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Philippines

Curious what backpackers do on the Philippines? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Cars, pedestrians, scooters, bikes with side cars. All moving as one symbiotic unit. Horns and whistles.. hollars and hellos. Something happening in every single nook and cranny. Like if the space isnt used it will just disappear.

    All moving with haste and purpose. Frenetic and metered... Tolerant but not unaware of the thin layer of permanent sweat covering everything. Like so much dust shining.. sunbeams through the slats of an old barn. And power. Power running every which way... Masterfully stolen by modern day circus Robin hoods.Read more

  • Landed in Manila about 5pm and went straight to Quezon with Benjo, his wife Joyce and their baby Arianny to Tim's sons birthday. It's roasting so far, just back at wir hotel, surprisingly no too bad jet lag

  • Got to boracay last night, it's so nice!!! Ian wakened me at 6 to get the most oot o the day since we're only here two days. Walked alang the beach dis morning and went in the sea for a peerie dip. Then sunbathed at wir hotel and had a drink at the pool bar.

  • Drove to El Nido yesterday and stayed the night, in a room wi a lizard (Ian freaked oot). Daday we went on an island hopping tour, it was so amazing! We hired a GoPro so hopefully wir photos fae dat will be better. It was so amazing, we swam through two lagoons and had snorkelling stuff to see all the fish 🐟. We saw monkeys in trees too which was pretty cool but I couldna get ony good photos. Just waiting noo on wir run back to wir proper hotel.Read more

  • Yesterday we just spent the day at the hotel in the pool and went on a kayak. Been to the underground river daday, it was so amazing!! But really hard to take photos when you wir inside the cave, de wir tonnes o bats and we saw a snake and a monkey ageen. Leaving the Philippines damorn 😢

  • Lucky we checked last night, as our main plan for today was to head for a couple of the large museums nearby. But they're both closed on Mondays! Doh. So we decided instead to see how some of the 1% live, and headed over to an area called Bonifacio Global City. This is a large new development on the site of a huge old army barracks. It's home to skyscrapers, large companies, and a couple of fancy shopping malls.

    It was very strange, since the 40 minute taxi ride (12 kilometres, thanks Manila traffic) there was through the usual crumbling concrete dodgy parts of the city. But then we turned a single corner, and we were suddenly in Singapore! Large wide footpaths, no beggars, no trash, just well-dressed people going about their workday and lots of security guards with assault rifles and shotguns.

    The large shopping area is known as the Bonifacio High Street - lots of shops along a central strip of parkland with some sculptures, benches and so on. It was nice without being super upmarket - chains like Cotton On, GAP, American Outfitters and a few others, rather than Prada or Luis Vuitton. We wandered up and down a few times in and out of the shops - Shandos bought some sunglasses, while I bought a couple of t-shirts. Finally I'd found somewhere that stocks shirts large enough for me! Big thanks to the Pinoy diet of mostly fried chicken and grease for keeping the locals well above average size for Asia.

    We had lunch at a fancy burger restaurant that was ironically cheaper than most of the meals we'd had in Boracay. I had an Amsterdam burger which had a perfectly cooked patty along with gruyere cheese, saurkraut, pastrami and some salad. Delicious.

    A little more shopping after lunch where Shandos bought a new necklace and earrings combo, and we visited a dessert bar for a bacon & maple syrup ice-cream with brioche, candied popcorn and fairy floss. A little extravagant but nice. Followed up with some craft beers (first ones in ages) at an unfortunately named fried chicken restaurant called "Fowl Bread".

    Also had a quick look at the huge shopping centre at one end of the high street called MarketMarket!, but it was absolutely heaving with people and the shops weren't as nice as those outside. By now it was mid-afternoon and rain looked imminent, so we managed to dredge up a wifi signal (it's annoyingly rare here, and I haven't bought a SIM card) and grabbed an Uber. Another 40 minute trip and we were back at the hotel.

    Hung around relaxing for a little while before an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I'm still a bit apprehensive about heading out at night here, since everywhere just seems so skeezy. Shandos remains unconcerned. The TV in the restaurant had the news on, and it was constant updates about drug war casualties, complete with "corpse-in-the-street" footage. More than a little off-putting! Philippines is currently in the midst of a drug war, the new President has said he wants to kill as many drug pushers and users as possible, and will personally veto any charges against police who kill drug-related suspects. He's also encouraged private citizens to kill drug criminals, which seems to have resulted in people killing whoever and then putting a cardboard sign on them saying "drug user". Like that old Chris Rock sketch about the police killing black people indiscriminately and then sprinkling crack on their corpses. Frightening, though we haven't seen any evidence of it directly - as usual it's mostly just aimed at poor areas.
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  • Final destination for the birthday boy, with three nights of luxury for our last few nights together.

    Our home of relaxation for the next few days is Casa Amihan, a small family run boutique resort on the white sandy beaches of Anda.

    What greeted us was one of the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen. That coupled with a mini speech from Dan at dinner left us all a bit emotional.

  • Today Shandos was on a photography walk around central Manila. She's having a good time at these things, but they're organised by the conference and I didn't register in time to be able to come along. Alas.

    I played video games all day again, though I took an hour out in the morning to do some laundry and catch a shuttle bus over to the convention centre to pick up my badge and familiarise myself with the place. It's huge! Several large convention halls, breakout rooms and so on. It's nice enough, though it's got that concrete brutalist feel to it that a lot of 70s era buildings had. The whole area was a redevelopment project overseen by Imelda Marcos back when she was First Lady

    Shandos's photo walk finished up around 3pm, and after a rest and freshening up we headed over to the nearby SM Mall of Asia, supposedly one of the largest in the world. It felt a bit dingy though, and I wasn't a huge fan. It was right on the waterfront though, so we took advantage of the location and time to grab a drink at a waterfront bar and watch the sun setting over Manila Bay. Beautiful stuff, and you almost forget where you are for a while.

    Next stop was the official Conference Opening Party at the BlueLeaf Filipinas by Marriott. Beautiful venue and some incredible production. Lots of dancers, music, singers, with some audience participation as well. We did a bit of dancing but not a lot, as we still didn't know anyone that well aside from a couple of Shandos's acquaintances.

    Food was good though I felt off colour for the next day, not sure if it was related! Definitely passed on the "balut" - it's a boiled, fertilised duck egg. Yes, you peel a boiled egg, bite into it, and the duck foetus is in there. You're supposed to just crunch through it, bones, feathers and all, but only a couple of folks were brave enough to give it a go. Apparently the egg part was quite nice!

    There was a company there making cocktails with a Filipino spirit called Rakan, which I had quite a few of. Thankfully we left around 11pm before things got too out of hand - conference is starting tomorrow!
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

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