An good thing about traveling with a domestic plane is the view through the clouds. I realized this if the Cebu Pacific plane took off in the international airport in Pasay City, Philippines. Our journey to Boracay island literally began inside the clouds. The sky was clear as well as the sun was bright from my window seat in row 2. Suddenly we had been flying over Taal Lake and I could see the famous Taal Volcano inside distance. At 21,000 feet, the plane flew directly over the crater from the adjacent Volcano Island, as well as the very first time, I glimpsed the blue waters of the Crater Lake. It was a glorious sight that only God could create. From that moment, I could not get back to sleep.
Instead of heading south to Batangas, the plane steered eastward towards Quezon province in southern Luzon. The mountain ranges along Tayabas Bay were thick with green forest, while further inland the lake were barren and brown. Soon the emerald waters arrived to the scene, and we had arrived flying westward towards Panay Island inside the Visayas region.
Kalibo and Caticlan
In less than an hour i was approaching Kalibo International Airport on Panay island. From the plane, I could see a great deal of green – rice fields framed by coconut trees and a few nipa huts. I was reminded of the rural paintings of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. The runway was right smacked on the list of rice fields. I loved it.
From manchester international this is a 90-minute bus ride to Caticlan jetty port. My mother, whose birthday we had been post-celebrating, preferred to ride an Airbus plane to Kalibo rather than the smaller planes that landed in Caticlan airport. The “two-way” main road is concrete and cuts through rice fields, “chocolate” hills, mountains and towns of Kalibo. As we neared Caticlan, the ocean road afforded us views of Sibuyan Sea that got us excited for Boracay.
The jetty port of Caticlan has a new harbor the place that the Montenegro Lines and other jet speed boats dock. The scene on the harbor was pulsing with many different outriggers and smaller fishing boats. It was already mid-morning, and the blue-green waters were buoyant. I was glad it took only 10 minutes to cross the channel to Boracay via the Montenegro Lines since the winds were strong and the boat was rocking back and forth.
Soon we docked on the new jetty port of Boracay island, at the Manoc-Manoc Poblacion. It used to be that outriggers docked down the White Sand beach (station 1, several) but no more. From the new port, it had been another twenty minute van ride from the Main Road to Central Boracay where most in the resorts were located.
Many things have been discussing Boracay plus they are still true. The powder-fine sands, that are actually corals, are broken only by shells and algae. The seawater is alive with small fishes. Palm-fringed beaches, sunset views, starry nights, sailboats and parasailing. Boracay is one in the world’s top beach destinations also it lives as much as the hype, night and day.
The Main Road is fully concrete with a paved pedestrian lane on each side. Like a scene in Bali, tourists in flip flops walk over the pedestrian lane to venture to the beachfront and the main transport inside the island can be a pedicab that’s like the tuktuk; it’s a larger version with the urban tricycle.
There are lots of hotels and resorts which have been built within the past five years, from five-star hotels like Shangri-La Boracay Resort to budget accommodations. But a gift is opening come early july that could make tourists, especially Club Astoria members and Resort Condominiums Inc. (RCI) time shareholders, happy and it is called Astoria Boracay.
Astoria Boracay is station 1, where the former Boracay Gold Crowne was located. It sits over a 3,000 square meters parcel that features a beachfront and stretches completely to the Main Road. The two-story facade facing the beachfront includes a sunset lounge and bar on its second floor, in addition to function rooms. A Coffee shop and restaurant is on the ground floor.
As Club Astoria members, we’d an exclusive tour with the resort with its Resort Manager Danny Molina who welcomed us with hospitality and fresh coconut juice. We started in the second floor where we could understand the beachfront and sunset, then onwards through the lobby towards direction in the outdoor swimming pool that included a kiddie pool. The pool is 22 meters long and four meters wide at night, the waters changed colors via spot lights. Surrounded by a landscaped garden, the pool ran the length from the property, and also the rooms are situated in numerous cluster-type villas amid the gardens.
The highlight in our tour was the ultra-modern deluxe room great for four that featured two queen-sized beds with hotel-quality linens and pillows, air conditioning, LCD television, cable TV, internet connection, telephone, refrigerator, safety deposit box, spacious bathroom with bathtub and amenities. It was almost like finding myself a hotel room! From Mr. Molina we found that there are a total of 39 rooms with a floor area ranging from 26 to 50 square meters. The deluxe room may be the smallest at 26 square meters. There is also a room for that disabled. Hotel rates are inclusive of set breakfast, taxes and service charge.
Looking with the avant-garde design, modern facilities and good location of Astoria Boracay, I was sure it will be popular once it opens. Another Gold Crowne rating of service just like Astoria Plaza Suites in Pasig City. I shall definitely return someday.
It was hard to leave a paradise island like Boracay but even dreams can’t last forever. At Kalibo International airport, I recognized the group of suntanned tourists queuing at Mandarin Airlines bound for Taipei. I was amazed to learn that you have direct flights from Kalibo to Incheon, Hong kong, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Shanghai, and Singapore. Progress had finally arrived in paradise.