Blog

Boracay

Boracay is the favourite holiday destination in the Philippines. Apart from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also famous for being one of the world's top destinations for relaxation, tranquility but also nightlife. In 2012, Boracay was awarded as the best island in the world from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure. Boracay White Beach is divided into station 1, 2, 3. I searched for its meaning and apparently it used to be old boat stations. Station 1 has nice hotels like Discovery Shores and some private villas, station 2 is super crowded and busy (for me was too much, too much pub crawls, crowds and cheap stalls), than we found station 3, which I actually loved. It didnt have the seaweed floating and the water was deeper so you actually can really swim. I visited numerous hotels on the beach and than we found a treasure right here. Beautiful apartments with big terraces right on the beach and you can even have freshly made pretzels - only on Saturday though :) The German attention to details combined with Philippine hospitality was the reason we moved here and the location of course. You can ask them in the kitchen to buy you a fresh fish in the local market and then prepare it for you the was you like it. We had Lapu Lapu fish Portugese style and it was superb! For sundowners head to nearby Congas. They dont have Happy Hour (unlike all the other bars nearby) but the drinks are just proper. And then there is Shangri-la hotel with its own beaches. Its feels different here. Big gardens, quiet surrounding, beautiful villas and great spa stands it apart from the other properties. It also has its own speed boat so you are pick up and delivered back to the airport by a private charter :) Shangri-la provides all day shuttle to station 2 and has its own covered shuttle station there with security for you to come back. I very much liked the Seaview suites and Two bedroon Ocen Villa with a great view, private pool and lot of space. If you book early enough you can get a pretty good deal. While you are here you can try to bargain down a pearl necklase, drink coconut water infused with local rum and try to get to Sunny Side Cafe for breakfast. Its numero uno.

Bohol and Panglao

Bohol was very easy to get to from Manila with Air Asia. Flight takes little over 1h. You fly to Tagbilaran airport and take taxi whenever you need to go. We decided to stay at beautiful resort called South Palms on Panglao island, which is about 30min drive from Tagbilaran airport and is connected to Bohol by bridge. South palms is a 4 star property but there are many highlights. Beautiful quiet beach...although the water is rather shallow to swim, so you might be using more pools to swim - there are two. The property is surrounded by coconut grove ( they harvest them so no need to worry about coconut bumping onto your head), there are plenty of chairs, hammocks, bean bags, umbrellas and also four massage pavilions to relax ( the spa menu has very reasonable prices - 60min Swedish massage is about 20USD). Another plus is that the owners of the resort also have fish farm. Yes, you can choose your fresh fish from the tank and they cook it to your liking. I really recommend tempura prawns and grilled red snapper with mother sauce. The best!!! The hotels also offers half - board which is pretty good too with good selection of seafood served as a buffet, but we choose to have fresh fish every day instead and I am not big fan of buffet anyways. While in Bohol, you should visit Tarsie habitat in Corella and Chocolate Hills. There are many tour operators and smaller companies offering a day excursion which include lunch, church stop, giant snake visit etc... To me the best think is to take a driver (taxi for a day) and do it yourself. You skip the snake and the river lunch and you have a perfect half day trip. We managed for about 20USD per person plus entrance to Corella 60PHP/ person and Chocolate Hills was about the same. FYI 50PHP = approx 1 USD. The Tarsier Sanctuary is run by Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. although for me (even thou I really wanted to see these little endangered monkeys) it was a little disturbing experience. Its money making machine and nobody really cares about these little tiny creatures. Before they open every morning (9am) they go and look for them and then they point them to you with the stick. Chinese come with big cameras and others too and snap them right into the face ( its nocturnal animal and this is day time, so imagine the sleepless nights), shout at them "look, here, look at me", even try to touch them and these little cute and harmelss animals are just scared to death and have nowhere to escape. They are very beautiful though. So please if you go there, just observe them and let them sleep!!! No flash. Its only few of them left on this earth. People used to take them home as pets and they all died. If they are sepatated from the others they aparently bang their heads, stop eating and die. Than there are Chocolate Hills - interesting lanscape you should visit. There is a viewing platform where you can take good shots. The other attractions as giant snake and river cruise lunch at Loboc is on the way, but we skipped that. There is also a church which is under reconstruction, because it was severely damaged by earthquake in 2013. Giant snake is a shabby hut with fee to enter and Loboc river cruise is a floating restaurant with buffet lunch which is mainly interesting for Asian groups, so you are better off to order wonderful fish back in South Palms. Plus there are many places where you can stop and buy snack if you are hungry. Another pleasant thing in Panglao island was the Alona beach. Alive place with many little bars and restaurants, grilled seafood and cold beer. Its nice place for after dinner drink or sundowners. They call it little Boracay. You get there by tricycle for 2 - 3 USD. Bohol was beautiful and had very good weather while we were there and we probably had the best fish while in the Philippines ( the 2nd best was Boracay - read more in my another post).

Las Islas Filipinas

The Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598) and it was a Spanish colony for over 300 years. Than British came, than came the Americans, and also shortly Japanese took over. Today it´s a Republic with the president Benigno Simeon Aquino III , whom (belive it or not) I met today! He personally came to greet us at the Asian Travel Fair! What an honour. Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands and the population is over 100 million. Manila itself has almost 15 million inhabitants. We will be visiting some of these beautiful islands and meeting some of these wonderful smiley people, so stay tuned. We will share it with you.

Pages