I landed in Manila after an 8 hours flight from Sydney on Cebu Pacific, an airline that I definitely don’t recommend. No entertainment or pillows and blankets on the flight, very limited food that you need to pay for, however that was the cheapest option to fly and even so it wasn’t so cheap.
Anyway, after the flight as I arrived to Manila airport the first thing I did was buying a local SIM card for 1500 pesos, which turned out to be a scam, in 7 Eleven it’s much cheaper.
I took a taxi from the airport to my Airbnb in Makati, the best area of the town to stay at and hang out.
My Airbnb at least was very nice and I felt comfortable and ready to have a good night sleep.
The next day I went out to explore the city, which is just another ordinary big city with lots of traffic.
These are the places that I think are worth visiting:
A beautiful cathedral surrounded with many other historical buildings in the area called Intramurous. I explored the area by myself but there are many your options as well. A lot of Asian people in that area, assuming there were locals, wanted to take pictures with me, I guess because I look different, but still strange for a place that gets many tourists.
SEDA hotel rooftop bar: Straight up
This was my favorite place to hang out in Manila and drink amazing mocktails while watching the sunset. They have delicious food as well and you can easily spend a few hours there, above all the craziness of the city.
The rest of my time in Manila I spent swimming at the pool of the building where my Airbnb was, just chilling and looking forward to my next destination.
Excited to be leaving Manila, I headed to the airport to take a domestic flight to Puerto Princesa.
In Puerto Princesa a kind local that I connected with on couchsurfing offered to show me around and soon after I landed we would be riding on his motorbike towards a beautiful beach located one hour away from Puerto.
But first we stopped at the PP sign and took some pictures.
On the way to Nagtabon beach we stopped at a beautiful look out and we made it just in time to the beach for the sunset. I also enjoyed a coconut whole relaxing and watching how the sun goes down.
We ended the day with a delicious dinner at a local eatery in Puerto, where mainly locals eat and the menu is many pots right in front of you, so you just lift the lid and look what’s inside. A very economical way of having dinner but I definitely enjoyed it.
The next day I was picked up at 7 am and headed to the world’s longest underground river. The van ride took around 2 hours and I was a bit sleepy, but in the same time excited to see something different. I don’t remember ever being at an underground river and especially not the longest one in the world. It’s 8,2 km long and the water is such a beautiful color. I made some Nepalese friend on the tour, who were kind enough to take some nice pictures of me.
We had to wait a bit when we arrived and soon we all sat on a boat entering the caves . It was dark inside, of course, but the tour guide had a torch and we could see thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling.
After the tour, which took around 30 minutes , we all went for lunch , which was included in our tour and it was buffet lunch, very delicious, with lots of options to choose from.
I think we reached Puerto Princesa around 4 or 5 pm.
The following day I took a van to El Nido.
El Nido is simply beautiful. I spent 4 days in the town and I loved it. It has a good mix of nice restaurants, vibrant night life, good beaches and in addition to all this I met very nice people there.
I took tour A to visit some islands and do snorkeling. I did kayaking at the Big Lagoon, saw turtles and fishes while snorkeling and enjoyed some beach time. I highly recommend tour A. Snorkels and shoes are not included, but you can rent before boarding the boat.
Las Cabañas Beach
This beach is often referred to as Maremegmeg beach and it’s perfect to watch the sunset.
Maremegmeg Beach Bar is amazing for dinner and happy hour drinks, when you buy one cocktail and get the second for free.
The beach is beautiful and the water was warm and pleasant.
Another amazing beach just a short trycicle ride from El Nido, Nacpan beach is very nice to spend the day at.
While in El Nido a must thing to do is the canopy walk, which includes a short hike and it rewards you with magnificent views.
My favorite restaurants in El Nido
This was hands down my favorite restaurant not only in El Nido, but in the whole Philippines. Local food with fresh ingredients and with amazing service, I ate two times at this restaurant during my four days in El Nido. That’s where I had for the first time sisig, a local dish that became my favorite food. There’s pork sisig, beef sisig and I even had the las gambas aka prawn sisig. I loved them all.
This restaurant is amazing if you’re craving pizza like I did one of the evenings. The pizza here is really delicious and prices are decent.
And of course while in El Nido, you have to try the crepes from the vendors on the streets, delicious.
From El Nido to Coron
From El Nido I took a ferry to Coron, which took five hours and it didn’t depart at the time it was supposed to, but one hour later. I found out that that’s normal for the Philippines, ferries depart usually at least with one hour delay.
In Coron I ate twice at Levine’s restaurant, where I had my beloved sisig once again.
My stay in Coron was too short unfortunately, just one full day to do a tour and I opted for the Super Ultimate tour, which I really enjoyed , despite the weather: on and off raining the whole day.
I still did some kayaking and snorkeling and enjoyed the delicious food we had included.
From Coron I took a domestic flight to Cebu city, which was an adventure because my backpack ended up coming six hours later with the next flight. At least they delivered it to my accommodation so in the end it was all good.
I spent two days in Cebu city, visited the San Pedro fort, the cathedral , the Taoist temple and a few other attractions.
Overall Cebu didn’t impress me much but I liked it more than Manila and I definitely liked my massage at Cheeva Spa.
From Cebu I took a ferry to Bohol, where I spent two amazing days with Phoebe, the English girl I met in Cebu and she was adventurous enough to drive us around the whole island on a motorbike.
We rented a motorbike for 350 pesos a day, filled up full tank for 200 pesos and we hit the road.
We went to Busai Dreamfalls and enjoyed a coconut there, we drove through the Manmade forest, visited the cute tarsiers at the Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area and we had a look on the Chocolate Hills while being soaking wet because the rain caught us.
It was a full day of adventure and good laughs.
We stayed in Panglao area and we hit the beach as well, which was very nice and relaxing.
After Bohol I took a ferry to Siquijor island, my last destination and probably the best one. Not very touristy, but gorgeous and enjoyable, Siquijor was the place where I saw the most beautiful sunsets while in the Philippines.
The sunsets at Paliton beach will stay for a while in my memories.
I also visited the 400 years old balete tree and treated myself to a foot spa, where the fish bombarded my feet.
Siquijor has lots of beautiful waterfalls, probably the most famous being Cambugahay Falls, which opens at 8 am and there’s a small fee to pay before you enter.
Lugnason Falls is another beautiful waterfall that the locals recommended us and it was indeed beautiful.
But my favorite Siquijor attraction remains Sambulawan underground river which was very different to the Puerto Princes one. Here the caves are small so you have to swim through the river. It was a unique experience that I highly recommend.
My favorite restaurants in Siquijor:
Picturesque little brekky place with delicious ice latte with the perfect view.
Aroi Mak Mak Thai Station
Absolutely delicious Thai food and drinks.
Amazing pizza place. Go for the sunset.
I just ate some potatoes here, but the detox drink based on carrots and ginger was very refreshing and delicious.
After Siquijor I returned for one more day to Manila, but I was so tired by then that I spent the whole day just chilling at my Airbnb.
Favorites from the supermarket
I like going to the supermarket in different countries and I did that also in the Philippines and I discovered a few products that I really liked. I attach a picture of them, maybe you will like them too.
And if you decide to visit the Philippines I hope you’ll have an amazing time, just like I did! Thank you for reading!