“Sir, over here, boat and van complete package Boracay to Kalibo airport transfer! 200 pesos!”
We had just arrived at the Boracay port after a fun two weeks that was essentially a great beach vacation with the kids to kick off our family travel adventure. But it was time to move on to Cebu ahead of Typhoon Ruby.
Our porter was pointing out a small booth outside the Boracay port terminal building after unloading our bags from the trike. The booth said “CBTMPC” on the sign.
We had heard about the same airport transfer package price (200 pesos) from staff at our resort too so we expected this option.
We were a bit concerned that we’d be giving up some flexibility by paying for the van portion of the trip ahead of time, but we had extra time and liked the convenience of getting everything at once.
The man selling the tickets also explained that it was a direct transfer to the airport, without stops along the way to pick up or drop off extra passengers. He said we might have to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the van to leave once we reached Caticlan, but no longer.
Boat from Boracay to Caticlan
Our porter helped load our 2 larger bags onto the banca boat to Caticlan and we were off. We had learned our lesson and were very happy to pay the porter to help us this time. The gangplank was really steep due to the low tide. When traveling with kids some extra hands are always helpful. 40 pesos well spent.
The crossing was fast, but we definitely wouldn’t want to be out in rough seas in a similar small banca. It was pretty rickety. If the weather was poor we’d opt for one of the larger ferries in the future (like the one we rode getting to Boracay).
When we arrived in Caticlan we hired another porter to bring our bags from the boat to the van (40 pesos again).
Van to Kalibo Airport
The CBTMPC airport transfer van terminal was located across the street from the boat terminal building. CBTMPC has a nice air conditioned lobby waiting area where we sat down and had a snack that we had brought from Boracay.
I asked the staff when the van would leave and they pointed to a sign that said “7:50 a.m.”
It was 6:55 a.m so that meant nearly an hour wait.
When I told them that we were promised an earlier departure they shrugged, asked what time my flight was, and said “you’ll be fine”.
When I pressed them they said I could hire their private car to leave right away for an extra 1,000 pesos. No thanks.
I asked for our money back so that we could go outside and take one of the several other vans waiting outside the terminal.
The staff said I wouldn’t want to do that because those vans are not direct, they stop to pick up and drop off passengers all along the way. Then they told me their van would actually leave sooner after all, in 10-20 minutes.
Sure enough in about 15 minutes they loaded us all onto their van. Great.
The staff said there was no space inside for our bags (there clearly was) and instead lashed them onto the roof. They partially covered the luggage with a ragged piece of plastic.
Then we waited.
Kat asked the kids if anyone needed a potty run and AJ took her up on it.
Then we waited some more.
I asked again when we would leave. “Soon Sir, 3 more incomming from Boracay.”
When we finally left, it was 7:50 a.m. just as the sign said. Silly us for expecting anything different. The van was completely full of people, not one seat to spare.
About 4 minutes after pulling out of the driveway for the 2 hour ride without bathroom stops Jasper says “Daddy, I have to go poo poo.” Sorry Little Man, literally S.O.L. with that one. Should have listened when Mommy warned of the long ride ahead.
Not long after that Aurora started groaning as the van bounced over bumpy, winding, mountain roads. “Mommy, I need a bag!”
You may remember the photo of her with the airsick bag on the plane ride to San Francisco. She now knows the motion sickness drill too well.
So for about the next hour we tried to distract them by searching for cows dogs, cats, and chickens along the road. After a short time we gave in and fired up a movie on the Kindle.
All of that accomplished little other than making Mommy and Daddy feel carsick too. Family travel at its best.
Then the van stopped.
The driver motioned to some people on the side of the road and they came up to the van, opened the door, and climbed on it. I don’t know where they found space but somehow they crammed themselves between everyone else already on board.
This scene repeated itself several times before we finally arrived in Kalibo. To say the van was packed is a real understatement. With all of us feeling sick and uncomfortable already, we were not thrilled.
About an hour and a half in Aurora finally got sick. We were so glad we had the forethought to bring some plastic bags!
Jasper eventually fell asleep in my lap and we made it through the last 20 minutes or so of the ride to the Kalibo airport.
When we unloaded the bags from the roof they were of course soaked from some rain showers we passed through on the way. Luckily nothing was damaged inside.
Boracay to Kalibo Airport Summary
The Boracay to Kalibo airport transfer was definitely faster by van than it was by bus with Southwest Tours. That’s about all that I can say was better.
I would not use CBTMPC again. We felt mislead and taken advantage of.
After being in the Philippines for two months, we learned to expect similar packed-van-plus-3-guys-on-the-roof shenanigans. But at the time we took CBTMPC staff at their word that it was a direct nonstop trip.
If we visit Boracay again (I hope we do), and decide to take a van as part of the Kalibo airport to Boracay transfer, we’d arrange the van separately from the boat and choose one that was just about to leave.
More likely though, we’d just use Southwest Tours as we had a much better experience with them.
Of course best of all would be to fly directly to Caticlan and avoid the Kalibo airport transfer altogether. So keep an eye on airfares and go for that option if you can!
Also check out our other Boracay posts: