The Philippines was definitely one of the less developed and less touristy places that I visited, but this just meant it was a much more authentic experience.
The plan was to visit two places in Palawan and then head up to Coron which is a separate island. However once we arrived in the Philippines the terrible weather made us rethink our plans as it seemed a bit risky to try to change islands. There was severe flooding in the north and boats had been cancelled so we decided to just spend the whole time in Palawan.
El Nido is one of the most common tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is easy to see why. It is a coast town at the very north of the island surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches and clear blue water. The town itself is very small so there isn’t loads to do other than island hopping tours. We were undecided whether to pay for an island hopping tour due to the weather but we just thought it going to rain anyway so we might aswell.
The island hopping tour was really cool however the weather was very wet so you ended up just being absolutely freezing the entire time. But the stops on the tour were really picturesque. We visited two lagoons, beaches and snorkelled.
There were so many stray dogs on the beaches who were so friendly, one day me and Caroline ended up with a big posse of dogs coming on our walk which was so nice.
Randomly in this little place off the beaten track we found a tiny shack which sold exclusively vegan and veggie burgers and oh my were they good.
This stop was probably my favourite. There was no wifi anywhere in the town so it was very back to basics. The town was very rural and it was rare to see another tourist. The only issue was that due to it being off-season not many restaurants were open so finding food was difficult the first night. But the second night we came across a restaurant which we then went to for every meal the reminder of our time there. It was amazing food for ridiculously cheap prices and was always packed full of people.
We did an island hopping tour here aswell as the weather was better and it was the most wonderful day. It was sunny the whole day and the stops were out of this world. We swam with turtles, visited two beautiful private islands, went to an island with starfish on it, had an absolute feast of a lunch and the sun was shining the entire time.
We were really only here for a very short period of time to wait for our flight. So apart from wandering around we didn’t actually see much. Our guesthouse was a little out of town so it was really nice to walk around seeing all the children playing outside on the street in the evenings and families sitting outside on plastic stools talking to each other whilst preparing the dinner. It really reminded me of the strong close knit community that I experience when in Africa.
The Philippines was amazing. I’ve never been in a place where the water is so clear. It was literally like being in paradise. It is definitely one of the places I want to revisit and there are so many islands in the Philippines still on my bucket list. The highlight was definitely swimming with turtles in their natural environment and having the chance to observe their behaviour without disturbing them. A moment I will cherish forever.