Discover The Philippines with me
It is under everybody’s eyes the incredible growth of tourism of The Philippines, and let me tell you something: definitely not a surprise for me, as I can say out of loud that the Philippines is one of the most amazing countries in the world!
With is 7,641 islands (impressive right!), Philippines is one of the top Western Pacific Ocean destinations, and definitely a MUST VISIT for 2018’s travel list.
But the question is fast coming here: with all these islands on the stake.. which one I should visit??
Today, I will list down the 5 top destinations based on beaches, food, and word’s natural wonder.
Jeepney hop on and off then Go Eco in Manila
Being Manila the most densely populated city proper in the world, you can easily understand how much crowded and crazy will be its streets: I can confirm that I probably haven’t experienced so much traffic in my life like I did in Manila..but Manila is not only traffic, is the real heart of Philippines!
If you have few days, I suggest to get on nice trainers or good Walking Sandals (my favorite ever is Teva, I recommend these), and be ready to hop on and off from their little very much colored Bus, called Jeepney, called like this because they literally are Jeep re-transformed in public bus to move million of the Philippines around!
What to visit : the Urban Rizal Park (best known as Luneta) – the gorgeous Ocean Park – The official residence of Philippines President Malacañang Palace – Quezon Memorial Circle – Art In Island with glorious 3D paintings & murals – Metropolitan Museum of Manila – Fort Santiago is built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi – Our Lady of Remedies Parish, best known as Malate Church – Trampoline Park ( because you are never too old for some fun) – Okada Manila for a luxury retreat.
Now that you have a good sight of this gorgeous city, you will definitely feel the need of nature, and a downside of Manila is the lack of big green spot, regardless few city parks such Ayala Triangle Gardens or Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center. In this case, I have a solution for all of you want to go Eco in Manila: Luxury camping at Haranah Eco Park
The gorgeous JASMINE, Managing director, and daughter of the owner of the park, will welcome you and make this one of the best experience of your life: you can do wild camping in one of the greenest and beautiful spots around Manila (2 hours from Manila by car), and with all their package you can make the best of your stay based on your needs and interest.
The Eco park is not only camping, as you have plenty of activities to enjoy the tour of the beautiful park itself to Rock Balancing, stargazing and much more. Go here for more info and booking.
Zipline and Chocolate Hills in Bohol
Bohol is definitely a destination you cannot miss at all if you are visiting the Philippines. Province of the Central Visayas region, it is easily reachable from Cebu city.
If you love nature, this is the place where to be, as you won’t be disappointed.
Once you get there, choose to stay in some Eco Lodge and hire a local fella who will take you around in his motorbike or tuk-tuk, all day impressing you with an amazing knowledge of the local surrounding fauna and flora.
The day tour will take you to a panoramic visit of one of my favorite spot ever in the whole country: Chocolate Hills.
Geological formation spread over 50 square km. called like this because of the sun effect on the top of the hills, making them of a brown color at the end of the dry season. The effect in front of your eyes will make you speechless.
The day will carry on with some other amazing natural landscapes visit, meeting local people who still use primordial and traditional harvesting techniques and animals, and fun activities such the hanging bride ( a footbridge composed of bamboos and steels, initially used by locals to cross the river going to the Barangay on the other side of the main road. The Hanging Bridge hangs about 25 meters above the river
and there is a small fee to cross the river) and for the bravest, there is the most breathtaking Zipline ever: you can Zip above astonishing waterfall over Loboc river and get also your photo cd!
Among the activities you can also stop to a Tarsier Sanctuary, where you can spot these little adorable animal from the cute eyes.
You can also decide to visit the waterfall in Loboc river either by river cruise, either by some Hike (far more fun).. I went for a wild hike and it was an amazing experience, as only in this way you can enter the waterfall itself!
For the most romantic tough, sit down by the beautiful river and enjoy the sunset.. it will blow you away!
Best Islands tour: El Nido
I have seen many beaches in my life, but hard to beat the beauty of the beaches of El Nido. Based in Palawan, one of the biggest island of the country, you can reach El Nido by land, from Puerto Princesa ( which will take around 5 hours by van, be ready because their drive is really crazy, so avoid heavy food before to board on one of these van), few options by flight with Air Swift or by boat reaching first Coron then another boat to El Nido. Whatever you choose, I am sure it will suit your wallet and your interest.
El Nido is a real paradise, with its turquoise pristine water, and a special local energy that it is impossible to describe.. you have to live it yourself!
The little town, is still very plain, with few hotels for every budget and some boats that will take you for islands tours: you can choose different options like a Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Beach, Entalola, Seven Commando. Do not ask which one is the best, as they are all amazing.
Please please please, try the local chicken with Adobo sauce… yummy!
History and tradition discover in Cebu
I have already mentioned you above about Cebu, an easy destination to reach Bohol, but Cebu is more than this. It’s history, tradition, local folklore and the oldest city in the Philippines, which says it all.
Best way to discover Cebu is by Jeepney if you want to really get into the local culture and life, otherwise, you can also grab some taxi.
You cannot miss a visit to Basílica Menor del Santo Niño which is The oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, and if you can visit the church on a Sunday morning, to assist the Mess, really impressive. Also very nice to walk outside the church and lose yourself through busy roads full of little shops and street vendors.
Worth few hours visits are the Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills division: built in 1972 by the Chinese community, will impress you for its beautiful architecture and colors.
Include in your sightseeing also: Casa Gorordo Museum, Temple of Leah, The Magellan’s Cross as a Spanish and Portuguese influence, Fort San Pedro and a nice stroll in the city center for a fun time shop and get some delicious local food.
Boracay: fun time and relax in Puka
Boracay is an island known for its nightlife and fun time, but let me tell you that it is not only this!.
The first thing to know about Boracay is the division in Station 1 -2-3. Station 1 is the less crowded and you can better find spot where to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Station 2 is where everything happen : shops, bars and nightlife.. all in here! Station 3 is the middle way, you can find bars but less crowded than Station 2, and also a cheaper option hotel speaking.
In Boracay be ready to wake up in the morning with a stunning crystal water view and already be happy..with the early morning happy hour! Great food, a nice cocktail, hotels, and hostel of all kind and taste and lots of shopping! Try to take this as the last destination so you can splash in some nice handcraft shopping, as you will find all sort of handcraft gadget, clothes and much more.
Are you full of energy?? As the day is not over.. night is here and you must go out and enjoy the local Rum Tanduay and coke and peeps in few bars and nightclub in station 2. Fun Fun fun!
But after all this crazy day… you probably want to relax and unwind in a less buzzing spot on the island right? .. here we are! You can also have this in Boracay.. just get on a motorbike and ask to be taken to the other side of the island call Puka..
Here you will find a less populated (also fewer facilities, clearly, but still few kiosks to get some fresh drinks) beaches. Is where local people hang around. You will easily fall in love with Philipino as, based on my experience and lots of other people’s experience, Philipino are open-minded and so much welcoming, that you will feel at home with them.
Do you want to have some information of hidden gems of Philippines?? Easy: follow my IG account A_wanderlust_love and text me in a private message with capital letters PHILIPPINES! and I will delight you with some backstage treat.