Today on a room tidy, I stumbled upon a rogue box of Peanut Kisses and I knew it was a sign I had to pen a post about my relatively recent and furthest away trip ever.... The Philippines.
Do you ever have that feeling that you have to get away, far away just so you can breathe just a little easier? Well I had that exact feeling at the start of the year, and it wasn't going away many months into 2017. Perhaps my previous year of many holidays had set something off, but I think it was predominantly to do with realising that I was facing another year which was likely to end with me, still single and still clueless... Then after meeting at good friends wedding the previous September, my newest friend Maria questioned why on earth had I not booked my ticket to aManila to visit her to see some of the world’s best beaches. Well I asked myself the same question and soon enough, there I was on a plane from Heathrow to Manila (direct flight!) for 10 days in what really is paradise.
I will do my absolute best to keep this post low on the text and big on photos but one thing you simply have to understand - The Philippines are I N C R E D I B L E. From the weather, the paradise lost beaches, the incredibly humble friendly people to its affordability.... I would return in a heartbeat.
Keen to get in as many beaches (My trip clocked up 7 on my count!) as possible, my trip was more of an island hop with the following itinerary:
Day 1- 2 - Manila
Day 2- 4 - Bohol
Day 5- 8 - El Nido
Day 8 - 9 - Boracay
Day 10 - Manila
I don’t think I need to explain the next series of images:
|N O F I L T E R|
|Calamansi Juice aka The Best Thirst Quencher|
Cost me £520 for direct return from London Heathrow with Philippine Airways however you can get the same tickets for £300 if you shop right and in advance. Sadly, no option of Gluten Free inflight meal option, but there is a choice of English or Filipino style food menus.
I travelled between the islands using flights and the odd ferry also.
With Maria at the helm of accommodation and flight booking, I transferred the main of my cash pre-trip then took around £500 in Philippine Pesos with me (and brought back £180) … El Nido doesn’t really have cash machines, and neither did Bohol from what I could make out however the more touristy Boracay did. Be aware the Philippine government has a cap on the amount of Peso or cash you can bring in with you (around 10,000) and caps on how much you can withdraw from the cash machines.
As the trip wasn’t for long, and Maria needing to be able to work with Wi-Fi we went for mid-value hotels that would provide comfort and a touch of luxury.
Plush beach front hotel at the south of Bohol island with free use of Kayaks and a gorgeous big room featuring 2 double beds and a fantastic rain shower.
A 30-minute Tricycle trip to the main town, and the quietest hotel I have ever ever stayed in (see Video). I felt like I was in Jurassic park paradise. The hut we stayed in was in the forest area however the stay would have been even more amazing if we could have bagged one of the sea facing rooms. Free use of Kayaks for hotel guests and freshly cooked Omelets for breakfast. One for honeymooners looking for remote but not super plush I'd say.
Boracay (genuinely cannot find the Hotel details anywhere!)
-Next door to Two Seasons Hotel on Station One this hotel featured a Luxury room with fab shower, comfy beds and the classic posh-hotel combo of dressing gown and slippers. This came with a fab breakfast spread that had everything you could want, and to be honest with Sand whiter than white a step away, you wanted whatever you could eat fast so to get out there! Ill have to come back to update this another day!
|Mr Gangnam style himself....|
Surprisingly Manila does have Gluten Free restaurants however for the most part of the trip I had to fill my boots on Rice, Eggs, Chips and the various grilled meat and fish options out there. Word of warning that Soy Saucse is commonly used in dishes so the more grilled you can go, the better! I did pack some Gluten Free cereal bars should I struggle for breakfast or inflight meal options which proved super handy.
I'm already thinking about my next Long Haul destination for 2018, I'd love to hear any recommendations especially from any one who has travelled solo…