There are two major modes of transportation if you are traveling from Manila to Boracay. The most convenient and the quickest will be to fly directly to Caticlan Airport from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The slowest but the cheapest option is to catch a bus from either Pasay or Cubao.
The flying distance between Manila and Boracay is approximately 300 kilometres and this corresponds to around an hour and 10 minutes up in the air. Meanwhile, the driving distance is around 445 kilometres if you travel via the Philippine Nautical Highway. Your trip will last between 12 and 16 hours but a significant part of that will be spent onboard ferries.
Flying is not only convenient but priced very reasonably, too. If you book at least a few months ahead, you can easily find one-way tickets between PHP1,700 and PHP3,500. If you do not mind losing a significant amount of holiday time, you can take the bus instead for about PHP950-P1,200.
Flights from Manila to Boracay
Because there are three major airlines serving this route, passengers have a good range of flights to choose from in terms of prices. With some advance planning, you can book tickets for as low as PHP1,700. The country's flagship carrier represents the other (plusher) end of the spectrum with flights going for as high as PHP7,000. Book early though and they will have seats for PHP2,000.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia all have daily flights from Manila to Boracay via the Caticlan Airport. Both Cebu Pacific and Air Asia regularly offer seat sales so be on the alert as savings can be quite significant. If you happen to find a good deal with PAL, book it right away. Even their economy seats already include a light snack, a 7kg carry-on bag, and an additional free luggage allowance of 10kg.
Flying time from Manila to Boracay is 1 hour and 10 minutes. During peak months and if you miss out direct flights, you may take the Manila–Kalibo route. From the Kalibo airport, Caticlan is only about 1.5-2 hours away – take one of the air-conditioned shuttle buses or minivans. Flight time from NAIA to Kalibo International Airport is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Buses from Manila to Boracay
There are several bus companies that ply the Manila-to-Caticlan route at regular intervals throughout the day. They are Ceres, Philtranco, Alps, and Dimple Star. The first two are the most popular ones. They do not differ much in terms of service, amenities, or ticket prices but Philtranco has a very good online reservation system otherwise it is absolutely no any other difference between the two.
Traveling overland from Manila to Boracay can be a tiresome affair. However, if you are able to sleep in a moving bus then it should not be a problem. Road conditions are good for the most part of the way but traffic can be horrendous and can stretch the total travel time from 12 to 16 hours.
Buses depart daily from Cubao and Pasay terminals. From Pasay, Philtranco has 2 air-conditioned buses that depart at 11am from Monday to Sunday. From Cubao, they have a bus departing for Caticlan at 9am. Cancellations are rare but do your best to be at the terminal early to avoid losing your seat to chance passengers.
Buses are air-conditioned and some have WiFi and onboard toilet facilities. Luggage space is limited so make sure to stow yours in the luggage compartment beneath the bus. Just make sure you have all you need to survive the long trip at hand. Have a hoodie or sweater handy in case you have to stay in the open area on the ferry. No snacks are provided but there will be a bathroom and toilet break.