29 MAY, 2018


Can't take a week-long off from work? No problem! You can have a fun-filled vacation in Aklan in 48 hours. Aklan has a long history tracing back to the 12th century. You can explore its rich past by visiting its museums and historical sites. The province is home to breathtaking beach destinations, mangroves, and mountainous landscapes and a calming river. You can explore Boracay and the surrounding islands on a weekend getaway.

Plan a 48-hour itinerary in Aklan, specifically in Boracay island. Here's a guide for you.

First night: dinner and cocktails

Choose a hotel that is accessible to your planned destinations. Alta Vista de Boracay is located in the exclusive Puka Beach where you can enjoy the best of Boracay free from crowds. Take advantage of long weekends. You can leave Manila or Cebu City on a Friday afternoon. You'll reach Caticlan in about 50 minutes. Then, take a 1.5-hour bus ride from Caticlan Airport to your hotel at Barangay Yapak.

On your first night, have a satisfying dinner at L'Altura Restaurant, run by the well-known caterers Tamayo's Group. Get into vacation mood by sipping cocktails and listening to good music at the Sports Bar. Moderate your alcohol. You have a long weekend ahead.

Day 1, Morning: island-hopping

Start your first day in Aklan early. After a buffet breakfast in your hotel, get into comfortable clothes for an island hopping adventure. Don't forget to bring the following beach essential with you:

Water (preferably in your own water jug to help reduce plastic trash)
Wide-brimmed hat or umbrella
Snacks (there are few sari-sari stores in secluded island destinations)
First-aid kit (you wouldn't know when you'd need a band-aid)
Cash for entrance fees, if applicable

Coordinate with your hotel regarding boat arrangements. Some travel agencies offer discounts for large groups. You can also avail of packages that include lunch. The top island-hopping destinations are: Crocodile Island, Crystal Cove, Piknikan Island, Bulabog Beach, and Puka Beach.

Day 1, Afternoon: shopping

Explore the shopping centers in Boracay after your island-hopping adventure. D'Mall is the largest shopping and dining hub in the island. Whether you're looking for apparel, home décor or tokens, this mall offers a lot of options. You can also check out the newly opened CityMall for fashion boutiques and diners.

If you're craving fresh seafood and vegetables, head to D' Talipapa. You can have lobsters, salmon, and squid cooked for you at a nearby restaurant. The dry market is a haven for cheap Boracay souvenirs. Haggle with confidence to get a good price. Looking for affordable souvenir items for your officemates? Head to E Mall where you can score shirts, key chains, postcards, fridge magnets, dreamcatchers, sarong, and more.

Day 2, Morning: trekking and spelunking

Panay Island, which is composed of four provinces including Aklan, is home to six major mountains popular among mountaineers and trekkers. The lowest-level is Balaan Bukid in Guimaras (170m) while the highest is Mount Madjaas in Antique and Aklan (2,113m). In Aklan lies mountain ranges including the northern “knot” of Duyang and Tagacan, and the Albinian ranges in the west. These Aklan destinations, together with the beaches and mangrove forests, are worth exploring.

The highest point in Boracay is Mount Luho (about 100m). From the top, you could see a 360-view of the entire island – all its greens and blues. Most people take an ATV, but you can trek your way up to the peak. For the best view, climb the 80-step stairs to the viewing tower. Take photos, do zipline activities, ride a cable car, or simply take in the marvelous landscapes.

Not into trekking? Then go spelunking! Basang Cave is one of the longest caves in the Philippines. There are rock formations that sparkle like gems and natural pools. You can also venture to Pangihan Cave in Malay, Barangay Poblacion. It's about 20 minutes away from Caticlan Airport. Be amazed at the stalactites, stalagmites, and crystals, as well as the inhabitant bats in every chamber.

Day 2, Afternoon: food crawl

What's a vacation without indulging into a gastronomic adventure? Have a food crawl after your outdoor nature adventure. Boracay is a certified food hub with its almost endless choices of restaurants, diners, bars, and pubs. Are you craving for good 'ol Filipino dishes? What about a massive Korean buffet? The island has everything you want.

Discover a fusion of international and local cuisines in L'Altura. Try the special pizza with a Pinoy twist. Treat yourself to a dessert feast. The Chocolate Crepe Cake, made of layers of chocolate mousse crepe capped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries, is best enjoyed with a cup of brewed coffee. Want something new? Surprise your taste buds with Mango Tart with Chili Cubes.

Last day, before your flight back 

Before flying back to Manila, have a relaxing dip in Alta Vista de Boracay's infinity pool. Let your worries dissipate and just marvel at the magnificent view of the island below. The hotel is perched atop one of the highest points in Boracay. Watch the sunset as your body is submerged in calm waters. You can also simply decompress on the Dinara View Deck with your Spotify playlist. It's one of the best places in the island to witness the stunning Boracay sunset.

You don't need to wait for your boss to approve your week-long vacation leave. You can fly to Aklan and explore its many wonders on a weekend. With a well-prepared itinerary, you can do so much in 48 hours. The key is in making all the necessary research and coordination before your trip. Book your hotel ahead of time, ask about island hopping tours or coordinate with travel groups, list down all essential items you'd need for your outdoor activities, and make sure you secure your belongings well. Time is precious so make every minute count!