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My time in the Philippines had its ups and downs. Today I’m going to share the ups with you, or the things I really enjoyed, and next,like always, I’ll keep it real and share the things I didn’t like. Just know, the things I liked, I really liked.
I loved Bantayan. I’m not actually sure what got it on my radar before I left, but I knew I wanted to go. Nothing was official until I got there and after a week on Malapascua, I decided to go. I mean, why not? How often was I really going to be in or near the Philippines? Plus, it was an adventure getting from there to Palawan without flying. SPOILER: we ended up having to fly, but you can read how that happened here.
- There are some good budget accommodation options here. Casa Isabel was where I stayed and I liked it.
- There isn’t an abundance of activities here, but the beaches alone are worth the trip. It’s not very busy which is even better.
- If you want to go skydiving, you can do that here!
I love the boats in the Philippines. I’m not sure what it is about them, maybe the colors or the things on the sides. What are those things even? Whatever. They’re fun to be on and just as fun to look at.
- Get a dry bag for boat trips. They can be rough and rainy. The boat from Maya Port to Malapascua went even though it looked stormy. It was dry when we left, then was down pouring in the middle, and finally nice and sunny when we got there. Weather can change fast, be prepared and don’t let your electronics get ruined in the rain!
I wasn’t a huge fan of food in the Philippines. Yes, people will argue that, but I know I’m not the only one that didn’t like it. I also think I just didn’t see the right places to eat really great Philipino food, which didn’t help. I ate a lot of pizza while I was there. It wasn’t all great, but it was a much-needed break from Asian food. And I love pizza. I also didn’t know what to really try there and most places I ended up were pretty tourist-oriented. Next time I would definitely try more local and exotic foods, for sure.
I’m not sure if I like Malapascua or Bantayan more. The beach on Bantayan is much better, less busy, a lot bigger, surprisingly clean, and had tons of shells. BUT Malapascua has really easily accessible beaches all around the island. Because the island is so small, you can walk around it and hang out at all kinds of them in one day, and maybe eve have them to yourself. It’s just a really fun island to be on and I ended up staying for a whole week.
- If you want to stay at Villa Sandra, pretty much the only hostel, book ahead, at least during the busy season.
- I would recommend booking any accommodation ahead there because it would be annoying walking around, hoping to find something, and ending up having to pay a lot. There are a lot of resorts so it could get a little pricey just showing up and hoping for the best.
- Walk to the lighthouse for sunset. It’s super pretty and you get to see how people live on the walk there.
It actually took me a long time (like a week and a half) before I finally tried one of these. Everyone raved about them and I finally caved and they were so delicious! The peanut butter flavor and cookies and cream were my favorites. I brought some home, but they’re not as good here. I would definitely recommend at least trying them. (Update 2020: I’ve been craving these. Someone send Choco Muchos!)
Ugh. Yum. I drank so much mango juice. Sometimes I would have like three or four to avoid finding food. I know, that’s not good and I wouldn’t really recommend it, but I’m real here and that’s what happened. It was also just delicious and perfect in the heat on the beach. (Update 2020: I saw mango gelato or ice cream or something today and it made me want mango juice again. Maybe someone just send me back here so I can get some and Choco Muchos.)
These were some of the best beaches I’ve seen, for sure. Little Corn Island was probably my favorite, but these are close. No matter where you are, there will be a stunning beach within an hour or two. They really are some of the most famous beaches. Boracay ring a bell? (Update 2020: We went to Cape San Blas, Florida and that beach was pretty great, too, and I’d say almost as good as here, but with a lot more houses.)
- Bring a towel to lay on, the sand gets extremely hot.
- Bring a water bottle, insulated would be perfect here because it’s so hot, have hotels fill up for you (if possible.) Stay hydrated. This heat doesn’t joke round.
- Wear sunscreen. I cannot stress this enough. I got the worst sunburn of my life on Malapascua, and I’ve had some pretty bad ones. My back and the back of my legs were so red after just 20 minutes in the sun. It hurt to sit, lay down, carry my backpack. Then it felt like I had a turtle shell on my back and it makes me want to throw up a little bit just typing this. Disgusting.
I mean, just look at this water. How could you not love that?
I only rode in a couple of these, but they’re fun to look at. They’re like the chicken buses of the Philippines. They’re incredibly cheap, make getting around easy, and in cities go pretty much everywhere. You may have to take a series of them to get somewhere, but they can be fun and an adventure in themselves.
Have you been to the Philippines? Do you want to go? What did you like about it?