Monday, April 30, 2012

The Philippines' best beaches and islands CNNgo & How to get there


If white sands aren't your thing, this isn't the country for you. Otherwise, bust out your flip-flops and follow us

Getting there 

General tip concerning all Filipino domestic airlines: if you're not in a hurry to book, watch out for promo fares on their websites as fares can drop considerably.

1. El Nido

Several airlines fly from Manila to El Nido, either through a commercial airline or via chartered plane. Flight time: approximately 75 minutes.
Domestic flights (El Nido-Manila)SEAIR 
Chartered plane (El Nido-Manila)
Island Transvoyager (charter airline of El Nido Resort; their guests get priority reservations.)
Depending on where you’re headed, from the El Nido airport tricycles can take you to El Nido town.
Ferries sail from a nearby marina to the islands, or your resort can make arrangements to meet you at the airport.
Domestic flights (Puerto Princesa-Manila)
Alternatively, the following airlines fly to Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan:
Philippine Airlines
Cebu Pacific
Air PhilippinesZest Air
Domestic flights (Puerto Princesa-Clark, Pampanga)AirAsia 
From the Puerto Princesa airport, you need to travel to El Nido by road. Take a multi-cab or jeep to the San Jose Terminal (20 minutes). 
At the station, find the El Nido-bound buses. These are open-air, non-airconditioned buses. (Approximately eight hours, with stops at Taytay and Roxas Towns, about P300 for a one-way trip).
Best to book seats and check schedules in advance:
- Sweety Transport +63 919 716 2210
- Win Eulen Joy Liner, Eulenjoyexpress.com 
The San Jose Terminal is also the departure point for shuttle vans. Prebook to reserve a seat:
www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com
The following vans are air-conditioned and more comfortable than buses (approximately six hours, P600 each passenger/P12,000 for entire van):
- Fortwally Shuttle Company  +63 920 9815702/+63 917 276 2875
- Savior Shuttle Company  +63 929 622 5974
- Eulen Joy  +63 926 699 8700

2. Boracay 

The most direct way to get to Boracay is to fly to Caticlan, Panay Island (either from Manila or Cebu City) .
Domestic flights (Caticlan-Manila)
Philippine Airlines
-Cebu Pacific
Air Philippines
SEAIR
Domestic flights (Caticlan-Cebu)
Air Philippines
From the Caticlan airport, take a tricycle to the Caticlan jetty port. 
Alternatively, fly to Kalibo first.
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Manila)
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Cebu)
Air Philippines
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Clark, Pampanga)
Air Philippines
Philippine Airlines
SEAIR
AirAsia
International flights to Kalibo- Philippine Airlines also flies Hong Kong-Kalibo and Seoul-Kalibo.
- ZestAir flies to Kalibo from Incheon, Busan, Shanghai, and Taipei.
From Kalibo Airport, travel by road (about two hours). There are many vans outside the airport that go directly from the airport to the Jetty Port in Caticlan (approx P300/passenger). 
Buses are available as well at the airport. You can take your chance with what is at the terminal (P200) or book ahead via travel agencies such as Sourthwest Tours, which can organize the entire journey to Boracay (P300-P450, including boat transfer).
From Caticlan Jetty Port, there will be many bankas (ferry boats) ready to take you to White Beach, Boracay, about 15 minutes away. Pay a terminal tax (P75) and an environmental fee (P75) at the port before boarding.
You’ll need to wade in the water a bit so dress accordingly. For a small amount, boatmen will carry your luggage to shore. 
Tricycles on the island will take you to your resort. Cost is roughly P20/passenger, but may rise depending on the location of the resort.

3. Palaui

From Manila, board a bus headed to Santa Ana. (Approximately 14-16 hours):
- GV Florida Transport (only one with direct routes to Santa Ana from Manila and Tuguegarao) +63 2 7433809/+63 2 781 5894. 
Otherwise, fly or take a bus to Tuguegarao City.
Bus to Tuguegarao
- Victory Liner, www.victoryliner.com (approximately 10 hours).
Domestic flights (Tuguegarao-Manila)-Air Philippines
-Cebu Pacific
When you get to Tuguegarao, take a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to the van terminal bound for Santa Ana. The van trip will take about three hours.
At Santa Ana, buy supplies for your island trip then take a tricycle to the San Vicente Port. Register at the visitor’s bureau. 
Hire a boat (P600) and a guide (P400-P2,000) to take you to Punta Verde, Palui Island. Ask for a return trip. Pay the port fee (P50). Register again, this time in the community logbook.

4. Panglao 

Hop on a plane to Tagbilaran City if you’re coming from Manila.
Domestic flights (Tagbilaran-Manila)-Philippines AirlinesCebu PacificAir PhilippinesZest Air
Or, take an international flight to Cebu City (Mactan Cebu International Airport) then get on a fast ferry to Tagbilaran City (approximately hours). The ports are quite near the airport.
Ferry services (Cebu-Tagbilaran)
Super Cat
Oceanjet
Upon arriving in Tagbilaran City, a cab or a “habal-habal” (motorcycle with driver) can take you to Panglao.

5. Bantayan

Fly to Cebu City on either a domestic or international flight.
International flights to Cebu
Cebu Pacific (via Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan)
Silk Air (via Singapore)
Malaysia Airlines (via Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu)
Cathay Pacific  (via Hong Kong)
Asiana Airlines (via Korea)
Korean Air (via Korea)
Qatar Airways (via Qatar)
Domestic flights to Cebu are available from most cities in the Philippines as well. 
Upon arrival at the airport in Cebu City, take a taxi and head for the North Bus Terminal. Make sure you get a metered taxi -- and that the driver starts the meter. Get out of the cab if the driver won’t comply.
Safety tip: hang on to your luggage while getting out of the cab. If your bags are in the trunk, don’t let the driver open it until you’re ready to grab them. And don’t let insistent baggage handlers take your items if you don’t need them.  
At the North Bus Terminal, take a bus or shuttle to Hagnaya (approximately three hours).  The CERES bus is recommended -- look for the buses that are white and yellow with a sign saying “Air Conditioned” in front, and another sign saying “Hagnaya” on the side.
Make sure you take a bus that is scheduled to leave no later than 2 p.m. to give you enough time to catch the ferry to Bantayan.
Do not let your luggage out of your sight while on the bus.
Alternatively, you can pay extra for a taxi to take you all the way to Hagnaya (you can haggle but it should cost approx. P2,000; driver covers fuel costs).
At Hagnaya, the last ferry leaves at 5:30 p.m. for Santa Fe, Bantayan Island (approximately 45-90 minutes, depending on seacraft). 
Ferry Services (Hagnaya-Bantayan)Supershuttleferry.com

6. Caramoan

Take a bus or a domestic flight to Naga City. Head to Sabang Port by road, then take a passenger boat to your chosen island.
Domestic Flights (Manila-Naga)
- Philippine Airlines
- Air Philippines
- Cebu Pacific
- Zest Airways
From Naga Airport, take a P10 tricycle ride to Naga Public Terminal. At the terminal, you can rent a van for Sabang Port or take a bus to Goa (approximately two hours, P80). (At Goa, ask around for the jeepney that goes to Sabang Port.)
From Sabang Port, take a boat bound for Guijalo Port (approximately two hours, P120/person). The last boat leaves at 2 p.m. Get ready to wade (or be carried) to reach land area. 
Once there, take a tricycle to the town proper (10 minutes away).
The best, easiest and most convenient way to enjoy the trip is to let your resort or the Camarines Sur Tourism Office coordinate your transfers (caramoanislands.com +63 54 477 3344, +63 54 477 3347). 

7. Samal

Fly to Davao City on either a domestic or international flight.
International flights to Davao
- Cebu Pacific Airlines (via Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan)
- Silk Air (via Singapore)
Domestic Flights to Davao from several cities in the Philippines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Air Philippines
- Philippine Airlines
Take a short cab ride to one of three entry points to Samal Island, depending on where you’re headed to: Sta. Ana Wharf, SASA Km 11 Wharf or IGACOS Ferry Terminal (ask your resort for advice on this one).

8. Siargao

There are direct flights to Siargao Island. Siargao airport is 45 minutes away from General Luna, the location of the popular Cloud 9 beach. Tricycles or motorbikes are available; the trip would cost around P150.
Or, if you can spot a tricycle line, board a tricycle waiting to be filled with passengers for P30/passenger.
Domestic flights (Manila-Siargao Island)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Zest Air
Domestic flight (Cebu-Siargao Island)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines

9. Great Santa Cruz Island

First, fly to Zamboanga City.
Domestic flight (Manila-Zamboanga City)
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
-Air Philippines
Domestic flight (Cebu-Zamboanga City)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
Domestic flight (Davao-Zamboanga City)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Air Philippines
In Zamboanga City, book your day trip to Great Santa Cruz through the regional tourism office at Lantaka Hotel By The Sea, NS Valderama Street, near city hall. Call +63 62 992 6242 or email dotr9@yahoo.com

10. Pagudpud 

From Manila, take a domestic flight to Laoag (approximately 45 minutes).
Domestic flights (Laoag-Manila)
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
At Laoag, a free shuttle runs from the airport to city proper. Or hop on a bus from Manila to Laoag. 
- Autobus Transport +63 2 735 8098
- Farinas Transit Company +63 2 731 4507/+63 2 731 4375
- Franco Frederico Lines +63 2 7314473/+63 2 731 2584
- Maria de Leon Transit +63 2 731 4907
- Partas Transportation +63 2 725 1740, www.phbus.com
- Philippine Rabbit +63 2 456 7667 
In Laoag's bus station, ask for the bus that is bound for Claveria Cagayan. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Pugudpud’s Baduang Market (approximately one hour).
Buses from Manila direct to Pagudpud are also available, though the travel time may take 10 to 12 hours.
- GV Florida Transport +63 2 743 3809/+63 2 781 5894
- RCJ Bus Lines +63 2 741 2994/+63 2 792 4939

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