Getting to Boracay by air or by sea is not a problem. Here is how it’s done.
The most common and convenient route is to take a plane ride from Manila to Kalibo, a bus from Kalibo to Caticlan, and then a ferry from Caticlan to the island of Boracay. Kalibo, Caticlan and Boracay are all located in Aklan province, which is in the Visayas group of islands. Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and there are three airport terminals in it. Terminal 1 is where international flights using major international airlines come in. Domestic flights such as those going to Kalibo, on the other hand, leave through Terminals 2 and 3. Terminal 2, also called the Centennial Airport, is exclusively for Philippine Airlines flights, both domestic and international. All other domestic flights go through Terminal 3.
A flight to Kalibo is 45 minutes and costs about Php3,000 (USD68) for a round-trip. Outgoing domestic passengers are charged Php200 or USD4.50 at the airport.
At the Kalibo airport, rows of shuttle buses and vans for Caticlan are waiting. If you wish to do some shopping at Kalibo and not leave right away, it is also easy to catch a Caticlan-bound bus on the highway any time of the day. The ride from Kalibo to Caticlan is about an hour and 30 minutes long.
Outrigger boats, called “banka” in Filipino, leave every few minutes from the Caticlan Jetty Port going to the island of Boracay. The boats are always full, which shows how many people visit Boracay by the day.
At the Jetty Port you have to pay an environmental fee of Php75 (USD1.70) and a terminal fee of Php50 (USD1.10). The boat ride itself costs Php20 (USD0.45) and is short but slow. Outrigger boats dock at the southernmost tip of Boracay where the white sands are out of view. From this point, Boracay does not look too much like the paradise that it really is.
To avoid the hassle of paying so many fees at the Jetty Port and going through so many stops and checks, some shuttle bus services from the Kalibo airport can issue tickets that include the boat ride, terminal fee and environmental fee. This may be a good option for those who want to avoid the added hassle.
The second most common route is a direct flight from Manila to the tiny airport of Caticlan. This is not the first option since there are not many flights to Caticlan and those that do make this route use smaller planes. The Caticlan airport is within walking distance to the Jetty Port.
The most grueling yet adventure-laden route getting to Boracay is by land through the Nautical Highway. If coming in from Manila, this route includes a bus ride from Manila to Batangas. There are several bus lines in Cubao or Pasay going to Batangas port. The bus is then loaded on to a RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) vessel to the province of Mindoro. Off the vessel, it then travels the length of Mindoro, from Calapan to Roxas, before boarding another RoRo vessel to Caticlan.
This route takes an entire day to cover, but will be shorter if you decide to drive your own vehicle. You cannot take your car all the way to Boracay, though. For a minimum fee, there are safe parking areas to rent in Caticlan where you can leave your car for the entire duration of your stay in Boracay. There are also private vans that service this route from Manila to Caticlan for a fee of about Php900 (USD20.45) per person.
Boracay is the most visited tourism spot in the Philippines. Philippine traffic and the overall infrastructure and transportation systems are not the best in the world but once you actually arrive and see what the island has to offer, all those minor troubles in getting to Boracay will be worth it.