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How to bring your scoot/bike from Caticlan to Boracay?

June 17, 2008

Prior to the ride, we asked several contacts in Bora if we could actually bring in our scoots to the island resort. All said it’s not easy or it was close to impossible with the strict regulations. Details on how-to were sketchy so our group settled to just leave our reliable steeds at Caticlan. But deep inside, I still wanted to give it a shot. We’ve gone all the way there, so how hard is it really to bring the scoots along on a 15-minute boat ride? But who do we talk to? The coast guards? The boatmen? The porters? We were totally clueless. I admit I was also concerned of about how much that extra trip would cost or if it was even safe to do so. On a personal level, bringing my scooter there will be a validation that this ride is indeed a Boracay Ride. I wanted it so much that I had to at least try.

How hard can it be? I know of two Vespas spotted in Boracay, so how did those get there? I also heard of four others from the delivery fleet of the recently opened Yellow Cab Pizza along Station 3, plus another one owned by a Vespa Club member’s brother stationed there. The latter was actually being lent to us (thanks for the offer, Edwin!) so we could still ride a Vespa around the island if we really wanted to. Of course, nothing beats riding our own scoot but the generous offer is the next best thing if all else fails. That, or a pose astride the Yellow Cab scoots just to have that aspired Vespa-on-Bora pictures. hahaha! πŸ˜†

Since we got there on a Saturday night, I was resigned to the fact that we indeed have to leave our beloved scoots in pay parking lot (P50/day) in Caticlan. 😦 It was simply too late and we’re all very tired from the long ride.

Early the following day, our group decided that we extend our stay until Tuesday to maximize the vacation. This group decision suited me well as I would still get to try my luck in bringing in my scooter first thing Monday morning even if I had to do it alone. I informed my ride buddies of my plan and told them I’d text them in the morning to ask them who else is interested as soon as I have details.

My family stayed at Two Seasons in Station 1. Sunday night, we asked the frontdesk staff if they’ll be able to assist us in determining the procedure how to get our scoots to the island. They willingly agreed and said they would be glad to see our Vespas there in the resort. COOL! 8)

By 8:30 of Monday morning, the frontdesk already had a municipal staff on the line and connected him to our room so we could discuss my inquiry. The person on the other line told me that I need to make a letter of request and had to pay P1k+ for the Permit to Transport. I told him that we are bringing in more than just one scooter because we are a riding club, so he passed to phone to his superior. The said officer asked how many scoots we’re talking about and what exactly are we gonna do in the island. I politely introduced our club and told him that we will just ride scoots around the island for sightseeing and and will allot a little time for photo ops then we’ll leave the next day. He told me that there’s no need for a letter of request then and we just have to pay P550/scoot. He even gave me the name of the barge rental (Divine Glory in Barangay San Viray) so we could fit the six scoots all in one go. Strangely, his instructions sounded too easy contrary to what I’ve heard from those we’ve asked before. It was a welcome news but I still couldn’t pin my hopes too high so I won’t be disappointed.

I then asked my hotel’s frontdesk if they could help me get the number of Divine Glory so we could contract their service before securing the necessary permit. The hotel staff called back shortly after telling me that the barge would cost P10k. WHOA! 😯 I’m not willing to pay that much! But the staffer gave me another number of someone working for the Cargo Coop. in Caticlan and said I should call the guy since boats only charges P150/motorbike. Talk about efficiency! I’m glad my wife booked in that hotel. They already did the half the job for me by calling exactly the right people. It’s like I had a personal secretary right there in Bora. Kudos to the Two Seasons staff! No wonder other guests’ have been harping about the great customer service! πŸ™‚

I texted my buddies of this positive development, gave them the ballpark figure of the cost and asked who else is interested. By that time, the boys already arranged an Island Hopping expedition that would take the whole day. Only one other riding buddy, Cesar, decided to forgo the island hop for the possibility of bringing the scoot to the island. I had my breakfast then stated to get ready to go get our permits.

It’s important to note that island resort of Boracay, like Caticlan, is not a town in itself. Both are actually part of the municipality of Malay. Although Boracay is administratively independent under the control of the Philippine Tourism Authority in coordination with the provincial government of Aklan, it is still the municipal government of Malay that issues Permit to Transport of vehicles going to the island. I hopped in a tricycle and picked up Cesar. We headed back to the jetty station, into a boat, and claimed our scoots in the parking lot to ride to the municipal hall which was a long stretch of paved and bumpy road away some 5kms. (or more!) from Caticlan. It could have been a fun ride but we’re too anxious to enjoy it plus we don’t exactly know where were headed. We had to stop and ask several times (they usually reply with ‘direcho lang!’ [just go straight]) just to be sure we hadn’t missed it yet or gone too far off.

We got to the municipal building at around 11:45 with some time to spare before the office lunch break. Whew! Told the desk officer our reason for visiting but he welcomed us with a sad news saying only the mayor could issue such permits and he is not around at that time. I asked when the mayor will be back and he said he doesn’t know. He even said that the office of the mayor is locked that very moment. Other employees began to trickle down around the area to punch their cards for the break with curious looks in their faces. To be fair, the municipal personnel weren’t rude, but they were not exactly a model of public service either. It felt like they simply don’t go out of their way to be of assistance if it’s not part of their job description.

I told the desk officer that I just had a phone conversation with somebody from their office earlier. He asked who did I talked to but I wasn’t able to get the name. I texted my wife to asked the Two Seasons frontdesk if they were able to get the name of the person. My wife replied with only the number of the office and the desk officer confirmed that it was indeed the Office of the Mayor’s number. By this time, Cesar was doing his own texting with his wife back in Manila who has previously worked with the mayor’s league or something. We were growing desperate already.

The guy urged us to have our lunch first and just come back after. Our patience was running thin but we can’t afford to argue. I only told the guy that we couldn’t possibly have our lunch without knowing if there’s anybody there we have to come back for. I told him, I would like to at least get to talk to the officer I got to talk with on the phone. He said that the guy must be the Administrative Officer but he is on a lunch meeting. I politely said we’d rather wait than miss him. While I was smoking outside during the wait, a kind old lady employee (bless her!) asked me what I needed and she went inside the hall to call the guy. After a few minutes, the Administrative Officer emerged and asked me to hand him a pen & paper. He then wrote a note telling Niko (the guy who handles the Permit to Transport on the 2nd florr of the Municipal Buliding) to kindly assist us. He then look at our scooters and asked me why go through all that trouble when we can easily rent motobikes in Boracay. I just smiled and figured he woudn’t uderstand even if I tried to explain. I simply thanked him for the endorement then he went back to his meeting while Cesar & I finally decided to take our lunch.

Since its a small community, we don’t know where to eat as there are no obvious restaurants there. We asked we got the usual ‘direcho lang!’ reply. Turns out that the eatery looks like a regular house and doesn’t have any sign. I wasn’t hungry. I just needed to eat to while away our wait. We went back to the municipal office a little past 1Pm so we wouldn’t come off over-eager.

By the time we got there, a nice car with a red plate was parked in front of the building. Everyone was already back in their stations and the desk officer told us the mayor was there and instructed me to proceed on the 2nd floor. As I got there, everybody was back from the lunchbreak; everybody except the guy I need. Tough luck! πŸ˜› I went to the mayor’s secretary instead and she told me to have a copy of our scoot’s OR/CR (Official Receipt/Certificate of Registration) ready. Went down again to get our OR/CR then had them photocopied (yes, I was so glad I didn’t have to go back to Caticlan to find a xerox machine!). When I got back upstairs, Niko (the guy handling/encoding the permits) still wasn’t there. I was simply told to wait again. To add to the ordeal, the air conditioning system on the entire 2nd floor (except in the Mayor’s Office, of course!) was busted. It was hot and though I wanted to say — “can anyone here at least text Niko to tell him that somebody is waiting for him?!!!” — I knew it’ll be better to shut up than earn the ire of anybody there. It didn’t help that I overheard the mayor was staying in his office for a short while as he was scheduled to leave for Manila that same afternoon.

Finally, sweating and tardy Niko arrived. Ms. secretary forwarded to him our papers including the endorsement note. I could’ve gotten pissed with his royal lateness, but he assisted me while he was still catching his breath, so that’s good enough for me. He asked me to pay P1k+ rate at the Cashier downstairs but I told him that Mr. Administrative Officer told me to just pay P550 and he never argued. Went down to the cashier and went back up. At that time, the permit was still being encoded and printed with details lifted from our OR/CR. Afterwhich, he went inside the Mayor’s office to have the papers signed. Gave him my Vespa Club ID so he could attach it with the endorsement hoping that it might help. One.. two.. five minutes passed. What’s taking him so long? He went out and asked me how long we’ll be using the scoots in Bora then went back in again. Oh man… just give me give us the permit please! He emerged from the office again and asked me to come inside the as the mayor himself wanted to ask some questions. *gulp*

Went inside, shook the mayor’s hand firmly, greeted him a fine afternoon, introduced myself as the president of the Vespa Club of the Philppines and sat. He doesn’t seem impressed. He looked pissed. *gulp again* The mayor proceeded to ask me again how long will we be staying in the island and what we’ll we do there with our scoots. The good mayor explained to me that they had been very strict in giving out permits since the island is already overcrowded. After my reply, he asked Niko to indicate the duration of our stay and our reason for bringing the scoot in the template permit. As Niko went out to revise, I stayed seated in the mayor’s office not knowing what to do next… until the mayor said I could go. *whew!*

Outside, Niko scrambles to look for a co-worker to help him with the revision the mayor asked of him. I wanted to grab his seat and do the addendum myself but I Iet them be. After ten minutes or so, the new permits were printed. He went back inside and it less that a minute, our permits (one for each scoot) were signed and ready. I was so happy that I just had to linger in the waiting area for a little while for a snapshot of the “elusive” Permit to Transport.

I could’ve jumped for joy if we weren’t in a hurry! We hurriedly rode back to Caticlan. It was probably 3PM already and we better be there soon if we wanted to experience riding in Bora when there’s still daylight. We proceeded to the Cargo Coop. which is the fenced area the just beside the passenger terminal. Met with Rangel, the guy referred to me by the hotel staff. He asked us to present our permits and pay the fee (P150/scoot and P20/pax). While the guard was listing our license plate in his logbook, around six men wearing CBMSC (Caticlan-Boracay Motorboat Service Cooperative) shirts brought and tied the scoots to the boat. We handed a P100 tip to these guys. Here they were as the brought Cesar’s scoot to the boat ramp.

Here’s Pyke all aboard and eager to be in Boracay already!

Once in the Cabagan Jetty Port in Boracay, another group of six men approached the boat and unloaded the scoots from the boat. Handed them the same tip and off we went. I asked Cesar that we stop somewhere with a Boracay sign just in case we won’t be able to bring the scoots by the beach. Here’s that shot.

Cesar & I then discussed where should we head on next. We could go ride through Boracay’s back alleys and head to the the Bat Cave or Mt. Luho viewdeck (the highest point in the island). We were like kids in a new playground too overwhelmed to know where to begin. Concerned that we might not able to get back before sundown if we venture too far, I then suggested that head back to Two Seasons. The hotel agreed prior that we could bring in our scoots along the sandy parts within their premises so we could take some pictures of the scoots with the beachfront view. Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed to pass along the beach so it was important for us not to pass up with the offer to get the scoots on the powdery white sand. Even babes took pictures and ogled at the sight of Vespa on the beach.

More of pics of our Vespas on Bora in my multiply page and even more ride pics uploaded in our Ride Director’s page. πŸ™‚

In summary, here’s are my suggestions if you or your riding club intend to bring your motorcycle(s) in Boracay:

  • Collate photocopies of the OR/CR each participating riders and have somebody pre-arrange for the Permit to Transport in advance. The rider(s) not the motorcycles need not be there in securing permits. This is your best option since you’ll already be sure if you can bring in your scoots even before the actual ride. Try asking the hotel/resort if they can have somebody to this for your group.
  • If that’s not possible, you can take a chance like we did. Make sure you arrive at Caticlan in the morning so you still have enough time to go to Malay Municipal Hall. Allot at least half a day to get the permits processed. Although doing it this way, you run the risk of not getting your permits if and when the mayor is not there. And the bureaucratic procedure may be too much to bear for any tired and weary rider.
  • You may be asked to write a Letter of Request before you could get a permit. I suggest your club prepare this beforehand using the club’s letterhead (if any). You may address the letter to the mayor (the incumbent municipal head is mayor Ceciron C. Cawiling).
  • The Municipal Hall is open during office hours from Monday to Friday. Half day during Saturdays. You may time your visit on a weekday if you want to secure your permits as soon as you get to Caticlan. Another option is to arrive on a Sunday, park the bikes/scoots in Caticlan overnight then proceed to Bora for a good night’s rest from the long ride. Just come back the following day to have your permits processed.
  • If your bike/scoot is not under your name, bring a photocopy of the Deed of Sale just to be sure. You will also need this in securing tickets for RoRo.
  • Note that only motorcycles can be brought to Boracay. Cars may travel via RoRo upto Caticlan but they are not allowed to be brought to the island.
  • The Permit to Transport is good for one year and renewable thereafter.

Here are some pertinent numbers you may call to assist you in securing your Permit to Transport:

  • Office of the Mayor (Malay, Aklan) – (036) 288.8772
  • Rangel of CBMSC (Caticlan-Boracay Motorboat Service Cooperative) – 0918.616.4329

Whew!

-o-
{β–«}
J0HNRANA

john[dot]rana[at]gmail[dot]com


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14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2008 4:39 pm

    i envy you guys.. i always wanted to bring any of my former bikes there… i always ended up at galera..

  2. Nestor permalink
    June 17, 2008 5:15 pm

    That was a feat indeed! I am impressed by your very high tolerance and your perseverance (we hope we have a lot of those traits here in the country). Hope I could bring my Nouvo Z there sometime in the future.
    More power to your riding group…

  3. pal permalink
    June 17, 2008 10:05 pm

    way to go, john !!!
    nice job to get your scoots to boracay.

  4. ian permalink
    June 18, 2008 11:10 am

    I admire your perseverance sir! .. It’s true that it’s almost impossible to bring along motorized vehicle in Bora! but you proved us wrong… Kudos to you sir and long live Vespa Club of the Phils!!!

  5. Mon M. Santelices permalink
    June 18, 2008 12:54 pm

    Galing talaga, Mr. Prez! That defines the cliche “if there’s a will, there’s a way” but the best part is sharing the information with our fellow riders who may wish to do the same.

  6. June 20, 2008 11:03 am

    lorem: Galera is also a nice ride destination.

    Nestor & Ian: Thanks for the compliments. πŸ™‚ More power to you guys too!

    Pal: Thanks! Just sent you the writeup your requested for the Scooterista feature. πŸ™‚

    Mon aka Mr. VP: Yeah, that was the point of this post: to share valuable info in the hopes that others who would like to do the same ride in the future may learn from our experience. πŸ™‚

  7. June 25, 2008 7:56 am

    amazing effort bro!

  8. June 25, 2008 2:29 pm

    such nice informative info you have here. I was drawn by the mt luho link to my blog and returned here…i almost explored the bat cave there but had to forgo due to lack of time and my companions are not really into it 😦

  9. ina permalink
    June 30, 2008 8:31 pm

    galing nyo pre!!! lahat gagawin para sa vespa nyo…
    bilib ako, sa kwento puro hassles pero naipilit nyo pa rin madala mga vespa nyo sa bora island.

  10. Walter permalink
    October 5, 2008 8:08 am

    Dear Mr.John Rana,

    May I please ask if the secured car park in Caticlan is really secured? We as a family plan to Travel to Bora next month and no one could give an accurate info on the pay car park.

    Thank you,

    Walter

  11. October 5, 2008 9:30 am

    Hi Walter!

    We had a pleasant experience where we had our scoots parked. We even had a chit-chat with the caretaker and left some of our stuff in their house (riding gears, jackets, helmets etc) before heading to Bora.

    I think for cars, they charge P100/day.

  12. October 24, 2011 9:54 pm

    thanks for the article
    i’m going to live in boracay and need a scooter there
    any idea where to buy a cheap yet reliable scooter in philippines?

  13. Tinch permalink
    April 26, 2016 3:36 pm

    i’m planning to bring my baby here. I’m actually googling ways on how and im happy to bumped in your blog. it was very helpful and informative. I hope I could have the patience and determination you have. Good job. πŸ™‚

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