Three Weeks in Boracay on a Budget

Boracay Budget Travel

Boracay has always been our go-to place for a quick respite from city life. So when the Philippines had already eased the restrictions for local travel because of the pandemic, Christian and I decided to finally go on a trip during my online school break. Boracay was definitely the best choice because of the easy access to good food, no-fuss accommodation, and of course, the best beaches in the world. And as wild as it can get, we booked for 22 days on the island, I know, we’re crazy like that.

THREE WEEKS IN BORACAY
WHAT’S INSIDE?

Airfare
Travel Requirements
Getting In
Going Around
Accommodation
Food
Beaches
Drinks
Final Thoughts

It was my annual two-month school break when Christian, my husband, and I decided to go on a ‘revenge travel’ like what people would call it since the pandemic hit the globe. It was in July of 2022 and during that time, it’s been two years and a half since the series of lockdowns in the country started. We’re used to long-term traveling and backpacking before and most of my school breaks were spent outside the country getting lost somewhere.

This was our son’s first-ever plane trip and we were so excited for him to experience flying into thick clouds. Akira was born in 2019 and because of the pandemic, we were forced to stay and work from home for more than two years. We spent 22 days on the island and we were so blessed to have great weather all throughout our stay. We didn’t avail of any tour packages or any water activities during our stay and just went to different beaches every day and frolicked on the sand all day.

Stretching our travel money is one of our main concerns during the trip and although I do not have a strict budget I use an online savings goal calculator at SavingsCalculator.org to actually help me figure out my monthly savings.

Boaracay Bulabog Beach

I will share with you how we survived for 22 days in Boracay without getting broke because, well, we shouldn’t spend all our travel funds on one trip. We were stoked when our cheapo Boracay story got featured on PhilStar Life in the middle of our stay. I’m no expert in budget traveling but maybe our story can inspire others to consider long-term traveling in the future.


AIRFARE


For our flights, we scored a great deal from Cebu Pacific Air which flies daily to Caticlan from the country’s major hubs. Check out my story about flying for the first time with a toddler here.

Boracay Cheap Flights


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS


We went to Boracay in July 2022 and the strict travel requirements and health protocols was quite arduous. We registered online to get an Online Health Declaration Card and submitted all the needed documents to get our QR codes. It was challenging as compared to visiting the island before but it’s all worth it.

Check this Updated Boracay Travel Guide for more information

Boracay Sunset


GETTING IN AND OUT OF THE ISLAND


We availed of the Shared Airport Transfer to Boracay from Klook when we flew in from Manila. It included the shuttle from Caticlan Airport to Caticlan Port, boat transfer to Boracay, and van transfer to our hotel. Environmental fees and terminal fees were excluded from the price though.

When our vacay was over, we traveled from the island to Caticlan Airport on our own which I find easier and cheaper especially when you’re traveling in a group as you only need to hire an e-tricycle (e-trike) to go to the port as well as going to the airport. The rates may vary depending on how far your hotel is to the port. Be ready to shell out ₱100 to ₱300 to hire an e-trike.

Boracay White Beach Grotto


GOING AROUND THE ISLAND


We mainly used e-trikes to roam around the island. You can rent a whole e-trike to go within the town center for around ₱100 but when you want to go to farther areas, you will be asked to shell out ₱200 to ₱300 depending on how far the area is. If you’re a budget traveler, you may opt to pay for what they call the “individual rate” for ₱10 to ₱30 depending on how far you need to go.

Boracay Transportation E Trike

One of the things I noticed was that the traffic enforcers were all strict when it comes to implementing the regulations. This one time, our driver was summoned because he was not wearing his uniform and got a violation ticket for it.

Last time we heard, there are plans on having a Hop-On-Hop-Off kinda bus for travelers who wish to go around the island, which will definitely save everyone the hassle of going around the island.


ACCOMMODATION


For this trip, we had three different accommodations ranging from budget to mid-range hotel and resort.

CHECK FOR DISCOUNTED RESORTS IN BORACAY


Ferra Garden Hotel and Suites

We’ve been to Boracay many times but we keep on coming back to our friends at Ferra Hotel. For this trip though, we stayed there for the first nine days and as always, it feels like we’re on a homecoming ‘coz their personalized customer service will make you feel that you’re a part of their family. Read my story about Ferra Garden Hotel and Suites here.

CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES

Boracay Cheap Accommodation



Apartment

After staying in a hotel, we transferred to a friend’s apartment for the next 13 days. She has been working remotely on the island since the pandemic. She was paying ₱15,000 per month for a studio-type apartment near Bulabog Beach and she offered her place to us when she heard that we’re looking for a place to stay. She was in Manila during our stay and we just paid her ₱500 per night which was actually a good deal.

Our place had the basic necessities for a comfy stay—double bed, AC, mini fridge, kitchen area, en suite toilet and bathroom with heater, and a balcony. The place didn’t have a free wifi connection that we conveniently had during our hotel stay but we used our data connection from our phones when we needed to stay connected.

My friend said that there are Facebook Page Groups where you can find cheap accommodations, especially for long-term travelers.

Boracay Cheap Accommodation



Golden Phoenix Hotel

The last remaining days were spent at Golden Phoenix Hotel at Station 3. This beachfront hotel was on its soft reopening stage when we scored a great deal at Klook. For ₱1,400 per night, we got a huge room with twin beds, TV, AC, kitchenette with mini fridge, coffee and tea-making facilities, workstation, wardrobe, and an en suite toilet and bathroom with a hot and cold shower.

What’s cool about this hotel was that plated breakfasts were included during our stay and we were supposed to only get two breakfast meals but they always gave us three each morning for five days. The meals were basically your typical Pinoy silog breakfast of fried rice, meat or fish dish, two eggs of your choice, veggies, coffee, and juice. We got to try their sausage, tocino, beef tapa, corned beef, and daing na bangus during our stay but their beef tapa was my favorite.

CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES

Boracay Cheap Accommodation

Boracay Cheap Accommodation


FOOD


One of the challenges we expected during this trip was food. Not that we’re picky eaters but we had our two-year-old son with us and his needs were definitely different from ours.

To save a few bucks, we brought a small rice cooker with us. A cup of steamed rice in local eateries in Boracay is selling for ₱15 and if we needed to have 9 cups per day for all the meals, that would cost us around ₱135 and that would be ₱2,970 for 22 days. The amount we saved allowed us to have fancy dinners on some nights. Also, we use the rice cooker to boil eggs or cook noodles.

Boracay Cheap Food

On normal days, we usually buy food from local eateries that sell around ₱35 for vegetable dishes and ₱50 for meat dishes. But on some meals, we sometimes dine at fast food restaurants but prices tend to go higher than usual on the island. We have a McDonald’s app with us and this saved us a lot because of their daily deals. We also dined a few times in Andok’s as well as Mang Inasal.

There were two meals that we felt we need to have a buffet feast. We first tried the lunch buffet at Sea Breeze CafĂ© at Henann Regency Hotel for ₱699 per person and it was okay. Nothing superb but it was okay for its price. Good thing was that Akira ate for free.

Henann Buffet Boracay

On our last full day, we saw this unassuming beachfront restaurant near our hotel that serves buffet for lunch at ₱450 per person. It’s the in-house restaurant of Paradise Garden Resort located at Station 3. We saw from their menu spread that their serving grilled pork liempo and Mongolian rice bowls so we gave it a go. The food choices were quite limited but almost everything was good. And yes, we ate so much grilled pork liempo that we didn’t want to have it in the next month. Once again, Akira dined for free.

IMG_20220719_140930

Akira needs his milk every day and we’re not giving him those powder-type ones as my dentist told me that those are filled with sugar that can be harmful to his teeth. So as a supplement for his breastmilk, I give him those fresh milk in cartons and we brought around 8 boxes of those as the prices on the island tend to go 50% to 100% higher.

For our daily needs like eggs, cooking oil, and other stuff, we usually go to a local market, away from the beach, and buy our stash there.

Long-term traveling doesn’t need to be expensive as long as you live within your means so as to enjoy your vacation.

Our travel buddies, TeamRH, crashed our vacay for three days and during those times, we dined at some of Boracay’s famous restos such as Two Seasons Restaurant and Crust Restaurant at The Lind.

The Lind Boracay

The Lind Boracay


BEACHES


Boracay is famous for its White Beach but there are actually seventeen beaches surrounding the island. Akira enjoyed all of our beach trips and our usual routine was we would go to one beach after breakfast then go back home for lunch and afternoon nap then go to White Beach for sunset. Take note that the tides, waves, and wind change during the amihan season, or northeast monsoon (September to May), and the habagat season, or southwest monsoon (June to late September) so make sure you know where to go during those times.


Bulabog Beach

During our stay in July 2022, the strong wind was coming from White Beach and the seas were rough  So we usually swim in Bulabog Beach in the mornings as it was very calm and considerably swimmable (I don’t like those beaches where you couldn’t even stand up as the water can only go knee-deep, maybe because I am used to swimming in Zambales waters since I was a kid). We usually stayed in front of Acqua Beach Resort because of its clean shore and pebble-free sand.

Bulabog Beach Boracay

Bulabog Beach Boracay


White Beach

We usually go here in the afternoon for sunset and not for swimming as it becomes uber crowded. We loved the farthest end of Station 1 (in front of Sur Beach Resort) as it’s quieter and the sand is more powder-like as well as the chill vibe at Station 3.

Boracay White Beach

Boracay White Beach


Puka Beach

We stayed at Puka Beach for one full day. There were hammocks for rent on the edge of the crags where a guy would sell overpriced coconuts and drinks but we chose to lay our beach blankets on the sand and camped there for the rest of the afternoon. That same guy though allowed us to use one of his hammocks for Akira’s afternoon nap.

We all love Puka Beach because of its clear waters and its swimmable beach. Akira did have a hard time leaving the beach as it became his instant favorite at that time.

Boracay Puka Beach

Boracay Puka Beach


Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach is located on the far end of Station 1 and we walked from Station 2 to reach it one morning and enjoyed its uncrowded beach The water was clear and we enjoyed the swimmable water. You may want to go here during the mornings because it can get really hot during the afternoons.

Boracay Diniwid Beach

Boracay Diniwid Beach


Station 3.5

Some years ago, a friend of mine dubbed this far end of Station 3 as Station 3.5 as it’s too far from everything and everyone. Some people would also call this area the Boracay of the 90s because of its quiet and chill vibe as compared to the busy vibe of Stations 1 and 2.

There was this one day when we decided to go to this beach and realized that the seas were rough though during that day but then, Akira saw a few Angel fish that swam with him.

Boracay Station 3

Boracay Station 3


DRINKS


My husband and I enjoy our casual beer sesh and looking for the perfect beer spot in Boracay is harder than you think it is especially if you have a toddler in tow. And for this trip, we found two spots where the beer is cheap, the view is great, and the staff were all friendly.


Sur Beach Resort

I love the people here! They were very friendly with Akira and the guard even gave him some sand toys. It is a beachfront resort in Station 1 which means we got to have the best view of the beach and sunset every time. A bucket of beer was ₱300 and the food prices are also not expensive.

Sur Resort Boracay


Cocoloco Boracay Beach Resort

This quaint restaurant and bar is located on the farther end of Station 3 and they’re one of the pioneers in the island since they opened in 1979. The chill vibe and friendly staff kept us coming back almost every night. They serve local beers at ₱120 for two bottles during their happy hour (5 PM to 8 PM).

Cocoloco Boracay Beach Resort


TOURS


We didn’t avail of any island hopping tours or water activities as we really wanted this trip to focus on lazing around the gorgeous beaches of Boracay. Maybe next time, when Akira is a li’l bit older. There’s this one time though when Christian noticed my photo in an advert for a certain tour company. It was obviously lifted from my Antique blog post. Akira was so ecstatic to see me that he quickly mentioned to the person who was manning it that it was his momma.

CHECK DISCOUNTED TOURS IN BORACAY

Boracay Tours Activities


FINAL THOUGHTS


Christian and I were budget travelers even before we got married and we carried on with that kind of lifestyle when we started a family. But given a choice, of course, we wouldn’t do this kind of traveling if we have lots of moolah to spare, but with so many places to see with a limited budget, we always try to plan our trip in the most economical way so as to stretch our travel money more. Plus, we wanted our son to experience the nitty-gritty details of going to a destination especially public transportation for him to be able to experience the “real” life.

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