Boracay Thursday June 20, 2024 EDT 
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skin diving

March 25, 2008


A Boracay Invite
At this juncture on my trip, I was already low on funds. Normally, I'd start heading back to Manila. However, I was invited by a friend to meet up at his Boracay resort, SandCastles. From there, we were to fly out to his adventure travel base in Coron, Palawan - Tribal Adventures. Since he was still elsewhere when I arrived, his lovely wife was my gracious hostess.

Pampered Camper
I brought a tent, earthpad and sleeping bag, thinking they'd allow me 5 square feet of real estate in their resort to pitch my tent for my stay. Instead, I was offered this absolutely gorgeous beachfront suite. Of course, I was a non-paying guest. It had all the trappings of 5-star accommodation - airconditioning, full kitchen, luxurious bath, house keeping, fridge, tv, cable, etc. and lastly, a snobbish view of the sunworshippers passing by.

Careful What You Wish For...You Might Get It
It's interesting to note that 4 years earlier, I already noticed the in-your-face snob appeal of this over-the-top suite...not unlike looking at a parked close yet so unattainable. Through some twist of fate, I meet a guy in Sagada who became a riding buddy. We became friends and I ended up doing the website for his Tribal Adventures tour company. Yes, you guessed it - he also owns the SandCastle resort. I guess I did a good job otherwise he would not have invited me over to Boracay. So now, I find myself checked-in to this fab suite. It's also funny to justapose that just the day before, I was staying in a P200/night rat-hole.

People Watching
I would help myself to a chilled bottle of beer as I lounged by my suite veranda in full view of frolickers passing by. I was watching them watch me. I was thinking, " this is how it feels when people think you have money." I was a fly on top of the carabao thinking I was the carabao.

Piggy-Back Skin Diver
Before, Boracay was the beach destination. However, after learning about the piggy-backing approach to dive shops (as I learned it in Samal), all I could think about was skin-diving off a chartered boat. I approached a few dive shops with my scripted line: "Can I piggy-back on any of your boat dive schedules for a deep discount?" The best deal I got was P75 for an hour of diving at Crocodile Island. P75 friggin' bucks and I get a boat ride and a dive!!!! I felt like winning the lottery.

Crocodile Island
I was joined on the boat by 2 friends, Elle and Erwin, after I let them on on the deal. As my digicam was toast, it was cool they had theirs. At about 25 feet, it was a fairly deep dive for skin diving. The assorted hard and soft corals were home to wrasses, sweetlips, groupers, snappers and banded sea snakes, but I didn't see all of that. I guess I needed to thread the wall but that seems to be in the realm of scuba diving. The current is this area notoriously ranges from strong to fierce, but fortunately, at around 11 am, it was pretty benign and didn't start getting active close to 1 pm..

A good many things happened as well - hooking up with UP Mountaineers members, some visiting (Vyxz), while some have taken up local residency (Roldan, Camille, Panoy). There was also the 'exclusive' P800/head (of course I didn't pay!) 'rave' that lasted until the wee-hours. Funny thing is, when I was talking to one resort owner if she's coming over, her reply was, "If you live here, you don't get excited about parties anymore. They happen everyday".

Ending Thoughts
Traveling alone has its moments of wanting, Boracay specially. With all the flesh parading around, sunset by the beach, happy hour, it would have been good to be with someone. Of course I had my fair share of spontaneous small talk as I promenaded along the beach's long stretch - yoga people, Swedish blondes, Korean tourists, locals, etc, but there's nothing like being with someone you're already comfortable a well-worn shoe that fits you like a glove...when no one has to do any kind of talking and yet you communicate. Of course I'm all too familiar with this landscape at this point...but it was nice to acknowledge and be cognizant of this human need if and when it presents itself, at least before I snap back into the infinite horizon paradigm.

I also noticed another thing. I was in disbelief when I got the fab suite, but after an hour of giddy excitement, it was all the same - the wet tent at 9000 feet on Mount Apo, the grungy P150/night rat hole and this P12,000/night luxurious suite, who acoording to the owner is Borgy Manotoc's fav spot. I guess when my essential base is addressed (as in, a roof over my head - literally), I'm already a happy camper. Anything else on top is gravy.

Boracay is lovely but my host has arrived and I had to pack up for my next destination - Coron, Palawan.

--- TheLoneRider

Google Map Boracay, Philippines

tourist attractions in Boracay tourist attractions
  • Ariel's Point in Boracay Ariel's Point - cliff jumping
  • Puka Beach in Boracay Puka Beach - next to White Beach, Puka is a popular beach with white sand and palm groves
  • Bat Cave in Boracay Bat Cave - on the west side of the island, visitors hike through the forest
hotels in Boracay hotel restaurant in Boracay restaurant

Boracay Cost Index

(US$1 = PHP 49.73 as of Nov 30, 2016)
  • PHP 4,800k Air Juan flight from Coron (Palawan) to Boracay
  • PHP 500/night cheap lodging
  • PHP /night luxury lodging at SandCastles The Apartments
  • PHP 10 regular tricycle fare
  • PHP 25 tricycle fare from pier to Boat Station 2
  • PHP 25 ferry from Caticlan to Boracay
  • PHP 75 environmental fee paid in Caticlan together with the ferry fee
  • PHP 50 cheap carinderia meal for travelers on a budget

How to Get to Boracay

There are numerous flights to Boracay from Manila and Cebu. Upon arrival by plane, you will be transferred by van to the Arrival Section of the old airport. You can walk it to the pier (very short walk) or take the tricycle if you have heavy/bulky luggage. At the boat terminal you pay:
  • PHP 25/pax for ferry
  • PHP 75/pax for environmental fee

PHP 25 tricycle fare from Boracay Pier to your hotel on Boat Stations 1, 2 and 3

Currency Converter

Boracay Blogs by TheLoneRider

Suggested itinerary on the WEST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Pandan - Malumpati Spring
  5. Libertad - Maanghit Cave, Ati Cave and Bungan-Bungan Spring
  6. Sebaste - Igpasungaw Waterfall
  7. Culasi - Malalison Island
  8. Tibiao - hot kawa-bath, white water river rafting, Bugtong Bato Waterfall, rice terraces, Tibiao Bakery, pottery, fish spa
  9. Anini-y - Nogas Island, scuba diving

Suggested itinerary on the EAST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Kalibo - Bakhawan Eco-Park, Tigayon Hill
  5. Tambak - oysters
  6. Capiz - Roxas City
  7. Carles | Estancia - Gigantes Island Boat Tour, Lighthouse of Gigantes Island and Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island
  8. Iloilo - Batchoy Indulgence

Reader Comments:

(May 2, 2008) hihi, sorry wasn't able to party with you as much. my first night, i already got super smashed!!! hahaha. and i love your "fly on top of a carabao thinking i was the carabao" allegory. funny!!

(April 30, 2008) Wow the underwater picture is cool. Did you dive into the water with friends? I enjoy reading your experience in backpacking. I think that it's the life congenial to your taste.:-)

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