Day 1 in Philippines
I flew into Manila around 2:00 and had no problem getting to the Oasis Park Hotel near Paco Park
With limited time, I decided to check out Centro Manila by Rezal Park. I was not a big fan as I felt like the only tourist. I didn’t see one other western tourist. I got lots of weird looks so decided it was best to eat at the hotel at place called my kitchen. The food at this place was very good. Rezal park was nothing amazing.
Note: I later found out the best area to hang out as a tourist is in Makati in Manila. This neighborhood has a very different feeling.
Day 2 in Philippines
I had early flight around 9 to Puerto Princesa. I then got on a shuttle that would take about 6 hours to get to El Nido. You can find shuttles right in the airport and don’t need to go outside. On shuttle, I met a nice German brother/sister tandem by name of Typanie and Stan. We would become buddies over several days in El Nido
After arriving in El Nido, we went to our separate hotels and decided to meet up around 6:30 for dinner. I walked on the beach and had a couple of nice beers – Red horse or San Miguel Pilsen/light. At dinner, we ate a restaurant next to the Sea Slug where I got beef with mushrooms and cheese sticks. We then had a couple more beers and saw a girl playing with fire. It was time for bed as tomorrow would be Tour A
Day 3 in Philippines
I met up with the Germans for breakfast under a grey sky. They had a week in El Nido and decided that today would be a beach day. I was on my own and got put a boat with a bunch of awesome people
Gorgoes, a retired man, from Argentina
3 South Koreans (couldn’t swim)
5 Spaniards – 4 girls and 1guy
Tour A was amazing. The highlight for me was the small lagoon. The other stops were nice, but the rocks in the small lagoon were amazing. I was glad that I got in there early before the Asian invasion, who all wore bright orange life vests.
The unfortunate part of tour is that we did it mostly in rain. However, it really didn’t matter as we were getting wet from swimming.
The Germans had horrible beach day given the rainy weather. We met up again for dinner hoping to go to Sea Slug, but we got rained out pushing us to restaurant next door. It was time for bed to see what Mother Nature would bring tomorrow
Day 4 in Philippines
It was now time to rock Tour C
I met up with Germans, who were again turned off by the weather forecast of rain. I was dead set on going
I had another interesting group
5 Spaniards again
2 Afghanistan brothers that live in Scandinavia
I hung out mostly with the Afghanistan brothers. Tour C was also amazing. We started by going to Hidden Beach, which was beautiful. As we were leaving, it started to rain hard. Luckily, we got a head of the storm and didn’t see any rain for rest of trip.
We had lunch at our own private beach and not with 10 other boats like in Tour A. Lunch as yesterday was fish, chicken, salad, rice, and fruit
We went to one overlook that must have been the best view in all of El Nido. After lunch, we went snorkeling in the hunt of turtles. We saw 3 turtles including one that was swimming.
We arrived back and same as yesterday the sky’s opened up around 5. Unlike yesterday, it didn’t stop. I met up with Germans and then we waited for a Spanish couple that they met in their days activities. While we missed them for dinner, we met up with them later for drinks. They were super cool.
Day 5 in Philippines
Walked on beach and took 10:30 shuttle back to Puerta Princesa. It was time to meet up with the guys. On the shuttle back to Puerta Princesa, I met an Australian man who was married to a Filipino. We exchanged in conversation for most of the ride to Puerta Princesa. It just happened to turn out that we were in the same hotel. With the guys being late, we ended up grabbing dinner together.
No ATMs in El Nido
Tour A and C are definite must sees with Tour C being the best.
Lots of cheap places on the beach. It is probably best to just get there and book a hotel unless you are going in peak season. I could have easily gotten a room for under $10 per night as opposed to paying $50+ per night.
Ignore rain and go on tours
Day 6 in Philippines
On the 6th day, the guys and I went to the Underground River. We got picked up by our guide at the hotel and were off to Sabang to see the Underground River. The ride took about 2 hours to get to the boat launch. The Underground River is amazing at 8 km long with you going only 1.5 km into the cave. If you want to hold a spot light, you will need to be in the front of the boat.
We saw tons of bats and the cave was very impressive. After we finished the cave ride, we had lunch. At lunch, most of the guys decided to try worms. It was not my cup of tea.
We then proceeded to a cave where we could hike to the top and zipline back to the base for $20. We initially didn’t have high hopes for this stop, but it turned out to be pretty amazing. Two friends and myself decidd ed to go down the Zipline in the Superman position. It was lots of fun, and we ended up getting back to the hotel for a couple of hours by the pool.
We now had the pleasure of making to Boracay. We had to connect through Manila to get to Boracay. You then have a couple hour shuttle to reach the boat launch. It is then a 15 minute boat ride to Boracay. Since we arrived late at night, we had to hire private operator to take us to Boracay at a cost of $60 per person. The same trip on the way back only cost $20.
Day 7, 8, and 9 in Boracay
Boracay is a beautiful island. The beaches are amazing, but it definitely a lot more touristy than the other places that we visited. While Boracay is a party spot, the clubs were never that full. No one also mentioned that 80% of the tourists are either Korean or Japanese.
We ended up staying at the Boracay Regency, which was an amazing hotel that only cost $100 per night. We had lots of drinks and a great time.
We also decided to rent jet skis for an hour at the cost of only $40 or $50, which an extremely good deal. Jet sking was amazing, and I will definitely do it again.