It has been a little more than two years since we were last time in Asia. And this time we went to explore the Philippines. They were our wish destination for quite a while, mainly for natural beauty, turquoise sea, white beaches and wonderful marine animal world, which really thrilled us.
Our travel to Philippines lasted 24 days, which is not much but is enough to feel the country and its lifestyle. I must admit that sometimes it was hard, especially due to travel around Philippines, because they are big. Also we had some health issues – three out of four family members got ill – but luckily for only a short amount of time which hasn´t affected our travel plan, it just made a few more concerns and a little uneasiness because you never know what else is waiting for you. But that´s how it is with travels – many beautiful things and among them always some that you don´t like to remember. The most beautiful things always happen outside of comfort zone – that is what we already learned and experienced. That´s why we know – even when it is hard – that sun always shines after the rain and in the end it is worth it.
Our health issues didn´t affect our itinerary but typhoon that crossed Philippines at that time, did a little. We hadn´t really feel it or – as Peter wrote to comfort loved ones at home – at night the wind became stronger but not enough to dry our wet towels 🙂 .
But because of somewhat worse weather on north we decided to leave out an island Bantayan on north of Cebu. Do we regret it? I think not – to adjust to situation at the moment is part of traveling experience and part of life learning, as well as paying attention to good stuff. Moreover our trip was so full that we would be insolent and ungrateful if we would dare to claim or expect even more.
After a long time we had a flight directly from Ljubljana airport, which is total luxury for us. But Peter found really good offer on plane tickets with flight connection almost from our courtyard, which we hadn’t disapproved.
To Manila, city with few millions inhabitants, we came at the evening and it was a shock. Before our morning flight to paradise island Palawan we had to spend the night in Manila and it was rough, partly because of jet leg and seven-hour time lag.
After we came to Palawan in after adrenalin drive to first paradise place of our trip – to Port Barton – we forgot about all of that and got a good rest. Afterward we enjoyed on north part of Palawan, around cult and really special El Nido.
What to say about Palawan? I will write more about it because it deserves it. This is certainly one of the most beautiful and authentic part of Philippines and if I am going to go to Philippines once more I will spend more time there. From Palawan we flew to Cebu and went on nearby island Bohol, which was nice but was a little disappointment compared to Palawan. People were less friendly (don´t understand that wrong – they were still very friendly) and there is much more tourism. This is in opposite proportion everywhere around the world. I can´t say that it wasn´t beautiful – it was. We just picked wrong sequence 🙂 .
After we moved further from Bohol island we experienced stunning things. We were swimming with whale sharks in Oslobo and Apo Island – pearl of Philippines with wonderful marine life and many turtles that swim by the sea shore. It was magnificent and we will never forget it.
One of the peaks of our Philippine travel was waiting for us for the last part of trip – one of world´s wonders and on Unesco Worl Heritage List of cultural landscapes – mountain rice terraces on north of Luzon, Banaua, Batad, Hapao … I am speechless.
It was insanely hard nine-hour night bus ride from Manila and after a few days back again, and we almost froze on it, but it was worth it. There was so beautiful. I think that no other rice terraces can compete with those. Top traveling experience and wonderful end of our trip to Philippines.
We were thrilled about food in Philippines and we didn´t have any major problems. We were less thrilled about cash machines where we expected to work – in civilized Manila. Well, don´t count on it, we lost some nerves, time and peace on Manila airport due to non working cash machine. Luckily everything ended well.
What more can I say about our first impression of our trip to Philippines?
I decided that our next trip to Asia will be to the countries that are at least partly Buddhist or Hindu. That is the only thing that I missed a little. Philippines are very traditionally Christian and that didn´t resonate with us. There should be temples in Asia – those or the others – and we noticed their absence. I missed spices, herbs, different religions…
I know, you can´t have it all at once. That´s why there are different paths – thousands of them that wait for us travelers to see their specifics and their own beauty. If you are thinking about Philippines – don´t think too long. You should pack your backpack and hit the road. You won´t be sorry!