A lot of international airlines have direct flights to Manila (the capital of the Philippines), Iloilo, Cebu, and Kalibo (major cities with airports near Boracay). The quickest way to get to Boracay is by a domestic flight (via domestic carriers Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Skyjet) from Manila or any other major city to Caticlan where a slew of regularly scheduled outrigger boats leave Caticlan Jetty Port for Boracay Island.
At Boracay-Caticlan airport, walk or take a tricycle to the jetty port. Before entering the port, pay for a boat ticket (PhP25 for a day trip, PhP30 for a night trip till 10 PM; for a boat ride beyond 10PM, see “Night Trips” below), a terminal fee (PhP100), and an environmental fee (PhP75). A 20-minute boat ride will take you to Cagban port (or, during choppy seas, Tabon port) located on the southernmost end of Boracay Island. Upon arrival, you can hail a tricycle that will take you to your resort (about PhP1oo-200 for a private trip, depending on the resort’s distance from the jetty port). If you booked an accommodation package that includes boat transfers, then your hotel should pick you up at these jetty ports.
You may also choose to book a flight from Manila to Kalibo (Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia ply this route). Located inland on the Aklan region, Kalibo is 70 kilometers away from Caticlan, but nevertheless remains a common route due to the availability of cheaper flights (often half the price of airfares going to Caticlan) as well as an added opportunity to enjoy picturesque rural scenery along the way.
A bus ride from Kalibo to Caticlan costs about USD10 per person, or you can take an air-conditioned van for PhP275 or about USD7 per person. When buying tickets for a land trip, ask whether the fare includes a boat trip; if so, the driver should also give you a boat ticket. All trips will take an hour or two, variable on traffic, weather, and vehicle conditions.
If time is not an issue, you may opt for sea transportation from Manila, which can be a cheaper alternative at the approximate cost of USD30. This is known as the RoRo (roll on-roll off) system, where you embark on a series of buses and ferries to get to Caticlan. Be prepared, though, for a longer travel time and schedule fluctuations; this route is best suited to those who are familiar with and can comfortably acquiesce to the phenomenon of “Filipino Time.”
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, head to Cubao where Philtranco buses are stationed. Travel time from Cubao entails a two-hour bus ride going to Batangas port on southern Luzon. From there, it’s another two to three hours of ferry ride to Calapan, Mindoro, then another two to three hours of land travel to Roxas port. A four-to-five-hour travel time from Roxas port to Caticlan is the last stretch.
A More Convenient Option: Transfer Service
A slightly more expensive, but a hassle-free and safer option is to book a transfer, which is a package of transportation services from a point of origin directly to your Boracay hotel. Transfers typically include airfare/seafare, an airconditioned ride aboard a bus or van from the airport/seaport to Caticlan Jetty Port, a boat ticket plus fees, and a shuttle service straight to your hotel. You may ask your hotel, travel or booking agency to book you a transfer service.
A Special Note on Night Trips
The Caticlan Jetty Port has regular boat trips from 6AM to 10PM. If you’re arriving in Caticlan after 10PM, or in Kalibo International Airport after 7PM, you’re strongly advised to book a transfer service in advance, because only transfer services (like Southwest Tours) offer special night-time trips to Boracay Island. If you’re arriving in Kalibo Airport, right outside the airport are transfer services that include boat fare for 24 hours, but this also depends on the season. If you’re arriving in Caticlan Airport past 10PM, there might be night-time boats, but usually with higher than normal fares. Another option is to stay at a traveler’s inn until regular bus, van, and boat services become available in the morning.
Next: When To Go
This Boracay Guest Guide is authored by Camilla Collings for Boracay Magazine, copyright 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this section may be copied-and-pasted into any Boracay promotional material, or altered to hide traces of plagiarism, without permission from the copyright owner. This article may be shared as long as links kept intact, and proper acknowledgements made.