I did not go insane with this title. “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is the cringe slogan the Philippines have created to promote the country.
Even if its government’s marketing team could definitely use some creative help, the Philippines is a gorgeous country I would gladly go back to tomorrow.
When someone asks “Where should I travel” I usually ask about their preferences and what they are looking for. If they say they want tropical beaches my answer is straight: the Philippines.
A bit like my beloved Greece, the Philippines is an extensive archipelago of more than 7000 islands that look like the picture above.
And the same as in Greece, there are too many islands for the few tourists they get, so you generally have the entire beaches to yourself.
Our holiday there was pretty much about relaxing in postcard-like sceneries, so I will just summarize the relevant info below:
Things I loved about the Philippines
- Tropical beaches & gorgeous sea. The pictures say it all: it’s the perfect holiday destination
- Lush and green, beautiful palm trees everywhere, pristine places
- Friendly people – plus everyone speaks English
- Cheap – not as much as Bali but still very cheap
- Not crowded
Things you have to take into consideration
- Internet is nearly not existent (unless you are in Manila). Probably it’s the country with the worst internet coverage I have ever been to. Do not plan on working here (or do it if you want to get sacked)
- Infrastructure is very poor. The streets are covered in holes and usually muddy. You will likely take 6 hours to do 150 km.
- When you get to an island, the boat does not dock on the beach but stays 20-30 meters far away from it (as they don’t have proper docks). So you have to literally jump in the water from the boat and reach the beach by walking in the sea. Theoretically, or for some people, the sea should be at calves level, but 100% of the time for me it was above hip-deep, so I was completely immersed in the sea while desperately trying to keep my backpack with one arm and my laptop with the other arm above the water. Fun times.
Our 2 weeks itinerary
We started off in Manila where we slept 1 night and saw absolutely nothing but our delivery food, and then took a plane to Palawan, the biggest and most famous island of the Philippines. This is where El Nido is and where you can take all those great boat tours around the island. We spent around 3 days there and then we went to Port Barton, where again it was all about amazing beaches and great vibes.
From there we flew to Cebu (I think it’s the second biggest city) that is on another island. In Cebu all we did was look for a swimming suit for me only to find out that Philipinos are quite conservative in terms of clothing and all the so-called swimming suits we found were actual t-shirts, so I ended up swimming for 2 weeks in my underwear. Our first stop from Cebu was Bohol, where after some time in the known Alona beach we rented a scooter and visited the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier sanctuary (Tarsier are those rodents who look stoned) and we did a super weird small cruise on Loboc river, where you basically would eat like a pig in a neverending all-you-can-eat buffet while some “band” would non stop sing lowkey Chinese music. It was so weird it was actually funny.
After that, we were all ready to go back to heavenly beaches and took a ferry to Bantayan first, then to gorgeous Malapascua, and from there we also visited Kalangaman island which was absolutely surreal. We then went back to Cebu and from there back to our grey European lives.