Hit the Road: Travel Manila-Boracay by Car

24 July, 2020

Imagine yourself gazing at the mesmerizing vastness of the seas while digging your toes in fine white sands. You are sitting under a towering coconut tree with a glass of refreshing mango shake. No, this is not a dream. This is Boracay.

Boracay, the most beautiful island on the planet, remains a top vacation destination for locals and foreigners. "This itty-bitty island (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you'll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and made-for-Instagram sunsets," according to Conde Nast.

Make sure to visit Boracay and experience its many wonders, as soon as it re-opens for all tourists. You can take a plane, ride a bus or go on a road trip from Manila to Boracay by car. Since cars are prohibited on the island, though, you will have to ride a boat from Kalibo to Boracay. Here is the ultimate car road trip guide for your next adventure.

What is the most epic way to travel from Manila to Kalibo, Aklan?

Photo Courtesy of Artem Beliaikin via Pexels

Via plane ride or air travel:

Riding a plane is the most popular and the easiest way to travel to Boracay. The flight only takes less than an hour from Manila. This might even take less time than getting to the airport!

Via car, then ferry:

You can also embark on a 17-hour trip via a car ferry from Manila's North Harbor to Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan. Other ferry companies arrive in Dumaguit, which is about 30 minutes from Kalibo. If this is your first time taking a ferry to Boracay, we got you covered.

Via bus, then ferry:

Another Boracay transportation option is a bus ride. This 25-hour journey might be back-breaking, but it is cheaper than traveling via plane or ferry. Traveling by land also allows you to see more of the beautiful countryside. 

Take a bus in Cubao or Pasay going to the Batangas Port. JAM Liner, Partas, and Alps are some bus lines that will take you there. When you arrive at the port, take the RORO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) vessel to Calapan, Mindoro. From the Port of Calapan, ride a van or a car ferry to the Port of Roxas. You then ride a RORO to Caticlan Port.

Once you arrive at Caticlan Port or the Kalibo Airport, you will have to take a boat ride to Boracay.

Why should you drive all the way to Boracay?

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With the availability of easy transportation options, why should you drive from Manila to Boracay (or Caticlan)? Consider the following:

  • Driving for an extended period is a sort of maintenance check on your car. It can clear the engine and rid the exhaust system of carbon build-up. Running your car on long stretches of roads can also test its performance.
  • Taking the wheel and driving for hours (or even days) can reduce anxiety and stress from your daily grind. Drive at your own pace. Rest and linger at stopovers. Leave your worries behind.
  • Sure, you can get to Boracay faster via plane, but it does not offer the possibility of discovering new places. Visit new cities and provinces, and experience their unique cultures. Why not have a week-long adventure with your friends, with Boracay as your last stop?
  • Finally, traveling in your private vehicle is the best option to ensure your safety against viral diseases. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic is over or not by the time you go on vacation, it is prudent to take extra health and safety measures to prevent viral infections.

 For this reason, it is safer to travel in your car than to take public transport. It is also worth noting that public transportation options are currently limited. Plane, ship, and bus tickets are more expensive because of the limited seats available.

What do you need to know about driving to Boracay?

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Traveling to Boracay by land and sea (via RORO) typically takes about 25 hours. If you are driving at your own pace and plan to explore the countryside, it may take you several days before you reach the white beaches.

Prepare your car for a drive from Manila to the Batangas Port. The RORO leaves the port at 8:30 a.m. daily; so make sure you hit the road before traffic heightens in the metropolis. You will arrive in Calapan, Mindoro in about 10 hours where you will have to take another RORO for Caticlan. Check out the trip schedules of vessels under the Montenegro Shipping Lines, Starlite Ferries, or 2Go.

Cars are prohibited on Boracay island; so you will have to leave your car in Caticlan. There are paid parking spaces in Caticlan for as low as PhP50.00 per day. From the Caticlan Port, take a 15-minute boat ride. If you are traveling with a large group, you may opt for the larger Boracay Express vessel. Then take a tricycle to your hotel.

What do you need to prepare for a long road trip?

Photo Courtesy of Alta Vista de Boracay

Remember that you are aiming for a leisurely vacation. Stressing over possible mishaps because of poor planning will defeat the purpose of your holiday. Plan your Boracay trip well by following the tips below:

1. Book accommodation before your trip. Expect inns and hotels in Boracay to be fully booked during peak months. You deserve a good rest after 25+ hours of traveling from Manila. You would not want to be scouring the island for an available room after a back-breaking road trip. 

Currently, the local government of Aklan strictly requires advance accommodation bookings. Ensure a hassle-free vacation by securing hotel accommodation before your departure.

2. Check your car's readiness for a long drive. Change the engine oil; make sure the fluid levels of your car are topped off; and check every tire. Make sure you have a spare in the trunk. Also check the air filter, car lights and signals, and the battery. Make sure everything is working well and in top condition before hitting the road. Have your car checked by a mechanic, if necessary.

3. Rest well before your trip. Make sure you build up your energy reserves before hitting the road. Never drive when you are too tired or sleepy. Get a full seven to eight hours of sleep the night before leaving Manila. Take regular breaks by stopping over every two hours, if possible. 

Are you traveling with company? Take turns behind the wheel. Rotating drivers can help ensure everyone is well-rested and fit to drive.

4. Pack sufficient water and snacks. An empty stomach can affect your focus. Prepare satisfying food such as sandwiches, fruits, and protein bars. It is safer to prepare and bring your own food than buy peddled food on the road. Remember to stay hydrated with clean drinking water. Take note of stopovers where you can access restrooms.

5. Ready your Spotify playlist. What is a road trip without a matching soundtrack? Create good vibes with fun, inspiring, energy-boosting music playlists.

Each year, locals and foreigners travel to Boracay island for its gorgeous beaches, adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, the gastronomic food trip, and the company of equally fun-seeking people. Boracay is indeed a dream vacation come true.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your ultimate road trip from Manila to Boracay today.