El Nido

Spending three nights in El Nido was the perfect amount of time for my adventures in the North of Palawan Island, Philippines. The main draw card in the area is Island Hopping which is a full day activity. With only one more full day in the area I decided to walk around town and explore some of the nearby beaches. 

While the scenery is stunning, the township of El Nido, in my opinion, is nothing to write home about. The town is a bit crammed for space and the hostels are end of the world gross as so many backpackers are trying to squeeze into a small space (I was in a 8 person bunk room with one small fan - never again!) 

Despite the feeling of an overpopulated backpacker town, by taking a 30 minute walk out of town  resulted in lovely beaches and cute cafes on the sand - my kinda of space! 

El Nido Travel Blog
 
El Nido Travel Blog
 
el nido travel blog
 
 
 
 
 
 

Diniwid Beach

I ended up on Diniwid Beach by total accident - and it was one of the best un-planned visit during my visit to the Philippines. 

I set off from downtown Boracay in the morning in search of Chowking's Halo Halo, and determined not to take a tuk tuk, I ended up walking on the road for over an hour - just to reach the shopping mall for a very well deserved Halo Halo! After making it that far I decided to find the closest beach to Chowking to rest my legs and jump into the ocean. Thankfully for me, that closest beach was the quaint Diniwid Beach. 

Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
 

Puka Beach

We spent the day lounging around Puka Beach - a short tuk tuk taxi ride away from the famously popular White Beach of Boracay. The vibe was more laid back and local and we loved resting in the sunshine and jumping in the clear blue waves. 

 

Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
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Puka Beach Boracay
 

Downtown Boracay

After spending two weeks in the Northern Philippines it was time to head down South to explore the Islands. The first stop on my Island tour of the Philippines was Boracay - a very popular tourist island destination. While I tired to get off the beaten path in Boracay and explore more remote areas, it was still exciting to walk around the busy 'downtown' area where locals sold hats and sunnies on every corner and the vibe was exciting and alive. 

Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog

Batad

Batad is a very tiny village only accessible by foot. We started the journey to Batad in Banaue with a stop in Bangaan. After several pit stops we hopped out of our Jeepney and began trekking in the misty rain up the Batad where we were staying for the night at a local homestay. 

While the hike isn't too long (around 45 min) it was a bit slippery in the wet weather conditions so we took our time and slowly made it to Ramon's Homestay - a special place in the middle of the rice terrace amphitheater known as Batad. 

We had quite a unique experience as Ramon's sister had just recently passed away - and following the Ifugao Tribe traditions - the whole family had come from near and far to celebrate her life together in the small village. 

Our group chatted over local cuisine (and rice wine!), observed funeral traditions, and took in the stunning rice terrace surroundings of Batad. 

Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
 
Batad travel blog
 
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Journey to Batad

One of the best ways to explore Northern Philippines is on TOP of a Jeepney! Holding on for life we zipped around the mountain side on our way to the famous rice terraces of Banaue. A bit of misty rain did't stop a few of us from jumping on top and going for an extreme ride into the hillside. 

Along the way to Banaue we passed little villages, religious statues, and shopkeepers selling their local produce and fruits. I must admit, riding on top of the Filipino Jeepney was a highlight of my time in the country! 

Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
 
 

The Country Side of Sagada

The little one lane village of Sagada is visited by tourists as a launching point to the surrounding country side - most specifically to see the hanging coffins. This landmark is an unusual sight - coffins nailed into boulders - an ancient tradition practiced by the Igorot Tribe in the Norther Philippines. 

We took off in the morning, and after a visit to the large cathedral like church, we headed into the jungle path towards the hanging coffins and a series of waterfalls and rice fields. After our day we relaxed with a glass of local rice wine in a small restaurant. 

Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
 
 

Sagada

Sagada is a lovely and remote mountain village nestled into a valley in the Northern Philippines. After leaving Baguio we hopped onto another local bus and headed further north into the village of Sagada where we spend three days exploring the tiny village (complete with one main road) and the surrounding mountainous country side. 

Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
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Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
Sagada Travel Blog
 
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Baguio, Philippines

Baguio is known by the local Filipinos as the Summer Capital - the perfect place to spend a weekend away from the heat of Manila and the surrounding lowlands in the Philippines.

We arrived into Baguio at the end of the Flower Festival, a very festive and lively time in the city, where locals and Filipino tourists come together to celebrate the colorful flowers and vegetation that grows around the region. I wandered around the city watching as visitors enjoyed street food and flower floats in the park. Children dressed up in the costume of the local villagers and families hopped aboard swan shaped paddle boats for cruising in the small lake. It was a wonderful experience to see Baguio alive and energetic! 

Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog
 
Baguio Travel Blog

Intramuros, Manila

There are not too many 'must see' places in the city of Manila - but Intramuros and Chinatown are two places that many visitors check out while spending time in the big city. As I only had one full day to explore Manila I set out to see both Intramuros in the morning and Chinatown in the afternoon, and with a fast pace I was able to see both spots during my time. 

Intramuros, also known as the Walled City, is the oldest district and the historic center of Manila, and during the Spanish Colonization Period this area was the city of Manila. I loved wandering around the cobblestone streets lined with palm trees taking in the historical setting and stopping for a local meal of rice and Adobo. 

Chinatown was a bit more chaotic! Chinatown, also known as Binondo, is the oldest Chinatown in the world, and I could feel the layers upon layers of history as I walked around the streets. There were so many smells, colors, and movements to experience while I spent time in Binondo it was actually quite overwhelming as a visitor - I ended up cutting my time short after an hour and headed back towards my hostel for a relaxing evening on the rooftop with new friends! 

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Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog
 
Manila Travel Blog