Vigan

Type : Cultural
Best Date : December
Expense :  Fair
Things to do : Kalesa (horse drawn calash), Dine, Visit Museums, Shop
Points of Interest: Sycquia Mansion, National Museum of the Philippines, Crisologo Museum, Plaza Burgos, Calle Crisologo, St Paul Cathedral, Bantay Church, ect

Brief

Vigan city is the capital of the ‘Ilocos Sur (South Ilocos)’ region in the Philippines. The city is very popular for its old Spanish buildings that have been preserved through the years. Vigan is also known for the ‘calesa’ (horse drawn carriages) rides through the city. Now the historic city is a UNESCO world heritage site and many tourist flock to see the only Spanish styled colony in East Asia.

The Place

Vigan city is the Philippines most preserved Spanish colonial city and tourism here is large because of its architecture, culture and culinary influence from its past. There is plenty to see and do here but all can be done in one single day through riding a ‘calesa’ which costs 150php/ hour (equivalent of £2/ hour). The Calesa do a circuit of all the attractions in the city and allows you to get down to roam and take photos (just like a hop-on and hop-off bus).  Usually a full circuit will take 1-3 hours depending on how long you roam at each point of interest.

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The Calesa starts beside ‘St Pauls cathedral’, and as the ride starts you pass around the city’s ‘Plaza (Plaza Burgos)’ this is where the evening ‘Light and fountain show’ takes place at around 19:00 everyday of the week. This show lasts about 20minutes and is very busy full of spectators so an early arrival is advisable.

After riding past the plaza in about 5-10minutes you arrive at the first stop ‘Bantay church’ or ‘St Agustin church’  and its ‘Bell tower’. The church is free to enter however its bell tower requires registration and a donation which could be as much as you want. The bell tower once served as a watch tower for pirates during the Spanish colonial era.

Next is the ‘National Museum of Ilocos’ and the ‘Old provincial jail’ both which requires registration but no fee and donations are required. There are plenty of cultural and historic objects and artefacts of this the Philippines and the Ilocos region.

The ‘Crisologo museum’ is next followed by the ‘Syquia mansion’ which is now dedicated to the Philippines late president Elpidio Quirino, who was born in the city.  The Crisologo museum is also a place with many different memorabilia from Philippines past. Furniture, paintings,different artworks and even vehicles are seen here.

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After that you ride through the ‘Calle Crisologo’ the old Spanish street which in my opinion is the highlight of the tour. At any point you may ask the coachman (horse drawn carriage driver) to stop so that you may take a photo (but not to roam). Here there are plenty antique shops, bakeries, restaurants, hotels and bars all in older Spanish styled buildings.  I believe this street is the cover attraction of the city and it is busy throughout the day.

Lastly you are dropped off where you got on beside ‘St Pauls cathedral’ also known as ‘Vigan cathedral’ another of many UNESCO world heritage sites across Ilocos.  The ride took 2hours paying a total of 300php (equivalent of £4), you may or may not give a tip if you want. The Calesa ride is an invaluable way of transport in the city and the price is nothing compared to the gain of experience. Positives of the ride were its ease, cheapness and its uniqueness, whilst its negatives are little in smell of the waste (horse) and fumes of vehicle on the road.

In conclusion, Vigan is for tourists more fascinated about history and culture as there are no adrenaline activities here. Hotels here are fairly cheap but there can be the odd expensive ones, whilst restaurants are vast. A good place for families and groups in my opinion.

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Laoag

Type : Cultural
Best Date : April- June
Expense : Cheap
Things to do : Just roam and eat, visiting neighbouring towns.
Points of Interest: Tobacco monopoly monument, Bell tower, Rizal amusement park, Museo Ilocos Norte, ect

Brief

Laoag is the capital of the province Ilocos Notre (North Ilocos) a medium sized provincial city famous for its Spanish upbringings just like many cities and towns in the Ilocos region of the Philippines. 

The Place

Laoag is Ilocos Norte’s capital city but in my opinion not the best for tourism. It is very small and compact unlike its neighbouring cities and towns in the province.

Firstly my first impressions of the city were brilliant, it is very spacious, quiet in the day and somewhat busy in the evenings due to the night market. The city has a large Robinson’s Mall, centre of both ‘Laoag city’ and ‘San Nicolas’  which is unusual for a provincial city, furthermore its mall is very modern and has high class shops and restaurants such as Guess, Lacoste, TGI Fridays, Starbucks and many more. Centring the city is the ‘Bell tower’ unofficially known as the ‘Sinking Bell Tower’ which is a beautiful building left by the Spaniards. Other than that there are not many to see and do in the city but many do go to ‘Paoay’ for many different sites and activities.

In conclusion Laoag is a good centre point to stay in the province of Ilocos Norte but you may want to travel around neighbouring cities for more to see and do.  Laoag is normally just the hub of where tourists arrive or depart from the province as many bus stations, hotels and resorts reside here. A nice place to dine and roam but for me a day or two is enough for this city and anymore may result into boredom.

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Where to go in the Philippines?

Brief

Philippines is a very popular destination for different kinds of tourists, whether you are a backpacker, solo traveller, couple, family, young or old there is something the Philippines can offer.  Moreover the country has its more luxurious properties and places to visit whilst there are others which don’t need plenty of funds to enjoy.

Philippines has approximately 1,700 islands and islets, full of beautiful scenery and wildlife. There are also places built up like any modern metropolis around the world.

Below is a few ideas of where to go, depending on what type of a holiday or travel you are looking for. Click on the links (if available for galleries or blogs). This page will be updated regularly.

Where should I go?

Beaches: Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Boracay, Puerto Galera, Pangasinan, Bohol, Pagudpud, Baler, Siargao, Panglao Island, Camiguin

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Cultural: Vigan, Cebu, Baguio, Bacolod City, Sagada, Dumaguete, Iloilo City, Quezon City, Manila

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Religious: Manaoag, Antipolo, Novaliches, Quiapo , Cebu, Sagada, Iloilo City

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Party Goer/ Nightlife: Boracay, Makati, Taguig, Subic Bay, Angeles, Quezon Avenue, Cebu (Mango Avenue),

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Bargain/ Shopping: Makati, Manila, Quiapo, Cebu

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Adventurist/ Adrenaline Seeker: Cebu, Zamboanga, Laoag, Tagaytay, Baler, Cagayan De Oro, Pagudpud

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Couples retreat/ Honeymooners: Busuanga (Palawan), El Nido (Palawan), Coron (Palawan), Davao, Siargao, Panglao Island

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Families: Subic Bay, Cebu, Manila, Tagaytay, Baguio,

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Backpacker: Banaue, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan

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Luxurious: Davao, Palawan, Fort Bonifacio, Busuanga,

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Divers: Davao, Palawan, Cebu, Panglao Island

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Trekkers/ Hiker: Banaue, Camiguin, Cebu,

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Food: Tagaytay (for Bulalo), Cebu (for Lechon), Pampanga (For Sisig, Longanisa, Tocino), Dagupan (Milkfish),

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Top 10 things to do in Boracay

 

10 of the best things I have personally done within in my last 4 visits to Boracay.

 

10th) 15 Shot Challenge (Coco Mangas)

For all the party people and drinkers out there, coco mangas has what they call the 15 shot challenge. Should you be able to complete this a free shirt is given. This drinking activity is a good way to start your vacation. Too bad I’ve never completed this.

9th) Walk or Run at Stations 1-362638_10151573862965818_1054097044_n

If you are in Boracay to just relax and take it easy, then a walk from stations 1-3 or vice versa is a nice thing to do. It will take about 30-45 minutes to get from one end to the other depending on how fast you walk. Some people also jog or run this route.  The scenic views of the sea is worthwhile. Remember to stop by D’mall though.

 

 

8t140h) ATV and Buggy Ride

ATV and Buggies are always a good thing to do, especially on a hot day, however with the route being very short and the rides being closely supervised like little kids, I only put this activity at 8th. To improve this they should really allow people to roam at their own leisure.

 

 

 

7th) Water Sports and Activities

Boracay is a paradise island, so why not get in the water? Any water sports whether Jet skiing, banana boat, flying fish, wind surfing or parasailing, the thrill of getting in the middle of the sea is just priceless.

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6th) Helmet Diving

Helmet diving is an a way of going underwater, if you are not very confident of scuba diving. There is no need to be trained and you can decide to do it on the day.  Underwater you will see all the colourful wildlife Boracay has to offer.

5th) Visit Puka Beach

Puka beach is a much quieter area for those who want to get away from all the crowds. It is again a beautiful area with a much more coarser sand than that of stations 1-3.

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4th) Nightlife

Boracay is known as the party island of the Philippines. So what’s the point of going Boracay without experiencing the Nightlife. Boracay has plenty of clubs and pubs to choose from all with different statures. The best time for a Boracay nightlife would definitely be the Laboracay festival  at Philippines Labour day, haven’t been but its definitely on the list.

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3rd) Boracay Pub Crawl

4th choice was any old nightlife, but for my 3rd is the ‘Boracay Pub Crawl’, for an entrance fee you will get a free shirt, a shot glass and free shots along the way. Here you stay as a group, the best way to meet people. Along with games and a few different activities the night will be enjoyable to anyone.

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Boracay Pub Crawl
2nd) Ariel’s Point

More for the adrenaline seekers, this little secluded island, around 30 minutes away from Boracay includes a cliff dive of different heights, canoes, kayaking, snorkelling, snacks, barbeque lunch, beverages and more.  This is a whole daytrip package  from around 10am to 5pm, a private boat takes all visitors across to this island.

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1st) Paraw

My number one thing to do in Boracay. Paraw is a small boat, that uses the wind to move the boat. Passengers ride on the either side on nets, it is possible to lie down or sit and enjoy the view. The paraw is usually a 30 to 45 minute ride, and sometimes the boat people will stop in the middle of the sea, so you can jump in and swim. There are bigger boats and yachts for rent, but where’s the thrill in that.3

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Boracay (Transport)

Transport

Getting There

Boracay in my opinion is the most connected of all the paradise islands, in the Philippines, there is 2 different airports, with a choice of domestic flights from different corners of the country (not just from Manila), there is also a boat port with routes from Batangas. International flights are now also introduced here making holiday makers from Korea, Japan enter Boracay straight without the need to go through Manila. However if flying through the capital there is two main ways to travel to Boracay from Manila by flight, you either fly to “Kalibo” or “Caticlan”, popular airlines like Philippine airlines, Cebu Pacific and Airasia zest (formally Zest air) fly these routes.

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Arriving at Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan) is closer and more convenient to Boracay. It is a very small airport, which only caters smaller aircraft, mostly propeller. Getting off the aircraft is somewhat strange, you bored a bus straight from the aircraft, and the bus drives outside the airport and on its perimeter road through traffic (outside the airport itself), and onto the other side of the airport where it enters security gate back inside the airport and onto the little room they call a terminal, there passengers can collect their luggage and head out. Flights to Caticlan are very expensive, and could be double the price of that flying to Kalibo at around 5k-7k pesos (£70-£115). A short tricycle ride from the airport to  Caticlan Jetty port can be taken, walking is possible but with luggage and backpacks is unadvisable or if your hotel caters pickups they will also help you transfer.

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Kalibo airport in the other hand is much larger than that of Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan), more frequent flights arrive and depart from here, hence the higher population that travel through here. Flights to or from here are also much cheaper than that of Caticlan costing at around 1.5k-7k pesos (£30-£115) again depending on time and season. It is however 1.5 hours away from the Caticlan Jetty port, meaning more time is required to depart your hotels when going home, it also means that more money is required to travel to or from Kalibo. I always advise for everyone to get arrangement with their hotels to transport to and from the airport, this could cost around 2k-3k pesos (£30-£50), but it is safer easier and you can feel the holiday environment. However to save money there are independent buses or vans, driver who will assist you in travelling to or from Kalibo, this is good i especially  if  there are a lot of you travelling. Some drivers allow you to haggle a price whereas some will have a firm asking fee, doing this could be very difficult and unreliable but it is cheaper.

Another way to travel from Manila is by boat, from Batangas boat port to Caticlan jetty port. 2GO boat company has Batangas to Caticlan route daily, it is approximately 9 hours and leaves Batangas at 9pm and arrives at Caticlan at 6am. The boat has different classes and rooms, and offers complimentary meals.898303_10151573844030818_219007834_o.jpg

Which ever airport or boat port you choose you will need to go to the Caticlan jetty port the station that takes you to Boracay island via a short 5min-10min boat trip. Ther235.jpge are 3 tickets needed to purchase, the boat ticket itself which is needed to enter the boats depending in which boat you choose it will be 50pesos -200pesos (50pence to £3.20), the terminal fee which is a ticket that is needed to use the terminal facilities (this is mandatory), used to help maintain the jetty port this costs 100 pesos or £1.60, and finally the environmental fee which is used to maintain Boracay’s environment paying local workforce, this costs 75 pesos or £1.20. These 3 tickets are checked upon boarding the boat to Boracay and can be purchase just outside the Jetty port. The more prestigious luxury hotels may have their own boat services, some with an additional fee others all inclusive with the hotel price. Click here for full 2Go travel page.

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Boracay Boat port Where you take tricycles or vans to your hotel

After stepping foot at Boracay island, the usual first thoughts is that it doesn’t look very nice. That’s because your at the back of the island, there is still a 10min-20min ride to the hotel areas depending on where your hotel is. Again some hotels do have their own van/ car and will pick you up, but if not there is two ways to travel to your hotel, one is to travel by a van,  fixed fees are applied. Another way is to travel by a tricycle, which is cheaper but may not be able to accept some journeys or customers if your hotel consist of steep hills which a tricycle cannot climb. If you are on a budget there is nothing wrong with taking a tricycle as it is the main use of transportation in the island.

However you travel once you arrive, you will know it was worth while going.

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In Boracay

Once in Boracay depending on where you are, the need to travel around can vary. If you are in the station 1,2 and 3 beaches you will rarely need to go elsewhere unless you go to another island, tours or activities like 4×4, ATV, Buggys or even other beaches and attractions in Boracay. If you have availed a tour, it will usually include the transport to that location (and it might be accompanied with your very own attendant). It will usually be a local styled tricycle. If you have chosen a hotel/ resort in the more quieter areas of Boracay like the back or far from the main beach station 1,2 and 3 then every hotel will likely have complimentary hourly transports to and from D’mall (a centre drop-off, pick-up point to main beach).

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Tricycles are ever present in Boracay and they are available 24hours so if nightlife is what you are looking for then do so without worrying how to get back to your hotel. . It is also possible to walk from one area to another, it will be a good way to get around by seeing around the place. Tourism is huge in Boracay and getting lost is rare as everyone will be able to help. Prices for tricycles are however a bit expensive and inconsistent, some fares may be more expensive than others, if you have haggling skills this will come in handy.

 

Quezon City

Type : City Break
Best Date : November – May
Expense :  Medium, Fair
Things to do : Shopping, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Quezon Shrine, Araneta Colloseum, Quezon Circle, Trinoma, Eastwood, Edsa Shrine ect

Brief

Quezon City is the biggest city in the Metro Manila Region and the most populous in the Philippines. It is a city named after the second president Manuel L Quezon who founded and made it the capital city ahead of Manila. Quezon City is not known for being a big hit with tourism, but it does have its gems.

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As the city is named and famed for the late President Manuel L Quezon it is rightly so that the main attraction is his shrine where his body lies. The Quezon memorial shrine is the tallest monumental structure standing at 66 meters and in my opinion the most beautiful in the country. It is plain white in colour with three pillars in a triangular shape. Underneath the structure lies the late president’s body is a special enclosed mausoleum that visitors may not enter for obvious reasons of respect. The Exterior and the shrine itself is a nice place to visit, but it wouldn’t be complete without knowing about the history of the place. Around the Mausoleum underground there is a museum with interesting facts about the PresideManuel%20Quezon%20Tomb-L.jpgnt, the shrine itself, the city and even about Philippines as a nation. There is a small entrance fee but isn’t much. Surrounding the Shrine is a huge park “The Quezon Circle Park” it is complete with a small traditional theme park, playground for kids, a cycle path, fountains, ornaments and even market stalls. The park is free apart from the car park and amusements and museums.

Nightlife in Quezon City is found in the “Timog” district and “Quezon Avenue” just 10 minutes away from the Quezon circle area. Quezon Avenue known for being huge in Adult entertainment and comedy bars, whilst Timog is where the bars and clubs are. Popular massage parlour “Wensha’s” is also in Timog, for 1k pesos (£15) you could get not only a 1 hour massage, but an unlimited buffet, free use of the hot spring spa, steam room and many more, just relax there is no rush to get out of this place.

The other thing that Quezon City is famed for is off-course “Cubao” where the Araneta Colosseum is. This indoor theatre is known to Filipinos for its hosting of Basketball league games, Volleyball, concerts and sporting finals but is world renowned for being the host for??? Yes only the best boxing match ever known, the “Thrilla in Manila” the match proving engraved in the history books with Muhammed Ali and Joe Fraser. Although aged through time, Araneta Colosseum will always be monumental, and visitors may be able to enter with one of many shows it hosts to this date.

Overall Quezon City is a worthwhile place to visit, knowing where to go and what to do beforehand would be the best advice for travelling to Quezon City.

Travel

Transport in Quezon City is like any in Metro Manila, It is however harder to obtain a taxi as there is not as many taxi bays around the areas of interest.

Metro Manila (Transports)

Transport

Transports in Manila can vary from the different regions. Modes of transportations include taxi, buses, trains, boats, pedicabs and the culturally famous tricycle and jeepneys. Whatever the mode you choose in Manila there will always be a big disadvantage, whether crowds, traffic, temperature or even safety.

The easiest way to get around is definitely by owning a car, with one you can get from point to point to a desired destination. However like I said there will always be the downsides, for a tourist to rent a car is dangerous and unrecommendable, drivers in Philippines are irresponsible. Counter flowing, speeding, beating the red light  are some of the many craziness in Philippine roads. There will also be no reliable structure to the roads, apart from worn out road markings, drivers seems to know some kind of make a lane rule, whereas a 3 lane highway could become a 5 lane highway ( just find space and take it). I do not advise tourists or newbies to drive in Manila, leave it to the locals.

Taxi on the other hand is safer, as you relax enjoy the aircon whilst getting through the traffic, whilst letting someone else do the driving. However locating a taxi could be a job in itself, unlike London where a taxi driver would love a passenger, Manila are more likely to turn a passenger away (depending on where you want to go, and how busy it is). After finding  a taxi be careful by drivers who love to cheat and take as much money as possible, meters could be tapped or they may ask for extras because of traffic or distance. Majority of taxis are good and is the most advisable mode of transport in the Philippines, a ride from Heathrow to London by taxi could cost £50 whilst the same distance in Philippines would be in the region of £5-£10 equivalent.

Railways called the MRT/ LRT (don’t know what they stand for) are definatly the quickest way of transport in Metro Manila. The MRT Starts in North EDSA and ends in Taft Avenue a short commute away from the airport in Manila (basically following the EDSA highway). Tickets are cheap at about 12 -45 pesos or 20- 70 pence. MRT/LRT can get very crowded at peek times and thieves do roam around stations, however I do not feel this should discourage tourists to try it.

Tricycles are more of a local type of transport. They never travel more than a mile away from their base/ station. It is like a shopping district to village type of transport, like corner shop to home equivalent in London. Fares vary from distance although usually 15 pesos per person. Sometimes a tricycle can be shared making it cheaper as locals share the fare. I don’t see a lot of foreigners use this mode of transportation as like I said this is usually for Locals with huge amounts of shopping from groceries or markets.

Pedicabs like tricycles are a local mode of transportation. Difference being that instead of a motorbike stuck to a cabin, pedicabs is a pushbike stuck to a cabin. It has the same approach as the tricycle but more cheaper, these can be found at the poorer parts of the city. I believe Pedicabs are for the poor, I have never seen tourists use these, however what do I know.

And finally the Jeepneys, the leftover American military vehicles culturally used as buses. There is never the same looking jeepney as they all have their own independent image, as their owners cover their vehicles in bright colourful artworks. Unlike the ordinary buses around the world Jeepneys can be boarded wherever in the jeepneys journey, you can also get off at anytime by saying “para” which means stop. There is no need for bus stops, this may be the argument for being dangerous or creating traffic. Jeepneys are an interesting but uncomfortable way of travelling, it may be hot, smokey, wet (when raining), crowded and even dangerous at times. However rightly so this mode of transportation still seems to be popular for tourism.

There are many more modes of transportation, like FXs, Boats however these are only in limited areas and are not usually well known.

Cebu

Type : City, Beach, Adventure
Best Date : November – May
Expense :  Medium – Expensive
Things to do : Shopping, Nightlife, Canyoning, Whale shark Diving, Trekking, Cliff Diving, Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Water Sports, Island Hopping ect
Points of Interest: Taoist Temple, Lapu Lapu Shrine, Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro, Kawasan Falls, Ayala Mall, SM seaside, Malapascua Island ect

Brief

Cebu is a large Philippine province where Cebu city is its capital. It is most famous for being the islands for Magellan’s (a famous Spanish/ Portuguese explorer) death, over a battle with the natives. The Japanese were also based here during their occupation of Philippines in World War 2. Cebu which is in the centre of the Philippines is also the second most populous region in the country and a place where tourists would go for cultural reason, diving, canyoning, caveneering and most popular diving with the whalesharks.

The Place

Cebu is one of my favourite islands in the Philippines, it has everything in one large island. The region offers a variety of holiday types, whether its relaxation, nightlife, diving, swimming, cultural or an adrenaline rush, Cebu has what you want. Furthermore the island is a compatible place for large groups of friends, couples or even a lone traveller.

One reason that pedsc_3314ople go to Cebu is for its rich culture and history where plenty of old Spanish styled architecture are, most notable being the”Fort San Pedro”, which was built by Spanish and native Cebuano labourers. Lapu-Lapu shrine is also popular with tourism as the memorial is dedicated to the names sake native Cebuano leader who famously killed Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan’s cross which is the cross ordered to be erected by the explorer himself is remarkable, marking the start of Christianity in the Philippines hence the popularity. Chinese culture is also rich in Cebu, the Philippine Chinese Spiritual Temple, Taoist Temple Cebu and the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple portray the influence Chinese people have in Cebu and in the Philippines as a whole.

Once a year masses of people locally and from around the world travel to Cebu, this is for the “Sinulog festival” which is increasingly getting popular each year. Celebrities and mass media attend this highly anticipated festival in Cebu which is celebrated because of the acceptance of Catholicism by locals. Performances and parades around the streets with a statue of Sto Nino are popular in the Sinulog festival. If you are traveling to Cebu try and be in time with the Sinulog festival which happens early January.

Other than culture and history, Cebu offers the more modern aspects such as nightlife and shopping which is ever present in Cebu city. Just like Metro Manila, Cebu city is loaded with malls and shopping centres. IT park, Ayala shopping centre and the newly built SM seaside are huge places of interest in Cebu, for locals and tourists to chill and wind down. The city is also popular for its nightlife and adult entertainment. Mango Avenue is where it all lies, best notable clubs are J. AVE SuperclubLiv Super Club and Sentral (Hip Hop Bar and Club). There are also plenty of Koreans and Japanese in the area so it wont be difficult to find a Karaoke bars in the city.

Activities is mainly what I look for in a holiday, and Cebu spoils me for it. First of all other than Cebu City and Mactan island, the rest of the province is preserved and untouched from its natural beauty and because of this many jungles, waterfalls and canyons are used for adrenaline rush looking tourists. First of all Canyoning, this is where you trek into the jungles, mountains and streams, down waterfalls and into the canyons. This mixes physical strength as you walk for hours and climb steep hills, also challenges mentally as you fight fears of jumping off cliffs, rappelling down waterfalls and encountering different wildlife, all whilst enjoying the picturesque views of the canyons (I can honestly say it feels like your in some kind of tomb raider movie), please refer to more in depth canyoning page. Another activity in Cebu that is enjoyable is the GOPR0607.JPGfamous Whale shark diving, you can either snorkel with the sharks, scuba dive or just watch from the boat. It costs just 500php (£8) for Filipinos and 1k php (£16) for foreigners for a 15minute snorkel with the sharks, it doesn’t sound very long however but trust me it is more than enough, we got back onto the boat after 5-10 minutes because we’ve had enough. In my opinion, its a must do in Cebu, there isn’t a lot of this in the world and it may be banned in the future as activists protesting that feeding them makes the whales weaker, lazier  in the natural world. The whale shark diving now starts early at 7am only till 12am.  More commonly  activities done in Cebu are the likes of scuba diving, jet skiing, island hoping but more interestingly you can go in a yellow submarine which is offered from various hotels, I have never tried this but will be sure to try this in the future.

It is also possible to have a nice relaxing quiet holiday in Cebu if you go outside the City, Malapascua island is a paradise island, usually a couples retreat, honeymooners however it is also used as a scuba diving destination.

If there is one island you would want to visit that has a variety of things to do then the Cebu region is for you.

Transport

Getting There

To get to Cebu from Manila you could take a ferry at less than 24hours, there are three classes to a ferry, value, cabin, tourist and some ferries have a state and suite rooms. Some tourists do take ferries as a way to tour the seas and some take it for environmental reason. A state or suite room in a ferry can cost up to 5k pesos (£70) whilst the value class can cost 1.5k pesos (£20).

The more popular way to travel to Cebu is a 40min-60min flight to Mactan airport. There are a load of flights going to Mactan airport from Manila (Ninoy Aquino Airport), “Cebu pacific”, “Airasia”, and “Philippine airlines” are the popular carriers. Flights can cost up to 1.5k pesos and rise to 7k pesos one way, depending on the time you book and busyness of the season (refer to airlines page for in depth review)

In Cebu

Transport in Cebu city mimics that of Manila, however if you want to escape the city and go to the outer Cebu country side it could be a little more difficult. The most popular way for tourist to get around is by hotel transports, taxi or rented vehicles. There are also jeepneys however they do have a different appDSC_5457.JPGearance than that of the ones in Manila but still have their colourful artwork and design. The majority of hotels in Cebu do have complimentary hourly drop-off and pick-up transports to the main shopping centres and districts such as the Ayala centre, SM Cebu city and the IT park. Marco Polo is one that has this service and this is a convenient way for hotel guests to get around without needing to find a taxi, I personally find these very convenient however working your shopping or touring plans around the hourly pickups or drop offs can be annoying. Taxis like manila are convenient for point to point travel within the city, there are plenty of taxi bays and it is very easy to just get one off the streets. There is also a mode of transportation called “Habal habal” where one just gets on the back of someone’s motorcycle, this is illegal and very dangerous, there are no helmets and is not an approved way of transportation.

 

To travel outside Cebu city and into the countryside, mountains and beaches, is a bit more difficult. There are bus services to various points of interest such as Moalboal (where the canyons are situated) or Oslob (where the whales sharks are) however I have never honestly used these, so I wont be able to tell you about them. Obviously if you have entered a tour/ trip they would be more likely to arrange your transportation with/without extra fees, they may be a private car or van or an accompanied bus ride. However if nothing has been planned, I advise to rent a car and driver from one of the many companies that do so, these drivers can drive you to any destination of your choosing, they wait for you wherever you wonder, but it is good manners to just give them a bit of money to eat or invite them to eat with you. They are very friendly and act as a tour guide, they will also protect and look after you (your own personal chauffeur for the day).You can also pick the vehicle of your choosing  whether a 5 seater Toyota Yaris or a 12 seater  Grandia for bigger groups. To rent a car it will cost around 5k pesos (£70) with the driver but depending on the vehicle you choose.

I’d say travelling in Cebu is fairly easy, it is very tourist focused.

 

 

Boracay

Type : Beach Holiday
Best Date : March-May
Expense :  All Budgets
Things to do : Scuba Diving, Pub Crawl, Water Sports, Zip Lining, 4×4, ATV, Island Hopping, Snorkelling, Golf, Parasailing ect
Points of Interest: Station 1-3, Puka Beach, Bulabog Beach, Ariel’s Point, Marian Pilgrimage, Mount Luho ect

Brief

Boracay is one of Philippines most well known tourist destination. Awards received were:

Best Island in the world (2012) : Travel + Leisure Magazine  
Best island in the world (2014) : Condé Nast Traveller
Best island in the world (2016) : Condé Nast Traveller

Boracay is known for its white powder sand and its thriving night scene, off course its clear water and the activities within are also a big hit for tourism. Whether its relaxation, an activity or a party on the beach, Boracay fully Image result for boracay google mapdelivers. The island is a boomerang shaped island next to Caticlan a Aklan province. In Boracay there are various beaches, with the main one being at the front of the island where the sun sets, this beach strip is divided into 3 stations, station 1,2 and 3, this is the more populated beach where mass activities, restaurants and hotels are located. The more quieter beaches can be found north of the island or behind where the sun rises. Puka beach is popular but the majority is owned and privatised by resorts for their customers. Other beaches are like Diniwid, Punta, Illig iligan and Bulabog beach all has its own characteristics.

The Place

Every Country has its must go to place, whether the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, Wall of China, London’s Parliament square or Africa’s safaris in my opinion Boracay island makes it as Philippines must go to place, whether others may agree or disagree travelling to Philippines and missing out Boracay is a big mistake. Boracay is for everybody, whether a backpacker with a tight budget or a holiday maker with more funds, whether a party goer, adventurer, activist, foodie or a person who just wants to relax, Boracay will cater to any.

First of all lets start with the hotels/ resorts, here you will be spoilt for choices. There are various cDSC_2372ategories depending on what type of holiday you are having, price range and classification you are looking for. Most popular of the hotels/ resorts are those that are beach front. They are easier to manoeuvre around restaurant, shops, clubs and they are just right infront of the panoramic views, however these hotels/ resorts can be very crowded and noisy. Other than the beach front that of the beachfront are those behind, around the Yapak area, these hotels are the quieter more relaxing resorts, they have nice scenic views and are much more private than the beachfront resorts (relatively cheaper as well). Click for in depth Boracay Hotel reviews

Another main aspect of Boracay is the activities, there is loads to do and you will have plenty of choices. Whether you are a thrill seeker, want to do water sports, in a big group, want to tour, cook, party or chill, Boracay is likely to have it. Thrill seekers have loads to do and you wont need to look far to do it, the more typical be10013524_10152371136660818_5117361433154385059_nach activities such as Jet skiing, Banana boating, Parasailing, ATVs, 4×4 driving, orbs and various zip linings are ever present and there are various stalls and attendants at beach front to enquire about it. Sporting activities such as surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, biking and fishing are also advertised highly in Boracay through the beach front stalls and hotels. If relaxation is what you are looking for then SPAs are usually situated at your own hotel if it has that facility, if not then there are massage areas in the beach strip. Party people will also be spoilt in Boracay as there is uncountable amount of bars and clubs to choose from, most popular being ‘Epic’ which is situated beach front at the centre of the strip. Finally for the tourists who love to walk and explore there are also great places to visit such as the Marian Pilgrimage, Mount Luho  and more alike.

Exploring99 other islands is also valued, places such as the Ariel’s Point, Crystal Cove island, Crocodile island many more. Advertised in many stalls and even in resorts are arrangements to go to these other islands.  However as ive stated before, if  you would just want to walk around and stay in Boracay island then there is a number of places you can go to. Firstly Station 1 to 3 beach strip is around a 30-45 minute walk from one side to the other side depending on how fast you walk. Walking this strip will allow you to pass other attractions such as the Marian Pilgrimage, D’mall and the various bars, restaurants and shops.  The Puka beach is another beach in Boracay, here it is more quieter and less busy perfect to relax. Mount Luho on the other hand has the highest view in Boracay more for the trekkers. There is just so many places to explore in Boracay so if a walkathon is what you want, you wont be disappointed.

Finally another reason why people visit the island is its many events, most famously the Laboracay festival, which is more for the party people, but can be en62638_10151573862965818_1054097044_njoyed by many, celebrities and people from all over the world join this festival usually on labour day weekend . More cultural festivals include the Yapak festival, Sand Lantern Festival and most famously Ati-atihan, all celebrating regional causes.  Sporting events also happen here with the Nestea International Beach Volleyball Tournament and the International Dragon Boat Festival also take place here with masses joining. Most importantly my favourite the Boracay Skyathon which is a 5k or 10k fun run which celebrities usually join as well. This was the most difficult 5k ive run as it was on sand, however I came a acknowledgeable 34th with a time also being 34 minutes just behind Filipino celebrity couple Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles. My results are on the Boracay Gallery 2013, click here.

Overall Boracay is a beautiful island, where all is possible. However one negative is with Boracay’s popularity increasing, it is getting more and more crowded, for a small island it may have already reached its capacity.

 

Boracay (Transport) continues in another page (Click here)

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