Monday, December 10, 2012

To Go Or Not 2Go?

Our recent Boracay commenced very much with tidbits of challenging peak-y flight to Caticlan, but with quite comfy arrival transfers. It was also spiced by two opposite accommodations here and there. Now we reach the clincher_ our departure from the island back to our home.

Already, our last day was a "reroute", cancellation of our flight back to Mla, was expected. Neither I expected a positive rebooking. haller!! Miracles don't happen on a peak season!!!

So I looked for the next available option.

If we couldn't fly, maybe we could sail??? Right away ( like 3days before, while still at the beginning of our holiday ) I booked at 2GO via internet and had randomly purchased us e-tickets. Luckily I was able to get slots for three but didn't have much choice about the beds. I just somehow availed whatever available. As long as it would get us back safe to Manila on the date we needed to be there, it was fine.

I was excited for my girls as it would be their first to experience to board a ship. The girls were giddy about it.

.. and then _ I overheard the loudest NO!! from my husband (overseas) when daughter mentioned to him that I had booked us at 2GO for our trip back to Manila. Well, that too was expected. I knew so well that my over protected husband/dad wouldn't  let us travel by sea, on a ship that would run on the darkest hours ( 7pm to 5am ), even with him, especially without him!
I knew that would be very difficult on him.
But I gotta do what a mother gotta do.
Be reourceful.
Be dual.
Be the "man".

.. and avoid confrontations. haha. So I hid while daughters tried to soothe the angry/worried dad. In the end the dad had no choice. But to pray for our safety.

We checked-out from our room on the roof top and had departure transfers quite a contrary of our arrival transfers. We carried our luggage and walked a sandy alley off to the road where we hailed a tricycle and asked the driver to bring us to the port. For the ride, we paid P100 only.

At the Boracay jetty port, we rode a passenger ferry (aircon) for less than P50/head and in less than 25 minutes we got back to Caticlan port.

We were at the ticketing office of 2GO in Caticlan atleast 3.5 hours before departure time per advice from the e-ticket. I thought it was ok thinking I would have time to upgrade our boat accommodation in case there were available slots. Only to find out that there was no way for any upgrades. It was super fully booked already and many people were chancing their ways to get slots but to no avail. Also, you don't need to be that early. An hour before departure time is fine.

At 5:30pm, dep. time was at 7pm, we proceeded to the port to q for the port/tax payment and eventually got inside the boarding gate.
It was killing us. After the 3.5 hours of waiting at the ticket office, again there_ we were waiting to board for how long more? We didn't know. At the other room, more people were waiting to board.

The only consolation we had was the sunset happening beautifully infront of us. Otherwise, the boarding gate/room was queasy, sweaty or was it just me and my girls?

What followed was the part that would make me not 2GO next time :
I lost track of how long we stayed there but I would say atleast 2 hours. I witnessed how crazy the boarding was with other boat ahead of us. There was only a small door/gate where passengers were supposed to exit to go board the ship. The q was mad! No system at all. And then the name of our boat was announced for boarding. Commotion. Then followed by another confused announcement of another boat name. No one was sure of what boat would board/depart first! omg! wt#! Angry voices! Everyone wanted to be the first to go out that small gate of an exit.I could relate. I felt the same. I needed the fresh sea air badly or I would collapse. Lots of pushing here and there. I held my girls' hand until we made it outside. Then we had to walk, almost run, briskly to get to the jetty. When we got near the boat, only then that people q kindly and patiently.

Finally we got boarded. There was a mini welcome concert happening there at the lobby of the ship.

I passed by the reception counter and overheard a number of people complaining about their room /bed reservations. Loud angry voices. Then it reminded me I needed to make a stop myself for some concerns. I read  in our tickets that my girls and I got beds so far away from each other. At the ticketing office in Caticlan, I was advised to settle my concern with the on board reception officers. The reception told me to wait until the rest of the boat settle down so they could make some arrangement for me. There were atleast more than 7 people I heard with the same concern as mine.

We went ahead to locate our beds at the "tourist" area which was with centralized ac, and the whole place was surprisingly clean, organized, and quite habitable. I was pleased. My girls were excited for this new experience.

This is how an actual bunk bed of 2GO looks. Nice actually.

A little disappointment thu'_ I thought there would be only a small number of bunk beds per room. Turned out like hundreds of them in a hall. No choice at this point.
Toilets & baths were common.

We managed to resolve our concern on our own. We found out that my two girls' beds were actually nestled side by side, being both the upper parts of the beds. The bed nos. deceived us, we thought they were far away from each other, but actually not .The girls were happy.
Me not yet. Mine was located at the next hall. That was the problem.

I waited for the first level of my older daughter's bed to be claimed. I planned  to switch my own if possible. My younger daughter's 1st level bed was already occupied by an elder woman who right away refused my request.
On the other side, luckily, the claimant was a young man with a kind heart. Immediately he agreed for a switch. Problem solved!!!

Now that our bed concerns were settled, we had to answer the hungry calls of our tummies.

Hot/set meal available . One viand+rice+side dish+canned drink for a minimal cost. We were satisfied.

There was also a snack bar at the lobby.

After the set meal dinner, we were knocked down. The last announcement I heard was an invite to grace the boat bar at the next level. None of us knew when the boat moved to depart Caticlan. We were already deep in sleep at that point.

The following morning, I woke-up seeing my daughters having hot-choco ( they bought from the snack bar) by the window of the ship, near our bunk beds.

No more time to go around the ship cos by this time we had reached our destination, It was around 6am.

Good morning Batangas port!!!! Yap, it was Caticlan-Batangas, no direct trip to Manila.

From Batangas post, we took an aircon bus bound to Alabang. No hassle. Buses were waiting right outside the fence of the Batangas port. We reached Alabang in 1.5 hours.

Safe and sound. Proud too. Of my girls, of myself,  for having gotten through this challenging trip with those bumps along the way, we still managed to have fun all the way!

* 2GO or not 2Go?
Yes again, why not. I'll just make sure I get a private cabin and not during peak season please, cos I think the crazy boarding had to blame the huge influx of passengers, aside from I'd say lack of boarding system. Hopefully, 2GO would be able to resolve this cos really it's one good alternative to/from Boracay.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Boracay2012 : Our Room 2

.. and I thought this time I would have a quiet, private Boracay with my girls when I booked our accommodations at Fairways & Bluewaters  cos it's tucked away from the pulsating beaches of stations 3,2 &1. Are you kidding me??? 95% of our recent Boracay was spent at the long beach. The whole day. And some little nights.

#can you spot us? Our long beach days ended in a q like this..

.. at the road end of D'Mall where shuttle services of hotels/resorts located away from the beach stations like  our resort, and the likes of Shangrila, Discovery Shores, etc. , drop and pick-up guests. For four days, we were commuting back and forth to Fairways & Bluewaters / D'Mall.

It was actually hassle-free cos it's not that far anyway but my girls pleaded to extend a day stay at Boracay and wanted it to be at the long beach.please,please. haha.

So on our second day, we were already scouting around station 2 for an overnight accommodation. It was difficult to get a room then cos it was a peak season, hence a long weekend holiday and a Saturday at that. Almost all hotels we like were fully booked if not located hideously.

Until finally, with the help of a local, we landed in a room at the uppermost floor of this little building. It's right beside Astoria, where I stayed before. The location is awesome cos it's at the tail of station 1 and at the head of station 2, sort of. It's beachfront and just perfect for our extended stay.

Our room is technically at the roof top of the building. Obviously this is a no high end hotel which is just befitting my shallow pocket at this point.

There are only three units at the rooftop and very very brand new. As in... we were the first guest to use it. I'm always  so happy  to stay in a brand new place. So much so that if you would make me choose to stay between a grand but old tired room and a humble but new room like this_ I'd choose the latter ofcourse! When the room was showed to us, the night before we checked-in, it was still under going  finishing touches with a promise that it would be all ready for us the following day.

Nothing much inside but a bed and a t.v. But you don't need much if you're in Boracay!! Anything you put inside a room would just be a useless distraction to the world class beach outside your door.

And how about a generous free wifi!!! In our previous hotel, we paid for wifi, hourly.

Bathroom with brand new toilet fixtures, the best!

Even better cos our stairs landed at the door of Real Coffee & Tea Cafe. Downstairs also were Hawaian Bbq and Yellow Cab.

 Not to forget that Astoria was just right beside us, which had awesome Halloween themed dinner by the beach that season. Now you ask : What's  inside that coffin????


See ya!

* our room @ Fairways & Bluewaters here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Beach Coves

Before my memory of Fairways & Bluewaters, Boracay totally fails me, I thought I ought to share the rest of my experience there, right now or never:) It has been a month, let me refresh you from my latest post on this to the previous-est : around this resort, the most fun filled activity we had here , our room, our awesome land & sea transfer, our Halloween outside the resort. Then now we go....

... from where I was standing here ( please ignore the empty bottles of smbeers, definitely not mine, haha., it was 7 am, haller!!),  I saw...


One of the private beach coves of the resorts.

And this one too. Obviously, privacy is generously provided at this resort.

This also caught my eyes.

I lingered a little at my chosen platform and enjoyed more my bird's eye-viewing..

At the other side, I spotted the biggest beach cove of the resort.

It has a longer u-shaped white Boracay beach...

.. disrupted by a massive rock formation with a hole like a gate but no doubt another true beauty by itself.

I knew right then that that's the beach to check- out first, over the other beach coves in the resort. Besides at this point my younger daughter was pushing me to bring her to the infinity pool which is located there and if you're keen about it, you could jump here to see.

So there we went down the beach and that's me and younger daughter. Seems such a perfect beach, right?.. from a far!

Unfortunately, closer_ there's my older daughter tiptoeing over what-are-they? Massive seaweed garbage? I got confused, I was thinking : well atleast those are still organic and naturally sea produced. But still... you can't swim with them getting all over your body. That's so gross.

And then, came the real garbage. Plastic cups, candy/chips plastic wrappers. Such a shame for a high-end resort, don't you think so? Especially that the rest of Boracay : many other private beaches, stations 1,2,3 long beaches. are all so clean and white and pristine and oh so perfect Boracay!!!

Then, as if the management had e- read my thoughts..that quick, before I even thought of tweeting it ( haha, no worry, my tweeter account is dormant and never been used since created, haha ) a truck arrived with cleaning aides and started to clean-up.

So maybe, we were just too early for the beach. It was 7 am.

We chilled away from the water while the aides were busy cleaning up. In fairness, can you spot the perfect
sugary super white sand?

The villas behind us are spa cottages. I'll make a separate post on it, maybe later ;)

We also found the cave chapel nearby these spa cottages.

After seeing that we couldn't use the first beach for a swim..yet, we thought of checking the other one nearest which is located after another rock formation behind me (*see photo) at the end of the first beach. But actually changed our mind and decided to go out of the resort and go to the stations beaches.

The following morning, after breakfast, we went to check this other beach of the resort. This one is smaller. Same should have been perfect beach except that it lacked maintenance. The big rock is in full view here and quite an awesome photo backdrop.

Yet, the  privacy and "au naturel" state of this beach served its purpose for us to take beautiful photos for our private collections like the one above.