Adventures in Philippines!
Philippines is made up of about 7,641 islands and it seems there is almost that many things to do! From the bluest waters and pristine beaches to the most delicious mangoes, amazing diving and snorkeling, surfing, cave exploring, rice fields, miniature primates and cliff jumping – the Philippines has it all! The hardest part about traveling in Philippines is how to choose between all the amazing places to explore. Keep on reading for some of the highlights of my trip while traveling for two months in Philippines.
Your main point of entry will be the busy city of Manila. I have never seen crazier traffic than in Manila (and this is coming from a person who has traveled through SE Asia, Central America and Africa)! Allow extra time for getting from one place to another in Manila, especially if you are on your way to the airport to catch a flight. Be sure to check out the rooftop city bars and the Mall of Asia.
If you’ve ever been curious about surfing La Union is a great place to take a lesson. Located north of Manila it’s a quiet town with a great surf vibe. With a long beach break and consistent waves it makes it an idea place to learn to surf.
North of La Union through the mountains and rice fields you’ll find the small town of Sagada. Surrounded by pine trees and mountains it is a cool relief from the hot climates further south. Check out the hanging coffins – the traditional burial technique in this part of Philippines where the dead are buried in hanging coffins, nailed high to the sides of cliff faces. A short hike out of town will bring you to an awesome lookout of miles of rice terraces built into the mountains. If you are feeling brave take the “cave connection” tour. This tour is about 3 hours of navigating your way underground between two main caves, through tiny crevices and up cave walls. Not recommended for the claustrophobic or those with fear of heights!
Palawan is a tropical paradise. With its secluded beaches and lush jungles Palawan was a highlight of my trip. In Sabang we took a boat into the Subterranean River. Visitors can explore the first 2km but the river continues through the cave for more than 8km. A short walk along the coast in Sabang brought us to an amazing secluded beach with not another person in sight. Our only visitor was the monkey who crept up on us out of the jungle and tried to steal my shoe! We then traveled up the coast to Port Barton. With an unpaved road this was a bit of a rough ride, including getting stuck in the mud on the way! With the challenges of getting here this town remains calm and quiet, especially compared to the touristy town of El Nido just a bit further north, and snorkeling tours are half the price! El Nido is an exciting town with a great party atmosphere, not to mention beautiful beaches!
From El Nido to Coron we embarked on a 5 day, 4 night boat trip with Tao Expeditions. We booked this trip several months in advance as the tour fills up quickly (for good reason!). As Lonely Planet states, “Tao is perhaps the highlight of any trip to Palawan… Such a trip offers a rare opportunity to experience and interact with people and communities in the area, unmediated by the mass of the tourism industry.” We visited pristine snorkeling spots, cliff jumped, fished off the boat, slept in huts on small islands each night, and ate the best food we had on our entire trip. Check out the link below for more information about Tao. I can’t recommended it highly enough!
If you’re interested rest and relaxation at a nice hotel or resort then Boracay is the place to go. While definitely being one of the most touristy places we visited in Philippines it has miles of white sand beaches, beautiful calm water, and tons of restaurants and bars.
Bohol is the land of tarsiers and chocolate hills. We rented a motorbike and visited the tarsier sanctuary. Tarsiers are tiny primates about the size of your hand. Although you cannot touch them they are certainly a sight to see!
If you’re looking for adventure then Kawassan Falls is the place to go! A canyoneering tour will take you jumping off waterfalls, floating down clear blue river water, and sliding down natural water slides. For the less adventurous traveler you can still visit Kawassan falls by floating on a bamboo raft.
Going to Philippines? Don’t forget your shots!
In addition to your routine vaccines you may need vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, rabies and traveller’s diarrhea. Depending on your itinerary you may also be at risk for malaria and other mosquito borne diseases. Book your consultation at TravelSafe clinic to review your itinerary and health risks and to receive any vaccines you may need!
While two months may sound like a long time in Philippines it still left so many places to check out! Where will YOU choose to explore?