So here we were planning our Easter vacation, and we decided to go to the Philippines.
A destination that has been on my mind for such a long time! It suddenly became a trendy destination; the kind of destination people nowadays want to visit.
The choice of islands is not an easy choice to make, especially if you are going for only 10 days, like us.
The Philippine archipelago comprises about 7,600 islands, of which only around 2,000 are inhabited, imagine the time you would need to see even only half of the islands!
We were stuck with the 10 days so we decided to make the best out of it.
So we decided on 4 destinations, Manila (which is a stop we had to make, because we were flying in and out from there) El Nido (which is an absolute must if you would ask me), Cebu (for the adventures) and Boracay (just to see what it was all about, even though we knew it would be super touristic).
We flew from Cairo on Oman Air as we booked last minute. It was our first time on this airline and we were kind of afraid it wouldn’t be up to the task, as it’s a long way from Muscat to Manila (9 hours of flying). To our delightful surprise, the plane was great and comfortable, cabin crew was very nice, it went perfectly fine.
We arrived to Manila, ordered an Uber (which is the easiest way, that way you won’t get ripped off) and we went to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before our early morning flight to El Nido.
Tip: Check out Air Swift to fly directly from Manila to El Nido, instead of flying to Puerto Princesa and riding a bus or a car for 6 hours to El-Nido, it is a little more expensive, but it’s totally worth it, they treat you like royalty (red carpet and everything).
We stayed in El Nido Town, as we booked last minute, everything was almost fully booked. If you are on your honeymoon and have a good budget, I’d definitely recommend you to stay at any of El Nido Resorts hotels (check out their website). If you are not really on a budget, and want to stay in something that is clean and nice and in town, check out Sea Cocoon hotel (http://seacocoon.com/).
What to do in El Nido:
On our first day we went to Las Cabanas Beach which was amazing, it’s a serviced beach, the water is incredible, you can get a massage on the beach, and you can also go ziplining if you feel adventurous, which I didn’t feel!
On the second day we went to a beach called Nacptan, which is a must see. The day we went the weather wasn’t extraordinary so it didn’t look as beautiful as they say it is supposed to look in real, but the water was still incredible. My only comment on it would be that it is not a serviced beach and we like serviced beaches, though there is a restaurant where you can eat J
The highlight of El Nido though is definitely the Island Hopping Tours, we did Tour A and Tour C, they are both incredible, but we preferred Tour C. You get on the boat, the crew takes you from one island to the other and while you are enjoying the sea, they are cooking for you, then you stop on an island for lunch, they set up a table with the food, it’s incredible. The food of course is not the best food you are going to have, but the atmosphere makes it good enough.
Tip: If you’re from Egypt, book the Island Hopping Tours with Trippin’ Adventures
Let me tell you about our Tour A highlights first: the small lagoon, where you can rent a kayak and explore, it’s a beautiful sight. The big lagoon, where you can swim (tip: don’t forget to take a pic on your way in, the view is incredible!)
Highlights of tour C: Star Beach was our absolute favorite, the water is so clear and calm, it was wow!
Where to eat:
Our #1, must try, really, don’t miss it: Altrove, it’s the best restaurant we had dinner at in El Nido, and probably in all of the Philippines. seriously don’t miss it!
We also tried Mezzanine, which is good but not as good as Altrove.
And then there is Sava, we didn’t eat there but food looks good, we had drinks there, they have a lovely outdoor seating area, I’d recommend it for chilled nights.
Regarding night life, don’t expect much of El Nido if you are used to big cities night life, it’s very primitive.
We then flew from El Nido to Cebu with Air Swift.
I chose Cebu because the canyoneering looked fun, and indeed it was.
Going from the airport to Moalboal, is around a 2 hours ride, the road is nice, but if the group you’re with is not fun, you will get bored!
We stayed at the Blue Orchid in Moalboal, superb boutique hotel, very calm, the staff are extremely nice and helpful, go there to mainly relax and dive. We only spent two nights / 1 day there.
The 1 day was dedicated to the canyoneering. They picked us up from the hotel, and off we were to an incredible adventure. For those who might be scared, don’t be. I get scared from anything, but the adventure is out of this world. You get to jump off cliffs (or not if you are scared), you walk in a forest, see waterfalls, if you can go ahead and do it, seriously!
Tip: Go with Planet Action (the company) and if you are from Egypt, book it with Trippin’ Adventures.
Off we were to Boracay, this time with Cebu Pacific.
Boracay is the most known island in the Philippines and the most touristic one.
To get there is not very simple, there is no airport on the island itself, so you have to fly to either Caticlan or Kalibo (a more distant airport). We flew to Caticlan. So you land at Caticlan, then you take a bus to the port, then you take a boat to Boracay, then you take another car or a toktok to your hotel.
As we booked last minute, we didn’t find rooms in any hotels. We stayed in Ocean Club Boracay, the hotel is okay, their beach though is amazing! As we walked to Station 1 in Boracay (basically the strip is made of Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3, and our hotel was in Station 3) we realized our beach was the best as there was no seaweed at all compared to the rest of the beaches.
Well Boracay… Boracay is very touristic, I, myself, wouldn’t go again. I’ve seen it and it’s done. It’s known to be the party island of the Philippines, though don’t expect much of it, or you might end up being disappointed. If I were to plan the trip over again, I would switch Boracay with any other island to be honest.
I’d recommend if you can to stay at the Shangri-la, it’s incredible. We went there for a massage and for dinner at their seafood restaurant which was delicious!
Where to eat:
Definitely have breakfast at the Sunny Side Up Cafe, it must be one of the best breakfast places in Boracay.
Try for lunch or dinner Pig Out, yes the name says it all! Be ready to Pig Out.
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