Tag Archives: Tor Torre

Arriving in Siem Reap

Arriving in Siem Reap

September 1, 2013

On a tuktuk

Siem Reap, Cambodia

10:30 pm


I had just exited Siem Reap international airport an hour after I landed.  I spent a good deal of that hour at the missing baggage counter because my umbrella didn’t show itself on the conveyor belt assigned to Cebu Pacific Air.  I was a little pissed off because it was rainy season in Southeast Asia. I needed that umbrella and I didn’t want to spend unnecessarily for something I already had.

The man at the counter wanted me to file for a complaint, but I didn’t want to go through the lengthy process. After sending a prayer to heaven, asking it not to rain the entire week I was in Siem Reap, I decided to just let the matter go with a sigh.

My pick up was holding my name printed in bold letters. I quickly went to him and apologized for making him wait. I explained to him what happened while he walked me to his tuktuk.


We were now speeding through the highway and I was lost in thought. It has been a long time since I have traveled alone and I was looking forward to it.

There have been many times I have wanted to visit Cambodia. But getting there was the main problem. It was either via Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh, and that proved a tad too expensive. So Cambodia has always been left to be discovered some other time.  That changed in April of this year when Cebu Pacific Air started flying straight out from Manila.

And now, here I am.

Cambodia has been one of those countries that has been fabled. Distant and remote, shrouded with promises of  adventure… thanks to the image of Lara Croft being burned into my brain when I used to play the video game when I was in High School. Cambodia became a fantasy when I saw Angelina Jolie run through the temple ruins of Angkor Thom on-screen.

I have seen Cambodia being featured on TV, a war-torn country that has left its people physically, emotionally, and mentally crippled BUT always FULL in spirit.

I look around as the buildings blur before my eyes, I am realizing that they are slowly waking up. I hope they wake up on the right side of the bed!

I see a motorcycle in front of us flanked by two bicycles. One on his left and one on his right. The guy on the motorcycle is speeding on a slow pace while his friends (on their respective bikes) are holding on to the drivers shoulders while their foot are anchored to the foot peg on either side of the motorcycle.  My driver decided to over take them. As I look back, I see them laugh over a joke.

I took this as a good sign.



Arriving in New York : Day 1.5


August 2, 2012

8 pm-ish

Nat’s Apartment

Hell’s Kitchen , Manhattan

New York City




Was all I heard, as I started to peel my eyes open.

“Halloooo! Welcome to New York!” exclaims Nat!

I gave him a huge hug while still laying on my back.

He had just awakened a few minutes earlier. He decided to doze off for a bit after Kyrk left the apartment because he couldn’t rouse me. *laughs*.

I dunno what time Nat made it to the apartment from work. I think he came in just as I was about to fall asleep because I do have a vague memory of seeing him come in through the door and talking to Kyrk in kitchen. If my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, I think Nat was wearing a dark blue cardigan of sorts.

He told me to get up because it was already 8 pm and if I sleep any longer, I might not be able to sleep later that night. It was also time to grab some late dinner. So I stretched by jet lagged ass awake. Put on some shorts, brushed my teeth and off we went in search for dinner.

Earlier that afternoon, after dropping by my school, I begged Kyrk that we head back for Nat’s apartment. I was getting quite tired already. Having been awake for almost 24 hours was making me cross-eyed as the afternoon continued on.

Not five minutes into getting into the apartment, I told Kyrk that I was about to pass out.

Indeed I did.


Nat and I headed out, crossed 9th avenue and started walking down. He was busy pointing me to various restaurants, various bars, the laundromat, the way to the subway, and the café he frequents.

“Let’s have dinner here in Vynl*. This is where we usually have dinner.” says Nat as he gently opens the glass door of the restaurant. I was surprised that we only walked 2 blocks down to the restaurant.

IMG_4003 As I sat down on the table we chose, I was amazed by the decor on the wall.

I see dolls.

No, not Barbie. But dolls made to the likeness of Cher and Elton John. There were other dolls displayed around the restaurant but I couldn’t remember who they were. I think the rock band KISS had their own dolls on display too.

So we had a hearty meal mixed with stories of life. I can not remember what I had, but I distinctively remember how friendly the staff were. Nothing beats a restaurant with friendly staff members.

We were about to finish dinner when I excused myself to go to the toilet.

“You’ll enjoy the toilet. You’ll see why when you open the doors.” said Nat as he pointed me to the right direction.

IMG_4002I got a bit confused when there were three doors to choose from. I couldn’t remember which door I opened first, but I was quite surprised to see a mosaic of Cher in front of me. After getting over my initial shock, I heard Cher’s song “If I Could Turn Back Time” playing through the speakers. Now I understood what Nat meant.

I went to the next two bathrooms. One belonged to Elvis and one belonged to Dolly Parton.

I pissed in Dolly’s bathroom.


“Let go have some “Welcome to New York” drinks at the bar near the apartment!” said Nat.

“Yes, I need one!” was my enthusiastic reply.

So we started walking up 9th avenue. Much to my surprise and to Nat’s amusement I had just realized the bar is located right at the corner of  9th avenue and 53rd street. Which is like, a stone’s throw away from the apartment.

We were now lining up at the entrance of the bar called “Flaming Saddles“**. What apt a name for a gay bar right? As we neared the door, Nat told me to prepare some I.D.to prove that I am over the age of 21 to be allowed to enter.  This has been a common thing for me to do every time I entered a bar or a club for my entire stay in New York. And I always pity the man by the door trying to locate my birth date on my Philippine drivers license. Took one guy more or less 5 minutes to find it.

IMG_0265Country music was playing from the jukebox as we entered and the bar tenders were dancing on the bar. With their skin-tight jeans tucked into their cowboy boots, it’s no wonder the clientle were cheering them on and making cat calls towards the bar.

I have never been exposed to anything Country prior to entering Flaming Saddles. Well, maybe except for a few songs from Dolly Parton and Shania Twain plus the occasional western film I’ve seen made during the 50’s I’d see on TCM. But never like this.

A Western film was showing on the two big plasma TV’s. I dunno what the title of the film was, but I sure do know Doris Day when I see her.

There were boys talking to each other with a southern twang. Boys in trucker hats. Boys who look like lumberjacks. Men in suit and tie.

And then, there’s the occasional tourist, me.

IMG_0260Nat and I found our way to the bar as the dancing bartenders were making their way down from the bar. We ordered some Vodka Redbull ($10 each plus $1 tip quite cheap for around this part of town I’ve been told.) , found a nice little spot while we enjoyed our drinks, enjoyed boy watching and cheered to a fabulous 2 months ahead in New York!


754 9th ave @ 51st, NYC
212 974 2003


**Flaming Saddles Saloon

793 Ninth Ave
between 52nd/53rd Streets
New York, NY 10019


Arriving in New York : Day 1



August 2, 2012

12ish PM

On a Yellow Cab from JFK to Manhattan

New York


The cab was now zooming on what appears to be a freeway.

I am holding on for life.

“This cab driver must be Italian.” I said to myself. I subtly stole a look of him through the rear view.

He had bushy eyebrows and dark eyes.

He was multitasking.

He was busy talking with someone on his phone via a headset while he snaked our way through cars down the thoroughfare. A morbid thought came to my mind, I just came off a 14-hour plane ride and I might die of a car crash. I silently rolled my eyes and decided to enjoy the view. After all a meteor can strike Manhattan in the next 5 minutes.


We crossed over a bridge and I expected to see The Statue Of Liberty.  Thanks to my lack of geographical knowledge, I was disappointed. I just saw rows and rows of decrepit warehouses.

“Where was the address again?” he asked in a heavy accent, which I could not place.

“West 53rd between 9 and 10.” I replied in a casual voice, feigning to sound like a native New Yorker.

We must have been in Manhattan already because I saw that the streets were already numbered and red brownstone townhouses were around me.

We passed E10th Street.

Through E25th street.

And finally he turned left unto E53rd Street.

“We must be close.”, I assured myself.

I continued looking outside the window throwing my worries to the wind.

Skyscrapers towered before me, its reflected white light bearing down on the street.

I see people. Lots of people and lots of pigeons.

I see a vendor peddling his goods on the pavement.

A tourist buying an NY cap.

A man in a suit gobbling up a hotdog on a bun.

A dog pissing on the “No Parking” sign while the owner waits for it to finish.

To my surprise we passed by the MOMA. I made a mental note that it was just along the street where I will be living for the next two months.

After a block or two. Or three.

“Where here?” asked the cab driver, snapping me out of my reverie.

As instructed by Nat, my best friend, I gave him the instructions in verbatim.

“By the green awning at the right. Beside the construction.”


My cab driver helped me unload my luggage and makeup kit. I handed him 60 bucks (the standard rate plus a hefty tip) and, out of curiosity, asked him “Where are you from?”

“Russia.” Was his only reply.


I gave him my thanks and bid him goodbye.

I stood on the spot for a minute and looked around my surroundings. It’s exactly how it looked like on Google maps. *I laugh*

I slowly made my way to the door of the apartment building and pressed on the button that marked Nat’s apartment.

“Yes?” came a voice.

“It’s Mon!” was my reply.

I’m finally here after 12 long years of waiting.


Friends I have known below Fourth Year High School know me by my childhood nickname, which is Mon. And Nat knows me by that. Hence everyone I’ve met through him in New York knows me as Mon.

Kyrk, one of Nat’s New York friends, met me at the bottom of the stairs. I’ve only seen him in pictures. Nat was right. He looked like a supermodel version of Rhianna. Svelte, amazing skin tone and legs from here to eternity.

Nat was at work and he couldn’t meet me when I got to the city, so he asked Kyrk to hang around his apartment until I arrived. He also asked Kyrk to bring me to school for I needed to “show” myself to complete my international registration. Standard operating procedure as stated on the letter entitled “arrival procedures”.

After settling down for what seemed like five minutes, Kyrk and I went to lunch. Following his lead, we walked down 9th avenue.

I was giddy with excitement. I felt like a young child with eyes wide open, trying to let everything soak in.  We passed a number of restaurants, cafes, and a variety of shops. We just kept on walking and walking and walking.  After what seemed like an eternity to my jet lagging body (looking back I just realized we walked 8 blocks), we arrived at a restaurant named Southern Hospitality (645 9th Avenue between W45th and W46th streets).

“Justin Timberlake owns this restaurant!” said Kyrk as he opened the heavy wooden door. Well I’m not really a fan of Mr. Timebrlake, but I don’t mind sampling some of his barbeque.

We got to know each other over a HUGE serving of grilled chicken burger (which was left half eaten), fries and a TALL glass of Coke. I needed my carbs. The meal cost $50 for the both of us. A relatively expensive restaurant, but hell it’s my first day in New York! Might as well splurge.

Before heading to school, Kyrk suggested that we pass by Time Square as my first touristic landmark. Since he used to work for the Official Tourism Bureau of New York City, I was in good hands.


ImageStanding in the middle of Time Square is like being in a New York movie. Everything is a blur as the camera turns in a full circle.

The lights from the huge screens are flashing and changing colors by the second.

The huge number of people concentrated at such a space sound like bees buzzing in a hive.

A horn from a yellow cab blasts through the air and I swear in shock.

The “hop on hop off “ tourist bus passes through and you can hear “oohs” and “aahs” coming from the top of the bus.

“I should do that. Must be a different view from up there.” I said to myself while making a mental note of taking the bus tour of New York City within the next few days.

Kyrk then points me to Sephora. Apparently that was one of the stores that Nat frequents for work.

Nat, at that time, worked as a Retail Executive for Miracle Skin Transformer and Hydroxytone. These skincare products are carried in stores like Sephora or Bloomingdales for retail purposes.

“Would you like to go inside? Nat might be there.”

“Sure!” was my reply.

Nat wasn’t there. He must have gone on to a different Sephora.


We started walking to what seemed to be the general direction of the subway. We were now heading to my school, Makeup Designory, in Soho. To this very day I couldn’t remember which station we went to. My mind was in a haze because of a combination of jet lag, excitement and sensory overload.

Kyrk brought me to the ticketing machine for the subway ride. I bought a 7 day ticket. Which cost me around $29. It was a relatively easy purchase. I intended to buy a 30 day unlimited ticket but I was short on cash.

We then went through a maze of stairs, through a rush of people, waited on a platform and got on a train.

I was silently holding on to the handrails when Kyrk said, “You don’t look like a tourist at all.”

I turn to him and said “I try not to look like a tourist. I prefer to blend in.”

Actually, I was spacing out trying my best to keep myself awake while the subway car rocked on its tracks all the way to Soho and Kyrk’s statement got me thinking. Does this mean that native New Yorkers have this “spaced out / trying to stay awake look”?

Will find out soon enough.

An “AHA” moment aboard ANA

An “AHA” moment aboard ANA

August 2, 2012

ANA Flight NH 010

Some where over the Pacific Ocean near Russia


The plane is now flying over the Pacific Ocean and according to the map we are about to cross the International Date Line and I am having a moment.

I have been wanting to Visit New York ever since Nat moved there some 12+- years ago.  Now, I am eight hours away.

I etched into stone my desire to visit New York a year ago. This was the time when I felt that there was a need in me to refresh my skills as a makeup artist and at the same time the need fulfill Nat’s 12-year-old invitation. So instead of going on a mindless vacation, I decided to study at the same time.

Getting to the point where I am now, I have just realized, is a very humbling experience. I have never worked so hard to try to fulfill a dream. I asked for money from my parents and I even borrowed money.

Trying to come up with money was tough.

It got tougher when I began to doubt myself. It got a bit tougher when other people started doubting me. It became stressfully tougher when I had to wait for 4 months for word from the school that I got accepted and on when I can move forward with my enrollment. My nerves went out the window as soon as I walked into the doors of the US Embassy for my M1 visa interview.

How stress was I, you ask? My right eye was twitching for 2 months!

It’s a good thing I am a very patient person with impaired hearing and a crazy mind! *Laughs*

But I do have to admit. I have never been so scared in my life. After all this is the biggest monetary expenditure I have ever made.

To experience the realization of a dream slowly unfolding before you is a profound gift. It gives you knowledge. The knowledge that you can do what ever your heart desires as long as you work hard for it. I cried with relief and gratefulness inside the lavatory of ANA flight NH 010 bound for New York from Tokyo.


May I be liberal in quoting Judi Dench’s character named Evelyn in the film “ The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel For the Elderly and Beautiful” that I saw on board the flight , for leading me to this “AHA!” moment:

“The only real failure is the failure to try.

And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. As we always must.

As long as we try.

Can we be blamed that we are too old to change?

To scared of disappointment to start it all again?

We get up in the morning and we do our best.

Nothing else matters.”

Thank God for old people, for they do speak wisely.

Packing According to Louis Vuitton

Packing According to Louis Vuitton

June 22, 2012

Nat’s Facebook page


I was keeping tabs on my best friend, Nat, by checking out his Facebook page.

He shared this video on his wall.

After playing it, I just had to feature it in my blog.

This my friends is how to pack.

I have discovered that Louis Vuitton has a page dedicated to the art of packing in its website. It features ways on how to pack your things into a Alzer, Pégase, and a Keepall.

It’s interactive, informative and fun! You click on different items and it will show you where to place it inside the luggage to maximize its space and on how to arrange your things beautifully. It shows you how to fold two long sleeve dress shirts properly, how to neatly roll your cardigan and sports shirts and it even shows you inter fold a number of clothes together.

Feel free to discover The Art of Packing from Louis Vuitton by clicking here.





Along The Sands Of Puka Beach (In Pictures)

Along The Sands Of Puka Beach (In Pictures)

December 31, 2011

Puka Beach

Boracay Island



As we walk along, we feel the morning sun warm the sands of Puka Beach.

A catamaran docks on the beach, bringing in tourists that hang about for a little over an hour before continuing to circumnavigate the island.

A line of artistically arranged drift wood indicate that we are nearing our favorite spot on the beach.


We find an area of sparse trees. We mark our spot for the day.

We open our mat, and start to worship the sun.


As the mid day heat brings out our thirst, a small nipa hut offers refreshments.

Advertising in a very subtle manner.

Or a  coconut or two perhaps?

As we slowly move along, we meet an assortment of characters.

Like this old lady, Josefina, peddling some Puka Shells. She’s been doing it all her life. Raised her children through Puka Shells.

Do mind the cigarette on her left hand.


As we make our way back to our shady spot, we pass by a beached Bangka.

We pass by shells strung together by old fishing nets, as they gently sway on the breeze.


Taking a seat.

Taking in the view.


Children play along the shore,

Our Russian neighbors finally venture out of their shady camp.

Thanks for the wonderful music by the way.


When the sun shines gold, the temperature cools down.

It’s time to pick out some shells along the sand to bring home.


The clouds in the sky announce that the sun is about to set.

 We sit along the sands of Puka Beach as we bask under the sun’s dying rays.

Another Boracay day comes to a close.

Qatar airways says “Ma’a Salama” to it’s Doha – Cebu Route


April 2, 2012

It primarily came as a shock to me when I found out from a friend’s Facebook status that Qatar Airways has ceased its Doha – Cebu flights right after I posted my blog about KLM ceasing its direct flight to Amsterdam from Manila (click here for that blog).

After doing some reading on-line, the last Qatar Airways Doha – Cebu flight ceased on March 26, 2012.

This news tidbit made me sad, primarily because I am Cebuano. The ceasing of this route will not only affect the tourism industry of Cebu City but,  that of  the entire Visayan and Mindanao region as well. Secondly, this will create a huge impact to Overseas Filipino Workers who work in The Middle East; this means more costly air travel and longer travel time.

Most travelers find it rather difficult to travel to the Philippine Islands because there are no direct flights available. Unlike Bali, Bangkok or Hong Kong which are serviced DIRECT by hundreds of airline companies, when a traveler wants to visit the Philippine Islands, one must always have to arrive via Manila**** then take one of the local carriers to get to the islands.

What most travelers and tourists detest the most is having to spend longer flying time than actual vacation time. That’s why the Philippines takes a back seat, putting it under the radar.

So what is the government doing? …


Anyway, out of curiosity, I went to www.qatarairways.com and tried to go through the process of booking a faux flight to Rome via Doha from Cebu from September 1, 2012 to October 1, 2012. Well, there are still flights available but it involves more plane changes.

Before catching   my “supposed” flight to Rome from Doha, I would have to fly on a Code Share flight either from Cebu to Manila via Philippine Airlines OR fly from Cebu to Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific before hoping on a Qatar airways flight bound for Doha.

If I were to choose which flight to take, it would be the Cebu –  Hong Kong flight. Primarily because Hong Kong International Airport has a train service that shuttles people from one terminal to another. BUT if I will take the Cebu  – Manila flight, I will have to go through the stress of changing terminals in Manila especially when you only have a 3 hour transit time in between flights. Remember, all terminals in Manila are not connected by a railway transit system. If you need to transfer terminals, you need to take a shuttle service and go through traffic to get to NAIA terminal 1. Not a good idea to get stuck in traffic while in transit.

Transit time between flights vary from as little as 3 hours to as much as 17 hours. The shortest travel time from Cebu to Rome (including transit time) would be a little over 24 hours; the longest is at a little over 27 hours. The shortest travel time from Rome to Cebu (including transit time) would be a little over 26 hours; the longest is over 41 hours. Then again, travel time vary according to the dates you travel. Since the “faux” dates I chose is coming into the low season, fewer flights are available.



I hope that Qatar Airways will rekindle their Cebu route in the future.  I’m sure they won’t turn a blind eye to a wonderful 9 year relationship they had with my city.

Daghang salamat ug hinaut unta na mu balik ka.


**** Click here to know which airline serves Manila.

Kalibo*, Cebu** and Davao*** are serviced by a handful of international flights.

*Click here to know which airline serves Kalibo.

** Click here to know which airline serves Cebu.

*** Click here to know which airline serves Davao.

KLM says, “Good Night Manila, Good Morning Europe!”


March 28, 2012

Gold’ Gym



I was browsing the newspaper at the gym yesterday when I read a small news entry at the bottom of the front page.

After 60 years of direct flights from Amsterdam to Manila and vice versa. KLM has terminated this route as the last KLM flight to Amsterdam left Manila on March 25, 2012.

The reason behind this change is because of the Common Carrier Tax, which charges European airlines 3% on top of the 2.5 gross on billing tax. Now, I’m no genius in math and taxation but it seems that KLM discontinued its direct flights to save money. Now,we can’t blame them for that.

It is also because of the Common Carrier Tax that many European Airlines stopped direct services ages ago. Now, this answers my questions that have long been bugging my mind ever since I was scouting for flights for my trip to Europe 2 years ago. It’s just to expensive to operate.

After all, we are living during difficult economic times.  As the saying goes, “Shape up or Ship out!”… or “fly out” that is.

The new Manila – Taipei – Amsterdam flights now leaves Manila in the evenings (KLM used to fly in the mornings) with a 2 hour (+/-) lay over in Taipei and arrives in Amsterdam at 6:10 in the morning of the next day.

Thirty Seconds At Puka Beach


January 1, 2012

Puka Beach

Boracay Island



Celebrating the New Year in Puka Beach.


An outrigger passes by..

My bubba waves..

Kids play on the shore..

While Russians bathe under the hot January sun.


As I have stated in my previous blog (click here ), Puka Beach is always our favorite spot on the entire island of Boracay. Located at its northern tip, it is a perfect getaway from the crowded and bustling White Beach.

I just want to share this short video I took to show how beautiful this stretch of beach is.

Kite surfing in Bulabog Beach, Amihan Season (photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.org)

Since we were here around January, it falls under the Amihan season, where in the cool southeast wind brings in the dry season (from November to April) . This means that the northern and eastern parts of the island gets lots of wind and high waves. That’s why this is the favorite time of the year for kite surfers to enjoy their sport at Bulabog beach.

The sea in Puka Beach is still swim-“able” with some effort. You can hear the strength of the wind on the video.

On the other hand, White Beach (located west of Bulabog Beach), is as placid as a deep lake. No waves, just tranquil blue waters all around you.

Puka Beach, Habagat Season


The rainy season is ushered in by the Habagat, the southwest wind, from June to October. This is known as the wet season. This is the season when the winds change. White Beach gets buffeted by the wind and the sea gets rough while the northern and eastern beaches (i.e. Puka Beach, Bulabog Beach, Lapuz-lapuz Beach..) gets it’s share of tranquil seas.

So if you are planning a trip to Boracay Island, I hope that these tips can help you decide which dates to take during your trip.

If you want to know more about how to get to Boracay read my previous blog by clicking here.

Boracay 101

Boracay 101

January 2, 2011

Caticlan Airport

Malay, Aklan



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 :

  1. Air China
  2. Air Niugini
  3. Asiana Airlines 
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. China Airlines
  6. China Southern Airlines
  7. Delta Air Lines
  8. Dragonair
  9. Emirates
  10. Etihad Airways
  11. EVA Air
  12. Gulf Air
  13. Hawaiian Airlines
  14. Hong Kong Express Airways
  15. Japan Airlines
  16. Jeju Air
  17. Korean Air
  18. Kuwait Airways
  19. Malaysia Airlines
  20. Qantas
  21. Qatar Airways
  22. KLM
  23. Jetstar Asia Airways
  24. Jetstar Airways
  25. Royal Brunei Airlines
  26. Singapore Airlines
  27. Saudi Arabian Airlines
  28. Tiger Airways
  29. Thai Airways International
  30. 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:

  1. All Nippon Airways
  2. Airphil Express (All domestic and International flights)
  3. Cebu Pacific (All domestic and international flights)
  4. Zest Airways (Manila -Incheon flights only)

Terminal 4 : is the old Manila domestic terminal that hosts domestic flights by these airlines:

  1. Sky Pasada
  2. South East Asian Airlines (Seair)
  3. 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.

Baggage 101

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 parasailing.
Go kiteboarding on Bulabog beach.

Go skimboarding along White beach.

Go motorbiking.

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