Mabuhay! It means ‘ May you live’ or ‘Cheers’ or ‘Welcome’ in Tagalog!
Arrived at KLIA2 for a transit to Kalibo, Philippines. After another 4 hour flight, we finally touched down at Kalibo International
Airport at around 2.40 pm. Immediately we took a van to Caticlan Jetty which is situated 78 km away from Kalibo. The journey took us 1 hour 40 minutes through some winding hilly roads. Another 10 minutes boat ride finally took us to Boracay.
Wait, we still need to take another 15 minutes van ride to the hotel!
All in, it took us 13 hours from point to point i.e. from home in JB to hotel in Boracay! From Kalibo airport to Hotel in Boracay, it costs 500 PHP per pax including terminal fee, environmental fee and ferry fare.
Checked into Red Coconut Hotel at Station 2, a very trendy and vibrant hotel. Our room is at ground floor facing the mini swimming pool. Immediately we went for dinner at the hotel restaurant at the beach front. After dinner we went to D’Mall which is just few minute walk from the hotel to explore. After that we went for a stroll at the beach. The beach is full of people especially from Korea, China, Taiwan and Europe. There are live band and fire dance everywhere along the beach. The beach is full of life when the sun goes down! There are plenty of restaurants along the stretch of beaches!
After breakfast, it’s time for Island hopping! The first station is snorkeling at the end of white beach, which is popularly known as ‘live coral bed’. Alas, the view and the coral are in no way comparable to our Pulau Perhentian or Pulau Redang in the east coast of Malaysia. There are few corals and they are not beautiful at all. Fish is also not abundant. Moreover the water current is quite strong. It was quite a disappointment!
We stayed for about 40 minutes and proceeded to Puka Beach. The sand here is white and pristine. We just strolled along the beach and nobody swam at the beach.
Then it was already lunch hour. We went to the mainland for buffet lunch at Caticlan.
On the way back to the boat, the boatman asked me where I came from. I told him that I come from Malaysia. Know what he said? “Malaysia no money. China a lot of money!” Looks like the whole world knows about our financial scandals. Lol!
The next destination is the beautiful Crystal Cove Island. Entrance fee is 200 PHP. But it is worth visiting as the scenery is amazing. We walked up the steps to the top of the cove to get a panoramic breathtaking view of the natural rock formation at the cliff. There is also a shell gallery displaying various types of sea shells. We walked from cove 1 to cove 2 to explore as much as possible of the island.
In the evening we went to the D’Mall to try out the well-known mango ice-cream at Halowich. I particularly like this mango ice-cream. It is smooth, creamy and not so sweet. Compared to the ice-cream we had in Hokkaido which is quite course. We tried the Italian ice-cream gelato before in Auckland which is too sweet to our taste. This one is more like the snow ice-cream we had in Simending Taipei. At the bottom of the glass, you will find fresh mango cubes. In fact we went back again the next day to get another round of the ice-cream!
Dinner was at the Smoke in the D’Mall. It was very stuffy and hot inside. So we waited for vacant seats outside the restaurant. It turned out to be quite a disappointment!
At night we went to the beach front to watch live band performance while enjoying a couple of Filipino San Miguel beers!
After breakfast, we started walking from Station 2 to the main road and walked along the main road to Station 3.
On the way, we stopped at Talipapa, a well known wet market at Boracay. Here you can buy fresh seafood and there are restaurants around to help you to do the cooking.
However, here you need to do a lot of bargaining. Apparently, the patrons are mostly Chinese from mainland China. Here the price is exorbitant! A simple meal of seafood consisting of a medium size lobster, a crab and few prawns will easily cost you more than four thousand pesos! Here you must really bargain as they don’t display prices. If you think you have got a good bargain, well there’s another catch when they recommend you to the restaurant for your seafood to be cooked. It costs around 2K pesos for just 3 dishes!
Through walking we get to explore the life-style of the people of Boracay.
Before coming to the Philippines, I saw a program in TV about lambanog, a wine made from the sap of the coconut flowers. The sap is fermented and it is something like the toddy in Malaysia. After that is is distilled to produce the lambanog wine. We went to all the liquor outlets to search for this wine. However, we were disappointed to find that they don’t sell in Boracay!
We were back to our hotel by around 2.00 pm. Took a rest and went for lunch at the D’Mall. This time we tried Inasar, a local franchise restaurant. We ordered for pansit, which is noodles in tagalog. I particularly like the halo-halo which is a dessert served mixed fruits shaved ice with evaporated milk and ice cream topping. Ingredients include kidney beans, sugar palm fruit, jack fruits, mango , jelly, sweet potato and yam. Not bad I would say.
In the evening, again we went out to catch the sun-set. This time we wouldn’t miss it. A day before, we were a bit late. There were already thousands of people waiting patiently at the beach. Some prefer to sail out on a yacht for a fee of around 500 pesos, actually it is negotiable. We didn’t opt for it as you need to wade through the water to reach the yacht. So you have to wet your feet or may be your pants too, depending on the tides.
Dinner was at the Red Coconut Restaurant. We ordered baby pork ribs. It was comparable to the pork ribs we had in Bali. After dinner, we strolled along the beach to enjoy the cool sea breeze. It is really vibrant and happening when the sun comes down at Boracay Beach!
Checked-out after breakfast and it’s another long journey back to the Kalibo airport before boarding a flight back to Malaysia![MYR 1 = 9.5 PHP]