Aklan sidetrip: Jawili Beach in Tangalan

If you still have the time to explore Aklan before proceeding to Boracay, please do so because Aklan is not all about Boracay. Tourists can also visit Jojo’s Christmas Cottage in Sampaguita Gardens, roam around Gaisano mall in Kalibo and visit BongBong’s to taste freshly made and hot piaya.

If you’re a beach person, Aklan has plenty of shorelines and beaches that you can enjoy. New Washington in Kalibo and Navitas in Numancia has some resorts for you to stay. But the best beach to visit when in Aklan is Jawili Beach in Tangalan, Aklan.

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Travel plans this 4-day long weekend

Where are you heading this 4 day long weekend? Upon President PNoy’s announcement making October 31, 2011a special holiday, I’m sure a lot of people checked some destinations in and out of the country. My officemates checked out some airline promos from different websites to look for cheap Asian country flights and some local destinations. Unfortunately, most airlines and hotels also consider this long weekend as peak season so rates are higher than usual. If PNoy already announced holidays earlier, itchy feet Pinoys should have planned their travels wisely, now this is what I miss about President GMA, being generous with special holidays :p.

As for our family, we are Aklan and Boracay-bound! I am looking forward for a weekend of beach, sun (I hope!) and sand!

see you in Boracay!

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Sidetrips in Aklan (Sampaguita Gardens, Ramboy’s, Bagobos)

When you’re in Aklan for your Boracay trip and you have time to spare, visiting Jojo’s Christmas Cottage at Sampaguita Gardens in New Washington, Aklan is well worth it. It’s a 10-minute ride from the Kalibo Airport. The highlight inside the Sampaguita Gardens is Jojo’s Christmas Cottage. In here, the motto is “Everyday is Christmas”. The cottage had its share of media exposures and was featured on some of TV shows like Rated K. The cottage houses “Precious Moments” doll collections and various Christmas trees in all forms, themes and sizes. Souvenir items like handicrafts, T-shirts, trinkets and other Precious Moments knick-knacks are sold here.


Jojo’s Christmas Cottage at night

Sampaguita Gardens is sort-of a Mini-Disneyland of Aklan in my opinion. It also has a Thai Spa, Thai-inspired Mr. Butcher’s House, hotel, butterfly garden, coffee shop, function hall and the Oriental Flavors Restaurant for your fine dining experience.

Restaurants:

To taste the best Lechon Manok in Aklan, go to Ramboy’s along the hi-way of Numancia, Aklan. For Caticlan-bound visitors, you can’t miss this place since public transportation always pass this route.


Ramboy’s, Numancia, Aklan

Just beside Ramboy’s is another restaurant called Bagobos. We had our dinner at this place on our first day. We ordered Crispy Pata and Sisig, the Crispy Pata is delicious. But service is really really slow, I’m warning you not to eat here if you’re looking for a quick bite.


Bagobos, Numancia, Aklan

Where to stay and eat in Boracay on a budget

Budget Accomodations:

We all know that tourists from all parts of the world flock to Boracay. And with these, prices of some commodities like food and lodging might be expensive for average travelers like me. First would be the accommodation, beach resorts in Boracay offer varied rates for their fan rooms (cheapest) and the deluxe rooms with air-con, hot water and cable TV. Beachfront hotels have higher rates as well as those hotels found in Station 1. We stayed at Casa Pilar in Station 3. Reasonable rates for a decent cottage, it has its own restaurant and security of the resort is not a problem. Rates of rooms, contact number, email and website are as follows:

Casa Pilar Beach Resort (Station 3, Boracay Island, Aklan)

Deluxe AC: lean season Php 2900 – peak season Php 4000
Superior AC: lean season Php 2400 – peak season Php 3300
Standard AC: lean season Php 2000 – peak season Php 2800
Fan Room: lean season Php 1200 – peak season Php 1800
Tel: (63 36) 2883073
Email:
casa_pilar@yahoo.com
Website:
http://www.casapilarboracay.com/

During our stay, we found a newly built hotel just near Casa Pilar, also in Station 3, called Boracay Sands Hotel. The curiosity in us made us ask for their room rates, the receptionist willingly showed us the rooms and boy, I made a promise to stay in this hotel the next time around. Rooms have 2 double beds, and LCD TV, and a personal ref to boot.

Boracay Sands Hotel (room, pool)
Boracay Sands Hotel (Station 3, Boracay Island, Aklan)
Room rate per night without breakfast: Php 3,850
Tel. no: (036) 2884967 / 4966
CP no: 0927-304-01-31
Budget meals:

Boracay has plenty of restaurants to cater tourists from all walks of life. From fine dining to a simple eatery, you’ll find something somewhere to satisfy your hunger. Andok’s Dokito Frito in Station 3 offers their staple Lechon Manok and other budget meals like Pork Chop, Fried Chicken, Barbecue and Filipino foods. Price of their budget meals starts at Php 49.00. Mang Inasal in D’Mall also has a number of customers because of their cheap but delicious meals. Prices also start from Php 49.00 and up. I ordered Tosilog and Jeff ordered Chicken Inasal when we had our breakfast. If you’re craving for pizza, Yellow Cab has a branch in Station 3 just beside Casa Pilar. They also deliver to your hotels.

Tosilog and Chicken Inasal from Mang Inasal; Yellow Cab

Souvenirs:

For your keepsakes and pasalubongs from Boracay, go to D’Mall to find plenty of keychains and ref magnets for 7 pieces for Php 100. T-shirts that scream “Boracay” range from Php 150-500. On my first visit, I bought T-shirts from “Lonely Planet“. This time, I discovered another store that offers rocking designs called “Metamorphosis“. They sell handpainted shirts and canvass bags for Php 250-580. Just ask for discounts when buying at the store. For summer accessories, sellers can be found at the beach and just choose at your liking from a variety of earrings, necklaces and bracelets offered by the locals.

Metamorphosis Boutique


Accessories and ref magnets a plenty

Jonah’s Fruit Shakes (Station 1, Boracay)

Your trip in Boracay will never be complete without trying out the famous fruit shakes in the island. Jonah’s Fruit Shakes is a refreshing break from the sweltering heat of the sun after walking the stretch of Boracay Island. Aside from the fruit shakes, this humble restaurant also offers meals from seafood, Pinoy food such as pancit, sinigang, etc. and Mexican such as tacos, echiladas, etc.

Mango Banana and Choco Peanut from Jonah’s Fruit Shakes

I ordered Choco Peanut while Jeff ordered Mango Banana. Price range of fruit shakes is Php 75 to Php 150 depending on the combination. The most expensive ones (Php 150) are the Strawberry shake variants. I liked the consistency of the shake because of the fine ice.

Since we’re hungry from walking and exploring the islands, we also ate our early dinner here. If you’re ordering in Jonah’s, orders might take long to arrive so don’t go there with your growling stomach or you’ll die of starvation. Jeff’s Chicken Enchilada was first to arrive, since he’s hungry, I told him to eat his meal at once while I waited for my Shrimp Potato Salad. I waited for my salad for about 20-30 minutes, while Jeff already devoured his enchilada.

Chicken Enchilada

Shrimp Potato Salad

The Chicken Enchilada was good, I know because I got to taste a spoonful of it while waiting for my salad to arrive. To sum it up, you can pass up in trying out their meals but their fruit shakes are definitely a must-try! We even went back the next day to try out a different combination, Papaya Mango and Apple Mango.

Boracay, Aklan (April 5-7, 2008)

Summer + beach = Boracay
Perfect equation, right? Boracay island, located in Malay, Aklan, is still one of the hottest destination during summer. With its powdery white sand and still blue crystal waters, one can never forget his/her summer spent on this island paradise. Boracay should be included on one’s “to-visit-list” before dying, its beauty should not be missed.

How to get there:

Boracay is accessible through a 10-15 minute boat ride from Caticlan Jetty Port. You have two options to get to Caticlan Jetty Port. One is through a direct flight going to Caticlan. SEAIR, Asian Spirit, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific travel to Caticlan daily. If you’re afraid of riding small aircrafts like me, other option is to take flights going to Kalibo. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have flight schedules going to Kalibo daily. In Kalibo, there are available Ceres Liner buses or L300 vans going to Caticlan. L300 vans charge 100 per head. One hour travel time will get you to Caticlan Jetty Port.
On my previous visits to Boracay, there are 3 stations (Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3) where boats/ferries can load and unload tourists. But this time, they implemented a “one-entry one-exit policy” and required all guests going to Boracay to register. From Caticlan Jetty Port, one has to pay the environmental fee (Php 50), terminal fee (Php 50) and transportation fee (Php 19.50). Ferries/boats will dock at Cagban Port, from there, visitors will have to ride trikes or multicabs going to their hotels. Some hotels offers pick-ups at the Cagban Port.

Cagban Port

Activities:

Aside from swimming, walking along its shores, food tripping and checking out stuffs at D’Mall, there are plenty of activities you can do while in the island. In the afternoon, you can get a henna tattoo or braid your hair ready for partying at night. As for us, we hired a trike for Php 450 to get us Puka Beach and Mt. Luho, Boracay’s highest elevation. Puka Beach reminds me of Putipot Island in Zambales, it still has the powdery white sand and calm waters Boracay was known for minus the crowd. So if you want to have some peace and relaxation, then head to Puka Beach, lay your beach towels, read a book or just soak up the sun. To see the island on a different perspective, we went to Mt. Luho to see the entire island. The view from the top was breathtaking, great for picture-taking. We had a 360 degrees view of the island, a panoramic vista of the sea and the establishments in the island. The trike driver also mentioned the Bat Cave and the Crystal Cave as another tourist destination and perhaps, we’ll visit them in the future.

Puka Beach

Mt. Luho

view from Mt. Luho

One can never ran out of activities in the island. You can pass up the afternoon lulls by playing frisbee, beach volleyball, having a massage or by sipping your favorite shakes. Come sunset, you can avail of the Sunset Cruises (Php 499) to experience the sunset while in the ocean.

Travel expenses:

From Manila to Boracay:

Round trip fare (Manila-Kalibo-Manila; Manila-Caticlan-Manila): ranges from Php 3000-Php 8000 (book early to avail of promos and discounts)

Manila Domestic Airport Terminal fee: Php 200

Kalibo-Caticlan Jetty Port via bus or van (if via Manila-Kalibo): Php 100

Transportation fee: Php 19.50

Environmental fee: Php 50

Terminal fee: Php 50

Trike from Cagban Port to hotel: Php 20 per head

From Boracay to Manila:

Trike from hotel to Cagban Port: Php 20 per head

Terminal fee: Php 50

Transportation fee: Php 19.50

Caticlan Jetty Port-Kalibo via bus or van: Php 100

Kalibo Airport Terminal fee: Php 20