Cebu Pacific air is a budget/ low cost airline in which their main hub is Manila NAIA airport. The airline flies both internationally and domestically. As of 2018 the airline has a fleet of 59 with around 50 airbus aircraft and 20 ATR aircraft. The airline’s ambition to improve are shown with 32 airbus aircraft on order till 2021.
I have flown with this airline in many different occasions, mainly to their domestic destinations such as Palawan, Cebu and Boracay but I have also flown with the airline once internationally to Hong Kong.
At the airport
Cebu Pacific’s main hub is in the new NAIA terminal 3, however they do use Cebu as another secondary hub. Terminal 3 of NAIA airport is the newest and most modern of all terminals in the airport, it is medium in size and serves both domestic and international flights. Arrivals are in the ground floor whilst Departures are in the floors above. There are tight security to enter the terminal and only passengers can enter within the check-in area. A floor above the check-in area there is a food court with many restaurants including Philippines top chains such as Jollibee, Fruitas and many alike. There are also plenty of shops within this area.
The gates are sectioned between domestic and international obviously because international traveller need to go through more such as immigration checks and a more comprehensive security check. Both sections are long but there are travellators available in the airport.
Cebu Mactan International Airport is smaller in comparison, it is still divided between international and domestic and major shops are available only more compact.
Aircraft, Service and Flight
As a budget/ low cost airline i don’t really expect a lot. Seats have the usual leathered seats with a magazine pouch, table and a generous leg space. The airline whether domestic or international do not have an IFE (entertainment system) but the international flight do have games such as ‘show me’ which is cheesy but pretty cool. Foods vary from snacks or warm meals, they are much more expensive than the usual retail price, but hey its an airline.
Through my many flights with the airline, delays are more frequent than desirable and changes in flight itineraries do happen. But flights are comfortable and clean, staff are friendly and do attend to your every needs.
Cebu Pacific is a good airline to take domestically, it is fairly priced with a service not much different to its competitors in the Philippines. The only downside to this company is its reputation to keep up with its own schedules so if your chasing something like a meeting then op for something else.
Boracay in my opinion is the most connected of all the paradise islands, in the Philippines, there is 2 different airports, with a choice of domestic flights from different corners of the country (not just from Manila), there is also a boat port with routes from Batangas. International flights are now also introduced here making holiday makers from Korea, Japan enter Boracay straight without the need to go through Manila. However if flying through the capital there is two main ways to travel to Boracay from Manila by flight, you either fly to “Kalibo” or “Caticlan”, popular airlines like Philippine airlines, Cebu Pacific and Airasia zest (formally Zest air) fly these routes.
Arriving at Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan) is closer and more convenient to Boracay. It is a very small airport, which only caters smaller aircraft, mostly propeller. Getting off the aircraft is somewhat strange, you bored a bus straight from the aircraft, and the bus drives outside the airport and on its perimeter road through traffic (outside the airport itself), and onto the other side of the airport where it enters security gate back inside the airport and onto the little room they call a terminal, there passengers can collect their luggage and head out. Flights to Caticlan are very expensive, and could be double the price of that flying to Kalibo at around 5k-7k pesos (£70-£115). A short tricycle ride from the airport to Caticlan Jetty port can be taken, walking is possible but with luggage and backpacks is unadvisable or if your hotel caters pickups they will also help you transfer.
Kalibo airport in the other hand is much larger than that of Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan), more frequent flights arrive and depart from here, hence the higher population that travel through here. Flights to or from here are also much cheaper than that of Caticlan costing at around 1.5k-7k pesos (£30-£115) again depending on time and season. It is however 1.5 hours away from the Caticlan Jetty port, meaning more time is required to depart your hotels when going home, it also means that more money is required to travel to or from Kalibo. I always advise for everyone to get arrangement with their hotels to transport to and from the airport, this could cost around 2k-3k pesos (£30-£50), but it is safer easier and you can feel the holiday environment. However to save money there are independent buses or vans, driver who will assist you in travelling to or from Kalibo, this is good i especially if there are a lot of you travelling. Some drivers allow you to haggle a price whereas some will have a firm asking fee, doing this could be very difficult and unreliable but it is cheaper.
Another way to travel from Manila is by boat, from Batangas boat port to Caticlan jetty port. 2GO boat company has Batangas to Caticlan route daily, it is approximately 9 hours and leaves Batangas at 9pm and arrives at Caticlan at 6am. The boat has different classes and rooms, and offers complimentary meals.
Which ever airport or boat port you choose you will need to go to the Caticlan jetty port the station that takes you to Boracay island via a short 5min-10min boat trip. There are 3 tickets needed to purchase, the boat ticket itself which is needed to enter the boats depending in which boat you choose it will be 50pesos -200pesos (50pence to £3.20), the terminal fee which is a ticket that is needed to use the terminal facilities (this is mandatory), used to help maintain the jetty port this costs 100 pesos or £1.60, and finally the environmental fee which is used to maintain Boracay’s environment paying local workforce, this costs 75 pesos or £1.20. These 3 tickets are checked upon boarding the boat to Boracay and can be purchase just outside the Jetty port. The more prestigious luxury hotels may have their own boat services, some with an additional fee others all inclusive with the hotel price. Click here for full 2Go travel page.
After stepping foot at Boracay island, the usual first thoughts is that it doesn’t look very nice. That’s because your at the back of the island, there is still a 10min-20min ride to the hotel areas depending on where your hotel is. Again some hotels do have their own van/ car and will pick you up, but if not there is two ways to travel to your hotel, one is to travel by a van, fixed fees are applied. Another way is to travel by a tricycle, which is cheaper but may not be able to accept some journeys or customers if your hotel consist of steep hills which a tricycle cannot climb. If you are on a budget there is nothing wrong with taking a tricycle as it is the main use of transportation in the island.
However you travel once you arrive, you will know it was worth while going.
Once in Boracay depending on where you are, the need to travel around can vary. If you are in the station 1,2 and 3 beaches you will rarely need to go elsewhere unless you go to another island, tours or activities like 4×4, ATV, Buggys or even other beaches and attractions in Boracay. If you have availed a tour, it will usually include the transport to that location (and it might be accompanied with your very own attendant). It will usually be a local styled tricycle. If you have chosen a hotel/ resort in the more quieter areas of Boracay like the back or far from the main beach station 1,2 and 3 then every hotel will likely have complimentary hourly transports to and from D’mall (a centre drop-off, pick-up point to main beach).
Tricycles are ever present in Boracay and they are available 24hours so if nightlife is what you are looking for then do so without worrying how to get back to your hotel. . It is also possible to walk from one area to another, it will be a good way to get around by seeing around the place. Tourism is huge in Boracay and getting lost is rare as everyone will be able to help. Prices for tricycles are however a bit expensive and inconsistent, some fares may be more expensive than others, if you have haggling skills this will come in handy.