My Top Ten Philippine Travel Destinations

Badian

Badian

It’s the rainy season but I’m posting this anyway. All hail my fave destinations:

1. BOHOL

My 1st ever plane ride was to Bohol in Feb. 2010. It was for both business and pleasure. DevCon sent me to a 3-day convention in Panglao where most of my former colleagues from UP ITTC were also in attendance. ‘Coz I had a planned trip with friends after the event, I attached myself to the ITTC bunch when my boss left.

Their stay was only until the day before my 5-day Bohol tour with the TFIers, that’s why I asked them to drop me off the road on their way out so I can hitch a ride to Dumaluan Beach Resort. “Seriously? Will you be alright?” I wasn’t scared. Besides, I didn’t wanna spend for transpo service. So I stood by the side of the road and put my thumb out like in the movies. A van stopped by and a woman asked me where I was off to. Luckily, the resort was more or less along their way.

Dumaluan

It was very beautiful there… it felt like paradise. The sand wasn’t as white and powdery as Boracay’s but the sea was clear blue, the cottages were arranged nicely and the shore was clean of debris and annoying peddlers.
25442_345597723723_2866467_nPlus, I got my “me” time, mainly swimming in the aftie and soundtripping in the night. Since I was on a tight budget, I ate crackers for dinner and conserved my water.
My friends arrived the next day and we started our tour. Our flight back was canceled so we spent an extra day in Bohol. By the time we were in Manila, I only had enough cash for a cab ride home lol.
I was in Bohol again in 2011 for Exist’s 10th year anniv.

2. CORON

My 2nd fave is Coron, Palawan. Words can’t do justice to its magnificence; I’ve never been to a place as majestic as Coron. It makes you appreciate the wonders of Nature and the Philippine Islands.
More pix on FB, taken by Kuya Ramil.
Coron’s so beautiful, I learned to snorkel without a life vest and I wasn’t conscious of wearing a 2-piece anymore. Surely, there are prettier sights than a girl in a bikini.

3. CEBU

I love Cebu, and Cebuanos! When asked to describe Cebu, I always say It’s a cleaner and better version of Manila; the people are friendly and cheerful, and very disciplined. My affiliation with DevCon/Exist led me to travel there at least once per quarter over the course of 3 years. I’ve been there 10x for work and 2x for vacay.
399727_10150548376868724_872929255_nThe 1st vacay was in Badian, which I really liked a lot. The sea was all mine — hardly any other swimmers/frolickers. It was organized by Gellie and we stayed at Vince’s ancestral house.
527778_10150978184228724_416324983_nThe 2nd was in Daan Bantayan (we thought it was the same as Bantayan Island!). The resort we stayed in, Virgin Beach, was an epic fail. Left a review on TripAdvisor but the owner accused me of trying to ruin his biz. Anyway, some of us hired a boat to Malapascua the next day (above photo). We went island hopping; the snorkeling ground was NatGeo picture-perfect.

4. DAVAO

In Cebu, I picked up words and phrases easily. Kasabot gamay (I understand a little), hihi. Well, naughty expressions mostly. I remember when I was in Davao and didn’t know any Visayan yet, I wanted to offer help to Mark in carrying tarps. I asked, “Musta naman ang lagay mo diyan? (How ya doin’ back there?)” He replied with a guffaw. Apparently, “lagay” in Bisayog is “a man’s package.”
After our event, I went to my friend Master Lisa’s house to take a 1-day vacay. She took me wakeboarding; boy, did my body hurt the next day! I’ve been to Davao 2x but I didn’t get a chance to visit Samal Island and Pearl Farm.

5. BICOL

Pic from Joed

We had a jampacked itinerary. Our 1st stop: Donsol. There were tons of tourists, we had to return the next AM to get in line. Ayi was sad because she didn’t see a whale shark. Joed and I did, though only the tail part. We were tired by the end of the day, nobody remembered to inquire about the firefly sightseeing!

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Pic from Noel

Next stop: Caramoan, which called for a 2-hr boatride after the long road trip (the weather was gloomy; when we passed by Mt. Mayon, none of us had a pic of it). Worth it though ‘coz Survivor US won’t have a season in Caramoan if it wasn’t an exotic locale. We stayed at RDS (+639393101135) — the food and accomm were fab! They’re also in charge of the island tours. Too bad we didn’t get to see the white sandbar ‘coz we arrived late on the 1st day.

I suggest when you go to Bicol, allot at least 7 days if you wanna follow our route, or if you don’t have enough time, just pick a couple of destinations so you wouldn’t be cramming everything in but missing out on a lot, like we did. There was a water sports arena in Bicol which we weren’t able to visit, but that’s ok since we’re dogtired anyway.

6. ILOCOS

Ayi and I joined a group tour in Ilocos. The storm Mina happened to trail us; see Errol and Tzzki battling the wind:
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Here’s our Pagudpud-Laoag-Vigan itinerary:

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Paoay Church
Blue Lagoon
Bantay Abot Cave

Bangui Windmills

Bangui Windmills

with Ayi

Calle Crisologo

Chavit Singson's Zoo

Chavit Singson’s Zoo

Vigan Pottery

Vigan Pottery

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St. Paul’s Cathedral and Bell Tower

7. BOLINAO

The mini-falls and caves in Bolinao, Pangasinan are worth coming back to. Read more on my Mutya post and Bolinao photoblog.

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8. LA UNION

I have fond memories of LU ‘coz I always go there with my closest friends from either college or work, where we have poker and wholesome drinking sessions, and midnight confessions, haha… Now don’t expect cream-colored sand in La Union, but ready yourself for awesome waves and a great shore for skimboarding.

with Kuya Ramil and Aris

with Kuya Ramil and Aris

9. BACOLOD

Food trip. ‘Nuff said.

Calea cakes!!!

Calea cakes!!!

10. BORACAY

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I hate the fact that Boracay looks like Metrowalk on a Friday night ‘coz it takes away the purity of the island. When I was there and I wanted to enjoy the sunset, I had to swim far away from the shore to be alone, but then I’d be nearing the boats transporting tourists.

Seacraft

Astoria Boracay

Astoria Boracay

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It’s more fun in the Philippines indeed. Although I haven’t been out of the country, I don’t dream of it. There are so many places to explore here, I wish I had more moolah. *ka-ching*

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