Trip to Philippines: El Nido

Finally some free time to catch up with the blog! This post is about one of the best trips I have made in my life. Not only because of the place we visited but because of the people I went with: my sister, sister’s boyfriend (now her husband), and my brother came all the way from Spain to visit me in Seoul. After one week in Seoul, we decided to fly to the Philippines and visit El Nido.

From left to right, Javier, Ana and Curro in Manila.

DSC00486Although its islands are among the most beautiful in the world, the capital of the Philippines,  Manila, is quite an underdeveloped capital, with much poverty and  not so many nice places. Fort Wayne is one of its few tourist attractions.

From Manila, there are two airlines that fly to El Nido: ITI and Seair. These flights are quite expensive (around 6,700 PHP) and not recommended for people afraid of flying, as the airplane looks quite weak and it will bounce a lot during the flight. The other option (much cheaper) to get to El Nido is to fly to Puerto Princesa and from there take a long bus ride to El Nido most of the time on unpaved roads (not recommendable for a family trip).

The plane that would take us from Manila to El Nido. It is operated by Seair and can only fit around 15 passengers. There are only 2 (or 3) flights a day.

Inside of the aircraft.

Doing the ckeck-in to El Nido.

This is the airport at El Nido. The best way to go from there to the resorts is by tuk-tuk. You will have to bargain the price with the drivers though.

With Javi on the tuk-tuk.

El Nido is a very small town that lives mostly of tourists, fishing and agriculture.

Art Cafe’s main entrance. Art Cafe is the main meeting point for tourists in El Nido. There you can have a refreshment, a meal, or even book your flight back to Manila, like we did. There is also free wifi available.

Some of the views that you can enjoy in El Nido.

DSC00817Diving is another activity that you should not miss if you have the chance to visit this place.

It is amazing how clear the water is here…

No Photoshop here. This is just how water looks in El Nido.

The Hidden Lagoon can be visited on one of the many organized trips around the nearby islands. Totally recommended.

Nothing like this beautiful sunset to say goodbye (or better, see you later) to this beautiful country 🙂

Trip to Boracay

Recently, taking the chance given by the Lunar New Year holidays, we decided to spend some days in what (some say) is one of the best beaches in the world, the White Beach of Boracay. Truth be said, we weren’t disappointed at all.

There are not so many places in the world where you can enjoy 2.5 miles of white sand and glassy-smooth water. Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the world.

Jairo and Alvaro. The weather was not so nice, quite cloudy most of the time and even it rained for a while. Neither this, nor the cold that had me in bed for almost two of the days could not spoil this trip 🙂

One of the few negative points of this beach is that sometimes it can be a bit stressing to see so many people around, specially when you are supposed to be getting a rest. This is specially true when you compare Boracay to other beaches I had been to in the Philippines like Camotes or Bohol.

Being Lunar New Year, it was obvious that we would see many Koreans and Chinese people in Boracay. We were not wrong. In this picture you can see a group of Koreans, hard to miss, with their sun hats and hooded jackets protecting them from sunlight.

We had some great seafood for dinner. Boracay is not as cheap as other places in the Philippines, but it’s still worth to eat some fresh seafood for quite a reasonable price.

Another advantage of Boracay is that, as opposed to other places in the Philippines, there are many things you can do at night apart from sleeping. A henna tattoo, a massage, or having some drinks in a pub are some of those. All in all, an island with an excellent nightlife.

Trip to Camotes and Cebu, Philippines

During the Korean Chuseok, we have spent nine days in the Philippines, specifically in Camotes Islands, Mactan, and Moalboal, in Cebu Island. Some days off that have been perfect to disconnect from work and come back to Korea with my batteries fully loaded.

It seems that we happened to go during the low season, which is a bit rainy. But because of the low season, we had the chance to be a little more on ourselves (at some resorts we were the only clients), enjoying cheaper prices, and luckily enough, it only rained during some nights, although so strongly that rain even woke me up.

As soon as we landed in Cebu, we took a cab to North Bus Terminal. From there, we took a 40 minutes bus ride to Danao Port, from where we took the ferry to Camotes Islands.

Camotes Islands is a group of four islands on the east of Cebu. We were only in Pacijan Island, where among other stuff, you can visit this cave (I forgot to write down the name, I can only remember that it was at the north) which has a lake with crystal-clear water where many locals come to swim far from the burning heat in the island.

The island was quite peaceful (maybe too much), there are several resorts spread all over the coastline, but there wasn’t any area with restaurants and/or bars, so it is basically not worth it to leave your resort. Also, because of limitations on the electrical generator in the island, everyday there is a power cut from 6 to 7 PM, meaning that the whole island is completely dark during one hour.

San Miguel beer, one of the many good things that the Philippines gave us Spaniards 🙂

Jiwon, who is used to live quite far from the sea, had a great time looking for crabs.

The only thing that brought work to my mind was the constant feeling of having a Windows desktop background image in front of me.

To go back to Cebu City, we took a jeepney from Danao Port to the city (a true adventure). On the way we could see the true Cebu, which is more than wonderful beaches. I got the feeling that Cebu City is still quite far from being a developed city, and chaos was in every corner of the city.

After that, from Cebu City, a bus without air-conditioning would take us to Moalboal city. It was an over five-hour trip, during the night, and including a stop to fix some problem in the bus’ gearshift system…

When we arrived in Moalboal (after 10 PM), the first thing we did was finding a place to stay overnight. Next morning, this is what we found 🙂

Moalboal is a quite well-known city among divers. We only did some snorkeling, but still we could see some turtles like this one.

During our last night in the Philippines, already in Lapu-Lapu, near Cebu Airport, we could glaze at Philippines’ sky for the last time. Such a sky is impossible to see from Seoul.

Trip to Bohol, Philippines

Finally I have some time to show you the pictures from our last trip in 2008. This time we went to the Philippines, one of the last Spanish colonies and a true paradise. Among all the islands that belong to the Philippines, we decided to follow Pura‘s advice and travel to Bohol, kind of avoiding other islands’ crowd (such as Boracay). I believe we did well, and in Bohol we found what we were looking for, some rest, and things to see apart from beaches and coral reefs.

With Ji-Won and Jairo, on the plane that would take us to Manila.

Philippine islands from the airplane. Philippines has more than 7,000 islands, many of them surrounded by coral reefs.

Once in Bohol, we found it’s a small and quiet island with plenty of restaurants and delicious and quite cheap fish.

Ji-Won with a Tarsier, a primate that can be easily found in the Philippines, known for its tiny size, huge eyes and long fingers.

Another must-see spot in Bohol, are the Chocolate Hills. They are more than 120 little hills which were formed by coral accumulations when Bohol was covered by the ocean. This gave these hills a brownish color by which people started calling them “Chocolate Hills”.

Already on our way back to Seoul, at Tagbilaran Airport (Bohol) we found something to remind us we were at a tropical country. A group of… mariachis? played some music while passengers were waiting at the two boarding gates this this airport has (the smallest airport I have ever seen).