It’s actually very easy and dreamy.
Happy. When i think about the Philippines that is what i feel, pure joy, perfection, content and mesmerized. The blue water, so clear, so blue and calm, the untouched beaches, mangroves, white sand and blue sky has been a dream come true. Oh, and the people, the warmest, kindest and happiest i have ever met. So, how did it all begin?
I landed in Manila and that day took an early morning flight to Puerto Princessa. I flew with Travel Asia and there was an hour delay in the flight, meaning i missed my van to my next destination, Port Barton.
I waited for almost 2 hours outside of the PP airport for the next van, so be sure to check van schedules ahead. In Port Barton i stayed for 2 nights in Stellbox hostel, 5 minutes from the beach, but in Port Barton everything is t minutes from the beach.
It was a great bamboo experience, i booked a dorm, but got upgraded to private bedroom. The place is run by the sweetest girl, Grace, who makes killer Banana pancakes for breakfast. She also helped me and another girl in the hostel book an island hopping tour just the two of us for 700 pesos each, us on a boat with the boat man, including an amazing lunch and visit to some of the most beautiful places in the area.
It was a clear blue day, when we visited turtle island, white sandy beaches and experienced some amazing snorkeling! One of the best i have seen in my life and the Philippines. It was my first time in the Philippines and the islands, sea, underwater world and landscape just took my breath away.
At lunch time, we enjoyed one of the beautiful beaches, just relaxing on the beach, watching the local children fishing in the water and having a wonderful day under the sun, appreciating the magnificent place they live in. Lunch was fried fish, rice and fresh sauce for the fish-absolutely delicious! Be ready to eat amazing food on any tour you take in the Philippines.
In the evening there are plenty of places for dinner, I highly recommend Yoske’s place, traditional Israeli cuisine- fresh Shakshukah, Humus, Falafel, totally made me a bit home sick.
After Port Barton, i took a van to El Nido. In contrast to Port Barton, in El Nido there are so many tourists and therefore, it is pricey. An island hopping tour begins at 1200 pesos and ends up at 1600, not including environmental fee of 200 pesos you pay. Food, hostels, and practically everything is more expensive.
I stayed in an amazing hostel, Spin hostel, with great decor, comfortable and spacious dorms, clean, fun themed evenings and the best and warmest staff I have ever met. They have an amazing breakfast, versatile with eggs, pancake, fresh fruit or traditional Filipino dishes. Try everything-you won’t regret. In El Nido I did tour A, B and C, B & C were my absolute favorite with the most stunning beaches, snorkeling and views. I also met some great people that made my trip so much more special. Traveling alone gives you the privilege to be open and meet amazing people that stay in your heart and life forever and ever.
The rocky mountains, lagoons, palm trees and blue water create a magical atmosphere. I don’t believe in heaven, but I definitely felt i was in paradise.
I stayed in El Nido for a week and it was a bit too much. I recommend spending 3 nights to really experience the island and surrounding islands, especially if you travel in low season when the climate is unpredictable. I traveled in the end of October and was really lucky, but not everyone had that luck. If you prefer exploring alone, take a van to the stunning Nacpan beach, a long stretch of the most beautiful and serene beaches i have seen.
If you wish to party a bit, check out Pukka bar, the party begins after 11pm usually, so get some rest after your tour and check this place out- you are in for a great party.
From El Nido i took a fast ferry, leaving at 6am, to Coron. Coron was the place i looked forward most than any other place in Palawan. It is much more laid back than El Nido, with great restaurants, bars and landscape. I stayed in Coron proper, close to the city center. I highly recommend Joval homestay and the Happy camper hostel.
So, top things to do in Coron are the ultimate tour- takes you to Barracuda lake, Kayanagan lake, which was my favorite, the view is spectacular and some snorkeling around.
Next- go up 700 steps to the view point at Mt. Tapayas, preferably for sunset and if you are lucky you will see one of the most beautiful sunsets in your life as well as the entire island. Don’t miss Ala-E hippie bar! The most amazing and chilled bar, owned by Chong. Great food, great vibes and view, and at times fantastic live music and the place where you might people that will become part of your life and memories forever.
If you don’t like crowded boats and spending the entire day on a boat with strangers, you can go kayaking around the island and discover some amazing spots, hidden corners and snorkeling spots. Check out Calamian island tours for exclusive and costumed made tours for you.
When in Coron, rent a bike and travel to Kabo beach and the other side of the island, Busuanga. The road will take you through green hills, valleys, villages and along the sea, Coron is truly a beautiful island with so many spots to explore, mountains to climb and countryside to enjoy. My time in Coron was the best yet in all my travels and i really didn’t see it coming when i planned my trip.
In total i spent month in Palawan, just learning to relax, rest in a hammock, enjoy the local people, the special atmosphere- peaceful and serene and i learned to appreciate the world we live in and realized how very luck i am to be able to visit such places.
Visit the Philippines at least once in your life- it will be love at first sight and you will not want to leave.