Planning ahead in the Philippines

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Planning ahead in the Philippines

Philippines is a beautiful country with a lot of adventures on offer. Actually, the whole country has something to offer. Trekking adventures, World UNESCO heritage sites, paradise islands, honeymoon spots, top quality beaches, animal encounters and scuba diving and snorkeling.
Anything for anyone.
Although Philippines is a versatile country it requires some planning ahead.

The Philippines is made out of many small islands. There are no bridges or roads (generally) between the islands and transportation is sometimes a hassle if you arrive on site with little or no information.

The domestic flights are usually cheap. Cebu pacific is the most common domestic airline operating most bigger cities. But there might be some delays on most flights due to the frequence of the flights. We experienced up to 2 hours delay on all of our flights with Cebu Pacific. You need to book a week or two in advance to get cheap tickets as these tickets go up in price by the minute.

Bus or hired vans are usually the best way to get around the islands and an be cheap if you have the skill of bargaining. There are usually ferries between the bigger islands so that the buses and cars can get between them easily.

If you go anywhere by taxi you could get an offer of going somewhere by the driver. Most drivers do business this way and it is not uncommon. ANd they offer cheap prices.
No place is too far, it depends on how much you are willing to pay. If you are more than one person it might be a good deal going with private van.

We took a flight with Cebu Pacific from Manila to IloIlo where we got a good deal by the taxi driver taking us from the airport. The next day he took us along the coast from IloIlo to Caticlan where we would take a boat to Boracay island. There is an airport in Kalibo as well which is on the north side of the island and closer to Boracay. But we wanted to experience the island and get a nice and easy start to our island adventure.

Getting a ferry is not easy if you don’t know where the harbour is. And sometimes there can be many different ones depending on which island you would like to go to.
We had decided to go to Cebu island and Cebu city from IloIlo and Dauin. We had heard that there were different ports and we were directed to the port that was suppost to house the boat we were going with. The boat left only a few times per day. We explained to the bus driver and were dropped of at the harbor. But it was the wrong place. The actual harbor was one and a half hour away. And the last boat had left before we would get there.

So what to do?  Take a taxi and hope to get there and wait in the harbor over night or find another solution. After running around our pretend right harbor trying to find another boat we ended up finding another boat. But to a completely different island. So we ended up on Siquijor island. That adventure turned out to be one of the best mistakes on our trip. But we still wished we would have gone to Cebu too.

 Here are some areas that might be of interest in Philippines

The North
In the North, Luzon, you have lots of natural wonders and exploration. Most of the tourists that goes there wants to explore the famous rice fields and World UNESCO heritage sight. But for the even bigger explorers there are indigenous tribes living around the mountainous ares of Luzon that allow visitors for homestays.

Palawan
The beautiful Puerto Princesa and the limestone pillars offer snorkeling, kayaking and honeymoon locations to die for

Cebu
Cebu is mostly known for its whale sharks. It is very set up and touristy but what it does it that it gives you and opportunity to swim with and feed whale sharks. This is one of the most appreciated and popular tourist activities in these parts of Philippines and many make pilgrimage here for that alone.

Panay
The island of Panay probably holds one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From Panay you can get to the island of Boracay or explore the cultural sights of the main island.

Negros island
For us this island was mostly about snorkeling. Dauin holds one of the best marine conservation parks in Philippines and we got to swim with wild sea turtles several times and you don’t need an instructor to go in the water. %0 Peso for the marine park fee and you’re in. One of our most memorable things we have done so far.
From Dauin or Dumaguete you’ll have access to many ports that can get you to our next destination.

If you plan to visit several places in Philippines we recommend that you plan two weeks ahead. And make a travel route so that you know how to and where to get from island to island.  You might end up loosing time and money traveling around on instinct. In most countries you’ll get around fine that way. But it is much harder to travel impulsive in the Philippines.

Have you been in the Philippines? If so, what is your favourite travel memory from there? let us know!