January flew by in a whirlwind. I went to Philippines for 2 weeks and that was quite the adventure! I flew to Manila and then took another airplane to Palawan Puerta Princessa and a 6 hour van ride to our final destination El Nido. El Nido was a beautiful place. Just two years ago it started to become slightly touristy so it’s expected in the next 5 years for the tourism industry to boom so I’m thankful I saw that island before it becomes flocked with people! Philippines is made up of 7,000 islands and from most sources they stated El Nido as one of the most beautiful and I can see why. Lagoons, caves, waterfalls, beautiful beaches. The sunsets were stunning as well. Truthfully the vacation was far from relaxing. I will spare you the full details as I think only my friend Claire and I will fully understand the trip but it felt like an adventure that was never ending. It was a great experience and I am glad I went.
A few tips of advice if you ever travel to Philippines:
- Spend the extra money and fly directly from Manila to El Nido instead of taking the van. The van ride on the way there was not bad but the returning van ride my friend Claire and I were stuck in the back 2 seats next to the luggage. We got the worst car sickness and vertigo we have ever gotten (neither of us have ever gotten motion sickness and that is saying a lot since we both took a 7 hour ferry during a typhoon in Korea) We both threw up for hours in the back of the van and I would have paid $500 for someone to get me out of it haha so skip the van or bring motion sickness medicine
- I recommend skipping Manila and traveling directly to the islands. We toured Manila for 2 days and went to the top destinations and to be honest I didn’t even take my camera out for pictures because I felt there was nothing to see. There are also police guards in every single store possible. If you walk into a book store with two entrances, you will see a guard at each entrance. At every coffee shop, every convenience store, every children’s store. Although all the police should make you feel safe, it does the opposite as you wonder why the city has to have that many police guards everywhere. I felt we had to be on our guard at all times. Not the most relaxing.
- If you do decide to go to Manila – do NOT be trapped in getting a taxi from them. Use the app GrabCar and you will only have to pay that exact amount shown on the app. It’s similar to Uber. We made the mistake and ended up paying $30 dollars for an hour cab ride. We were also extremely sick from vertigo and carsickness as I had mentioned before so we would have paid anything to get to our next destination but we should have only paid about $3-4 dollars for an hour in traffic. Huge mistake on our part but lesson learned. I found that the people in Philippines were very kind but because the country is very poor they try to scrape every extra dollar they can get. Including some cab drivers saying they don’t have change so they have to keep your money. Frustrating but you can avoid this by using GrabCar.
- Bring medicine for food poisoning. My friend got really bad food poisoning the first few days. I felt awful. It can really ruin a trip. Just be careful with what you eat and drink bottled water.
- Have an open mind. This is a given to anywhere you travel in the world. Honestly we had a rough trip. It wasn’t easy but we are both extremely positive people and made the most of our experience. I had a great experience and loved seeing the country and spending time there. Would I go again? Maybe not for awhile 🙂
Next stop: Thailand and Vietnam!
I am so excited! I will be traveling with my friend Claire to Bangkok, Phuket, Hanoi and Halong Bay. I am also visiting a Korean teacher who I worked with my first semester in Korea. She moved to Hanoi with her two sons to teach English and I always told her I wanted to visit her. We return the day before the new school year starts so it will be a great end to vacation! Write again soon~
Love from Korea, Thailand and Vietnam,