Travelling through the Philippines has been an incredible experience. We’ve been here for a month and have hopped around a little bit. We only saw a fraction of the country as it does take a while to get from place to place. Starting with the traffic in Manila, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. It was slower than walking pace in places. If the city continues to expand it will soon grind to a complete stop! We enjoyed some luxury in Manila and saw the old town, Intramuros, and China Town too which is said to be the oldest China Town in the world. We were in fact there for Chinese New Year which was amazing if not a little manic and hot!
After Manila we flew to Coron where we chilled out on a little island resort for a few days before taking a one way three day sightseeing boat trip to El Nido. This was definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip! We saw lagoons, perfect beaches, sand bars, swam over boat wrecks and snorkelled to see some amazing sea life. We made some great friends on the trip and there was even an engagement! I’ve already posted a little about those two on my blog. We hung around in El Nido for a few days catching up with our new friends and exploring the local beaches. El Nido is a little touristy but a must stop for any trip to the Philippines due to the sheer beauty you can see by boat on a day trip or two.
Two guys on our boat trip were travelling with drones so we got to see the trip from a whole new perspective too! Gareth Evans was kind enough to share a few of his drone shots with the group. The shots had come out a bit washed out so I edited them a little and have included a couple below. They really do make me want to get a drone in the future!
Philippines Travel Photography
Our next stop was a few nights in Panglao near Alona Beach – a favourite with Chinese tourists! We used Panglao as a base and rented a scooter to explore Bohol where we saw tarsiers and the islands famous Chocolate Hills. We discovered that the Philippines is not really a destination for foodies but the best Filipino food we had was on Bohol in Tagbilaran.
It takes a long time to get anywhere in the Philippines and despite having a month there we only just managed to see a good handful of the top sights. The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands so there is a lot to see! That said we weren’t on the go constantly and had plenty of chill out time on our next stop on Siquijor, the smallest and most friendly place we visited. We were there in their high season so had to change accommodation a few times but we mostly stayed around San Juan. Don’t let the term high season mislead into thinking it was busy, it wasn’t at all! Snorkelling off the shores of Siquijor we saw a large school of barracudas, sea turtles and giant clams amongst many other fish and aquatic creatures!
Room with a view
At the end of the trip we had a few final nights in Manila and explored Makati. Manila is not a place to jump around seeing different parts of the city unless you don’t mind spending hours and hours in taxi’s as the traffic can be very very slow and there isn’t much of a public transport system. Makati is one of the more modern and upmarket districts in Manila so we ended the trip on a high with some great food and amazing views on the 66th floor of the Gramercy building.