Going to Boracay: Kalibo Vs. Caticlan
We just came back again from Boracay. Some say it’s the best while some say it’s not but for whatever it’s worth, I think it’s a place worth visiting even just once – or maybe twice. But we’d probably be visiting it a lot more times.
The last time we went to Boracay, we took the flight from Manila to Caticlan via Seair. This time around, we wanted to try a different route. So, we took the flight from Clark to Kalibo via Air Asia.
So, there have been a few people asking what we think. Which is the better airport to fly to when going to Boracay, Kalibo or Caticlan?
Let’s take a look at the two airports.
The one in Kalibo is an international airport, which means it caters to international flights but when I was there, most of the flights I saw were only coming from South Korea, China, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Caticlan airport (or what is technically known as Godofredo P. Ramos Airport) is simply a domestic airport. Flights coming in to this airport are mostly from Manila, Cebu, and Clark.
More airlines have flights to Kalibo than Caticlan. All major domestic airlines in the Philippines have flights to Kalibo. On the other hand, Caticlan airport only have flights from Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific, Seair, and Sky Pasada.
In terms of proximity, Kalibo airport is a 1.5 hour drive. There are many vans outside the airport traveling directly from Kalibo airport to the Jetty Port in Caticlan. The fare is between Php250-300, which includes the jetty fare from the port to Boracay Island. Caticlan airport is just a stone-throw away from the port. If your flight was through Seair, they have a complimentary van service from the airport to the port. If you’ll ride a tricycle, I think it’s about Php50 per travel. That’s about 3 to 4 people for a 5-10 minutes trike ride.
In terms of airfare, these are just based from our experience. The prices vary and we have no way of knowing or generalizing if the one is Kalibo is cheaper. But based from our travel, our two-way ticket price from Clark to Kalibo was about Php1,500. Meanwhile, our two-way ticket price from Manila to Caticlan is around Php3,200. This may seem that we saved about half in airfare by choosing Kalibo but keep in mind that there is still about Php200-300 van fare. For two-way, that’s about Php400-600 additional cost to the original fare. However, we cannot fully say that Kalibo is really cheaper because if Lady Luck is on your side, you might land a seat-sale with better deals for Caticlan.
The van ride from Kalibo airport to the port is not as amusing as we thought it would be. During the planning of our trip, we just shrug off the thought that it will still take more than an hour to go from the airport to the port if we chose Kalibo. We thought that a 1.5 hour travel can’t really be that bad. However, if you are riding a van with a very weak air-conditioning system on a hot summer mid-day, it will be like traveling inside an oven that is turned on. If that’s a preview to how hell feels like, I better start doing a lot of good deeds.
In terms of the airlines, so far we had no bad experience with them. The flight to and fro from both instances were great. There was a little delay during our first travel to Boracay via Seair but it can go unnoticed. And I think it’s quite reasonable because the weather that time wasn’t very friendly. On our latest travel, our flight back from Kalibo to Clark via Air Asia was 35 minutes advanced from the original ETA. I guess that happens rarely (35 minutes advanced, c’mon!) so it’s really worth mentioning.
We know that there are many factors that should be considered in choosing whether to go for Kalibo or Caticlan but in the end we’d still say Caticlan. Hands up.
And I learned that they are expanding the Caticlan airport so maybe in a few years it will also become an international airport and be able to cater more airlines. It’s just a bit saddening that there are these terminal fees and stuff that other way better airports abroad don’t have. Even the jetty port has a terminal fee and environmental fee. I just hope they put a lot of value to every peso they charge.
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