Philippines – Manila & Boracay

7th February, 2018

Andrew’s birthday was fast approaching, and all he’d asked for was to be by the sea…(your wish is my command darling husband…)
We already had booked flights for Singapore, but ended up forfeiting those, and I booked the Philippines with 3 days to spare! After all, we could all do with some beach time!

We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Manila and stayed in a cute little apartment for 2 nights.
Making the most of our time in the city, we headed off to explore Fort Santiago, and we all really enjoyed our day learning about the Forts history and José Rizal – one of the Philippine national heroes. Such an incredible story.
The Fort was only a few dollars entry and we ate lunch at the cafe inside before heading off to explore the grounds.

Even with all the reading and research I do before each new leg of our trip – I clearly hadn’t read enough this time round…! The journey from Manila to Boracay Island is pretty crazy!
You cannot fly direct to Boracay, so there are 2 options. Fly to Kalibo, which is a larger airport, but further away from Boracay. Flights are less expensive to Kalibo, but then you’ll need to arrange a driver to get you to Caticlan Jetty (up to 2 hours drive), and then finally – catch the boat from the Jetty to Boracay.
This was one step too many for us – so we booked flights direct from Manila to Caticlan. That was the easy part. Flights are more expensive, but definitely worth it in my opinion. A quick flight – just over an hour. Shuffled off the plane to baggage collection and then ushered out the doors where tourists are swamped by local tour operators, who are there to help you get to your destination.
It was grey, windy and raining and we just wanted to get to the Island – so we followed a lady who sorted everything out for us for $50AUD. (We later learned that we paid too much…)
From the airport – it’s a 5 minute bus ride to the Caticlan Jetty, then a 15 minute rocky boat ride and finishing with a shuttle bus to our hotel. The whole time it was pouring with rain, so our luggage was wet. We felt as though we’d been pulled from pillar to post, so we were a little frazzled, but we were there!! FINALLY!!

We arrived at our hotel for the next 8 nights. We stayed at the Turtle Inn Resort. We were so lucky to find some decent accommodation on the island with booking it the day before we arrived!! A family suite with breakfast daily and coffee delivered to our room every morning for around $120AUD per night. Great value and we would definitely recommend!

Boracay Island is made up of 3 Stations that run along the aptly named White Beach.
Station 1 is the farthest from the mainland. Luxury resorts and hotels. Great places to eat. No walk path on the beach, so the shoreline is much deeper. Perfect spot for honeymooners!
Station 2 is in the middle. The hustle and bustle. Loads of boats pull into the shore here. There are market stalls, live music, big franchise restaurants as well as other cafes, lots of shops and supermarkets. This is probably the best spot for party goers to stay.
Station 3 is where we stayed, and we are so glad we did. The beach here has a walk path and we found this area to be a little quieter – but definitely not a ghost town. Heaps of families around and great eateries. We found the sand at Station 1 to be quite pebbly and gritty (still very beautiful though). There are also loads of palm trees along the beach at Station 3 so it is easy to find respite from the sun.
Each to their own, but we were very glad we stayed at S3.

As the kids were still on ‘School Holidays’ we really enjoyed just chilling out and relaxing at the beach most days. We ventured down to Station 2 to the shops every couple of days. Did some snack shopping at the supermarket. They have BudgetMart as well as 7-Elevens dotted along the path and easy to find.

We spent a day at Station 1, sipping on Jonah’s famous fruit shakes, swam around Willy’s Rock and built castles in the sand. A great day for the memory bank.

For Andrew’s birthday, I had arranged a private boat to take us Island hopping.
We all went snorkelling at Crocodile Island which was great – so many beautiful fish.
Then onto Puka Beach which is right up the other end of Boracay Island. Very beautiful, and we just about had the beach to ourselves.
We arrived back at our hotel late afternoon and the team at Turtle Inn had a gorgeous custom-made cake made for the birthday boy – it was very sweet.
For dinner we enjoyed a lovely meal on the sand under the stars at Villa Camilla.
The staff had arranged a special cake for Andrew which they presented as 6 of them sang him happy birthday. It was just perfect!!

One of our very favourite things to do on the island was enjoy the sunset.
We have been travelling for months now and haven’t been able to enjoy a sunset on the beach just yet. Sunrise – yes, but not the sunset. So we made the most of it!
The water is so calm and beautifully warm, it was just glorious to enjoy it as the sun was fading.

A few of our favourites for lunches and dinners were:
Cowboy Cocina – Delicious curries and pastas, and the kids loved their burgers. Right on the beach – go for lunch and then head to the beach for the afternoon. The staff will serve you drinks and snacks on the beach too under the restaurants umbrellas.

Hello Cab Pizza Co. – Brilliant for a quick lunch. This place is so popular and always busy. Seats out the front facing the ocean. Their pepperoni pizza is the best on the island!!

Bei Kurt und Magz – This was an interesting place. The walls are covered in bookshelves full of books. The staff were friendly and serve very good food. We had the Chicken Adobo, traditional Filipino dish as well as some noodle and rice dishes. All very tasty and reasonably priced.

We found everything on the island to be very well priced. For a very popular tourist island, it is still very affordable. We usually ate for around $10AUD each. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Groceries were good also. Water is about 80 cents a litre. Fresh fruit smoothies were between $4-$6 each, and beers on the beach were only $1-$2. Happy husband!!
Market stalls with the typical goods – Boracay T-shirts, snow globes and brand copy shoes, shirts and shorts – all between $5-$15.

Leaving the Island was a little easier. Jessie who worked at the Turtle Inn came with us the entire way and took care of everyting. Being a local, he had a way with words and got it done super fast for us! Thankfully it wasn’t raining, which made it MUCH easier!!!
It was back to Manila for a couple of nights before heading to HONG KONG!!!!
Stay tuned for that post, coming very soon.

Thanks so much for following our journey.

Big love,

Here is our Philippines Video 

6 thoughts on “Philippines – Manila & Boracay

  1. Belinda Reed

    Hi Clare
    I love reading your posts and Instagram updates. We are about to embark on a similar trip with our mob ( 3 kids). I have drawn a lot of inspiration from you. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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