*Hayahay is a Bisaya/Cebuano term for convenience or comfort.
As I have said on my previous posts, I travel spontaneously. One of the most spontaneous trips I had is my trip to Boracay last year. I had no plans of going to Boracay actually. I was on a 9-day mandatory leave at work and I was planning to pay a visit to my hometown–Masbate. I then browsed the net looking for the cheapest airfare; I compared the rates from different possible airports. Legazpi, Masbate, Roxas City, Iloilo and Aklan were among the closest airports as there is no direct flight to our island. Aklan was way cheaper amongst the five. So I booked for Aklan 3 days before my flight. Aklan is just 2-3-hour drive to Roxas City. From there I can take a boat for another 3-4 hours to my hometown–Jintotolo Island. Yes, I am an island boy!
During my flight I was contemplating on pursuing that side trip to Boracay. I did not make any hotel reservations nor did I make any itineraries. (Oh I suck at doing itineraries!)
The plane has landed the Kalibo International Airport at 5A.M. and I am still undecided. With just limited money I have on me and knowing that Boracay is a first class beach destination; thinking of my possible expenses might be a nightmare.
The stingy ego of me reacted violently suggesting that I should just go home because my lola(grandma) missed me so much. The adventurer ego of me wanted to give it a try for at least one night. I boarded the van with so much anxiety and doubts. I’m really undecided. I just want to go home.
While on the road, fear and uncertainty is consuming me. A lot of what ifs again have clouded my mind. It felt like my first time to travel alone going to somewhere unfamiliar and chills are creeping in. I was new to this thing called backpacking. Plus, knowing that you do not have a lot of money in your pocket is really risky. Three and a half hours I found myself lining up on the counter to pay my environmental fee then bought a ferry ticket. About 15 minutes, the tricycle drivers greeted us (fellow ferry riders) and was too aggressive by grabbing our bags to offer us a ride to our hotel. Yes, I have set my foot on Boracay island.
I shared a tricycle with a young couple (I bet they’re boyfriend/girlfriend–who cares?!). The driver asked me where I am going. I was speechless. Froze for a while and then I blurted “Bring me to where they are going.”
Nope! I am not sharing a room with the couple. I don’t even know them.
It was a bit long drive from the port area to station 2, where the couple have their hotel booked. I have internet connection on my iPad so along the way, I was browsing for the cheapest hotel/inn. Thank heavens I have been reading Journeying James’ blog since I started backpacking he has been my virtual tour guide. Lucky me, one of his recommended resorts is in Station 2.
The resort was not easy to find. But with the very first thing I learned in backpacking which is to ask directions from the local, it was no sweat getting there. I have asked about five locals on my way to the resort. Around 10AM, when I entered the humble Friendz Resort lobby. A backpacker refuge in Boracay. (FYI: Friendz Resort was awarded 2011 best hostel in the Philippines and recommended by Lonely Planet.) They have amazing staff. I was served my free welcome drink upon checking in. Coffee!!!
I did not waste my precious time. I only rested for a few minutes. I quickly change into my favorite board shorts then ate breakfast at one of the restos in DMall. I then strolled around the shore line. Then went for a swim. A bit of sun bathing (this was around 2pm) then I went back to my resort. Slept for about 2 hours then back to the beach. Swam. Watched the magnificent sunset. I now understand why people love this paradise. One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.
WHERE TO EAT: (I know most of us loves to eat when traveling)
1. Olé – this is a mexican restaurant around DMall. I can’t remember what I ordered but one thing I still remember, when I left this establishment, I was full and satisfied! I’d definitely visit this place again. Price: Php200-250 servings are good for 2. I eat a lot. 😀
2. I❤Backyard BBQ- Also found in DMall area. Steak and BBQ are best served here. I might sound exaggerating but, yes, their BBQ is so tender. Best BBQ so far. (I was glad to learn that they also have a branch in Makati. Near my office.) Price: very reasonable. Around Php100-175.
3. Friendz Resort- I stayed for 3 days in Boracay and my breakfast for 2 days were courtesy of my resort. Not for free though but the price is reasonable as well. They are served with the brightest smiles by their friendliest crews. I love this place! Price: Php100-175.
If you are on a budget and want something you are familiar with like McDonald’s and Mang-Inasal, worry not! Both establishments have franchise in the island. Or if you want the classic karenderia type, there are few of them near the main road. If you want something classy, go to the finest hotel in the island. There’s a wide variety of cuisine to choose from in Boracay. So, forget about your diet. Deal with it once you get home.
WHERE TO STAY: For solo travelers, this has always been a problem as you shoulder the room rent alone. But lovely that there is Friendz Resort in Boracay.
Dorm-type room for Php500 per night at a walking distance (about 2-3 minutes walk) to the beach is not bad at all. Friendly staff and owner, nicest fellow backpackers, free wi-fi, free use of common area and computer, free use of billiards table. Plus a free mini-concert from local singers-exclusive party hosted by the resort. What more can I ask for? I had a good time in this place.
**Rates vary per season. During peak season, the rate is Php700 per night.
Blooper: When I arrived at the resort, some of the guests who are staying in the resort were playing billiards and some are having their breakfast. Most of them were foreigners. (One more thing I learned in backpacking is to be friendly and approachable.) I was approached by a guy in his mid-40’s and introduced himself. He said he’s from The Netherlands or some European countries, I can’t remember. I introduced myself and was being polite. A little chit-chat and to make myself sound like more welcoming since he is visiting our country, I told him “I hope you enjoy your stay in the Philippines!” Then he said, “Oh, I own this resort. I hope you enjoy your stay here!” That was very awkward. I just smiled but at the back of my head, I was cursing myself already. LOL