesque landscape — all in tact (or so I hope).
Travel Spot: Boracay Island
Address: 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines
Cebu Pacific http://www.cebupacificair.com/
Vacation Budget: PHP 8000 â€“ 12000 per person
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