Coron – Our Journey

After what felt like just a nap for me we had arrived in Coron! While I was in a mini coma Olly had been chatting to some people around us who turned out to be a Videographer for Five Guys. He was interested in Olly’s drone photos which he was editing at the time and I woke up and interrupted their bromance as we had arrived. We headed to our hotel and checked in to Divine Castle Inn, surprisingly there were huge photos of Disney Land castle everywhere..it was very odd! We headed to a restaurant to grab a snack and the staff were so rude we left. I hate how British we are when it comes to manners. If someone doesn’t have basic manners then I need to let them know that they are on the same level as a cave man. I can’t help it..a bad review on trip advisor is coming their way! 

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Anyway.. we headed into the tiny town of Coron to explore and grab a coffee at a highly rated cafe on Trip advisor. It was the first time in so long we had proper coffee! It tasted so strong just because we are used to coffee flavoured water which the Filipino people call coffee. We walked up and down the street and booked a tour for the next day as we wanted to jump into exploring and taking photos. We bumped into Ali, Mo and Patricia ( drone wars from El Nido) and we all decided to go and grab some dinner. Mo and Ali warned us the food was rubbish but me and Olly ordered differently to them so we assumed we would be fine. I tried a chicken dish I had never tried before because I am Queen Fussy eater and I stick to what I know, but Olly is always trying to push me to try different things. We are so similar that normally we order the same thing or I get jealous of what he’s got so I trusted his judgement and ordered this chicken dish. 

The next day we were waiting at our hotel for the trip to pick us up but after an hour we assumed they had forgotten. Our hotel receptionist had called the company and sure enough they had forgotten us, not only that but they walked in and picked up 4 other people and didn’t acknowledge us sitting there. When we eventually got to the boat, Ali, Mo and Patricia were nowhere to be seen and we had to run through two different boats to get to ours. We had made everyone late and It was awkward as hell! We sat down, confused and trying not to make eye contact with the rest of the boat. Once we got enough courage to look around, Olly noticed his mate from the ferry, the Five Guys..guy?

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We stopped off at the first location which was the Twin Lagoon which was a lot of swimming. The guides were adamant on wearing life jackets which was confusing as this was the first sign of health and safety we had experienced the whole time in the Philippines. This lake was beautiful but after some awkward swimming and pushing, me and Olly decided swimming with life jackets was not only ridiculous but we looked pathetic. Do you know how hard it is to get from point A to B when your back is perfectly straight and floating? No, nor did we so we took them off and pushed them in front of us. This was also our first time flying the drone off of a boat which sent my anxiety levels through the roof. I am a great at helping Olly now, he has taught me how to get the controller set up and phone so I can actually help, other than shouting at people to move because did I mention that nobody seems to have manner here? If the drone is landing, chances are its going to hit you if you stand in the way taking a selfie. I can say from experience when the drone hits you, it bloody hurts!

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Five Guys guy had given us his email to send him all the drone photos of course and we learnt that the reason they are so strict with the life jackets is because two tourists died last year, drunk, freediving or something. They hit their head and drown or so the rumour goes.

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We stopped at some more incredible snorkelling spots and some lakes. The first lake was hell, naturally it had 500 steps up and down to reach which I didn’t moan about once. I did managed to refuse to go any further and made Olly walk on without me but after 2 minutes of sitting there on my own with lots of Chinese tourists staring at me, I picked my pride up and ran down to find him. This was a fresh water lake so we had to wear life jackets again which made it hard to find him as it was a sea of Orange. The water was the clearest I have ever seen and because it is fresh water, you do tend to sink which was fun. 

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Barracuda Lake

We also stopped at Barracuda Lake which was out of this world. This lake was perfectly still, perfectly clear and perfectly refreshing. Olly was blown away at how deep this lake was and you could see the whole way to the bottom. It was mad how you can’t see this deep in the sea but yet here you can see everything, catfish and all! After a hell of alot of swimming, climbing and moaning we headed back and were exhausted! We managed to find the energy to meet up with Mo, Ali and Patricia for some amazing dinner at the sea front. We had some drinks and headed home.

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Lake Kayangan from above

That night turned into hell. If you have read all of this page you will know that Olly made me try a new dish a day before this evening. This turned into a bad idea as I have now got food poisoning. I have never had food poisoning before as I am a fussy eater and the one pro of being fussy is that you don’t get ill from food! The next two days I was trapped in bed with nowhere to go, nothing to do other than moan and watch Netflix. Poor Olly was going out getting me all kinds of medicine and when I thought I was hungry he went to get me food which turned into another bad idea. 

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We booked a fancy hotel for our last few days in Coron as there wasn’t actually much to do on land here, other than do boat trips so we booked into Grand Asia Hotel. This was the perfect place to be ill as it had a pool and HUGE room and was so peaceful.

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My not so baby cousin

The next day my bébé cousin had arrived and wanted to do a boat trip with us. Olly pumped me full of pills and we headed out to find a boat. We managed to get a private boat and choose all of our lunch which was really nice. This was the first time I have ever hung out with my cousin, how crazy is that. We have never been in a room together without our dads being there either. It was nice to gossip about our Dads finally. We had a really nice day chilling and swimming and taking lots of photos and I had started to feel better, still not eating but not in pain. 

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The next day we invited my cousin and her friend, also called Olivia, to our hotel and we chilled by the pool all day and caught up some more. I had started to feel worse again and relaxing done me some good.

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Asia Grand View Hotel

A few days later we took a ferry to Manila, a 15 hour journey in what looks like hell. I can only describe it as the prison Bridget Jones goes to in Thailand. Air con sleeping quarters had sold out so we were in the very local, very open air accommodation. It was boiling and it was awful. Olly pumped me full of pills again so I wouldn’t feel too bad on the ferry but there was no happiness on this ship of doom. We did meet some lovely Americans on this ferry who heard I wasn’t well and came and found me to give me some crackers which was so nice of them. I hadn’t eaten for 5 days at this point and it was just what I needed to survive the night.

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Coron from above!

Next stop Manila for the last leg of our journey in the Philippines. We have booked an apartment in a residence building as they have a pool and gym we can use and being in Manila isn’t particularly fun. Theres not much to do here and we just want to relax incase I am still ill.

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Lake Kayangan 

Olly once again has proved to be the best boyfriend in the world. Putting up with me in general is a hard gig but he’s put up with me at my worst and hasn’t battered an eyelid. I am the unluckiest person in the world, that’s a fact. But the fact I have him makes me extremely lucky. I don’t know many people who would do as much as he does for me and I will be forever grateful to have him in my life. He even let me watch 6 hours of Greys Anatomy while I was ill.

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El Nido – Our Journey

El Nido Text - Our Journey

My favourite place in the world is El Nido and I am finally back! As soon as we get closer to somewhere I recognised I instantly am in awe of how much El Nido has changed. I was thinking maybe my minds playing tricks on me and I don’t remember as much as I used to. We arrive at the hotel and I want to go and explore to see if I am right and again I am shocked how much everything has changed. There are so many more hotels, restaurants and generally more western looking shops. I was only here a year and a half ago, how could it of changed this much in that time?!

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That evening we met up with Sasha and Simon and headed to the Outpost hostel for some food and drinks and to book our trip for the next day. This place is amazing, brand new, great food and cheap trips! I was beginning to think that change was a good thing for El Nido. Unfortunately the next day it rained all day and we postponed our island hopping trip but as we had a private boat we didn’t loose any money. We spent the day in bed, watching films and updating the blog and doing ‘Life admin’. 

 

Island hopping day!! First stop was to the Big Lagoon, which our boat literally drove in and drove out as it was very busy. We then went to Shimizu Island for some snorkelling but the current was so strong I thought I was going to drown!

El Nido  - Our Journey

Our highlight of the day was the secret  lagoon, we arrived here later than we expected and we were the only ones here. Me and Olly became the dream team and kayaked though the cave to reach it. We stopped paddling and just floated around, amazed at how clear the water was and how blue it was. It was amazing!!!

El Nido  - Our Journey

 

We kayaked over to a secluded beach and of course a photo shoot broke out. This boat trip was amazing and I was reminded why I loved this beautiful place so much. 

El Nido - Our Journey

The next day I demanded a beach day to top up the tan, we headed to Las Cabanas beach which was the closest one to El Nido and spent the day chilling and swimming and not really doing much. As the sun was setting we headed to Beach bar to grab a bean bag and a few drinks and this is where we met Ali, Mo and Patricia. These guys had a drone and drone wars took place which was cute to watch as Olly and Mo were teaching each other about their drones. I didn’t care too much as I found two puppies and instantly my day was made.

 

We figured out that we were all on the same ferry to Coron together and planned to see them there. The ferry was a 5 hour fast boat at 7:45 am which I wasn’t too happy about but once we got on board it actually wasn’t bad. I couldn’t even feel the fact I was on boat and passed out while Olly took photos of me 🙃

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El Nido is so beautiful, but I can already see how it will slowly lose some of this beauty. The amount of tourists they put on boat trips, the amount of new hotels going up and the amount of money things are costing, not to mention they now have a functioning airport. It’s loosing it’s untouched feel already and it is 100% due to how much the Philippines has blown up on social media and bloggers promoting it. This place is still as popular as ever, the hotels are still booked up weeks in advance and it’s still people’s number one place to see here in the Philippines. Not all of it is bad, every restaurant is adamant on not using plastic straws and reducing their waste. This can only mean good things and hopefully the government won’t have to close it like they have Boracay.  

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Coron is the last island we are visiting before we head back to Manila to catch our flight to Sydney. We tried to look for flights to Siargao as Olly really wanted to go surfing here, but Boracay has closed and everything has sky rocketed in price. Coron is also another island neither of us have visited. I enjoy going to new places much more as I don’t have any expectations or anything to compare it too. So far every place we have moved on too has seemed to top the last place. Hopefully Coron doesn’t disappoint and tops what El Nido has to offer. 

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Bohol – Our Journey

We have arrived in Bohol!!!! So excited to be back as I have only been here for a day trip with my sister. So me and Olly have heard very very mixed reviews about Bohol since we started travelling around the Philippines. Most people say the chocolate Hills are overrated and Bohol has turned into a little Boracay ( little Ibiza) and isn’t a nice place. We took all of these opinions with a pinch of salt and headed there anyways. We booked accommodation in Tagbilaran which is where most of the backpackers are and most of the trips start from. As soon as we got off the ferry we realised this wasn’t like anywhere we had been before. We are not sure if it’s because Boracay is shutting this week or the simple fact that this is more touristy.. but the people are horrible here! Taxi drivers charging ridiculous prices and ignoring us if we won’t pay. They are just out to rip you off and it feels like Thailand. Anyway we get to our hostel and the owner is a really nice German guy who tells us all we need to know about trips and starts to get us drunk Lol , so we head into town to sort out a tour for the next day and grab some dinner.

We saw on another blog there was a really good vegan restaurant… Olly normally orders the veggie option anyway as he is fussy with meat, more fussy than I am with food in general. So me trying to be a good understanding girlfriend says “ sure let’s try it”.. but in the back of my mind I’m thinking it’s only half 7, there’s still time to get food after we are done here haha. But we had probably the most filling dinner we’ve had while being away. Olly had a Diwali festival inspired curried potato rosti filled with cauliflower, cashews, peas, tomato and sweet pickles slipped with kerelan papaya chutney and I had a sweet potato, garlic, mushroom, mango and spinach burger.  I was so hesitant for trying it but he said “ I’ll pay for it if you please try it”.. didn’t have to tell me twice haha. I really struggle with not letting him know how I feel, I can’t lie to him so he was watching my face to see my reaction and I have to say it wasn’t bad.

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Every time we go on a ferry I say to Olly “ I just want to see a dolphin” so when we were looking at what trips to do, he pointed to the dolphin watching trip!!!! Of course I was so bloody excited. We had an early start of course we got on the boat at 6:30am. We headed out to a remote island just off shore to do some snorkelling and on the way we saw a pod of dolphins!!! It was really cool but I was kinda disappointed that there were about 15 boats doing the same trip as us, chasing them. Didn’t feel too natural but we literally saw them and drove off, our boat driver didn’t chase them which was good.

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We got to Balicasag island and got into smaller boats where they took 4 of us out at a time. They took us over the protected reef ( very happy there is protected reefs still) and to the cliff edge where we saw the most amazing coral! We saw hundreds of fish, clown fish, purple fish and all amazing shapes and colours of coral. This is definitely the best I’ve ever seen! We got back on the boat and they took us 5 minutes around the corner to a stronger current where we saw lots and lots of turtles !!! This was becoming the best day yet with the amount of wildlife we had seen.

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We then went to the Virgin island which is a huge sandbar in the middle of the sea, pretty cool but as always, over crowded. We jumped back on the big boat and Olly being the amazing boyfriend he is, he let me fall asleep on the boat while he chatted away to the locals and I was extremely burnt when I woke up.

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To ease the pain we found the perfect spot on the beach and got very drunk watching the sunset. Meeting two English girls who we got talking to and went for dinner with was a really nice end to this amazing day!

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We then travelled to a different part of Bohol the next day, called Guindulman, next to Anda beach. We stayed in an amazing hotel called Guindulman Bay tourist Inn with an English owner and his Filipino wife and son. He was like an old English gangster with so many stories and she was probably the smartest person I have ever met and their son was a little Filipino geeza who loved the ladies. They made us feel so welcomed and the food!!! Oh my goodness the food was out of this world. Me and Olly had to get used to eating 3 huge meals again because we had to take this opportunity while it lasted! We spent hours talking to them and they were so helpful with everything around this area. We spent a day going to waterfalls that were empty, running around rice terraces getting spooked by Carabao’s ( like a water buffalo). It was amazing! We also took the moped and explored around and we got a flat tyre. With this area not being used to westerners , no one spoke English but we managed to figure out that the shop to fix it was 1km away.. with us not wanting to push this heavy bike in the heat, a local who looked about 15 pushed it for us 🤣 weak white people!

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Our next adventure takes us back to Cebu for a day, so we can catch our flight to Puerto Princesa and move onto Port Barton!!!