IT IS MORE FUN IN THE Philippines
I have been dying to visit the Philippines eversince I laid eyes on that blue waterfall called Kawasan. When I found out, my fiance, Leon Korobacz (@leonventures) was having some time off from work, I'm like, "Yeah, let's go!"
We found air tickets leaving within next week, and the timing couldn't have been perfect! It was pouring every other day in Sydney. so we are happy to escape the rain.
TWO WEEKS IN THE Philippines
Honestly, two weeks is not enough time to travel around the Philippines. I would highly recommend 3-4 weeks to fully explore all the beautiful places with time to chill. There are so many islands to visit and the only means of transport is either by ferry or airplane.
We started off with spending a few days in Manila, and headed off to Cebu, Mactan and Bohol islands for 1 1/2 weeks with our last stop, Coron island, before flying back to Manila. The fun-nest thing I did was a 6 hour layover in Manila. We stayed in the Premier Suite at Shangri-La At The Fort. Read all the room tour I did in this blog here.
I would highly recommend booking all your domestic air tickets early especially routes that are not going through Manila. Well, clearly we found out a little too late, haha. Island hopping can be extremely costly (you'll be looking at $200 for last minute booking for a short flight, e.g. Mactan to Coron).
The islands were dubbed "the Philippines" after Spain's King Philip II. There are over 7000 islands in the Philippines.
There are approximately 170 languages spoken in the Philippines including Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicolano, Waray, and Kapampangan.
The Puerto Princesa River in Palawan was the longest subterranean waterway in the world
I SMILE EVERYTIME...
I see the cute public transport. They come in all shapes and sizes.
We took a ride on a jeepney where you can easily fit a dozen people at the back. Jeepney was a revamp of G.I. Jeeps American soldiers brought to the country in the 1940s. It's the best kind of upcycle you'll ever see. Jeepneys got lots of character and style, from bright colour block to jet black Jeepneys. They run the country, I reckon.
The other cute mode of transport is the tricycle which is powered by a motorbike. Every tricycle is styled with different colours and fonts. It's a graphic designer kind of paradise!
FILIPINO TRADITIONAL CUISINE
For the adventurous, danggit, is a must try Filipino cuisine. Think of fish heads, paired with sausages and sweet dipping sauce of sliced red onions. It was definitely and interesting treat!
If you love sweet dessert, this Filipino street food is just yum! The staff at Shangri-La Mactan had them in many shapes and sizes. Called Puto Maya, it is made of glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves. The locals eat it with mangoes and sikwate (a hot chocolate drink).
I never knew the islands and beaches are to-die-for. It is truly a tropical paradise in the Philippines. Everywhere we went, we saw white beaches and blue water. Walk along the beach, you might spot a dark blue starfish or two. And you don't have to snorkel far to see colourful tropical sea creatures and corals.
You can always hire a boat for the day or sign up for snorkelling or diving in a group.
MY UNICORN DAYS...
My pool life was spent with my unicorn floatie at my favourite resorts. Shangri-la Mactan and Crimson Resort & Spa, both have the best infinity pools in Cebu. These pools have a vista view of the blue ocean. It just seemed so seamless.
The waterfalls in The Philippines are stunning. I was so in love with this particular waterfall located on the southwest of Cebu island. I've never seen such a pretty waterfall, ever. Kawasan Waterfalls is park opened to the public. I'm loving the 40 pesos entry (about $1). Leon (@hungrysydneysiders) and I visited this place three times because it was so much fun!
We swam in the turquoise blue water. It was cool kind of water, and very refreshing. The best part is jumping off one of the points about 10 meters high. You'll know which point to jump (as there are signage and watching the guided tours without being part of it, did help, haha).
I was scared to jump off the highest point. Took me a good 1 hour to finally make a decision. I came this far, I had to do it!
Best, jump, ever!
Was just breathtaking. I've never seen such colourful sunsets. This is every other day.
My favourite moment was when we were on a very tight and cheap local bus ride from Moalboal to Cebu. It was a very compact bus ride. Think of 3 passengers squeezed into a two seater (haha!). Open windows without air conditioning (We missed out on the air-con bus, so, we took a gamble on this hehe).
Anyways, the point of the story was, there was this beautiful sunset over villages and hills during the horrendous sweaty bus ride. Leon and I were completely mesmerised by the view but the locals didn't even bat an eyelid. The Filipinos must have seen it everyday that this was just another sunset.
Where to find them, you may ask? Palawan in the Philippines is where all the magic happens.
I love Coron! It's a small town located in the North of Palawan, and it's an 8 hour ferry ride to El Nido (which I'll be planning to visit next year). Coron is well known for wreck diving. There is a spot where you can snorkel and free dive to touch the tip of a sunken Japanese ship's mast from World War II. I was very close to touching the tip of the ship mast but I couldn't. I didn't realized it was meters deep and my ears were close to bursting!
Now, Coron is surrounded by beautiful karst rock formations made of limestone. The mermaid lagoons are a dream come true. The water is a deep turquoise blue. I could spend all day swimming in the lagoon till my skin get all wrinkled up!