Boracay, the famous white-sand island with calm waters, is one destination local and foreign travelers could never have enough of. For those who want to keep coming back but are tied down with a budget, getting there via Kalibo has lately become a popular option. While Caticlan airport, is the nearer gateway to the four-kilometer stretch of white sand. Its short runway could only accommodate smaller planes to land on its strip. Kalibo International Airport, on the other hand, has a runway more than twice longer than Caticlanâ€™s, making it accessible for bigger planes such as Seair’s 144-seater Airbus A319 aircraft.
According to Seair COO Patrick Tan, Kalibo via Clark International Airport, is getting to be a popular choice among budget travellers headed to Boracay. â€śThe advantages are low cost and low terminal charges that will translate to low operating cost and lower fares for the passengers. Also, if youâ€™re from Manila on a busy day, if youâ€™re anywhere North of Cubao, itâ€™s actually faster if you go to Clark than to go to [Manila] Domestic Airport,â€ť Tan said. Aside from the cost efficiency of Clark-Kalibo route, Seair also aims to connect Boracay to more tourists.
â€śSeair opened the Boracay market to the general tourist market by opening the flight to Caticlan, but the majority of the Boracay market still flies to Kalibo. And weâ€™re flying Clark-Kalibo now partially to improve that market further,â€ť Tan said. Moreover, he said that another reason for opening the Clark-Kalibo route is â€śto serve as a connector to international flights out of Clark.â€ť The company also boasts its flights are the fastest to Boracay.
Seair, the countryâ€™s second-oldest airline, opened up the gateways of Boracay to tourists via Caticlan airport. However, because of the growth of travellers who are wary of their spendings, Seair launched their newly opened Clark to Kalibo flights in line with its recent acquisition of three new Airbus A320s, bringing the fleet size, together with the existing two A319s, to five Airbuses.Â The airline company also forged a partnership with Tiger Airways, allowing both airline firms to use each otherâ€™s manpower and resources. Also, Tiger Airways opts to acquire 40 percent of SEAir shares.
The budget airline launched its Clark-Kalibo flight last month and opened it with an introductory price of Php549 for a one-way ticket. Tan assured the airfarers that it would not stop at the said promo, saying that Seair will have weekly promos posted on their Facebook page. Also, the airline firm recently announced that ticket payments can now be done Global Pinoy Remittance Service branches.
Touching down at Kalibo International Airport (KIA) is, as Stu said in the filmÂ The Hangover, “but a minor sped bump in an otherwise very long and happy” vacation. Broken carousels, crowded and hot arrival areas, and stalls and hawkers obstructing passengers’ waysâ€”the minor discomforts at KIA is nothing compared to days of bliss bathing on the clear waters of Boracay.
The two-hour ride from Kalibo to Caticlan, which might bore those who do not have the knack for adventure, takes you to the heart of Aklan. The journey to the center of the province offers a glimpse of theÂ probinsyaÂ life. From roads beside rice fields and mountains to seaside highways, this trip shows the simplicity of living away from the chaos of the metro, which is interesting especially to foreigners.
Upon reaching Caticlan port, Boracay Island is just a 5-10-minute sea travel. While some passengers prefer to ride outrigger ferries, some hotels offer complimentary ride via their speed boats, like the Boracay Garden Resort which is situated in a prime spot at White Beach.
Henry Chusuey, owner of Boracay Garden Resort, said that it is a good idea to visit summer destinations such as Boracay during lean seasons because hotels offer their lowest rates before or after summer season.He added that after summer, Boracay opens itself to budget travelers. Boracay Garden, for instance, has off-peak prices on rooms, which is available from June to November. For less than P5,000, good for three days and two nights, the hotel offers one of the lowest rates during this season.â€”Report by Dino Mari L. Testa