The much awaited Philippines blog, I’ve put together as much information, as I seen such a demand for this blog from you all!
I know my Instagram doesn’t always give away as much information as you would all like, I guess I want my blog to have a bit of a point of difference to my Instagram, and by going into more detail over here gives those who really follow and are interested the chance to learn more about my trips, and to help them plan! I actually don’t do much research before my trips, so I guess they are always a bit of an adventure this way, but we sure run into bumps along the way!
Comment below any suggestions and what you think of this blog, its always nice to get some feedback!
My first suggestion for the Philippines would be to have some idea of when you want to go, and where, this way you can plan out your flights and ferries beforehand, as getting from island to island can be a bit of a whirlwind.
We were of course so last minute, and found we would be flying here there and everywhere because flights had sold out.
We always use Skyscanner to book our flights, I choose this site because it compares so many different airlines and bookings sites to get the best prices and options, its also super easy to use & I’ve never had issues booking through any of the third party sites.
First Stop is the Island of Cebu; We flew from Manila to Cebu city, from there we got a private mini van at the airport down to Moalboal, this took 4 hours- I suggest eating something at the airport before the drive, we couldn’t find anything along the way HA, ended up stopping at some shopping centre and eating fruit because all the food options there just weren’t very appetising! I was joined by Jack, my twin; Els her partner Alex and then met up with our good friends Hayley, Kyle & Lee for a week to explore Cebu together.
We spent a few nights here to visit Kawasan Falls and the coastline. We found a place to stay on booking.com, which was a little self contained house, 2 bedrooms, which was incredibly cheap, and allowed us to cook our own meals, which we fast learnt was going to be the best option in this area, travelling with a vegan (elsa) Vegetarian (meee) and a bunch of fussy healthier food addicts this was so much better than trying to eat out here. Lets just say the options were not endless unless your into sugar filled bread, fried chicken & strange americanised fast foods… But hey the mangoes in the Philippines made up for this lack of food options 😛
I guess I’ve travelled to a lot of parts of Asia, and one of the highlights is usually the incredibly tasty local cuisine, Philippines certainly lack this, due to the colonisation by Spain in 1565, and then shortly after became ruled by the United States in 1898, someone told me this is what had affected the food culture.
We rented scooters from our accomodation to get around, but driving in the Philippines was pretty crazy, so be super careful, and if you’re not experienced maybe just catch the tuk-tuks, they are so cheap and accessible.
On the way to the waterfall one of the mornings Jack and I seen a really crazy accident, and we don’t know if anyone was killed, but all 3 people affected were not wearing helmets, and all I could think was that if they were wearing helmets this would have been a totally different scenario, it was such a wake up. Unfortunately helmets just aren’t really a thing in the Philippines yet, and it was actually such a challenge to even hire them at times.
Whilst in Moalboal we visited Kawasan Falls twice, both mornings and during the day we explored the different beaches along the coast. You can also do Canyoning there but this didn’t really interest any of us.
We were quiet happy spending our days sipping coconuts on the beach and working on the tans 😛
Next we organised another private van around to Oslob and spent a few nights here, we hired a house on Airbnb, which I probably wouldn’t recommend doing this, it was like we were in someones old grandmas house, it was old and creepy, and had cockroaches crawling around at night, it also wasn’t really cheap, there was 7 of us staying there, but I would certainly suggest a hotel, not Airbnb in this area anyway.. There was one good thing about this accomodation, the cutest puppies lived there!!
The first day we went searching for a place to eat and shop for food, there wasn’t any good supermarkets around, but we did find a market where we were able to buy loads of fruit and veg, to cook our own dinners and breakfast, for lunch we found 2 good places that made wood fired pizza, nothing overly special, don’t be expecting some Italian quality, but when the options are so poor your expectations surely are lowered. (if you like pizza, they have this in the Philippines) One place was called La terrasse – Chez Tonton, the other was a restaurants at Cebu Club Fort Med, this could be a good option to stay here.
That afternoon we went to a nearby waterfall, it was pretty late and low light, but so magical- this is called Tumalog Falls.
The following day we spent the morning swimming with Whale sharks, it was the most incredible experience ever!
When we got there we seen loads of tourists and thought oh my this is not what I expected and going to be a total nightmare!
We rented our own private boat for our swim, when we got out there we weren’t near other boats and felt like we pretty well had the experience to ourselves, the Whale Sharks are such gentle giants, and it certainly took a while to get comfortable with how big they were. I’ve been told in other seasons there is a far more natural way to experience this when they are doing their natural migration, and I would highly recommend trying to do this if you can, this would certainly have been our preferred choice, and if I were to go back I would make sure I am there in the right season to see them naturally.
Again more research before the trip could have answered these questions for us! haha
Next island stop.. The island of Siargao (my favourite island out of all visited heres why..)
To get here was a bit of a challenge, so firstly we took a private van to Cebu city, which was 5 hour drive this time, then we flew from Cebu city to Manila, we decided to spent the night in Manila as it was valentines and felt like treating ourselves to a lovely city hotel, so we could have a night in with room service and a candle-lit bath! Jack surprised me with roses & treats 🙂
The following day we then took another flight to Siargao, at the airport our hotel was waiting and it was a 1 hour drive to where we were staying, I think the best and only region I would suggest staying is General Luna, this is where all the accomodation and restaurants are.
We stayed at Siargao Bleu Resort, which was clean and nice, id recommend this, it also had a small gym which was a little bonus!
Places to eat: Okay so finallllyyy some good food was found, because this island is one of the renowned surf breaks of the world, there is a great vibe and some cafes and restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options, almost felt like a little taste of being back in Bali!
First day we went to Shaka for a bowl as this was recommended to els, turns out this place is actually owned by someone from my hometown which is really awesome and made me love it that much more!
Another place we ate at that els was invited to was Yoga Dojo at lotus Shores, which had so many vegan options, in fact I am 95% sure its completely vegan! Lots of Indian inspired meals, I certainly recommend this place, its apart of a hotel/yoga retreat and was down some bumpy and flooded road which was a bit of a pain.
Next was Arkahayahay resort which did the besttt dragonfruit bowls, so thick and frozen!
and finally Harana surf resort, which is where we originally booked to stay but they cancelled due to over bookings.
This was just next door to our hotel and had so many veg and vegan options, we went here every night and it had such a nice vibe, the banana hart curry was my fav! (I think thats what it was called)
Anyway, getting on with the Island, Well we didn’t plan this one out too much and as we arrived and with a little google research found that we had come in their off season, rain and wind, damnnn, as soon as we arrived it was already raining, but I straight away knew this island was SO beautiful, absolutely covered in Palm tree and the most gorgeous coastlines, the mix of this, the surf laid back culture and good eats, this island straight away glued with me! We had two days cruising around the island and exploring, no sunshine and I was about to loose hope.. on our last full day we woke up to some hope! some blue sky poking through, we had agreed we were going to get a boat to the nearby small islands regardless of the weather, but luckily enough we had almost a full day of sunshine, so we sure made the most of it and visited naked island and surroundings. Even though it was a bit windy and the weather was a bit hit and miss I had the best day and was amazed at how beautiful this place was regardless of the imperfect weather.
The water was the most insane colour, we snapped sooo many photos this day, and this is where most of my Philippines content came from, this one day!
Lastly, Palawan- El nido. To get here we flew from Siargao to Cebu, Cebu to Manila, Manila to Puerto Princess- Palawan, then we took around a 5 hour mini van ride up to El Nido town.. long journey right..
First night we had greek food & margaritas on the beach, there was far more of a restaurant scene here in El nido, I guess being one of the most common tourist destinations it has a bit more there then the small towns we visited in Cebu.
We organised our own private boat ride for the following day to visit the islands of El Nido, this costs us around $200AUD don’t quote me on that though.. they took us to 4 spots & made us the yummiest veg lunch spread that we requested! We just found one of the many tour shops along the road, we went with one called HANNAH tours.
Some of the places visited were; Secret Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Snake Island, Shimizu Island, 7 Commando Beach, Pinagbuyutan Island, and Entalula Beach.
We took a private boat out 2 of our 3 full days, the other day we had our driver take us to Nacpan Beach which was around a 30-45 minute drive.
We stayed at Bayview Resort El Nido which is a brand new resort which was still under construction while we were staying, its around a 5 minute drive out of town and we were able to rent scooters from reception.
Favourite places to eat in El Nido; Trattoria altrove- this is a must if you like Italian, every night there was ques down the road to get in.. they also have a sister restaurant that is much more casual and only does pizzas, which is never as busy, we went there one night for pizzas because we couldn’t be bothered waiting for a table when we were only going to be ordering pizzas!
Also if you’re into falafels, on the main strip there is a little takeaway falafel shop that makes a tasty falafel pocket/gyro, i’d recommend this for a quick and cheap meal, so yum!
Some of these pictures I’ve taken from my sister – @elsas_wholesomelife
Please leave any comments or suggestions about my Philippines blog!
Travelled with our friends (all linked here)- the obvious ones Jack @DoyouTravel, Ellie @elsas_wholesomelife, and also joined by – Alex @Alexwatson, Hayley @Haylsa, Kyle @Kyle_Hunter, Lee @lee.vs.world