Philippines Things to Do Tips by elsadran Top 5 Page for this destination
Philippines Things to Do: 422 reviews and 857 photos
Malapascua is the pearl of the Visayas! This little paradise with its sugar white sand and the turquoise sea has everything for relaxing exotic vacations. There is a line of comfortable beach resorts on Bounty beach and many cheaper ones behind to fit all budgets. There are also some diving centers ready to fulfil all diving aspirations. Nice coral gardens and small beautiful islands nearby offer great diving opportunities. Thresher sharks can only be sighted here. Locals live in the small village on the southwest corner and are quiet and friendly. A round-trip on foot is very enjoyable. There is a lot for you to explore on land and under water. Night life is limited to the few small bars and restaurants on Bounty Beach and the hotels. Locals call it the "small Boracay" but it is in fact a quiet and unspoilt "Boracay" of many years ago. Much better for peaceful vacations!
I have bookmarked Malapascua for my next trip to the Philippines.
And of course the best is having dinner in the perfect scenery of a purple sunset!!!
Bring money. No ATM but some hotels change foreign money.
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Directions: Take a fast bus from Cebu to Maya, the north tip of Cebu island(4-5hours). Then get on the boat to Malapascua only 7 klms away. Start very early as there are no boats after 4 pm. Otherwise rent a local boat for 800 pesos. If more is asked negotiate.
Ifugao proud in tribal costumes!
Ifugao are one of the ethnic groups of Igorot. They mainly lived in the southern part and are known for the rice terraces that have built by their own hands and simple tools.
In modern times they have become one of the big tourist attractions of the Philippines. Their houses are built at the edge of their fields, usually on posts to keep the animals and water from entering. Their name comes from the ancient word “ipugao” which means earth people or mortals (living on hills - as “pugo” means hill) in contrast to spirits or deities.
The Kalingas, another tribal group, were always noted for their strong sense of tribal awareness and peacefulness and they are still so. They are known for their simple way of life that keeps on for eons.
Igorots used to ornament their bodies with elaborate tattoos spreading all over their bodies.
Pictures are telling the story...Enjoy !!
Mountain Province, nestled at the heart of Cordillera Ranges, has a population of about 140,000 inhabitants. The capital of the municipality is Bontoc. The Cordillera was the ancestral homeland of Igorot who consist of six other ethnic groups. In old times they used to practice headhunting which probaly came from ancient rituals and beliefs and were practiced in many countries both in the East and the West.
Igorot were brave and proud people living a difficult life on the rugged but savagely beautiful pine forested peaks.
Here is a famous saying that shows their mentality:
"I am an Igorot. Let me be treated as I deserve - with respect if I am good, with contempt if I am no good, irrespective of the name I carry. Let the term, Igorot, remain, and the world will use it with the correct meaning attached to it."
Look at the photos..
I came to the magic land on the local bus. It was getting dark and I almost panicked when the lovely locals told me on the way that I would have to go down the ravine for an hour.The village couldn't be seen from the top and a terrible toothache had left me with no energy. However the people's warmth, helpfulness and good energy gave me strength to follow up at an unbelievably fast pace. We escaped the rain and darkness and enjoyed an unbelievable walk through pure nature. Nothing else mattered. Nothing could be more precious. I was tremendous lucky to be there!
The morning hike from Bataad to the next little village was a true revelation for me! I felt like going astray and getting lost in the warm and inviting embrace of nature for a fairy trip to nowhere. I was so happy! I would like to walk from Kalingka to Bontoc and then to Bataad and on to Campulo, Kinakin, Pula, Bontoc and back to Sagada again and again, breathing in deeply the rejuvenating air of the spectacular landscape. The soothing sound of waters hidden under the lush foliage of the mountain was a sheer happiness. I went on on foot to the next village and thanked smiling to the passing vehicles that waved to me for a lift. No thank you, this walk should last for ever...
In Bataad I stayed in one of the lovely mountain hotels. Spartan but bravely stood on a tip of the slope having a relaxing simplicity and amazing views.
It's possible to see picturesque Bataad during a day trip but a longer stay is undoubtedly worthy. Hiking in the pristine nature is a gift from God!
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Sagada is rolling down the scenic slope of the mountain. Tall pine trees are embracing the quiet town. The lack of people grabbing me the moment I got off the bus was a relief. In fact nobody took any notice of my arriving. They smiled to me and went on with what they were doing.
The first night I slept at a hostel right in the central square with a cute balcony and wonderful views but as it was too noisy in the morning I moved to another place. The open market in the square is the perfect place to make your supplies in fresh and healthy vegetables. That's what I did when they invited me to a local house for a couple of days.
It was a delight living with local people, getting into their souls and minds and becoming part of their family. They resented appearing on the Internet and I respect that. To my admiration of this exhilarating place they mentioned that Philippines were pronounced Philippaines there because it was full of pines! It was obvious they were very proud of their unique beauty of their native land. I watched them cook their local dishes, make bread and go peacefully on with their everyday life and I communicated with them exchanging endless stories of our so different cultures. They eagerly accompanied me in my my walks in the heavenly forested mountains and joined me in gazing at the miraculous terraces with awe and respect to Mother Nature. In my lonely hikes I sometimes got lost almost on purpose giving myself the opportunity to admire the natural wonder of the region.
I love nature and I fell in love with Sagada!!! (continue to next tip...)
Click on the photo...
Kota beach - fish is fresh...
Bantayan, 110 klms North of Cebu, is one of the hidden secrets of Philippines and one of my choices for future laid-back vacations. It is still pristine keeping a genuine relaxed atmosphere.
Tourists have not discovered it yet and I am not sure I am doing it a favour..but anyway..just between you and me..it is a delight.
The ones who have appreciated this peaceful tropical paradise come repeatedly or have already settled down. One of the most popular beaches is the idyllic, white sand Kota beach with its transparent water..
If you insist on discovering the treasure go to my Bantayan page.There are a lot of pictures...
Click on the photo for more...
Directions: Buses or rented vans can take you to Hagnaya, the nearest port to Bantayan. Ferries to the island are 3 times a day. There are fast boats ,too
in the classroom...
I didn't see the coffins or the caves or other sightseeing but I didn't care less as I filled my heart with the genuine beauty of the paths my friends guided me to and I felt like a ..pioneer learning the use of a long knife to cut the thorny branches jutting out in our way.
I did stay out late, though, hitting some beers or local wine at a lovely wooden bar with the typical straw roof talking away to the romantic sound of an amateur guitar player. The bar is on the main road.
I had some savoury meals at Masferre Country Restaurant (not inn ) and Yogurt house ( delicious!!! ).
I admired the inspired photographs of the great art photographer Masferre and communicated with the playful small children!
I bought some local craft at the Weaving Center on the way to Kiltepan. ( They didn't allow me to take any photos inside when I asked..)
I had a tiny mouse as a roommate at Sagada Igorrot Inn. A mischief maker..
I left reluctantly with sweet memories!
Freedom and serenity!!!
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Puerto Galera is a touristic destination for all budgets . There are simple huts of 300Ph up as well as luxurious resorts at 150$US.
Night life is particularly active here with lots of bars, restaurants and some discos.
White Beach, Sabang and Laguna are the main attraction on the northern part of the island.
White beach has the most low-budget accommodation. Open bars right on the sand are pleasant for a refreshing outing and restaurants though crowded are cool and serve tasty local and western dishes..
Ladies are strolling on the beach offering superb massages. They are so cheap I could afford one every day. My body was grateful!
Staying at the far end of the beach I was not very disturbed by the crowds. After all if you choose White beach you are supposed to look for a little action.
For more peaceful and relaxed place Sabang or Laguna is more appropiate.
From Manila there are direct boats to Batangas.Then you can find immediate embarkation on the ferries to Puerto Galera . They cover the distance in one or two hours depending on the type of boat.
You can also come from Manila by bus. There is a regular flow of buses starting at 6.00am. Ferries go directly to the town of Puerto Galera , to White Beach or Sabang. Ask for the right boat at the tickets.
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The name of Mindoro comes from the Spaniards calling the place “Mina de Oro”. The population of over 1 million are peaceful and friendly. Their main occupations are fishing and agriculture. A great variety of fruit is produced on the island. The island is endowed with unspoilt rain forests, rivers, lakes and rich flora and fauna especially to the north.
One of the best diving destinations is in Occidental Mindoro , reached from Sablayan. Generally all islands of this east part offer great undersea scenery. But Apo Reef in Apo island is considered the second largest in the World and a treasure in the Philippines. Dedicated divers should not miss this. The roads on this part of the island are not good, though.
The most touristic beaches are the ones on the north where tourists come in great numbers to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches and the excellent underwater life. Some of the best diving spot are found near Puerto Galera which itself is a wonderful natural harbour..Its proximity to Manila bring a lot of local vacationers, too. The entrance port to the island is Batangas ---->continues in the next tip
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the 8th wonder of the World
Banaue has the same natural grace as its neighbours. It is the right place to admire the most amazing wonder of man's ingenuity. The 8th wonder of the World as it is widely known. The rice terraces that extend on the slopes of the vast mountain terrain. They have scalped them over 2000 years ago with very basic tools using mostly their own hands and their perseverance. They built elaborate irrigating canals to water them and they managed to create fields and reap their crops thus securing their survival on this steep land.
There is a grocery-restaurant at one of the view points where you can have a basic meal or rest your body with a beer and your eyes with the spectacular view.!
There are simple but cute hostels and wonderful views from every corner. I hired a tricycle and had an unforgettable climb up to the terraces, stopped at all view points, visited a nearby village and had lunch in a picturesque restaurant.
Don't forget to visit the local baker's for home made brownies !!!
Directions: Click on the photo
For more photographs of the rice terraces go to my General tip "rice terraces-the 8th wonder" (tip 3)
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