January 2, 2011
Cholo and I arrived two hours early before our 5:20 pm flight to Manila on Airphil Express.
I looked around the newly refurbished Caticlan Airport. I’m quite impressed.
“The airport has changed Bubba.” I told Cholo.
“Yes, quite a change from 3 years ago.” was his reply.
As we made our way to the check-in counter, I saw on the monitor that all 3 Cebu Pacific Flights were cancelled.
My panic button turned on.
I was relieved to see that our flights were still OK.
I was still curios.
“Why are the Cebu Pacific flights cancelled?”
“Will our flights get cancelled or be delayed?”
“What will happen if it does?”
All of these questions were racing in my mind while checking in, when …
“Would you like to be on an earlier flight sir?” asked the man behind the counter.
“Yes, we wouldn’t mind an earlier flight.” was our reply.
We got our boarding passes and proceeded to the departure gates and waited for our 3:50 pm flight to Manila.
It is now 4:30 pm.
We still have not left Caticlan.
No word has been said on the reasons why our flight was delayed.
Earlier, we had some coffee and blueberry cheese cake on a small cafe on the second floor.
We sat down on the cold steel benches by the departure gates and played Angry Birds to stop our patience from wearing thin.
Our original Airphil Express 5:20pm flight was rerouted to Kalibo. Thank God we got on an earlier flight!
2 SEAir flights arrived within 5 minutes of each other. Still delayed.
I was looking around and I was quite surprised to see that all the personnel from different airlines were in a rush.
Cebu Pacific was busy looking for passengers whose flights were rerouted to Kalibo.
SEAir was busy tearing off boarding passes of passengers.
According to the P.A. system our Airphil Express plane has just landed in Caticlan. We are requested to stand by the boarding gates to board once the aircraft is ready.
We were now walking to the plane.
Another Airphil Express plane landed.
The two SEAir planes that arrived prior took off only less than 5 minutes apart.
By 5:30 our plane was at the end of the runway getting ready to take off.
There are two ways to fly to Boracay. You can fly straight to Caticlan or via Kalibo.
If you fly to Kalibo, you will have to take a van conveniently located outside Kalibo International Airport. It costs around Php 175 per person. It will take you all the way to Caticlan Jetty Port. The only down side is you have to wait for the van to fill up before it leaves.
Flights to and from Caticlan are notorious for delays. Mostly because of airport congestion in manila or weather disruptions. When a flight is cancelled or rerouted, the airline company of that flight will assist you in making sure that you will get to your destination on the same day. If you are an outbound passenger you will take your new flight from Kalibo. The airline will provide a van from Caticlan Airport all the way to Kalibo International Airport. If you are an inbound passenger to Boracay, the airline will provide a van than will bring you from Kalibo International Airport all the way to Caticlan Jetty Port.
Kalibo International Airport is 90 minutes away.
One of the main reasons why flights get cancelled or rerouted is because the air traffic control tower closes right after sun set. Caticlan Airport is a small airport with a short runway the relies on sunlight. Once darkness falls, the airport goes dark because it is not equipped with lights. Thus when flights arrive or depart after sunset it is automatically rerouted to Kalibo International Airport. I found out about this while I was talking to the girl who served me my blueberry cheese cake and café latté.
When planning, make sure you have 3 or 4 hours lay over between flights. This is just to make sure that if your inbound flight will hit some unforseen delay it won’t affect your connecting flight to Boracay. This also goes for your outbound flight connecting from Boracay.
So, if you have a connecting flight from Manila to anywhere else in the world, make sure to take an earlier flight out of Caticlan Airport. Though I know it sucks to wake up early, but it sucks even more if you miss your flight back to your country.
Traveling to Boracay can be quite an “adventure” especially for foreign nationals transiting via Manila. Immediately upon arrival, most especially at NAIA Terminal 1, some foreign nationals get confused and overwhelmed because of the lack of infrastructure and available assistance. All of which are heightened because of the humid weather. My best advice is to stay calm and ask around. We, Filipinos, will be glad to help you in any way possible.
Manila has 4 terminals.
Terminal 1 : Is where all major international flights operate from. The Following airlines operate from this terminal :
- Air China
- Air Niugini
- Asiana Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- China Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
- EVA Air
- Gulf Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Hong Kong Express Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Jeju Air
- Korean Air
- Kuwait Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Jetstar Asia Airways
- Jetstar Airways
- Royal Brunei Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Tiger Airways
- Thai Airways International
- United Airlines
Terminal 2 : Also known as The Centennial Terminal in commemoration of the 100th year of Philippine independence. This terminal is exclusively used by Philippine Airlines for all its domestic and international flights.
Terminal 3 : Is the newest(started operations in 2008) and biggest terminal in Manila. In the future, all international flights from Terminal 1 are to operate from here. As of this time, only the airlines listed below are the ones that operate from here:
- All Nippon Airways
- Airphil Express (All domestic and International flights)
- Cebu Pacific (All domestic and international flights)
- Zest Airways (Manila -Incheon flights only)
Terminal 4 : is the old Manila domestic terminal that hosts domestic flights by these airlines:
- Sky Pasada
- South East Asian Airlines (Seair)
- Zest Airways
Let it be known that all airport terminals in Manila are not interconnected by a train system. It is best to take a “coupon” taxi to get from one terminal to another, especially when you have a connecting flight to catch. You will need to pay a fixed rate of Php 300. Don’t use the yellow metered airport taxis, you’ll waste your precious time on queue.
When you are not in a rush, there is also a shuttle service provided by NAIA that goes through all terminals. I am not sure about how effective the service is, since I have not ridden on one yet. I have heard that on good days ,it is a quick ride; on bad days, one has to wait for hours. Then again, it only costs Php 20 per passenger. I am not sure where the shuttle services are located on each terminals. Just make sure to ask around, especially at the Airline Passenger Transfer Desk. They can definitely answer specific questions but most of all they can lead you to the right directions.
The terminals are located a kilometer or two from each other. It may take 30 minutes to an hour to get from one terminal to another depending on traffic.
Feel free to click on the names of the different airlines to be routed to their main website.
Take note that all flights that fly straight to Caticlan offer only 10 kilos of baggage allowance per passenger and 7 kilos baggage allowance for hand carried luggage. The reason because planes that fly to Boracay are turboprop planes. Space is limited and the insurance paid for handling bags is only for 10 kilos.
So if your luggage is more than that, be prepared to pay extra. Rates differ from airline to airline.
If you are flying via Kalibo you are allowed 15 kilos or more for checked in baggage depending on the airline you are taking. It’s still 7 kilos for a single piece of hand carried luggage. Kalibo is a bigger airport that can support bigger planes. The flights to and from Kalibo are cheaper and it has more room. Thus, more baggage allowance.
If you are traveling all over Asia and one stop in Boracay, here’s my advice. Prior to your arrival in the Philippines, prepare a small bag for your trip to Boracay. When you arrive in Manila feel free to leave your luggage at the airport lockers located at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.
*Terminal 1 has an Interline Baggage Room. This is exclusive for passengers arriving in Terminal 1. It is located at the right hand side of the arrival area near the carousel before customs and near the bathrooms. The telephone number is +632-877-11-09 local 3633.
*Terminal 2 has an exclusive baggage counter for Philippine Airline passengers. It is the Central Baggage Services. The telephone number is +632-877-11-09 local 2469.
**Terminal 3 has Luggage and More. Where you can store your luggage for Php 300 a day. Php 150 pesos per 3 hours for small bags and Php 200 per 3 hours for big bags.
Trust me when I say this will come as a relief as you travel along and you’re not tugging along your baggage that weighs more than 20 kilos.
Arriving in Caticlan 101
When you exit Caticlan airport turn to your right and go all the way straight to the corner where you will see a tricycle terminal. This is what you are going to take to get to Caticlan jetty Port. It costs Php 50.
If you choose to walk it, it is only 10 minutes away.
Upon reaching Caticlan Jetty Port, before you can enter the terminal you will be pointed to Window 1. Here you will pay for the boat ride at Php 25 per person. You will then proceed to Window 2 where you are going to pay for the environmental and admission fee of php 75. Lastly, you will proceed to Window 3 where you will have to pay for the terminal fee of php 50 per person.
Once everything is paid for, you go inside the terminal and proceed to the banca (outrigger boat).
Arriving in Boracay 101
You will arrive at Boracay island via the Cagban Jetty Port.
From here proceed to the tricycle terminal and find out where your hotel is located along white beach. The dispatcher will help you with this. The rates to a specific area are fixed and are displayed on a metal “bulletin board” located right by the terminal.
Places to Stay in Boracay 101
When Cholo and I are there we usually there, rent a small room in the house beside the Tesebelle restaurant in Yapak. What we like about it is that it is just a two minute walk to Puka beach. Will write a full review about this and post a link here as soon as it’s up.
To find the right place that suites your budget and style, you can search for places to stay at by going through Trip Advisor. ( <– Click to be brought to the main page)
You can also browse through the Boracay wikitravel page to see where you can stay. (Click here to be brought to the page.)
What to do in Boracay 101
Aside from swimming and sun bathing, You can go sucba diving.
Take boat tours and navigate the entire island. Go snorkeling and fish feeding.
Take a boat trip during sunset.
Go kiteboarding on Bulabog beach.
Go skimboarding along White beach.
Go horse back riding.
And when you get tired, have a massage by the beach or enjoy a relaxing time in one of those spas.
Boracay Amenities 101
There are ATM machines and money changers located at d’Mall in Station 2.
If you ran out of water or in dire need of condoms, there is a small grocery store also located at d’Mall.
If you need medicines, there are pharmacies all around. One is conveniently located at d’Mall.
If worse comes to worse, there are clinics and hospitals with in minutes of White Beach.
If you are hungry, just walk along White Beach. There are so many places to choose from that you’ll get confused. There are fast food joints also located at d’Mall.
If you want to have drinks just walk along White Beach and pick the bar suites you best.
If you want to go dancing, at night just follow the music.
Boracay will always remain a personal experience. No matter how much you’ve read about Boracay, once you get there you will find the things you’d love to do by following your intuition. It will be a delight discovering places that you will learn to enjoy.
Celebrate a part of your life in Boracay.
Swim on the water, lay on the sand, bathe under the sun and have a coconut to quench your thirst.
*taken from http://www.philippines-travel-guide.com
**taken from http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=683633&publicationSubCategoryId=87