BORACAY SERIES : OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

This is my second post in a series…

Having been considered as one of the best beaches in the world, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan, Philippines is barely a seven kilometer-stretch with a breadth of about a kilometer at its narrowest. Its land area, according to the latest issue of Getaways Boracay Tourist Map & Guide is slightly over 1,000 hectares with only about 16,000 people. The island’s best attraction are its mile-long powdery sand beaches, crystal clear waters and fantastic dive sites.

Boracay has 3 baranggays or local communities – Manoc-Manoc where the jetty ports are located, then Balababag and Yapak.  There are over 200 hotels with over 3,500 rooms to suit any range of budget.  The main road that connects the 3 baranggays seems to have everything at present.  Other than roadside hotels, it has medical clinics, lying-in, a hospital, convenient stores, a groceries, pharmacy and a lot more.  The mode of transport along the main road is basically via tricycles;  each ride costs PhP 7 per passenger.

Last Sunday, 18 October 2009, we found a temporary home for our short stay in this Island Paradise  in Baranggay Balabag, Boracay.  This is the street that leads to our hotel…

1

It’s one of the branches of the main road; beside it is a basketball court, a stage, a multi-purpose hall and a Catholic church.  I can imagine myself and my family settling here, far from the busy areas of the metropolis; away from the hassles of daily living;  a place that can surely offer serenity and peace of mind.  But then again, a huge part of me also likes to consider it only as one of the nicest vacation places and just leave it at that. 

23

One of the earliest activities that Tina, Gabby and I did after checking-in in our hotel room was to visit this church. IMG_4671

We felt we’re so blessed to have a short getaway, to have the best weather amidst the threat of a typhoon and a safe trip via air, land and water.    

56

The Chuch was surprisingly big for a small community, perhaps it was really built also for the volume of tourists who visit Boracay regardless of season. It has a colorful mosaic of Christ Jesus with details of the beach at its facade and a rock and coral back drop at the main altar.  Masses are offered daily every mornings at 6 and as scheduled. 

The place was a good choice for being quiet and peaceful, away from the busy bars and restaurants near the white beach. It was perfect for families and friends who seek solace from a change of environment.

One can’t help but notice this sari-sari store along the street where the church is that sells probably everything but land titles, LOL 😀7

As early as few days before September, I’ve been browsing the net and calling travel and tours offices for days, comparing packages, fees, amenities and other essentials before I consulted my wife’s opinion about my choices. (Yes, in our family, the husband provides and does the budgeting as well, but the wife still has an important say to everything).

The other hotel I considered was a beach front hotel that has a Greek-inspired restaurant at its first floor but they don’t have an office here in Manila and I wanted to transact and direct my questions to a representative of a Boracay hotel. 

Tina and I knew for a fact that we won’t be spending too much time inside the hotel room except during showers and sleep, so why bother choosing a pricey hotel when we’re only after for a decent and safe place to stay? (It’s a nicer way of putting words to practicality and the truth that we’re on a tight budget for this vacation, LOL).  

After reading several good reviews about a budget-friendly non-beach front hotel located at Boat Station 1, my wife and I came up with a mutual decision…  

8

ESCONDIDO BEACH RESORT served as our temporary home during our brief vacation in the island. Although it’s not a beach front hotel, we like the fact that it’s tucked within a quiet street that’s truly relaxing. 

Upon arrival, the warm and friendly staffs of Escondido including the security guard on duty greeted us with the widest smiles. 😀   And their courtesy and politeness never ended on our first day in Boracay but remained consistent. Even the guy who fetched us from the airport and accompanied us through land and water transfers was so accomodating.  What they showed us was a perfect example of Pinoy hospitality.

9At the right side of the gate is the reception area where we were offered cold glasses of orange juice as welcome drinks.

10

At the first floor…  

11IMG_4316

We were ushered to room 202 at the second floor…

12IMG_4311

This is one of the simplest but most comfortable rooms we have checked in…

IMG_4301

I went to their office in Quezon City about a month ago to pay the reservation of fee of at least 30% of the package.  I got a receipt and a voucher after I paid an initial amount of PhP 2,000.   The friendly Escondido staff at the office, Ms. Cheng asked me to e-mail her our flight details.

The package we availed was a steal at  PhP 6,100 for two persons (Gabby was free);  inclusive of a 3 days 2 nights stay in an airconditioned deluxed room with a queen-sized bed and a single bed. The room also has a mini bar and fridge, a cable TV and hot-and-cold showers.  The package also included daily breakfast for two which can be upgraded for an additional minimal amount into Continental or Filipino breakfast.  Did I tell you that the package we paid also included the RTT/round trip transfers?

Gabby like it so much that he didn’t even miss our bed at home…

IMG_4303IMG_4309IMG_4304IMG_4306

We like Escondido that I’m recommending it to you on your next (or first) vacation in Boracay.  Thank you to the receptionists Anna and Gina (and the other lady when we left the hotel on our last day), thank you to our RTT guide, thank you to the security guards and the food servers of Escondido. You made our stay in Boracay more special. 😀

After checking the place, sheets and all, we just freshen up a bit,  immediately locked the room, got the keys and headed to the beach…

Escondido Resort is only a minute-walk away from the waters… passing that sari-sari store, the church, and after crossing the street, we were instructed to walk through a sidewalk beside another hotel…

IMG_4674IMG_4676

After 4 hours at the waiting area at NAIA terminal 3; after 45 minute-plane ride; after 10 minute boat ride and  1 and 1/2 hours of land travel and a  few steps more…

IMG_4677

Voila!  Paradise….

IMG_4441

It took me few seconds of silence to realize we’re in Boracay.  I was mesmerized.  It was surreal.  

I was in great awe the moment I stepped bare foot on its pristine powdery sands.  Simply amazing.

Breathtaking, isn’t it?

Up next :  more of the white beach…

19 thoughts on “BORACAY SERIES : OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  1. Wow Boracay…your travel story is very fascinating and the pictures add excitement to it. Thank you for posting this series. Will wait for more of this series 🙂

  2. God is really good. 🙂

    wow station 1 pala kayo! 😛 tama tama bakit kukuha pa ng pricey hotel if matutulog din dun dba? di ka naman nagpunta ng ibang lugar para matulog dba? haha! ganyan palagi motto ko sa mga travel buddies ko haha 😉

    weeee!!! boracaaaaay!! ang ganda dba? ganyan din ako nung 1st time ko. ilang beses ko ata nilakaran ang sand para magsink in na nasa boracay na ko haha 😉

    ps: parang walang masyadong tao noh? swerte nyo! 🙂

    1. dyanie, so we have the same travel motto eh?! tama naman di ba? 😀

      thank God boracay tourism is still alive despite off season.
      there are the usual foreigners and local tourists like us.
      the last photo here was the very first one i took when we reached the beach.
      more beach photos on my next post! 😀

    1. I agree, Dennis. Tourism is still active regardless of the season but it’s more quiet and peaceful during months of june to october. We really enjoyed it and had fun to the fullest 😀

  3. Although it’s more commercialized now, I still find Bora fascinating and would still revisit. Thanks for sharing the other areas I’ve never explored much in my previous visits. Dropping by from Dennis Villegas’ blog. =)

    1. Welcome to my blog, witsandnuts. Thanks for the visit and for leaving a comment. Boracay is indeed fascinating and so beautiful we’d want to go back soooon 😀

    1. hello, lantaw! you should treat your wife to boracay whenever possible. i tell you, her love for you will grow deeper not only because of the island per se but your efforts of taking her for a break 😀 i’m sure, like my wife, she will definitely appreciate it.

    1. not really, rob. there were local and foreign tourists too. never forget that there were delegations of nurses around the country for the 87th anniv of pna.. but the place remained less crowded compared, i guess, during summer.

      we really appreciate our short break there. it was a really breather from everything.

  4. hi doc!

    this is a very detailed recall of your arrival in boracay! i liked the way you included your observation sa sarisari store… the vegetables look fresh (tama ba?), esp the kangkong. and i noticed nag rere-use sila ng plastics – diba yun ang nakalagay sa big plastic na nakasabit malapit sa charcoals?

    mostly, i like the way you captured the moment of tina and gabby’s arrival at the beach… priceless.

    anne

    1. hello anne!

      thanks for following my posts on boracay and salamat for those kind words 😀
      …you’re absolutely right in saying that those veggies and fruits in that sari-sari store are all fresh that day. i think they replenish their stocks daily that’s why.

  5. wow, you inspired me to write blogs too..i guess i better start it now…every words you say makes me picturize everything. good job!!! you really are an amazing writer!! btw, we had our 1st family vacation in Boracay too last December 2012, it was the BEST!! i would recommend staying in Boracay station 2 though if you want it more lively.

Thank you for your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s