Philippines, Vietnam · 10 Days · 18 Moments · July 2017

The Travelling Two's adventure in Philippines

27 July 2017

Y including scanner and search just to enter. I think they were pretty pissed off that they had to keep searching our smelly luggage rather than a handbag. Gave Josh a lecture on being too frivolous with money as he purchased a McDonald's, but then saw build your own Magnum bar which I couldn't resist (oops). Back to the airport, stuck in traffic for a loooong time before another wait in the airport. Food was the best part of this day. Philippines adventure done, sad to leave as although rocky to start with we ended up having an amazing time. Back to Vietnam!
6.30am start, airport delays from Puerto Princesa to Manila, we were also pretty annoyed that we had to pay an additional airport tax in cash at Puerto Princesa that we were not made aware of, thankfully we had cash on us as apparently you're not allowed through security until it's paid. Bit of a long boring day to be honest. We gave ourselves plenty of time in case of delays to get back to Manila but our flight back to Vietnam wasnt until 10.15pm. As we were heading back to the land of rice, noodles and more rice we had a few last treats of Western culture (McDonald's and Pizza Hut) then decided to head to the nearest mall to kill time and also print out visa information we needed for Nam. Not as easy as we thought...underestimated Manila traffic again and it took us around an hour to even get a cab. Also annoying that we had to take our backpacks with us too,this was trouble some entering any part of the mall or changing sections in the mall as every entrance has airport like securit

26 July 2017

Food and shower then the time had come to leave Port Barton and head down to the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. We didn't want to leave had the loveliest time and would like to return before swarms of tourists find this gem and it becomes commercialised. Van ride to Puerto Princesa was seatbelts and a crazy driver! Before we'd even made it on to the main road had a bit of a mishap and the van had got stuck in the mud on one of the country roads, took a few locals (who were slipping and sliding everywhere) to push and us jumping at the back. Couldn't help but get the giggles. A few can't look moments with the scary driving and overtaking on blind bends but made it in one piece. Grabbed some Street food at the local restaurant, shower and bed
We had met a guy called Jeff an Aussie who owned a bar in Port Barton who had agreed to take us to the other sights by Port Barton. The boat trip gang all met up and he took us in his car to White Beach, quite cool going with someone who knows the area so found out a bit more about the place. White beach was gorgeous, absolutely no one there, scenery for miles and nothing but coconut trees swaying in the breeze. Stayed there for a couple of hours before the rain came in. Moved on to the next stop which was the waterfalls, this was a treacherous journey as the storm had come in the roads were all muddy and uphill so on a few occasions didn't think the car was going to make it or we got stuck but we made it. Waterfall walk took about 15 minutes and was quite pleasant in the cooler temperature. Quick Waterfall swim and then back on the scary journey to town.
More Island Hopping the next day, I've had worse Mondays. Lots of snorkel stops were we saw Turtles and hundreds of giant Starfish. We had a great group on board the boat so it was lovely getting to know everyone. We arrived at paradise beach and there was a shack which sold cold beers! I think this made everyone happy. Again lucky with the weather but we could see a storm on the horizon so we moved on to complete the rest of the trip. We had stupidly not brought enough money with us, again no atm in Port Barton but we transferred money to a local company and picked it up ( seemed stressful at the time but was quite straightforward). Moved into another hostel as ours was fully booked so unable to stay a second night but the next place was cheaper and we were next-door to our friends from the boat trip. Lovely evening meal on the beach, met a lady from the boat trip and had a few tipples at the reggae bar on the beach.
Bit of a lie in on the Sunday, met up with Daniel for lunch and said our goodbyes. We boarded put minivan and met our crazy driver and took off on our 4 hour route to Port Barton. We arrived to Port Barton and instantly fell in love. It's a tiny village with only dirt tracks for roads, all houses are home made, the people are so friendly and smiley too. The place is very back to basics pretty much zero WiFi, electricity is only available from 6pm until midnight but the beach is stunning and exactly what we imagined the Philippines to be like. We checked into our Hut and got changed for an evening swim. It was extremely peaceful and still water with a horizon that went on for miles. Swim followed by happy hour beers on the beach was delightful.
Spent a long time trying to get Josh out of bed, we had our boat trip booked for island hopping and had to be at the beach for 8.30am. With sore heads we made it there on time to head off and see the sights for the day. Due to being rainy season the weather is very hit and miss but we were lucky and the sun was shining. We did a combination tour which was a bit of island hopping and Lagoons. The beaches we went to were lovely and one had this very high rope swing from a tree but was fun. Lots of snorkel stops so Josh was pleased. The Lagoons were breathtaking the most turquoise clear water I have ever seen. Food was fantastic! Couldn't believe it was all prepared on the boat, delicious and so beautifully presented, fresh crab,meat, salad, rice etc. Such a good day. Got back and changed hostels (dorms and sharing is not for us) we found one down the road with a private room for cheaper. Last supper and an early night.
Had our free breakfast in the hostel (bread and jam/peanut butter) and then met up with the gang to decide on what we were doing for the day. We waited for the rain to subside then we all got a tricycle to Las Cabanas beach. Weather wasn't perfect but beach was still lovely with a zip wire going across the sea to an island where we could sit and watch people whizz past screaming. Got sunloungers at the beach shack until a typhoon came in. Rained pretty much all afternoon but we had a nice lunch and saw some pretty cool creatures such as a massive scorpion and a metre long centipede (apparently the locals eat them). Evening antics consisted of drinking games in the hostel and a night out. Josh of course was rather inebriated early on, so was in bed for around 2.30pm.

23 July 2017

The hostel is probably one of the worst weve stayed in so far and also the most expensive. Accommodation isn't in abundance online for El nido so we booked were Dan had some friends he was meeting. Hostel was just dorms, not very clean, shocking WiFi but very social and full of young backpackers up for a party. We were introduced to Dans friends (two British girls) and we all went for dinner. The girls were really nice and so good to have female company to have a good chat to. Headed back the hostel and chilled there before heading to bed. Not the best night sleep sharing dorms with no working air con.
Nice lie in, easy morning headed to the airport around lunchtime for our flight to El nido. Traffic was crazy going through Cebu City but we made it in plenty of time. Checked in with Air swift and got given stickers to get free snacks on the aircraft which we couldn't complain about! The domestic airport was pretty basic but plenty of places to get food and wait. Our plane was tiny, and with propellers so I was very nervous about getting on it but the airline was actually great. Plane seemed brand new, luxury seating inside and professional crew so nerves were soon put aside. Flying over the Philippines is a fantastic experience getting to view all the different islands. We arrived into the tiniest airport ever...not sure you could even call it that pretty much just a landing strip then got on our tricycle taxi to El nido town.

20 July 2017

After the whale sharks, we managed to sort our cash flow problem and a kind soul at a hotel over heard us at the local bank (if you can call it that) and agreed to let us send him money by PayPal! We were so relieved! Now we all had cash we had food for the first time in a day and half and it had never tasted so good. Back to the hostel to change and shower and back on the bus to Cebu City. basic but pleasant hostel for the evening, me Josh and Daniel ventured out and tried some of the local delicacy Lechon (suckling pig) which Josh loved. We were elated with having money and fancied a few drinks but Cebu town is rather dodgy and didn't feel too safe so we decided against and headed back to the hostel.

19 July 2017

First glimpse of the sharks. The first one we saw swam directly under us...omg it was ginormous! We pulled into an area where there were lots of boats moored up against buoys and got in. There were a few fisherman/guides swimming up and down putting krill in the water to feed the sharks. The only way to describe them is as gentle giants. There was some absolutely massive ones around 9 metres circling around the area we were. They are harmless though,more interested in the food you're advised to stay 4 metres away but it's impossible as they just swim around you not really bothered one bumped into Josh which gave him the fright of his life. Can't describe the sheer size of them and how majestic they are. Absolutely awesome seeing them for real and so close! Completely worth the stress and the visit to Oslob!
After another rubbish sleep...(bit nervous about whale sharks and the money situation) the alarm went off at 5.30am. We got a tricycle to the whale shark area about 25 minutes drive away. We were a bit nervous on the route it was pouring with rain and we weren't sure what to expect. Once we'd arrived we tried to register but were informed there was an additional 100peso entry fee per person on top of the money for the whale shark swim. We didn't have any extra cash and only had what we thought was enough for the whale shark swim. After waiting around for a while deciding what to do the man at reception spoke to us and I think felt a bit sorry for us so wavered the fee! Yay! Quickly hopped on board a jeep which took us down the road where we joined lots of other tourists waiting to see the sharks. The place was well run, and we had to sit through a safety briefing before continuing out to the water. Our boat was nothing more than a kayak really. And it wasn't long before we caught our

18 July 2017

Least has restaurants and bars. The day turned out to be a bit of a disaster really. We had leant Daniel some money until we got to an ATM,however in the whole of Oslob and the four neighbouring towns after,there is not one atm that works. We spent around 5 hours searching for an atm, unable to pay the taxi driver or eat all day as everywhere only accepts cash we were pretty screwed. The taxi driver was pretty understanding and agreed to meet us the next day to try again. Me and Josh had held enough money back to do the whalesharks and decided we had to do it or the visit to the island was completely pointless but that was to the penny, we felt bad on Daniel. The plan was he was going to try and sort out the cash situation in the morning. With no surplus cash, that meant an early night and hungry bellies.
After not a great sleep (freezing with aircon, too hot without, thin walls and bloody cockerals!) we got our bus to Oslob. bus had aircon, and a flat screen TV showing western films so was a bearable journey. The bus conductor was really friendly and made sure the bus stopped by our hostel rather than at a stop. Good thing about the Philippines is that pretty much everyone speaks excellent English so easy to communicate with most locals. Our hostel looks like a building site and half finished but WiFi is great and beds are basic but rooms are clean which is all we ask for. After reading a few blogs online that say there isn't much to do in Oslob... They weren't lying. Around our hostel is a dirt track to the beach (not really a beach just stones and then water), 15 mins away from the nearest town (I'd say shanty town) and we were very obviously the only westerners.Didn't really know what to do with ourselves so got a motorbike taxi to the actual whale shark town as it apparently at
Where as here takes a lot more planning and you have to pick exactly what you want to do as travelling and getting around isn't as cheap or as frequent to see a few things at once. So we picked up a solo traveller called Daniel who was just as confused as we were about what to see and do in Cebu and we've decided to head to the whale sharks together and then we'll fly to a different island. So hostel booked for the south of the island we had an early night and decided to get a bus to Oslob the next day so we would be in the vicinity of the whale sharks
We decided before we came here that the one thing we wanted to do was swim with Whale Sharks so we picked Cebu as the first place to visit as it's the main place people go to do it. It's about an hour and a half on a plane from Manila so pretty easily done. We managed to get an Uber to our hostel once we'd landed with no problems. One thing we've found difficult in the Philippines is WiFi is not as readily available as we'd been used to. Very hard to find anywhere with Internet even restaurants rarely have it, we were furious when we discovered the WiFi in the hostel wasn't working and we had to find a mall which gave us an hour free Internet to plan the next part of our journey...we eventually had to go to an Internet Cafe. I have to admit backpacking the Philippines is a different kettle of fish to the rest of Asia and we've found it more difficult and not as straightforward as we're used to. I think in the rest of Asia the routes have all been done so many times its so simple
We started our Philippines adventure around a week ago, but spent the time connecting with family and relaxing. This came at the right time as we'd had a busy time in Vietnam, travelled A LOT especially through the night and we had pretty much ran out of clothes! As amazing as the experience of travelling is it can get exhausting, so having a week of luxury and being looked after was appreciated massively. So we've now recuperated, eaten lots and got used to the comfiest bed but it's time to continue on the journey. Bit of an over view of Manila, to be honest we didn't get to see much of the "proper" Manila but spent time in the business district of Makati. Makati is full of towering high rise buildings, luxury malls and corporate businesses. It feels very secure to walk around, and the Filipinos we've encountered so far are so lovely and friendly. A great thing about Manila is the coast is so accessible and if you drive for a couple of hours out the city theres so much to see and do