I have just had the most amazing two weeks in the Philippines. As in, incredible.
My route was…
Cebu – Malapascua Island – Puerto Princesa – El Nido – Coron – Manila
I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface and I’m already planning to go back next year. One of the main things that made the trip was joining the Tao Expedition from El Nido to Coron. It was a 20-person sailing boat that travelled to remote islands in the Philippines (there are over 7000 of them) and explored as a team.
I’ve tried to work out what I loved so much about it, but it was pretty much everything.
My co adventurers were awesome. We travelled round the islands of the Philippines on a boat. By day we'd go snorkelling when we came across a good spot, fish with line and relax on deck with the rum flowing. By night we'd moor at a desert island and cook up the fish on a fire as we watch the sun set. We'd talk freely without the distractions from the modern world and on every subject, no holds barred. We'd sleep under the stars exhausted from a day at sea. Along the way we met people from the remote villages, even finding a karaoke bar on one of the islands! We'd play basketball with the locals. Life was simple and rustic – back to basics. We killed a pig island style to survive and brought it out to our sailing boat in a kayak to eat that night. We wrestled each other on the rigs of the boat, taking turns to sit pensively on the bow and gather on the deck for sundowner cocktails every night. Without a doubt the best week of my life.
That was definitely the highlight, but my trip surrounding that was awesome too. I got my hair cut in Cebu – he did a great job – I went swimming with thresher sharks, I went scuba diving and after the Tao trip went on another snorkelling trip in Coron. The people in the Philippines are so amazingly friendly that when I came to Singapore – where I am as I right this – I honestly felt like crying as the people felt so cold and mean. I couldn’t cope with them not beaming mischievous smiles at me.
Obviously I hoped I’d like the Philippines, I wouldn’t have chosen it otherwise, but I never thought I’d love it so much. Before I came I actually didn’t know that much about it and just booked my route based on an opportunity that came up in Malapascua, and on recommendations I’d recently read on another travel bloggers site.
I’d recommend visiting the Philippines asap. I enjoyed everywhere I went but next time I’d make sure to include the following places too.
• Surigao – amazing dive sites
• Sargio – great for surfing
• Boracay – the number one party island (read touristy!)
• Manila – I didn’t actually leave my hotel as I had too much work on and was only there a day
• Bohol – to see the tree monkeys
• Oslob – to swim with whale sharks
• Banaue – to see the rice terraces
The Tao Expedition was so good I’ll be on that again next year two. Looks like I’m going to need two months, minimum!