Thursday, August 7, 2008

Boracay, Philippines

During our summer break, July 26th – August 3rd, a group of us took a trip to Boracay Island, Philippines. You might be thinking, why would you want to go to a tropical paradise during the rainy season? Well, a friend put forth the idea and tickets were available (and cheaper than the tickets to go to New Zealand). The weather forecast for the 8 nights we were going to spend on the island called for rain, rain and more rain.

We left the Incheon Airport in Seoul at around 8:30am Saturday morning. (We had to leave Sanbon at 6am!) We were in a bit of a rush so we did not have a chance to change our Korean Won in to American $ or Philippine Pesos. We figured we could exchange Korean Won easily on the island as it is a very popular destination for Korean tourists (we could change it easily in Thailand and China for a good rate). As it turns out, we were wrong. The exchange rate was terrible! Here’s a tip: never leave your home airport without changing money to American Dollars or the local currency you’re going to use.


We had a group of 5: Jon, Krista, James, Stephanie and Cherith. You may remember James from our posts of Thailand click here – we met him on the plane to Bangkok!

We had a three hour layover in Manila before our next flight to Kalibo. It just so happened that the Mall of Asia was only a 20 minute drive away! First we went in to a store that looked similar to Wal-Mart or Target. We were so excited because there were MANY things there that you just can’t get in Korea very easily like deodorant and toothpaste!

We flew to Manila International Airport and from there took a short flight to Kalibo. From Kalibo we had an insane journey in a van with 10 other people to Caticlan where we would then take a 15 minute ferry ride to Boracay Island. By insane we mean driving at breakneck speeds on a single lane highway crossing over into oncoming traffic to pass the 3 people on a small dirt bike / motorbike, or a truck loaded with logs and people sitting on top to make sure they didn't fall off... Given that we’re all from North America where there are fairly strict rules on driving like a ‘maniac’ we were a little terrified. However, we did get there faster than usual.. and alive! We recommend flying from Manila direct to Caticlan, so much faster and less stress.

Manila International Airport



Overlooking Manila









Manila has some very cool buses called Jeepneys



The Mall of Asia!



Philippines license plates



A Thai Airways jet taking off from Manila. Have we mentioned Thai Airways is amazing??



As we were taxing to fly to Kalibo, the pilot announced that outside to the right you could see the plane that had to do an emergency landing because of a hole in front of the wing. What a nice thing to say as we are about to take off! It is said an oxygen tank may have exploded causing the damage. Click here for the story and a better picture.



There's Boracay Island!



Overlooking Kalibo Airport



Kalibo Airport



Apparently the conveyor belt was broken so we all had to get our own luggage from the carts outside the plane.



This is what took us from Caticlan to Boracay Island.



We made it to the jetty port on the island, in order to get from the boat on to land you have to step in at least three inches of water – make sure you wear sandals. Sunny, our driver picked us up and brought us all to the hotel. Janes was waiting to give us a welcome drink and an introduction. By this time we had been traveling for about 12 long hours, thank goodness for the amazing hotel Krista had found for us because it was worth every second of the journey!

Our next post will have the pics from the hotel / resort we stayed at!