Tropical State of Mind
After a two-month journey backpacking around South East Asia, one full of setbacks, change of planes and our legs super tired.. what could have been better than a relaxing time in the Philippines?! Absolutely nothing!
As soon as my travel buddy and I set foot in the Philippines, it felt like entering paradise.
The Philippine beaches are known as some of the best in the world. There are stunning waterfalls, exquisite food and the welcoming nature of the Filippino people will make you feel like at home.
The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands. It is important that you pick the area and islands that you want to visit before going. We decided that we would go around Cebu going to Bohol island, Oslob and swim with the whale sharks; we also wanted to go to visit the spectacular island of Palawan stopping over El Nido and Coron. But not everything always goes the way we planned...
It is ranked one of most beautiful islands in the world, the clear aquamarine water, limestone cliffs, and lagoons of the island province of the Philippines are only the most basic highlights.
El Nido in Palawan
We had a flight from Bali to Puerto Princesa that stopped in Cebu. We didn't want to spend too much time in Puerto Princesa City, as we wanted to make the most of the other tiny precious islands. Puerto Princesa was the easiest way to get to El Nido and from there to Coron. After we landed in Puerto Princesa, we caught a bus to El Nido. It took about five hours to get there. The bus stop is a bit outside the town, so we needed to take a typical filippino tricycle to get to our hostel "Smile Lodge, which we had booked for five nights. We arrived and the weather was bright and pleasant. The first thing we did after leaving our backpacks at the hostel was rent a scooter. It costs about 250 pesos (about £8) per day, remember you can negotiate and personally I am a master at it!:P At El Nido we went to Nacpan Beach and Big lagoon, it was absolutely stunning, until there was such a hard typhoon that it made it impossible to do anything. We decided that the best thing to do was to move away from there as the locals told us that the typhoons stayed for days .
It was the 5th of June 2018, and if I can suggest you after my experience, don't go in June!
Coron was one of our top things to visit during our time in the Philippines; but because of the weather we couldn't make it to Coron.
We made new plans...
Back to Puerto Princesa by bus and we took a flight to Cebu.
It is a crowded town and we just wanted to have a quick look at the city center and move on the morning after. We stayed at Palazzo Pensionne, it was located in a peaceful neighbourhood. They have clean room and lovely staff. Though, it's a bit far from the Cebu breath-taking night life, so we needed to catch a taxi.We went to eat at "Larsan Barbeque", we found there lots of traditional food! Plenty of choice and very accessible prices.
Located a few kilometers from the main island of Cebu. It is separated from Cebu by the Mactan Channel and connected to the province mainland by the Marcelo Fernan Bridge and the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge. Mactan is about 1-2 hours away from Cebu City.
How to get there: from Cebu City to Mactan there are five major passenger ports in Cebu; Pier 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These ports all connect to taxi, cab and bus. We took the Metro Ferry at Pier 3 which has trips every 30 minutes.
I suggest you visit Mactan for the incredible white sands beaches.
Visiting Oslob we made our journey in the Philippines something unforgettable! It is paradise lost in the jungle with Tumalog waterfalls and Kawasan Falls.
How to get there: we took a cab going to the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City, then we caught a bus going to Bato via Oslob. The bus ride from the bus terminal going to Oslob is around 3 hours. Once we have reached Oslob, we took a habal-habal (traditional tricycle) going to Tumalog Falls and not too far from there Kawasan Falls.
Swimming with whale-sharks in Oslob
There are rules to follow: feeding and touching the whale sharks is not allowed, neither is wearing sunscreen or using a camera with a flash, and throwing anything into the water is also strictly prohibited. Make sure you stick to the rules, first of all for those beautiful creatures and second for yourself, as there is jail for those who are inconsiderate.
Bohol is a province of the Philippines, in the country’s Central Visayas region. It comprises Bohol Island and numerous smaller surrounding islands. Bohol is known for coral reefs and unusual geological formations. We left Bohol for last because we wanted to relax before going back to our normal lives. It is definitely worth a visit. It has stunning beaches and at night there are bars, market and fire shows.
How to get there: OceanJet has trips every day from Cebu to Bohol and vice versa. We took the fast craft ferry which depart from Cebu City Pier 1 to Tagbilaran City Port in Bohol (it takes about 3 hours).
When going to the Philippines, it's best to plan your visit between the months of December to May. There is less humidity during those months and this is also the dry season, so you can get to enjoy the outdoor activities fully and water adventures that Mactan has in store for you.
In the Philippines we struggled finding ATMs, and then once we found one it was a long queue or sometimes zero money, so make sure you have enough cash when moving around.