10 Things you didn’t know about the Philippines

1.It is Illegal to kill Turtles in the Philippines

Turtles in the Philippines - 10 things you didnt know about the Philippines!

Under Philippine and international law, it is illegal to capture and kill sea turtles and to trade in sea turtle by-products. Click here to find out where to see turtles for free!

2. The Philippines produces 153,532,000 Tonnes of coconuts a year, making it the worlds second largest producer of the fruit.

Palm Trees - 10 things you didnt know about the Philippines!

The Philippines is the world’s second largest producer of coconuts. It was previously the world’s largest producer before being overtaken by Indonesia. Luzon, Southern Mindanao, and the Eastern Visayas are a few of the country’s most prominent locations for coconut producing.

3.Manilla was one of the cities which suffered the most damage during WWII.

Manila 1940 - 10 things you didnt know about the Philippines!

Other cities included Warsaw, Hiroshima and Hamburg. The United States of America controlled the Philippines at the time and possessed important military bases there. It was bombed 9 hours after Pearl Harbour.  There are many walking tours of the city to learn about its history during the war. 

4. Inception of Lakes

Island of Luzon - 10 things you didnt know about the Philippines!

The Philippine island of Luzon has a lake. The Lake contains an island, this island contains a lake, and this lake contains another island!

5. There are currently 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

  • Baroque Churches of the Philippines. Located in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miag-ao.)

Baroque Churches of the Philippines - 10 things you didnt know about the Philippines!

  • Historic Town of Vigan. Vigan is located at the river delta of Abra River, along the northwestern coastline of the main island of Luzon, in the Province of Ilocos Sur

Historic Town of Vigan - 10 Things you didn't know about the Philippines

  • Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The river is 8km long however tourists are only able to travel 1km into the river. This was also named one of the new ‘ 7 wonders of Nature’ in 2011. This Site is commonly refered to as the ‘Underground River’. The Cave dome inside measures around 300m in length, which is filled with deep water holes and river channels.  Located on the island of Palawan, between Puerto Princesca and El Nido.

Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park - 10 Things you didn't know about the Philippines

  • Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. The Banaue Rice Terraces are terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The terraces are occasionally called the “Eighth Wonder of the World. Located  Nueva Vizcaya – Ifugao – Mountain Province Rd, Banaue, Ifugao.

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras - 10 Things you didn't know about the Philippines

  • Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a protected area of the Philippines located in the middle of the Sulu Sea

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park - 10 Things you didn't know about the Philippines

  • Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. Forming a mountain ridge running north-south along the Pujada Peninsula in the south-eastern part of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary has an elevation range of 75–1,637 m above sea level and provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. Location: Mindanao.

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

6. The most beautiful country in the world

Beauty Pagent

The following is a list of Philippines’ official placements at the Big Four international beauty pageants, considered the most important in the world. Philippines has won in all four pageants with a total of fourteen victories:

  • Three — Miss Universe crowns (1969 • 1973 • 2015)
  • One — Miss World crown (2013)
  • Six — Miss International crowns (1964 • 1970 • 1979 • 2005 • 2013 • 2016)
  • Four — Miss Earth crowns (2008 • 2014 • 2015 • 2017)

7. Worlds Biggest Snake

10 things you didn't know about the Philippines

The Philippines is home to the world’s longest snake, the Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), which also happens to be the world’s longest reptile. It can grow to 28.5 feet (8.7 m)

8. It Takes Gutz To Be A Gutierrez

It Takes Gutz To Be A Gutierrez

Move over Kim, the Philippines has their very own version of the Kardashians, The Gutierrez family. The reality show follows the dramatic lives of the Filipino showbiz family. There’s former beauty queen Ruffa and her twin brothers – one’s an actor and the other is a funny/fashionista type, and their parents – Eddie, a ‘matinee idol’ and Annabelle, the classic ‘momager’ slash aspiring politician.

9. Balut – A local delicacy

Balut - A local delicacy

Balut is street food eaten all across the Philippines. A balut is a fertilised bird egg (usually a duck) which is incubated for a period of 14 to 21 days depending on the local culture and then boiled or steamed. The contents are eaten directly from the shell. Balut that are incubated for longer periods have well-developed embryo and the features of the duckling are recognizable.

The eating of balut is controversial due to religious, animal welfare, and human health concerns.

10. The famous Leonardo DiCaprio film ‘The Beach’ was written about El Nido in the Philippines!

The Beach

Hundreds of backpackers flock to Maya Bay in Thailand to set foot on the sand which the film ‘The Beach’ was filmed. Little do they know, the book was based on the author, Alex Garland, experiences living in the Philippines. The Krabi  Province is much more developed than El Nido and much more accessable, which is why the film was shot there. Both places are very simular, both have lagoons, crystal clear waters and of course, hundreds of tourists. El Nido was only discovered by the outside world in the 90’s! 

Can you tell the difference between Krabi and El Nido below?

Krabi - 11 Things you didn't know about the philippines
Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Maya Bay - 11 Things you didn't know about the philippines
Krabi, Maya Bay, Thailand 
El Nido, Philippines - 11 Things you didn't know about the philippines
El Nido, Philippines
El Nido, Philippines - 11 Things you didn't know about the philippines
El Nido, Philippines

 

 

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Philippine Travel Itinerary

Planning your next trip to the Philippines but not sure where to go or in what order? We have you covered!
The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, this can make seeing everything challenging if you are on a time limit. Wether you prefer parties and beaches or rice fields and history, the Philippines will definitely have something to offer you.

I would recommend anything between 3-5 weeks in the Philippines. This will enable you to take a slow pace around the country and enjoy it to the fullest! 

Below I will outline roughly the top tourist attractions for each area I have visited. As well as both of my own personal itineraries. I would recommend factoring in a single day for travel to each new destination, some hotels will only let you check in around 2pm or public transport can be unreliable and you are in the Philippines after all. 

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For an in-depth guide on each area click on the titles below.

Manilla – The capital city, mainly used as a hub to fly to other islands or to get to the Banaur Rice Terraces in the north of the island. 

Cebu – This for us, is our adventure island. With lots of waterfalls and physical activity here it is a must see for active people! On the south of this  island you will find Oslob where lots of people swim with the whale sharks. To the West of the island you will find Moalboal which is famous for the sardine run, snorkelling and turtle swimming. Kawasan Falls and lots more waterfalls are in this area too. 

Bohol – Accessable from Cebu city by ferry. Bohol is famous for the chocolate hills and the tarsier monkeys. Tagbilaran is the most popular area for tourists and it is where you can plan most of your trips around the islandThere is a lot more to Bohol than just the chocolate hills, you can visit the other side of the island. Check out this guide for more info on that –>Click here.

Siquior – This island is very slow paced and relaxing with lots to explore and see. Instagram worthy waterfalls such as Lugnason Falls, Cambugahay Falls and Lagaan Falls can be found here, as well as Mt Malabahoc and Cantabon Cave.

Siargao– Want to try surfing? Siargao offers some of the best surfing around! Cloud 9 is world famous for surfers as well as the beautiful beaches.

Boracay – You want to party on one of the whitest beaches? This place is for you! You have 2 options, fly to Caticlan which is expensive, then get a 10 minute boat from Caticlan port over to Boracay or you can fly to Kalibo, which is cheaper, and take a 3 hour taxi & ferry to Boracay. The party island of the Philippines which is probably the most western island in the Philippines.

Palawan – Beaches and topping up the tan more your thing? Palawan is home to island hopping, limestone cliffs and crystal clear water. Flying to Puerto Princesa which is the main airport. This island is home to Port Barton, The Underground River and El Nido. There is also an airport in El Nido if you didn’t want to stop in at Port Barton. From El Nido you can catch a boat to Coron. Both El Nido and Coron offer island hopping tours, crystal clear waters and great snorkelling. El Nido has a few beaches on land where as Coron doesn’t and to access the beaches you will need ot take a boat trip. Coron is home to several Japanese ship wrecks from WW2, making this island very good for new or experienced divers.

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My first trip to the Philippines 

Manila – Boracay – Cebu – Oslob – Moalboal – Cebu – Puerto Princesa – El Nido – Manila

This was an intense 2 weeks with not a lot of time for resting. I got very ill after this trip as I squeezed too much into two weeks. We did manage to see all of our top bucket list items but I would recommend taking an extra week to do this trip.

Day 1 Manila – Boracay. Flight from Manila to Kalibo, then a Taxi (2 hours) to the port, then a boat (10 minutes) to Boracay.

Day 2-4 Boracay

Day 4 – Cebu – Travel dayLeave Boracay and get to Kalibo airport, to fly to Cebu.

Day 5 – CebuFerry from Cebu for a day trip to Bohol

Day 6 – Cebu, Oslob and Moalboal. Taxi to Oslob to swim with the Whale Sharks, then another taxi onto MoalBoal

Day 7 – Moalboal. Sardine swim, turtle spotting & Kawasan Falls canyoning. 

Day 8 – Moalboal – Cebu – Travel Day. Taxi back to Cebu and explore the city.

Day 9 – Cebu – Manila – Puerto Princesa – Travel Day. Flight from Cebu to Manila, changing and catching a flight to Palawan. Staying over a night in Puerto Princesa.

Day 10 – Puerto Princesa – El Nido. 4 Hour drive to the Subterranean River, a few hours there and then another 3 hour drive to El Nido.

Day 11 – El Nido – Island Hopping

Day 12 – El Nido –  Las Cabanas Beach 

Day 13 – El Nido – Nacpan Beach 

Day 14 – El Nido – Manila -Travel Day – Manilla. 6 hour drive to Puerto Princesa, flight to Manila.

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Second trip in the Philippines 

Manila – Cebu – Oslob – Moalboal – Siquijor – Kanbankalan – Bohol – Cebu – Puerto Princesa – Port Barton – El Nido – Coron – Manila.

This time I had learnt from my mistakes of my first trip. I had given my self more time to explore, be spontaneous and chill out. This route is one I would highly recommend, it had us starting out exploring waterfalls and doing lots of activities and ending up on beaches to relax and soak up the sun. This way round, we kept doing new activities, seeing new sights and it felt like each day was getting better. Some parts were spontanious and unplanned which is why we stayed in some areas longer than you would need to. 

Day 1-2  – Manila

Day 3 – Manila – Cebu. Flight to Cebu and taxi to Oslob.

Day 4-6 – Oslob – Swimming with Whale Sharks, Tumalog Falls, Aguinid Falls 

Day 6 – Travel Day – Local bus to Moalboal

Day 7-9 – Moalboal – Swimming with Sardines, Turtles, Kawasan Falls, White beach.

Day 9 Travel Day – Local bus from Moalboal to Liloan, ferry to Sibulan, tricyle to Dumaguete, ferry to Siquijor.

Day 10-13 – Siquijor – Lugnason Falls, Cambugahay Falls, Lagaan Falls, Mt Malabahoc, Cantabon Cave. 

Day 14 – Travel Day -Siquijor to Kabankalan.

Day 15-16 – Kabankalan.

Day 17 – Travel Day – Kabankalan – Dumaguette – Bohol.

Day 18-20 – Bohol, Tagbilaran. Dolphine watching, snorkelling, Viring Island and Balicasag Island. 

Day 20-21 – Bohol, Guindulman. Can- Umatad Falls & Eleuterio rice Terrace

Day 21 – Travel Day – Local bus back to Tagbilaran, 2 hour ferry to Cebu, Taxi to hostel.

Day 22 – Travel Day – 1 hour flight from Cebu to Puerto Princesa, 3 hour taxi to Port Barton.

Day 23-26 – Port Barton – Island hopping, beaches, relaxing.

Day 26 – Travel day – Port Barton- El Nido. 3 Hour taxi to El Nido.

Day 27-31 – El Nido – Island hopping, Las Casbanas beach, relaxing. 

Day 31 – El Nido – Coron – Travel Day – 5 hour ferry to Coron

Day 32-37 – Coron – Island Hopping, boat trips, relaxing.

Day 37 – Coron – Manila – Travel Day – Over night 15 hour ferry back to Manila.

Stay tuned for my Getting around the Philippines blog post coming soon!

Coron – The Travel Guide

Things to knowCoron is located in the North of Palawan, just above El Nido on the map.

Coron, simular to El Nido, can get very busy very quickly. Book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. We had to change hotels three times just to be able to stay here for a week. My cousin also had issues with accommodation and had to move around a lot. 

There isn’t much to do on land, everything involves boat trips. There isn’t a sun bathing worthy beach on land either.

There are 2 ATMs 🙂

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Getting to Coron

The fast ferry from El Nido is the best way to get to Coron if you are travelling north from Puerto Princesa. The Phimal Ferry takes 5 hours and costs around 1700 peso each. You can buy tickets from the Art Cafe in El Nido town. This boat isn’t huge so I would recommend booking a few days before you intend on leaving. The first boat is at 8am, so make sure you get to the port with enough time to sign in, pay terminal fee 15 peso and get your bags on the boat.

Coron also has an airport which you can fly into. I am not sure how frequent these are as I did not fly in or out of Coron.

 

Accomodation - Bondi the Travel Guide

Backpacker- Hop hostel –  A really nice place to stay, imagine Santorini colours!

Hop Hostel, Coron, Palalwan

 

BudgetDivine Castle Travellers Inn It was a nice hotel with breakfast included. They will also help you with trips and pick ups.

Divine Castle Travellers Inn, Coron Palawan

 

Luxury-  Asia Grand View hotel. This hotel was incredible! The rooms were huge, clean and very peaceful. With a pool and restaurant there isn’t too much of a reason to leave the grounds. 1000 Peso to use the pool if you are not a guest.

Asia Grand View hotel, Coron, Palawan

 

 

Places to Eat

Unfortunately I caught food poisoning here so I didn’t actually eat many places, Olly on the other hand did.

Breakfast and Coffee

Coffee Kong 

Buzz Express – Great coffee and western food. This place takes card!!

Dinner & Drinks

Altrove This place is insanely good! Italian restaurant which is the same owner as Altrove in El Nido. It has the best pizzas and pastas in town! We would recommend the pizza though, the dough was extremely fresh!

La Sirenetta – This place is right over the water, beautiful setting but slightly hard to find. Just look up for this photo (Mermaid photo below) and you will find it at the bottom of the alley way off the Main Street.

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Hangover Bar seems to be the bar open till the latest in the whole town.

Places to visit

Boat trips 

We did one trip as a group with 20 other people which cost 1500. 

Super Ultimate tour is the most popular one to do as you see the most amount places. This normally costs 1500 peso per person, this was the cheapest we found at a shop called Timothy Travel and Tours. All you need is your self, a camera and maybe some cash to buy some beer when you stop for lunch.

Private Boats 

The next day we hired a private boat for 2700 for 4 of us, plus the entrance fees to each location and we went to a market and picked all of our own lunch. 

Kayangan Lake – This is the most popular spot so get here around 8am to beat the crowds. There is a a moderate amount of steps up to the look out and then a walk down to the other side to access the lake. As it is fresh water, you have to wear a life jacket and there is a marshal on guard who will not let you pass without one. The water is crystal clear and worth the hike. Swim around the sides to see the hidden caves!

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Kayangan Lake

Coral Garden & Siete Pecados – Grab a snorkel and go enjoy this incredible reef.

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Coral Garden 

 

Twin Lagoon – Life jackets must be warn here too. Short swim around as the boats do not enter, to some stairs which shows you the other side. You can also swim under the stairs but it is crowded.

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Twin Lagoon

 

Skeleton Wreck  – WW2 Japanese ships are in an abundance in Coron. Most of the wrecks here are only visible from scuba diving, but there is one which you can see from the surface.

Barracuda Lake – Another Life jacket destination. Fresh water lake is the clearest water I have ever seen. You can see straight down to the bottom as it is 70% fresh water, 30% salt. If you are lucky you will spot the famous instagram rock which is very popular for photos!

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Barracuda Lake

Beach/Reef & Wreck tour – If you want to check out a few beaches and snorkel some ship wrecks then this trip is the one for you. 

 

On Land 

Mt Tapyas – Hike to the Coron Sign! Imagine the ‘Hollywood’ sign..but a Filipino version. Lots of stairs for a beautiful look out over the whole island.

 

Leaving Coron

 Go2Travel Ferry to Manila – 2500 Peso Each (Non Aircon)

This is the only company which has a ferry to Manila, this also sells out very quickly. There is 2 boats a week, Thursdays and Sundays and I suggest booking this as early as possible. Air con accommodation sells out and we had to book the open air accommodation which was hell, it was boiling! There is about 200 of you on one floor (see photo below) You do get linen with your ticket which is worth collecting from the first class section. Bring snacks and water as there isn’t much on board. This ferry leaves at 4pm and gets to Manila around 7am.

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Flights were sold out for 2 weeks in advance leaving Coron to Manila. If you are planning ahead, make sure there is an affordable flight if you would rather fly out of here.

Click below for the Manila Guide!

Manila Guide