Its more fun in the Philippines

Set in the South Eastern cost of Asia the spectacular Philippine islands are an archipelago which boast over 7500 islands.  The long flight is well worth the tropical paradise that awaits. Steeped in a wealth of natural beauty, the Philippines will surely impress all who lay eyes on its magnificent palm trees, fluffy white sands crystal blue waters, majestic mountains and abundant biodiversity. The Philippines is matchless in beauty and is slowly gaining momentum as a global tourist hotspot. Here are some things you should know when considering travelling to this exotic country.

View of Boracay from top

View from Above Cebu

Best time to travel: To soak up some sun and avoid the typhoon season and rains, it is highly suggested that you visit during the dry summer months of December to May

Boracay Beach 1)

Gorgeous sunny  weather Language

For those who find travel daunting due to communication barriers, fear not, English is widely spoken, making it relatively easy to find your way around.

Currency

The Philippine Peso is their main currency, however Dollars, Euros and major credit and debit cards are widely accepted. The Exchange rate for converting South African Rand to Philippine Peso is about 1 ZAR = 3.04677 PHP.  From UAE Dirham to Peso is about 1AED= 12.65 PHP

People

What makes travelling great is the people you experience along the way. Filippino people are generally warm and welcoming and open to conversation. Most of them were happy to help us with directions and suggestions on what to do.

Safety

The Philippines is safe and friendly, however as in any country, as a tourist you need to be cautious and not to wander in any secluded places alone, especially at night.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is relatively low making this a holiday destination that will not break the bank    and where you can comfortably say  “keep the change”!

Things to do

From the bustling Capital of Manila, we took an hour flight to Cebu, Mactan, where we were based for 4 days. In Cebu, you can do the following:

Take a day trip to Bohol

From Cebu Port, take a ferry ride to Tagbilaran to enjoy a day trip in Bohol Island. The operating ferry companies are fairly organized and efficient and operate between 6am and 6 pm. The price is 500 pesos per person one way plus a 25 peso terminal fee.

Cebu Port

Cebu Port

Cebu port ferry ticket station

Ticketing Office in Cebu Port

Costs involved in the day trip are about 2500 pesos for a mini bus van with a tour guide. Remember locals love to negotiate so haggle for a reasonable tour price. This is what you can do in Bohol:

Day to Bohol activities

List of activities  on Bohol Day Trip

Chocolate Hills– witness magnificent limestone pod-like formations offering breathtaking panoramas.

Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Hanging Bridge-40 meter Bamboo Bridge crossing the deep emerald colored Sipatan River Bohol, is a fun and wonky tourist attraction. You might feel a little apprehensive at the wobbliness of the bridge, rest assured it’s steady and completely safe.

Hanging Bridge

Hanging Bridge

Billar Man Made Forestshowcases Mahogany trees planted on winding roads as part of a reforestation program over 50 years ago. If you are looking for a piece of tranquil lush greenery, this is where you will find it.

Manmade Forest

Man made forest

Blood Compact Monument, depicts an ancient ritual between the Spanish and Philippines. It is said that parties to an agreement would pour some of their blood into a cup filled with liquor and drink to seal a friendship or treaty.

Blood compact

Blood Compact Museum

Bohol sunsets

Breathtaking sunset from Blood Compact museum

The Tarsiers Conservatory is worth a visit to spot the rather peculiar nervous yet adorable animals in their habitat.

Tarsier Consevatory 1

Tarsier Consevatory

Tarsier Consevatory

The Butterfly sanctuary is also worth a visit to see various species of butterflies.

PHP 11

Butterfly Sanctuary

Loboc River cruise which offers a lunch. There are also plenty of beaches and adventure sports such as zip-lining available for all the adventure enthusiasts.

Loboc River cruise

Loboc River Cruise

Cebu to Oslob- Whale Shark Watching

From Cebu, you can hire a taxi to Oslob, (about 1:30min).

Oslob whaleshark watching1

Boats carrying people for whale shark interaction

Oslob whale shark  watchingThe whale shark watching/interaction is daily between 6am to 12pm.

On arrival, you get a safety briefing

Oslob whale shark watching safety briefing

Important Safety briefing

and an assurance of 100% guaranteed sighting of the whale sharks.

Oslob whaleshark watching 2

Can you see the whale shark?

Swimming with these harmless gentle giants is safe and an unforgettable experience that cannot be left out of your bucket list.

Oslob whale shark watching 4

I tried waving at the cute gentle giant

It costs 1000 pesos for 30 minutes swim the whale sharks and 500 for watching. To capture your interaction, you can hire an underwater camera for only 500 pesos.

Tumalog Falls is a kilometer away from the whale shark venue and offers tiny falls and a pool which you can wade in.

Tumalog Falls sign

Tumalog Falls 2

People wading in the shallow waterfall pools

Boracay

We took a flight from Cebu Airport to Boracay.

view of boracay from above

Boracay offers a relaxed atmosphere but is more energetic than Cebu.

Boracay Beach 2

Boracay Beach opposite DMall

The popular open air D Mall is where all the magic happens. Located a stone’s throw from the beach, D Mall is a long stretch known for its cheap shopping, multi-cuisine restaurants, pharmacies, massage parlors, tattoo shops, bars and clubs.

DMall (Boracay 5)

DMall (Boracay3)

DMall (Boracay4)

DMall (Boracay 4)At night, the street comes alive with live bands, street performers, fire dancers and night revelers looking to for island fun.

DMall night life

DMall Boracay nightlife

DMall

Boracy BeachFor only 2500 pesos you can hire out a boat for the day, which includes, snorkeling, cliff jumping, underwater caves and lunch and zip lining. Be sure to bargain for prices. Here’s what you can do:

Magic Island 2

Boats headed to islands

Crystal Cove 2

Crystal Cove where you can view underground caves

Crystal Cove 1

Beautiful caves

Crystal Cove

Cove direction pole

Boracay view from Zipline 1

View from zipline station

Boracay views

Boracay views

Foods to try

Part of travelling is the cultural immersion is in experiencing local cuisine. Filipino cuisine is a beautiful fusion of Asian, Malay and Spanish influences.  The dishes vary from sweet to salty and sour. Pork and sea food are central to this interesting cuisine. Try chicken adobo, pancit noodles, beef or chicken sisig.

Chicken Pork Adobo

Pork chicken adobo (left) and Pancit noodles (right)

The boldness of Filipino cuisine is bound to take you on a culinary journey your taste buds won’t regret.

Chicken Adobo sisig

Scrumptious food

Means of transport

Taxi’s, tricycles and Jeepneys are the islands most popular means of transportation and very cheap.

Jeepney

Jeepney

Tricycles are basically, motorbike with attached side car enough to fit 3 -4 people. These are all easily available.

Tricycle

Tricycle

Tricycle in streets of Boracay

Tricycles on Boracay streets

A very serious caveat: when travelling by air make sure you are at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight. Domestic flights are usually cancelled, delayed or moved earlier at short notice so ensure you’re there early for any schedule changes.

 

Where we stayed

Cebu -Crimson Beach and Resort. Beautiful Resort with excellent amenities providing free WIFI and the most efficient knowledgeable helpful staff. Very child friendly.

Crimson Beach Hotel Resorts and Spa(Cebu)

Crimson Beach Hotel Resorts and Spa (pool area)

Crimson Beach Hotel Resorts and Spa (Cebu) (play area)

Boracay-Fairways Blue Water huge resort offering many activities and value for money.

Fairway Blue Waters Resort(Boracay)

Boracay Scenery1

Hotel Beach

You have to try their local beer. Its light and very refreshing

San Miguel beer

Philippines has been one of my favourite holiday destinations. Its packed with tons to do and will leave you happier than when you arrived! I loved it and recommend it to everyone. For any specific tips, feel free to contact me. Keep shining

Its more fun in the Philippines!!

2 Comments

  1. August 23, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    You make me want to go there now. I love the images — bucket list, must try to walk on a hanging bridge!

    • August 28, 2016 / 4:36 pm

      hey Mel 🙂 Yes yes you absolutely must its such a fun and scary experience 🙂 I loved the Philippines its like an untouched Thailand.

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