You have two options if you wish to travel from Boracay to Manila. The fastest and the most convenient way is to go by air while the slowest albeit the cheapest one is to board a bus and go overland and via RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) all the way to either Cubao or Pasay.
Boracay is sitting approximately 300 kilometres south of Manila as a crow flies and this means an estimated flight time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you decide to go overland and RoRo, the driving distance is roughly 445 kilometres through the Philippine Nautical Highway. A good portion of your time will be spent aboard ferries as the bus will have to go onboard twice during your trip. Expect the entire journey to last between 12 to 16 hours.
It is safe to assume that you will be spending between PHP1,800 and around PHP7,000 on plane tickets. If you are going by bus, tickets will costs around PHP950-PHP1200 one way.
Flights from Boracay to Manila
If you book your ticket at least a couple of months ahead, the airfare from Boracay to Manila typically ranges between PHP1,800 and PHP7,000. If you are traveling light then fly with either Cebu Pacific or Air Asia which allow you to pay just the bare airfare without any luggage allowance.
There are currently three airlines with daily flights between Boracay and Manila. These are Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia. The two latter are well-known budget airlines; they regularly announce promotion periods during the year which allow passengers to grab great deals on cheap seats.
Philippine Airlines may not be as cheap as the other two but their tickets already include a light snack and a 10-kilogram luggage allowance.
Flying from Boracay directly to Manila takes only 1 hour and 10 minutes. If there are no decent deals directly from Boracay, you can fly to Manila from Kalibo International Airport. The Kalibo Airport is located about 1.5-hour to 2 hours away from Caticlan and is easily reached by minivans. From Kalibo, the flight time is roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Buses from Boracay to Manila
There are several bus companies that operate daily departures from Boracay via Caticlan to Manila. The most popular ones are Philtranco and Ceres. The bus fare usually ranges between PHP950 and PHP1,200.
There are also buses that depart from Iloilo and pick up passengers from Kalibo en route to bring them all the way to Caticlan.
You can expect your bus journey from Boracay to Manila to last between 12 hours to 16 hours. However, there are some factors that may stretch this out even further: the two major reasons for a longer trip are late arrivals of the ferry and weather and/or traffic condition. If you have a plane to catch or you need to be somewhere important on the day of your arrival, try to depart by the earliest bus possible.
There are several trips bound for Manila daily but with almost all the companies beside Philtranco and Ceres, the schedules can be a bit erratic as some buses come all the way from Iloilo. There are two Philtranco buses that leave Kalibo at 11.30am while Ceres has one scheduled bus at 3pm. During peak months and holiday periods, it is highly recommended to book your tickets several days in advance as they sell out really fast.
Cancellations of trips are rare or non-existent but chance passengers could take your seat if you do not arrive on time.
As far as buses themselves are concerned, most of these buses are of basically the same type: air-conditioned and equipped with audio-video entertainment systems. Some offer free WiFi but not all have an onboard toilet facility. You do not have to worry though as there will be bathroom and meal breaks during the trip.
Try and make your trip as comfortable as possible. Bring sweaters or blankets, snacks, a neck pillow, and external battery for your phone.