I have been researching for my trip in the Philippines and just recently there was a viral video of DOT’s campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” in London Waterloo station. Were your able to watch it? If not, you can watch it here.
I got teary eyed watching this and I realized that I have been missing A LOT. The only thing I can remember from my younger years in Philippines was our little province of Pangasinan. Other than that, Palawan, Boracay, Davao and Cebu were just places I read on textbooks. I am happy how people of different races and culture appreciate the Philippines, well of course, who wouldn’t want to spend time in a paradise, right? I have been to almost every state of the United States and a couple of places in Canada and I am quite ashamed that it took me some time to go back to my homeland, but at least that won’t stop me from doing it whatever the circumstances are.
So after days and weeks of reading travel blogs, I finally mapped out my trip to the Philippines following the 15 Ways to have More Fun in the Philippines from DOT (I must say, DOT has been doing really good job in promoting our country! Their videos and events are really enticing. Kudos DOT!)
Keeping true to my blog name (he he) I decided to do a “backpacking” style of trip which has been pretty popular to young (and young at heart) travelers. I also decided to explore not just Luzon, but also Visayas and Mindanao.
First stop – LUZON
MANILA! Manila, I’m coming back to Manila, Manila!
Few days ago, there were viral photos and videos of a Jeepney in New York!! Yes, NEW-YORK! Turns out, Black Eyed Peas’ singer, Apl de Ap owns the jeepney and paraded it in New York as part of the Independence Day celebration. So I took it as a sign, where is the better place to start other than the capital of Philippines. It would also give me extra time to adjust to the time and weather (I heard it’s already rainy season).
I booked my Manila accommodation in Belmont Hotel in Newport City and Eight Forbestown Road in Bonifacio Global City through Airbnb. Belmont Hotel is right across NAIA3 where I will be coming from. Another factor I liked about this hotel is that they already have a scheduled airport shuttle to and fro the airport which makes it very convenient for travelers especially after a long-haul flight.
From the kwentos of my Filipino friends who had their vacation in the Philippines just this year, the traffic will test your patience. Good thing that Montecito Residential Resort and Eight Forbestown are both accessible to leisure, food and entertainment. One of my friends even told me that Newport City is a home to one of the biggest Performing Arts Theater in the Philippines and the Casino is very much alive. Back in the day, we only have CCP and Folk Arts Theater; it feels good to hear this kind of development because it supports the talents of Filipinos. While for the Casino, I only hear PAGCOR from tiyo and tiya back then. I’ve experienced Casino in Vegas during my younger years, it’s like no other, but Resorts World Manila would surely bring back the old days.
Another surprising place for me is Fort Bonifacio which is Bonifacio Global City now. Every travel blog about the Philippines said that this is “the place to be”. I was hesitant at first to book my accommodation here because the environment might be “too young” for me. Yes, it boasts a thriving nightlife other than that it also has a wide array of restaurants which most of the food blogs describe as “gastronomical experience” which leads me to choose Eight Forbestown, because it is just literally steps away from the famous Burgos Circle. Speaking of the night life, the world class disco or what kids nowadays call clubs or bars are located in The Palace, Uptown Bonifacio. I might even try to “party”… eek!
Over the course of looking at places to stay in Bonifacio Global City, I also discovered McKinley Hill where the Piazza Mall is located, based from the photos the place looks so romantic! The architecture was patterned to one of the most romantic cities in the world – Venice.
After the hustle and bustle of the city, my next destination is TAGAYTAY!
It will be my fifth time (I guess) in Tagaytay and I can’t wait to see the Taal Volcano again! The best way to see it? At the most beautiful Starbucks in the Philippines! It is said to be located in Tagaytay Twin Lakes. Tagaytay is my Filipino friends’ favorite destination; they say that the fresh air is hard to leave and the weather is perfect for a warm coffee. I allotted a day trip to Tagaytay, hopefully it will be enough to go around the city.
Second stop – VISAYAS
With the numerous beautiful cities and provinces on Visayas, I decided to go on the most visited and iconic places in Visayas – Iloilo, Boracay and Cebu.
The charming Iloilo lures me to its well-kept heritage and the mouthwatering Ilonggo cuisine (one hot bowl of Batchoy, please!!). I will arrive in the morning and will stay at Richmonde Hotel. Afterwards, I am looking forward to a sumptuous lunch in Plazuela de Iloilo, a Spanish-Italian inspired building with a wide range of restaurants. Then, I will tour the city’s timeless churches that were built decades ago but are still being used. I will end my day at the beautiful Iloilo Esplanade, perfect for an evening stroll with the view of Iloilo river.
Next morning is already reserved to strolling around Iloilo Business Park while I wait for my next flight.
(drumroll please) BO-RA-CAY!! This beautiful paradise awakens the island woman in me. I have been to beautiful Hawaii and Mexico, but from the photos, there’s nothing like the Boracay sunset. I can’t wait to see it with my two eyes and feel the finest white sand on my toes. I will be staying at Fairways and Bluewater Hotel in Boracay Newcoast area; it is on the other side of the island. I decided not to stay along the three stations of Boracay since I would love to have my peace and quiet time in the beach. I have heard a lot of good stories about Boracay especially from the children of the Filipino friends, so I plan to explore Boracay for two days and experience the wonders of the beautiful paradise.
After I achieved my tan skin (kidding!), my last Visayas destination is the Queen City of the South. Ending my Visayas trip in the flourishing center of the South, there were so many things to do Cebu but I only have two days to explore. I will be staying in Mactan area, I booked my accommodation at BE Resorts Mactan. Again, the island girl in me is happy! Just looking online, Philippines has the best beaches in the world, I pray that we, Filipinos, will take care of our natural resources so that more generations will see the beauty of the Philippines. Aside from the beach, first thing on my list is the Basilica de Sto. Nino. Devotees from around the world go to the Basilica especially during Sinulog festival. I’m a bit sad I won’t be able to experience any of the festivals during my stay. I would love to explore the city and visit tourist-y places like Magellan’s cross, Jumalon Museum and Butterfly Sanctuary, Museo Sugbo and more. In between going around places, I will try the famous Lechon Cebu and I will try to drink as much Mango shake as I can! The moment my family and friends knew that Cebu was part of my itinerary, they immediately started asking for pasalubong and they all asked for the same thing – dried mangoes. I think I’m going to have excess baggage just because of mangoes. Haha.
There’s a Cebuana in our community and she told me about a new place in Cebu called Mactan Newtown. She recommended Mactan Alfreso restaurant, an open restaurant with restaurants ranging from seafood to bbq. She said the seafood selection was to die for! Uh-uhm. Definitely on my list.
Third stop – Mindanao
The recent election made me really curious about one city in Mindanao and I was impressed how many tourists local and international are attracted to this place. Davao is said to be one of the safest cities in the world and there are a lot of things that you can do in this place.
I booked my accommodation at Park Inn by Radisson Davao which is beside Davao Part District and accessible to all the places to go in Davao. My two days there would consist of going to all the tourist places like visiting Davao Museum, , churches, Philippine Eagle center, Crocodile Park (will have to try the crocodile ice cream!) and the Davao City hall (to meet any of the Duterte family. Kidding!).
Last stop – Manila
And after my whirlwind romance with Visayas and Mindanao, I’ll be staying in Manila for another three days, this time in Eastwood City. I booked my accommodation at Eastwood LeGrand via Airbnb. Eastwood City itself it a township where business and pleasure meet, I am meeting some of my friends and relatives at this point and I want to make sure that everything is accessible to us already to avoid traffic and long hours wasted in waiting.
Here’s a quick summary of my Philippines trip:
|LUZON||Manila||2 days||Newport City|
|2 days||Bonifacio Global City|
|Cavite||1 day||Tagaytay City|
|VISAYAS||Iloilo City||2 days||Iloilo Business Park|
|Boracay||2 days||Boracay Newcoast|
|MINDANAO||Davao||2 days||Davao Park District|
|LUZON||Manila||3 days||Eastwood City|
My itinerary is planned, tickets and accommodation books and my bags are packed!
See you in few days, Philippines!