“Willy, Our Guide to the Best Boracay Deals” might prove to be a useful post for those planning to visit this paradise in the Philippines. If you want to sojourn to the best island in the world, according to Travel + Leisure Magazine, Willy S. Provido can shepherd you to the cheapest places to stay on the beach in Boracay.After arriving in Caticlan, Aklan, a 10-minute ferry ride from Boracay, I cooled my heels outside the port terminal. My asawa and her sister Marjorie, along with Marjorie’s daughter, Shaina, had went to the nearest CR, Comfort Room. There was no restroom stop on our nearly five-hour ride from Iloilo on a transport van.
Massive amounts of buses and transport vans were arriving at the pump boat staging area loaded with foreigners from all over the world.
After a few minutes, though I am “The King of Nothing” in Guimaras, our home province, I decided to make a radical move and actually do something useful and obtain the necessary tickets we would need to enter the port terminal.
I saw three windows next to the terminal entrance:
- Ticket Window #1 was for the pump boat ride to Boracay. Cost: 25 pesos.
- Ticket Window #2 was an Environment Fee. Cost: 75 pesos for each person.
- Ticket Window #3 was the actual Terminal Fee. Cost: 100 pesos for each person.
Our total cost of entering the terminal to board our pump boats to Boracay was 800 pesos.
You will be met by security guards at the terminal entrance who will not let you pass without showing them you have paid all of the above fees. The island of Boracay is administered by the Philippine Tourism Authority and the provincial government of Aklan. Somebody is making a ton of money off these tolls.
After we entered the port terminal I was greeted by a port employee in an official uniform who offered to go with us to Boracay. He claimed to know hotels on the beach that were extremely reasonable and could make arrangements for us.
Now I figured this was going to cost me a big tip but we had not made any arrangements for accommodations in Boracay and figured we had nothing to lose. Our trip was purely spontaneous.
“Willy,” our guide, carried our luggage and boarded the pump boat with us.
Here’s a look at one of the pump boats that ply the route from Caticlan to Boracay. These water craft are much better than the banca boats we travel on from Guimaras to nearby Iloilo City and they’re enclosed.
Here’s a glimpse of my lovely asawa on the far left, with her sister Marjorie, and Marjorie’s daughter, Shaina, who is beginning her third year of college in our island province home of Guimaras and is studying to become a teacher.
I sat up front, per Willy’s instructions, in the senior’s area, and spoke to our guide about accommodations. He assured me that he could find a room for all for us at a price of 2,000 or 2,500 pesos a night, 43-54 US Dollars, but that we needed to look at the room first to see if we liked it.
For those prices, I assured the friendly Filipino, I was positive I would find the rooms, located on Station #2 on the Boracay beach, very suitable.
After a 10-minute pump boat ride we arrived in Boracay where Willy promptly hailed a trike driver he knew and informed me that the ride would only cost 100 pesos, a little over 2 USD. I was OK with that as I heard a driver next to us asking 150 pesos to travel to the same destination as ours.
We navigated our way through winding roads and narrow streets and about 12-15 minutes later, reached our drop-off point. We were near Station 2 at Boracay beach, but had to walk the rest of the way in. No trikes were allowed in.
Willy took my bag as we made our way through the blistering early afternoon sun. After a 10-minute walk we made our way to a narrow passageway right off the beach. There was a brown out, after all this is the Philippines, and the first hotel we stopped at was not running their air con.
We inquired at a nearby hotel that did have their generator running. Their rate was 3,000 pesos a night for four people but since we were staying three nights in Boracay, Willy negotiated our fee to only 2,000 pesos a night.
Our room had two beds and a private CR and a small refrigerator with a television.
The hotel is located down a narrow alley in between Johnny Rocket’s and a little joint called Real Coffee in Station 2. The name of the hotel is Jejsellends. Ask for Rose at the front desk.
Now this was no four-star hotel in Boracay by any means and the toilet in the CR took many times to flush, but the room had the basic necessities we required and was right off the beach.
Willy turned the air con on for us and prepared to leave and head back to the port terminal at Caticlan. I tried to press a five hundred peso note into his hand but he absolutely refused it.
Now many times when you offer someone money in the Philippines they will politely refuse it at first but accept it after your next attempt to give it to them. Not “Willy.” He would not take any kind of tip and said his only goal was to help people.
Now if he collected some kind of commission from the hotel, I don’t know, though he certainly deserved it. But in case you’re at the main port terminal in Caticlan and going to Boracay, here’s Willy’s contact information that I obtained from his business card:
BORACAY MABUHAY HOST
WILLY S. PROVIDO
Contact Numbers: 09295097860/09164104137
We placed our bags in our room and headed out to find a McDonald’s that we had seen on the way in. After wandering around for about 20 minutes we finally found it, our stomachs all growling.
The brown out was still in full force and we ate our meals in the stifling heat at the Mickey D’s which did not even have any fans running, though they did have a generator on.
But, bellies full, we headed back to our rooms, discovering that afore-mentioned Johnny Rocket hamburger joint was right next door to the left of us, got cleaned up, and changed our clothes. We went to the beach, only a minute’s walk away, and enjoyed one of the beautiful sunsets that can be found at Boracay.
Now our only question was where to find a good place to eat dinner among the numerous choices that were available to us at this paradise in the Philippines. Though Johnny Rocket, a 50’s style diner, was next door, we opted to find a dining establishment that was right on the beach. The American Expat adventure in Boracay was only beginning.