The Philippines: Travel Tips, Action Guide, & More
Ever been to the Philippines?
Add it to the bucket list ASAP.
Cuz the rumors are true.
There are over 7,000 islands and growing.
Gorgeous turquoise waters.
Tons to see n do...
You have to know the spots.
Know what to be aware of....
And know how to work it right.
Where to Go: Experiences + Beauty
Choosing which islands to visit in the Philippines, is difficult AF.
So many tiny islands, so many waters, so much culture, so little time.
Where do ya start?
For me, I spent days researchin'.
Hours watchin' youtube vloggers.
And everything pointed back to 2 places.
(in no particular order)
Cebu is a small island that is known for its activities while Coron is known verbatim as one of the world's most beautiful islands.
I'll take ya on our journey to both.
Cebu: What To Do n See
We decided on Cebu since it is very famous for two things.
First, the opportunity to swim with whale sharks.
Second, the opportunity to hike Kawyasan Falls.
Before we dive into both here's what to expect when ya visit.
You'll land at an Cebu International airport.
A big airport.
Will remind ya of something state side.
Very clean n professional.
And the first thing you'll want to do is grab a sim card for your phone.
Bypass the offers you get inside the actual airport (they charge double) n wait till you get outside by the taxi cabs to pick one up.
We actually had just bought new phones prior to our trip and the sim cards wouldn't work with our new model iphones.
That crushed us.
And made for a wifi & connection limited trip.
Don't be us.
(Ensure your phone is sim ready before ya go.)
Next, you'll grab a cab to your accommodation.
We go Airbnb 90% of the time when we travel.
It's cheaper & more culturally impactful.
The key to a great Airbnb is almost another blog post.
In short, read the reviews like a hawk.
I spend hours before choosing an accommodation.
Work backwards based on activities we want to do...
According to location... (so we don't have long commutes to those activities)
And then I look at:
- features, price, luxury, safety....
We landed on this gem below:
$150/ night for two people....
Not bad... considering... it included:
- Homemade breakfast each morning
- Cleaning services
- Local driver
- Private beach
- Stunning beach views
The best part?
Was the family who operated the joint.
Just the nicest people.
Spoke english well.
Treated us like family.
Just another reason we recommend Airbnb.
A lot of the homeowners enjoy showing you around town in other countries.
And nothin' beats a local tour guide that you can trust.
We found a place on the far side of Cebu.
4 hour tax ride from the airport with traffic.
But close to the whale sharks and hiking.
Lets talk about the sharks.
Swimming With 60 Feet Long Sharks
An experience of a lifetime.
These are whale sharks...
Only eat plankton.
What an experience to swim alongside them.
A commercial experience.
The local fisherman run quite a shop.
Feed the whale sharks to keep them nearby.
Still, amazing to see these creatures within a few feet.
And absolutely a must-do in Cebu.
Was simply incredible.
Note: Some people say the whale sharks aren't treated kindly. That wasn't our experience. You are strictly forbidden from touching or feeding them.
And our Airbnb host, Moli, knew the whale shark activity hosts.
Got us a discount to swim with em.
And watched our belongings while we did.
Goes to show you the hospitality of the Philippino people.
They are honestly the most sincere and gentle people we've met.
Onto the falls we went.
The host of every instagram worthy photo you've seen.
Neon baby blue water.
Lookin' like glacier gatorade.
The adventure starts at the base of the mountain.
You'll hop on the back of a motor bike.
Driven by a stranger...
Who flies you up a windy mountain.
Tiffany and I aren't big humans.
So they put two of us behind 1 driver.
3 of us onboard.
Me on the very back.
Prayin' for my life in full.
Getting pushed further n further off the bike...
With each windy turn.
Driver couldn't hear my screams....
Made it anyways to the top.
Get to the peak.
Sign yo life away.
Put on a life vest.
Hike 2 miles to the start.
Then you'll get to the launch of the falls.
A personal lifeguard will assist you through the rapids.
Without a boat.
You'll hike, climb, and dive in n out of the flowing river...
It is a blast.
You'll also jump...
From 20 feet...
Then 40 feet....
Adrenaline pumping the whole time.
As you splash the turquoise waters below.
In total it's a 4-5 hour event...
Down a tropical "river" with vines, trees, rapids, and rocks.
Buy your water shoes now.
Easily the best hike of my life.
And I hiked 22 different mountains in one year.
You'll find the the Philippino tour guides to be nothing short of great.
They took extra close care of my fiance.
While letting me almost drown.
They have a lot of personality.
(video documenting this below)
So Kawasan falls and the whale sharks.
Two popular activities in Cebu.
But perhaps the most under-rated...
Turns out the coasts of Cebu island are home to many sea turtles.
Tons of them.
Easy to spot.
Glidin' like the little gentle giants they are.
The turtles are bigger than you'd think.
And can be located very close to Kawasan falls.
You'll see signs in town for this.
Or simply ask a local.
They'll tell ya where to go.
Coron: The Most Beautiful Providence In The World
5 days in Cebu is what you'll want to do.
Will give ya a few days to relax.
And a few days to adventure.
Then you'll want to visit Coron.
Thing about Coron is...
Every year it's ranked as one of the most gorgeous providences/ islands in the world.
And it's tiny.
It comes with a price tag.
For this reason.
Many travelers opt to not stay in "Coron" but to take a day trip over by boat.
Which you can do from many nearby islands.
That would be excellent.
There are also hostels I believe if you're backpackin'.
We opted to stay in a resort this time.
And took a gut punch on the price.
As travel we prioritize highly.
When flyin to Coron...
You'll travel by micro jet.
And have a bird's eye view at all it's beauty from the sky.
You'll land on a 1 lane landing strip.
Amongst rolling hills.
Is the size of a 3 bedroom apartment.
And that experience is fantastic.
Like Indiana Jones setting.
Until you get to town.
What to Expect in Coron
Quick 20 minute car ride and you've made it from the airport to Coron, town.
A bustling little city.
Operating off 1 main street.
Full of restaurants.
Pop up shopping stands.
And warm smiles.
Coron, is quaint.
Out of a movie.
Bumpy half paven roads...
Everythin' you need.
Nothing you don't.
A place I could live a few months of the year.
Had great wifi!
But it's the natural beauty.
That makes this place.
Hard to end up a top 5 most beautiful island in the world...
Every single year.
Coron does that.
Crystal clear waters.
Built mostly on tourism.
Still with a sincere charm.
Three wheel scooters as your taxis.
$4 shirts sold from a street stand.
Coron: Activities & Travel Tips
You'll go to Coron to island hop.
Coron is mostly known as a providence...
You'll stay on the main island...
Mostly to be within a 20 minute boat ride to all the other smaller ones.
The surrounding islands is where the treasure lies.
Only inhabited by locals...
First call of action for us was to do just this.
An island hopping tour.
From experience you do not book such a tour from any resort.
Not even from a tourist company in town.
You find a local to take you.
For the same price if not cheaper...
They know the lands.
Can arrange a boat.
Will give ya a proper cultural experience.
Are more than happy to do so.
Love showing you "off the radar spots".
And can get you out there 2 hours before the crowds.
This is how we ended up with these photos...
With not a soul in sight.
Twin lakes lagoon.
Can see the coral reef all round da boat.
Cool little hike to do to the other side.
Fish swimmin' in plain sight.
Great spot for a kayak ride.
Had the drone in the air for a few shots.
Few other little islands.
Can't remember the names.
Local fisherman navigated us there.
Mostly off the map.
Maybe 2-3 other boats in sight.
Make shift hammocks.
Palms trees you can climb.
Tropical island basketball courts.
Was a dream of mine to shoot a few hoops on an island...
Got to do so on a sand court with a few kids.
Tougher than it looks.
Ball bounces funny on sand.
Philippines: Travel Tips & What To Bring
The Philippines is spectacular.
A favorite country of mine.
Full of culture.
Underwater wild life.
And it's cheap!
(besides the resorts in Coron)
Here's a few travel tips as you plan your journey:
- Go 2 weeks before "high season" - We aim to do this for all our travels in order to get better accommodation prices, more accommodation choices, & cheaper flights.
- Expect bad wifi in Cebu
- Bring Water Shoes
- Managed Expectations (expect heavy traffic insides the city of Cebu, bumpy roads at times, homeless dogs, )
- Drink only bottled water
- Choose an Airbnb that has a host/ local to show you around town in Cebu
Hope you'll consider visiting the PH & found this post helpful for your travel plans.
If ya go....
You'll have experiences that last a lifetime.
Will meet the friendliest of people.
And will enjoy plenty of natural beauty.