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Philippines

Philippines

Curious what backpackers do on the Philippines? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day12

    An old tree (it is believed to be more than 1300 years old) with a natural fresh water spring under its roots. To collect the water a basin was installed and doctor fishes were stocked there. Now you can have a free fish spa there as the fishes nibble your dead skin from your feet

  • Day9

    We arrived in Bantayan, Santa Fe after a long bus and boat journey and it was HOT. For the first time during our travels we didn't have anywhere pre booked to stay and this will be the last time we make that mistake. We got a trike with a man who looked like a Bond villain, he only had one eye and red painted finger nails. I didn't really trust him showing us different hotels, we gave him the name of one we were considering and he took us to a random housing area and stated that was the location. A few places we tried were fully booked so in a panic we picked up some wifi and booked a place, he wasn't happy about going there wanting us to take his recommendations instead. Traveling around looking at different places in the heat is not for me and the place seemed cleaned and central. We headed out in Santa Fe, our hotel was based just a couple of minutes from the main strip with all the bars and restaurants. We went to a place called Cafe Del Marre and had delicious fresh pasta. Whilst sitting there we experienced 2 power cuts, island life at its best!

    The next day we hired a scooter from the hotel and drove up the coast to Bantayan to use the only cash machine on the island 😱 we stopped at a couple of beach spots on the way back for food and drinks. The Philippines has amazing beaches, soft white sand and crystal clear waters make it an absolute treat to swim in. Bantayan is very chilled and we couldn't find any accommodation we really loved so decided to move on to Malapascua island the next day by boat.

    We decided to hire a boat to get to Malapascua instead of the public boat - bus - boat option. The bangka was supposed to take 2 hours but it was more like 4. We stayed at thresher cove dive resort in a little cabin on the beach 😍 it wasn't flash by any stretch of the imagination but it was still nice to wake up to sunrise over the sea. The first night a little dog came to get ready on the balcony with me which obviously had my sold. Malapascua is huge for diving with thresher sharks, you can do the dive as part of an advanced open water course. We attempted to tell a little white lie to the dive shop about Bailey having his PADI but got rumbled ☹️ Malapascua has some nice little beach restaurants which we visited each evening, no real party scene maybe because everyone has to get up at 4am to dive with the sharks 🦈 Bailey started doing part of his PADI and we completed another dive together.
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  • Day11

    Another day another bus/boat journey! This time from Cebu down to Dumaguete on the south east tip of Negros Oriental. A long journey, almost 6 hours in total. The hotel we were staying at was really cute and quaint, lots of different seating areas and clashing prints and colours. It also had a lovely resident dog with soft fluffy fur who was named Bailey 😂 so funny when everyone was calling the dogs name and confusing Bailey. We got changed and headed to Rizal Blvd in central Dumaguete, it's a University town so lots of young people and live music - some of it really good and some of it really bad! The next day we had slightly sore heads and spent the day chilling by the pool, only downside was no loungers in the sun. Dumaguete was very cheap, rum and cokes £1 for a double and meals for £2-4 in restaurants.

    We took the bus out to Zambougita, a half hour south of Dumaguete and close to the port for Apo Island. Feeling like we had been on the move forever we settled at Kav's resort for a couple of nights. Beachfront, nice pool with water slide, clean and good food with lovely staff 👌🏻 one of the nicer places we have stayed in the Philippines.

    Apo Island is a half hour by boat from Dumaguete and famed for its snorkelling and abundance of turtles. We had to hang around at the port for a while to find some people to share a boat with. The island is very dramatic as you approach, lots of dark jagged cliffs and reminded me of something a Bond villain would be living on. There's some accommodation on the island but I scared myself with tripadvisor reviews and the only electricity being available 6-10pm (therefore no fan or air con). We headed out snorkelling with a guide and were met by turtles almost immediately. The marine life was amazing and our guide was really good pointing things out and taking photos of us underwater. We spent the rest of the time chilling in hammocks and enjoying the food available on the beach.
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  • Day15

    A weekend in Bacolod for Graham and Rocelyn's Wedding 👰🏻

    We arrived early on the Friday morning and headed straight to the mall so the boys could get barongs for their wedding outfits. A traditional Filipino wedding attire for the men, it's a long sleeved shirt with a pattern on the front, it's usually a sheer material meaning they have to wear a t-shirt under (intense in the heat). It was nice to see some friendly faces from Guernsey and meet all the Irish and Filipino family of the couple. Bailey risked a hair cut and beard trim, communication can be an issue here when you get asked "is that ok?" You reply "yes" and they continue to cut.

    The wedding was at a nearby Catholic Church, a surprise when we arrived was seeing our names in the order of service stating we were making an offering of candles to the priest. Rosie looked absolutely stunning and service was beautiful, few years from Graham, apparently this means he has to do the washing up for 6 months. Our candle offering went without a hitch, very nerve wracking though as we were first down and the candles kept being blowing out by the fan. Afterwards we had photos in the church, they always take one nice one and a silly faces one 😜 it was lovely to see how many people had travelled to share the day with the couple.

    The reception was held at L'Fisher Hotel where most of us were staying. It was a huge room and big wedding with lots of guests, we had a good table with all the guernsey guests. The bar staff were very attentive often double parking the boys which probably contributed to the outcome of the evening! It was lovely seeing everyone from all different cultures and backgrounds coming together and dancing together. The Filipinos love to singing and we were treated to lots of guests getting up to sing during the reception. I felt like a celebrity when some teenage girls kept asking me to get in photos with them, they love the blonde hair over here.

    The next day one of Rosie's friends had organised a dog show as it was a public holiday due to it being the Philippine Independence Day. The show therefore was based around this theme, it was an amazing sight to observe some of the costumes were very dramatic (especially the dog that had been coloured pink!)
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  • Day18

    Sometimes the best plans go awry and figuring the two flights to Boracay would be about the same as ferry and bus we opted for the later. This turned out to be one of our longest ever journeys 😫 made only slightly easier by the rum and gin we purchased before setting off. No rest for the wicked though, as soon as we arrived it was a quick shower and back out to make the most of the first night. Boracay was really busy and is definitely a party island!

    The rest is a blur and I don't remember how we got back to the hotel just that I woke up in the dreamiest bed. Boracay is divided in to stations and our hotel (Fairways and Bluewater) was in station 3 in the north east of the island. It was HUGE so big you had to get a shuttle bus around it, 6 pools, private beach and is built around a golf course. The Ventana pool was our favourite, an infinity pool looking out at crystal clear waters and boats zipping back and forth. We spent the day recuperating there before joining the Irish for a meal in the evening. Bailey decided he couldn't pass up on a chance of playing on the golf course so went off at 7am the next day.

    Our final day we spent by the pool before going to Villa Camila where Rosie had organised some surprise birthday celebrations for Graham and his mum 🎂
    I couldn't leave the Philippines without having a go on karaoke and got up to sing a duet with Jamie to back for good by take that. Everyone was stunned when the host performed a duet independently (male and female vocals) switching between the two seamlessly 😳 we loved our time in Boracay and only wish it was for longer 😍
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  • Day22

    Direct flight ✈️ to El Nido from Caticlan was so easy and stress free, air swift even provided a free lunch which included a brownie. You fly in right over the ocean and practically land on the beach, it's a tiny place and I heard up until recently you used to collect bags from under a palm tree 😂 now it's just a guy handing them out from a van. We found our air bnb and headed out to get some food and explore El Nido. It's a very dramatic setting, huge black limestone cliffs are to the west of town and everything seems squashed on to the beach front and surrounding streets. We found some very decent spots to eat though, first night a vegetarian place that did amazing falafels and humous. I was surprised I managed to get Bailey in here and sure enough he didn't like his meal and we had to swop 🙄

    The next day we took a trike to ? waterfall, our guide Bong showed the way for the half hour sweaty trek and well deserved swim afterwards. Next up Napcan beach, we just missed a downpour and to be honest neither of us were very impressed when we arrived. This is the beach every trike driver wants to take you too mainly cos it's miles away (30/40 minutes from town). The shore line was full of little jellyfish so no chance of a swim, we attempted to go in some water on the opposite side of the bay but it was filthy. Feeling disappointed we decided to get some lunch and ask to go to Las Cabanas Beach a little earlier than planned. Las Cabanas was 👌🏻 we made it for an amazing sunset and had a couple of drinks in the little bars. We went to a place called La Traverse for pizza and pasta that evening and it was unreal, so good in fact that it's where we ate for the next 3 nights 🙊 creatures of habit!

    So up until now I'm loving El Nido but then El Nido decides to not love me by ravaging me with sand fly bites 😭 I wake up at 1am clawing my legs off and have upwards of 75 bites on legs, arms and back! We visit the chemist before going on boat tour Z. Genera consensus is its sand fly bites from Napcan and I start to notice lots of other people with bites, white patches of calamine lotion (the only thing to soothe the itch) and plasters! Tour Z offers alternative locations to the usual boat tours, kayaks, SUPs, on board massages and giant inflatable unicorns. It was a small group of us on board but we had lots of fun, even stopping on a sandbar to play a game of volleyball. We saw the most stunning sunset from the boat, the colours were like nothing I've seen before.

    Unfortunately it was back to another night of sand bite hell and I had to return to the chemist demanding anything they had! We moved to spin "designer" hostel for our first hostel experience of the trip. The place has a really cool design, lots of open spaces with sofas and chill out spaces. We were sharing with two older American guys, I felt it was now my duty to warn everyone about Napcan so made sure they took plenty of protection.

    We joined a combination boat tour of A/C the next day, the most popular stops for tourists in El Nido. We were on the boat with another couple which was good as not too busy and people delaying the boat moving on when we were ready. I was very cautious about going on the beach, Bailey described it as getting back in the water after a shark attack. All was soon forgotten though and we were snorkelling and enjoying our BBQ lunch 😊 kayaking in the small lagoon was definitely a highlight. The boat tour routes are very busy though lots of bangka boats jostling for the best spot, and we weren't even in El Nido in peak season!

    Not many places in El Nido had a pool available and with my bites still causing trouble we decided to go down to Puerto Princessa and enjoy the last couple of days at a nice hotel away from the beach.

    Puerto Princessa had a couple of nice places to eat and bars to drink in, La Terasse and Hibiscus were favourites. There was a summer festival on while we were there so we watched lots of live music and visited food stalls at the main municipal building.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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