BORAWAN: A SWEET SURVIVAL ESCAPE

Came the new year, I told myself that 2015 is the year that I should be travelling.  I've always been daydreaming about me carrying a backpack, skin's sun-kissed and with few awesome friends who share the same interest.  With my travel buddies Carter and Rhea, I want to go to different places wherever my feet would take me. No expectations as it would only cause resentment. Let the experience surprise you with whatever's in store. Gypsies as we may want to be, it would surely be a fantastic journey... every time!

Few weeks back, my buddies and I just talked about random stuff as to where we would like to start our travelling galore. Of course, just like any dream, we want to do it one baby step at a time. That's when we thought of BORAWAN.


Borawan, as what they have coined it, was derived from the two most popular tourist destinations of the Philippines, Boracay and Palawan. I believe this is because of Boracay's white sand and Palawan's majestic rock formations. Since I haven't been to any of these two summer spots, I guess it wasn't so bad to visit Borawan first. LOL!

SO HOW DO WE GET TO BORAWAN ISLAND?

If you're from Manila, you can go ahead and take a bus from JAC Liner in Buendia bound for Lucena Grand Terminal. It will take you around four to four and a half hours to get there so I highly suggest that you start commuting as early as you can. 

In Lucena Grand Terminal, you'll see lots of eateries (mini-restaurants), fast food chains and pasalubong shops. It would also be great if you stop by here to prep-up your tummies for your next ride.

One of the Pasalubong shops in Lucena Grand Terminal (They sell different sorts of delicacies and local best sellers. From Broas and Longganisang Lucban down to the drunken master's favorite Lambanog).
From there, take a Mini-bus (non-air conditioned) going to Padre Burgos. That will take you another hour of travelling. Depending on your contact person, you might still need to ride a tricycle in reaching your destination. In our case however, we did not need to because we were dropped off directly to the store of our contact. The konduktor (bus driver's assistant) even knew where we were headed and who our contact was so we did not have a hard time looking for it!

MAY-ANN'S STORE (Contact: +63921-454-3137)
Our contact owns a sari-sari store, so this is where we prepared all the stuff that we needed in going to the island. I highly recommend May-Ann because they were so kind and accommodating to the three of us. I advise that you contact May-Ann in advance so you can ask her if she can prepare something that you can grill while on the island like fresh seafood, chicken etc.

So from this point, they'll be able to provide you with a boat ride going to the island and it will take you about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach it. Actually, on our way to the island, it was raining cats and dogs but I guess we were lucky enough that the waters remained calm so we were able to push through.

It was almost dark when we reached the island. I even told my buddies that it was like the reality show "Survivor" that we were all soaking wet and any moment, we'll be asked to jump into the waters and swim all by ourselves towards the shore! LOL! But we're so thankful that our bangkeros (boat men) were very helpful. They assisted us all the way in carrying our stuff and endorsing us to the security guard of the island.

We were given two options as to where we would like to have our stay on the island, it could either be in a cottage (cost: 850 Pesos) or in a tent (cost: 200 Pesos). Since we were there for an adventure and we would like to hold on to our budget as tight as possible, we chose the tent and set up our own camp!


Making a bonfire is actually not allowed on the island but the security guard allowed us to do so that night because of the weather. There is a cooking/grilling section on the island but it was all wet at that time and the grills were missing. Other groups were probably using it but anyway, we managed to cook our food like pros!

NOTE: The little bonfire that we made was for cooking purposes only and was given consent by the security guard.


Bringing a portable, rechargeable lamp would be awesome too as the management of the island would turn all the lights off at around 10:00 PM. In case you forgot or did not bring any, the store on the island also lends an improvised kerosene lamp for 10 Pesos each.

Cooking/grilling station with Rhea
It would be better if you buy your food and beverages before you ride the boat to the island. Food items and beverages on the island are way too expensive. Like for instance, a regular sized C2 green tea bottle which normally costs 20 or 26 Pesos would cost you 60 Pesos on the island.

Cottages (cost: 850 Pesos)
Borawan island gave us a fantastic view the next morning!  Clean shore, clear waters, beautiful rock formations, peaceful and relaxing area and a subtle morning heat of the sun! This was indeed a get-away from the city.

I will not fault other bloggers stating that the beach here is dirty and that there are smacks of jellyfish swarming almost everywhere but I cannot attest to those either. There are actually around three set-off points to the island handled by different managements and that they might be set up to a different part of the island. Jellyfish, as locals told us would probably be observed in some parts of the island sometime in the month of May.


Lots of activities can also be done in Borawan like kayaking, setting up a beach volleyball court and others. My buddies and I agreed to just chill and enjoy the island... and do some jump shots which I fail like, most of the time!

with Carter doing the stupid jump shot! (-_-)
THE STINGY BUDGET:

Bus ride from JAC Liner (Buendia) to Lucena Grand Terminal - vice versa (Php 209.50 one way) = Php 419.00
Bus ride from Lucena Grand Terminal to Padre Burgos V.V. (Php 35.00 one way) = Php 70.00
Boat ride to Borawan Island V.V. (Php 800.00 this is divided by my two buddies and I) = Php 267.00
Borawan Island entrance (overnight) = Php 120.00
Unlimited use of comfort room and water = Php 70.00
Tent (Php 200.00 divided by three of us) = Php 67.00
All our food and beverages = Php 558.00 (each)

TOTAL EXPENSES (each) = Php 1,571.00

NOTE: The above expenses doesn't include side-trips to other good spots to visit like Dampalitan and Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao. (Our bangkeros said that if you'd like to do some island hopping, you will need to add Php 400.00 for every spot  you'll be visiting on top of the Php 800.00 boat fee).

So this would basically sum up my take on what Borawan Island is:

PROS:
- The water is clear.
- The beach is clean.
- The shower area/comfort room is clean and well maintained.
- The security on the island is also good.
- It was not crowded when we visited, there were like around 3 or 4 other groups when we were there.
- The locals are all friendly and accommodating.
- You can definitely enjoy the place without spending too much!

CONS:
- The shore is a mixture of small stones and sand. I suggest that you wear your flip flops while strolling on the beach.
- Food items and beverages sold on the island are very expensive.

So there you have it! I hope that you guys can somehow get tips from this post and would love to hear your share of experience in visiting Borawan Island!  Just a friendly advise, it won't hurt if you'll be extra friendly to all the locals and avoid being so choosy with things. You'll be surprised on the huge amount of good vibes it will bring you.~ :)

There you have it! This is just my first travel entry so please do watch out for my future posts!

Thanks for reading! 

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11 comments

  1. Hi, thanks for this very informative article. :)
    And just a question, if ever na dalawa lang kaming pupunta sa Borawan, is it okay kaya to ride the boat with other passengers? Are they allowing it? Or need na laging privately rented ang boat, like since we're jsut two, so kaming dalawa sa boat. Mas makakamura kasi pag marami sa boat eh.

    I'm hoping for your response. Thank you in advance. :)))

    -MIA-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mia!

      Thanks for reading the article. Yes, it's okay if you share the boat with other passengers. That way, you guys will be able to save money. You can divide the Php 800.00 boat fee among all the passengers. This will depend if the other group is okay with sharing their boat as some of them are families and would only want to rent the boat exclusively. Don't worry though, you'll just have to be extra friendly talking to them so they'll say yes lol. :)

      Have an awesome time in Borawan! I'd love to hear your share of experiences here. Thanks again for reading! :)

      Cheers,
      Deks

      Delete
  2. hi! would you mind sharing your boatman's phone number? thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Absolutely! Here it is:

      MAY-ANN'S STORE (Contact: +63921-454-3137)

      Ate May-Ann is actually like the owner that managers the boatmen.
      I hope this helps. Thanks! :)

      Best,
      Deks

      Delete
  3. I have been looking for an entry that has the latest information about this island. Thank God I found your blog. :)

    May question lang ako. I plan on bringing my toddler kasi (1 and a half years old), do they provide life vests? Saka calm ba yung waters going to the islands? (Borawan + Dampalitan day tour if ever possible)

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      - I'm not quite sure about the life vests. We were not given life vests when we visited nor have seen any from their shop. But they should have some since most visitors are families with kids. It would really be best to have them contacted first to be sure if they have life vests especially for the little ones.

      - It was raining heavily when we visited but the waters was still calm.

      I hope this helps. I really appreciate you taking the time in reading this post! Thank you! :)


      Best,
      Deks

      Delete
  4. Hi! Ask ko lang po kung ilan maximum capacity nung boat? Thanks! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lorraine!

      Based on my experience, the max capacity of our boat was 8 (excluding the 2 boatmen). Depending on the size of their boat and the boatman's decision, perhaps you can still push it a little to 10 pax. :)

      Hope this helps. Thanks for reading The Deksbook! :)


      Best,
      Deks

      Delete
  5. Hi!

    your blog post is very helpful.
    any tips with regards to cooking/preparing foods camp style?
    should we bring pots? or like soda can stove? cos we'll be staying overnight :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jamie,


    Since there are only a few cooking stations within the area, bringing something portable like a soda can stove would be an awesome idea!


    If you already have a contact person, i think bringing your own cooking materials like pots, utensils and stuff won't be necessary. They can let you borrow those things when you get there. Just make sure to advise them what items you will be borrowing so they can have enough time to prepare.


    You can also ask them to guide you to the public market before crossing the waters to Borawan Island. You'll be able to find affordable and fresh fish and meat which you can grill. It'll be perfect for your overnight plan!


    I hope that you guys will have an amazing time in Borawan!


    Thanks for reading The Deksbook as well Jamie. I appreciate it! Please do watch out for my future posts. I'll do my best to make every post as informative as possible!


    Cheers!
    Deks

    ReplyDelete