Saturday, September 11, 2010

Boracay Day One - Journal of A First Timer

Boracay on September??
You might ask me. Why go to Boracay on September? Well, after reading my entire 5-day post, you will realize that not only is Boracay beautiful in the summer but, it's much better on the lean season -- like September!

My trip is entirely sponsored by WOW Philippines Travel Agency because I was blessed to win their online contest. My 5-day travel package includes:
> Roundtrip airfare for 2 via Air Philippines (me and my brother)
> Hotel accomodation at Le Soleil Boracay for 4 nights with breakfast buffet
> Complete land and sea transfers (to and fro) via Southwest travel
> 5-day Lunch and Dinner (A mix of restaurants)
> Island Hopping, ATV and Horseback riding
> 5,000 pesos spending cash

Last but not the least (maybe the best): The pleasure and privelege to be toured around by the owner of WOW Philippine Travel agency. His wife, Mary Jane P. Bangga St. John,  grew up in Aklan. They gave away this package to give back to the community that has been generous to them. I hope most companies/ travel agencies does this too. This is the first travel agency I've encountered to do such a generous thing.


Departing from Manila to Caticlan

Air Philippines Q300 Bombadier taking off NAIA Terminal 3

We arrived at the airport earlier than expected because from QC to NAIA terminal 3, it only took us 30 minutes! It was drizzling a bit so were a bit worried about the weather in Boracay. Checking-in the airport was a breeze. By around 620am, we were already inside having our breakfast.

NAIA 3 Breakfast
The only unoccupied seats was the one in front of Go Nuts Donuts. We bought something from them even though my real target was getting the Mount Pinatubo Jamaican Pattie across their stall which doesn't have their own chairs. So, I went on and ordered iced tea from go nuts donuts. I'm pretty sure that I was one of the first customers that ordered iced tea because I saw it with my own eyes that the attendant got my iced tea inside the refrigerator (left over from the night before?). I didn't complain because I was in a good mood but I made sure that I will write about it. I think their drink concessionaire was Vin Vin's Cafe.I know this because the cup looks familiar. This was also the concessionaire in our school canteen way back 2000.

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Vin Vin's Cafe's Cup

Upon sitting down, I sipped my Php 40.00 iced tea and immediately decided not to finish it. It tasted weird. Bad weird. Prevention is better than cure and I don't want to have LBM on my first ever Boracay trip.

Departure
Our original flight was supposed to be at 5:20am. Our flight was rescheduled to 820am weeks before our departure day. I think this has something to do with the internal problem of Philippine Airlines.

Boracay arrival


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 Air Philippines Q300 Bombadier

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Godofredo Ramos Airport Arrival Area (Caticlan)

We landed 25 minutes ahead of schedule at Godofredo Ramos Airport (Caticlan). It was easy claiming our luggage. The Q300 Bombadier of Air Philippines can only accommodate more or less 50 passengers. Upon exiting the airport, we were immediately met by the representative of southwest travel and escorted us to their van.
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Toyota Hi-Ace van of Southwest (Cagban Jetty port on the background)


Air Philippines landing on Godofredo Ramos Airport in Caticlan

Boracay transfers
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Suzuki APV of Southwest

Van to Cagban jetty port (5 minutes)
Cagban Jetty port to Boracay island port (15 minutes)
Boracay port to station 2 entrance (10 minutes)


On the way to the resort on board a Suzuki APV owned by Southwest

You will have to pay an environmental fee of 75 pesos per person and 50 pesos for the terminal fee. A total of 125 pesos per person.

Le Soleil Check-in
I was surprised that when we arrived at the hotel, the staff were lined up, gave us welcome drinks, seashell lei and a warm towel. I was greeted by Mr. Rick St. John and one of his staff, Andrea. Check-in took no more than 5 minutes.

The room
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Le Soleil Pool Area

First reaction? Room with pool access!!! Cool!!! As in, walk out of the door and in less than 10 steps, you're in the pool! Amenities-wise, it has all the basic necessities you can ask for --  Toothbrush, tissue, shampoo, soap, conditioner, hot water kettle, lemon tea, complimentary bottled water, vcd player / mini component, cable tv, towel rack, an outdoor lounge area with 2 lounge chairs and a table and most importantly, lots and lots of power outlets!


Le Soleil Pool Side Rooms

First look at Boracay beach
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Wind breakers along the beach path because they were expecting "habagat" (Monsoon)

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All alone. Doesn't look like the usual "party tropical island" Boracay 

Wow. Really. WOW! I never knew I am missing this much by not going to Boracay despite being blessed to be able to travel to other places. Le Soleil (and most of the hotels along the beach path) has a private beach front. Le Soleil in particular, has a security personnel that looks after your belongings while you are taking a dip in the shores of Boracay. While sitting there, Bong (guard on duty that day) shared to us some stories about the island.Great guy.

First lunch in Boracay
We ate at this restaurant beside our hotel. Boracay De Paris. We got the set meal and boy, was it worth it! I wasn't able to finish my chicken curry meal. Included in the Php 190 are the following:
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Appetizer (Soup/ Salad)

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Main Course - Chicken Curry

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My Brother's main course - French Meal

Dessert (Crepe/ Ice Cream) - No photo
Mineral Water costs Php 45.00

First afternoon in Boracay
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We have a scheduled impromtu (yes, scheduled impromptu) interview at 3pm and horse back riding at 4pm. After the interview, we took a dip in the sea and decided to stay there for the rest of the afternoon. We resheduled our horseback riding the next day.


After swimming, we had a massage before dinner. Le Soleil's in-house massage was great. It was one of the best I've ever had. At 400 pesos an hour, I'd say that it's definitely worth it! 

We missed the sunset because the Php 400 per hour massage rate is until 6pm only. From 6pm onwards, it's Php 500 per hour.

Dinner buffer at Bamboo Hotel (Beach Area)
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Our first buffet with Rick St. John and Andrea  on the island. Bamboo Beach Hotel is located in Station 3.

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We then strolled around from Station 2 to Station 3 up to the last hotel -- Asya Boracay Resort. He shared to us information and facts about the island. I didn't expect him to very passionate about the island. We went back to station 2 and checked out 'D Mall - A girls haven. (spell s.h.o.p.p.i.n.g.)

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Walking around 'D Mall at Night

After Dinner Meal
After that walk, they went on to continue working (shooting videos around D Mall) and my brother and I decided to go back to our room so I can work/rest. On the way back, I chanced upon the talked about Chori-Burger and decided to try it. Verdict? Overrated. In fact, I didn't like it so much that I didn't even finish 25% of it.

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Grilling the Choribuger

Late night walk
We walked a bit to look at the parties and live bands nearby. After 10 minutes, we returned to our room to hit the sack and call it a day.
 
First Day Tips and Comments:
Boracay Internet Connection via Broadband - I brought with me 3 mobile broadband sims for backup because I need to work badly. Since Globe and Smart 3g/GPRS sucked badly at Boracay (Note: Not even loading). I had no choice but to use my Sun Broadband 3g to gain access to the internet, slowly but surely.

20 Pesos - Have a lot of 20-peso bills in your wallet. You will need them to give as tips to the guy carrying your luggage to and from land and sea transfers. I know this is optional. I'm just looking at it in another way -- I'm helping the locals there even in a small way.

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Don't litter, PLEASE - While walking towards station 3, we saw paper cups and other trashes by the shore. This is just sad. Where did my 75-peso environmental fee go then?

Watch out for more posts! I will be blogging about the tips/ tricks to save money in Boracay and the other days I was in Boracay soon.

Check out:
WOW Philippines Travel Agency Website (Best Boracay Packages, Guaranteed!)
WOW Philippines Travel Agency Twitter Account
Le Soleil De Boracay Resort

Do you also want to win a free vacation packages? Go to the site below.
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/8781/freeboracayvacationpack.jpg

-Cheftonio

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened on the fourth day? That was just a three day summary of your trip but you said you had a 5 day / 4 night stay in Boracay? Also, are there also other restaurants that you can have the lobster's cooked? Just wondering because I probably want to eat by the beach area but would like to purchase the lobsters in the market like you did.

Chef Tonio said...

Hi!

Day 4 and 5 are still saved on the draft. Might be able to post it on the weekend. Sorry, kinda busy :)

Yes, there are a lot of other restaurants in 'D Talipapa that can cook your fresh seafood. It just so happens that my dad chose that place. :)

I'm not sure if there are any cooking services near the beach area because most of them are selling the seafoods in front of their restaurants. Won't hurt to try though. That's a very good tip if ever it'll work. Keep me posted if it's not too much of a hassle! :)

-Cheftonio

regin said...

Your comments is not at all my experience in Boracay, im not saying otherwise but I did visit mid this year all place is clean and people are partying hard, friendly and my stay is very very memorable, im with my wife and we definitely want to go back...

BORACAY said...

nice pictures and videos, it seemed that you truly enjoyed your first time in Boracay. Boracay is really a wonderful place to spend with our loveone's even if it is a busy days, most specially if we get a free Boracay Packagesthat we truly enjoy.

beach resorts philippines said...

Looks like you enjoyed Boracay.. Boracay beach resort is one of the perfect getaway for those who are beach lovers.

Jeremi said...

Some time ago, my vacation in Boracay. He told me, that the island has white sand is very clean, very different from Kuta Bali. And there is news that Boracay is a beautiful island in the world than Bali. Maybe I'll try to vacation in Boracay sometime in the future. http://www.baliorti.com/2012/07/about-island-of-boracay-philippines-as.html