By: Matthieu Assistant Director
The Philippines has a way of grabbing traveler’s hands, sucking them in, and taking them for the ride of their life. Your Budget Savvy Travelers found themselves on a breathtaking journey to the isle of Boracay.
A summation of Boracay is difficult but in a nutshell it is paradise… I will do my best to describe its beauty.
The island’s powdered white beaches, crystal blue waters, and cool air breezes erase all worries from the mind and rejuvenate a weary travelers soul.
Not to mention the most memorable (or not as the case may be) nightlife that makes even the most uncoordinated of people put on their best pair of best boogies shoes and dance until the morning light. Boracay is the closest to paradise many will come across and it is easy to see why so many travelers make a stop here and why some may never leave.
Although Boracay is not the lightest on a traveler’s wallet, its beauty is one that must be seen firsthand and therefore it is up to the budget conscious traveler to find ways to make it affordable.
Easier said than done, but not impossible.
The First Budget Issue: Lodging
There are many expensive resorts around that charge an arm and a leg (even for Philippine standards) but if you do some research you’ll find a plethora of affordable gems.
Your Budget Backpackers #1 choice to rest their head is Frendz Hostel. This so called “hostel” offers a tropical styled bamboo bungalows, 2 minute walk to the beautiful “white beach”, and even have hot water showers (a first so far) all for around 300 pesos per night (~$7 USD) in the off-season. Also this was rated #1 hostel in the Philippines for 2009 and 2010 by Hostel world, not an easy feat.
Another option for the more adventurist traveler is to talk with locals about staying in their apartment for a few nights. Keep in mind it never hurts to ask!
Second Budget Issue: Food
Food is more expensive on Boracay simply because it is an island. However the further you are away from the beachfront the more affordable the food becomes. About 15 minute walk from Frendz Hostel is D’Talipapa, an amazing market with the freshest fish around for very low prices. Scattered around the market are restaurants that will even cook your catch of the day for you!
A meal for our crew consisted of delicious mussels, and succulent Jackfish all for around 550 pesos (250pesos for fish + 300pesoos cooking fee).
Also, it also never hurts to ask a local where their favorite sport to catch a bite to eat is.
OTHER BUDGET TIPS:
Work for Travel
To make things more affordable you may consider offering to work in exchange for lodging, food, or transportation.
Laura, a SCUBA Diving instructor, is an adventurous young lass from England. She decided to leave all of her ties behind, get a SCUBA Diving license, and explore what the world has to offer. She makes a living SCUBA diving each day, saving up for her next journey…not a bad way to travel.
There are countless testimonies of travelers working their way around the world!
Transportation costs can be reduced if your itinerary can spare the time. Instead of a flight from Manila to Boracay, look into taking a ferry (+/- 9hours); Airfare = 3500 pesos($80USD) apposed to ferry = 700 pesos ($16USD). You never know what kind of adventures you run into when you cut corners. A good stategy is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
Now on to the best part of the island: the activities. As with any resort island there are a million things to do and most cost money. You can haggle as much as you like but in the end you might have to suck it up and give in. Boracay has amazing SCUBA diving, snorkeling, parasailing, skim boarding, and ATVing. Each offers a unique taste of the island and an unforgettable experience.
Your #1 Budget Backpacker activity of choice is simply lying out and enjoying a sunset! Best of all its FREE!! (Except for the drinks!)
Happy travels!! And good luck!