Part two of my travels flew me to The Philippines for an island-hopping adventure. After a fantastic time in Japan (catch up with that here), I wasn’t expecting to fall so in love with another country but it seems each destination we explore, I leave wanting to return and (after speaking to fellow backpackers) having added several new places to my ever-growing bucket list. What is refreshing about The Philippines is that it’s pretty new to the typical Asia backpacker trail. The beaches are paradise (often we’ve been the only people on them), the sea is the clearest blue I’ve ever seen and yet to be damaged by tourists, and apart from the occasional thunderstorm in the middle of the night, we’ve had the gorgeous sunshine. While accommodation, food, activities and transport are inexpensive (we are spending about £5 a night on dorm rooms), getting around to different islands takes time and often it’s easiest to fly.
With only two and a half weeks here, we chose to explore Palawan, Cebu, Oslob, Dumaguete, Apo Island and Siquijor. If time was on our side we would have fitted Coron and Boracay into the plan too. El Nido, Palawan, has been my favourite spot. Full of idyllic beaches, secluded lagoons, delicious restaurants and a couple of buzzy beach bars to visit in the evenings. We stayed at OMP hostel, the perfect place to meet fellow backpackers. The staff are so friendly and breakfast is included, a huge treat for all backpackers!Cebu was our stopover before heading to Oslob to swim with whale-sharks (sharks that aren’t tempted by human flesh, or so we were told!). Though bombarded by tourists and over quite quickly, I would definitely recommend the experience – if only for the picture…We had a whale of a time!We also made a pitstop at Dumaguette so we could go to Apo Island, which is just a short boat ride away. Apo Island is the place to go to see giant turtles as they freely swim in their natural environment. They swim quite close to the shore and are easy to find, definitely one the coolest things I’ve seen all trip! We stayed at Kav’s beach resort and though it’s a little way out from the main town, its the nicest place we’ve stayed so far. We spent 3 nights in Siquijor. The island is fairly small and while we were there it was pretty empty of tourists. The best thing to do in Siquijor is to rent scooters. There is one main road around the whole Island, the views are amazing and there are some pretty waterfalls and beaches to enjoy on the way around. Baha bar in San Juan is a must-visit, happy hour is frequent and we had one of the best meals we’ve had all trip! For any fellow travel bugs, The Philippines (if it isn’t already) needs to be on your radar.
Next stop: New Zealand.