Boracay: Beach Bum

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I went to boracay this time purely to be a beach bum. I needed some R&R from all the stress of resigning and finding a new job and being bankrupt. I was afraid that I was not gonna enjoy it for it has been raining the past couple of days so we weren't expecting to see it's majestic beauty. But behold! The weather was perfectly sunny.

Due to my poor finances, I booked a flight to-and-from Iloilo Province. Iloilo flights are a whole lot cheaper (as in P1-4k cheaper) than the flights to Caticlan or Kalibo. However, it's comes with a disadvantage. Iloilo is located 5-6hrs away from Caticlan by land. That means an additional travel time and of course a more tiring one. But since money concerns are a priority, I could not complain much.

The Travel:
From the Iloilo airport, take a taxi to the Ceres Bus Terminal. Ride an airconditioned bus with the Caticlan sign. The fare is P303 for the 5-6hour trip. It will make a lunch stop where you can go down, stretch your legs and buy some food. It will make a dozen or more stops, picking up and letting down passengers. This is a commuter bus although it is very nice and cold, the chairs aren't exactly super cozy so try to bring a pillow to help you sleep. When you get to the Caticlan port, get in those bangkas at the end of the road. They leave more frequently than the fast-craft. This just costs less than P100 with the environmental fee. In Boracay, take the tricycle to your hotel. The flat rate for the is P20.

The Accommodations:
For this trip, I decided to stay in the farther side of Boracay for some peace and quiet. I ended up in between Stations 1 and 2. Watercolors is the name of the inn and it is exactly beachfront. There are no dinner tables separating the hotel steps to the water, which is cool.

The rooms were a lot cheaper since it was offpeak, it only costs around P1350/night for the 2 beds. There were complimentary fruits and a really cool bathroom. Plus they clean up the room everytime you get out so you always come back to a really clean room.
Neat bed.

Where our hotel is located.

Cabana cabana.

There are cabanas where you can hang-out dry with your laptop and free wifi with the beach as your background. Cool!
Hanging out with my electronics.
As always, Boracay is a sight to see. But it was better now than when I went last 2008. There weren't that much moss in the shallow end of the beach unlike before. The beach is cleaner, less trash can be seen. I guess they really made an effort to keep it pristine.

The clear waters of Boracay.
Boracay beach stretch.

Airport: Naia Terminal 3

Naia Terminal 3 is located near Villamor Airbase, just right in front of the new casino, Resorts World. This airport is one of the most UNfriendly and money-hoarding airport there is. Yes, the beautiful structure and clean, sparkly interior can be deceiving. Although there are only 2 airlines that use this airport, namely Airphilexpress and Cebu Pacific Air the lines can get too long and waiting time can be for hours. Waiting time for what, you say? For everything.

The Departure:

The Departure area is located at the 2nd floor. The private cars can unload directly infront of the gates. The taxi cabs, however must be in another aisle parallel to the gates. Though it is not too far. Friends and family can go in and accompany the flyers until the check-in counters.

The disadvantage for those traveling in international flights, namely Cebu Pacific customers is that although you probably got a bargain  in those ticket fares, you will get robbed by the Airport Tax which is P1620/person. Aside from this, you have to pay another P750 for the airport terminal fee. Add it all up....not really a bargain eh? In addition, the receipts are manually handwritten by at most 2 people thus making the queue long enough for you to miss your flight. Then you have to go back to the check-in counters to claim your ticket. Hassle? Yes.

Inside the airport is nice although there can be a long queue in the immigrations counter plus another long queue for the xray scanner. so better make sure you arrive ahead of time if you don't want to run in your socks to the departure gate.

The Arrival:

Arrival in Naia Terminal 3 can be a drag. The only mode of transportation available out of this area is a taxi. There are 3 kinds of taxis:

1. Fixed rate taxis - are very expensive. Unless you are a foreigner with really deep pockets, do not get this one. They bloat the fares up to 4-6x the real amount. (Example: Naia 3 to Mandaluyong = P650) No wonder nobody lines up for this. These are the taxis you will probably see right just outside the arrival area.

Fixed rate taxis. No one bothers to line up.

2. Airport Metered Yellow taxis - are slightly expensive. Unless you are in a rush, do not take this too. The flag down rate is P70 then the per km rate is P4.50. (Using the same example above: P218.50). These taxis can be found near the arrival area. Just walk further ahead.

Yellow metered cabs. Not much people there either.

3. Plain taxis - are the ordinary ones. The flag down rate is P35 and P2.50 per km. These are the local taxis that can be found anywhere. They are located on the 2nd floor of the airport, yes in the departure area. Needless to say, these are the taxis that came to the airport with a fare. To get to these taxis, do NOT go out of the arrival area. Instead, use the escalator near Bay 3 (can be found on the left side of the airport when you get out of immigration), go out of the departure area then flag down those taxis that just let off passengers. (Using the same example: P112.50)
    However, the down side of the plain taxis is that when it gets late, they tend to be scarce. As in 2hours-worth-of-waiting-scarce. The line for these taxis take up almost the entire length of the departure area. As the night progresses, the taxis tend to be more picky with their passengers. They usually won't want to go to traffic places or far away cities. But if you beg, they take you in exchange for a little bonus (P50-80). So if you're up for that, ride away. But if you did, why didn't you just line up at the metered yellow taxi?! You could have saved a lot of time.

    In essence, I think that this airport is fairly a success in providing a gateway to the airplanes. But i find it silly of the government not to provide cheap, multiple ways of getting in and out of this airport. It is as if their area of responsibility is until the airport doors only and once you get out, you're on your own. 

    Way to go to promote tourism!

    Airports: Iloilo International

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Iloilo International Airport is small but clean and very much alike Naia Terminal 2 and 3. It is located far from Iloilo City, 19kms away in the city of Santa Barbara.

    The Departure:

    To get to the aiport, there are taxis available. However, they will try to give you a flat rate of P350-400 for the trip. The cheaper way to go is to get yourself to SM City Iloilo. There is an airport terminal there where L300 vans will take you to the airport for P70. Be at the terminal approximately 2hours before your flight schedule. These vans do not have a scheduled departure time. They leave as soon as the van is full. So if you're flight schedule is out-of-the-ordinary, it might take some time before the van gets filled up.

    The Arrival:

    This can be a little tricky. There are airport taxis that would be willing to bring you to wherever you want at a fixed price. Haggle before riding. To the Ceres Bus station, it may cost around P350-400. However, the cheaper option would be to ride the vans for P70-100. This will take you to SM city. From here, you can take a taxi to wherever (atleast you are already within the city vicinity) or take the jeep if you can find your way around.

    Since this is an international airport (although all flights that come thru are only domestic), the terminal fee is P200/person.

    Russia: The Land I'm Dying To Set Foot On

    Thursday, October 7, 2010


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    This is where they'll be sending my on January 2011. I think. haha! I'm not really sure about the exact location in Russia but I figured it might be in this area. About 230kms south of Moscow.

    When i looked it up, i saw that it was actually in the European side and not the China side which is cool because it's the closest I can get to Europe for now. Plans for this are still in the making. This was only mentioned in passing but I sure do hope that it will push thru because I'm really excited about this.


    Russia is actually one of the places I really want to go to. I remember going to the library to sleep and to look at history books especially the ones about Tsar. I wanted to know the real story about Anastacia and Rasputin. I was so fond of the stories that I wanted to name my future son, Dmitri. I thought Dmitri in the animated movie was so handsome that maybe my future son may get some of his good looks.

    Anyway, I'll research more about Russia and Novomoskovsk, Province of Tula, Russia more then put posts as the days go by. I found their website though (http://www.nmosk.ru/) And i think i should learn a little russian too. I have less than 4months to cram! (http://www.russianlessons.net/)(http://masterrussian.com/)

    Oh i should get pasalubong, an authentic Siberian Husky? a Siberia Tiger? Or maybe a Black Russian Terrier!

    Wish me luck and i hope the plan pushes thru!

    Where I've Been

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