Philippines

4 weeks in paradise

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Almost a year ago Leš received a mail from Qatar Airways subscription promoting a deal which made our hearts skip a beat. Qatar was celebrating 20 years of partnership with Zagreb airport and offered 40% discount on return tickets from Zagreb to all destinations that the company flies to. There was quite a number of countries listed and Philippines were one of them! Basically, this means that we bought 2 return tickets for the price of one (800 euros all together which was a pretty decent deal). We couldn't really pick the dates since they were already set with Qatar but we are extremely lucky to have flexible schedules so we could make this trip a priority so far in advance and just be okay with the dates available. Also buying the tickets that early is very important in terms of evenly arranging your travel costs throughout the year.

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Organising Philippines was one of the hardest things I ever had to do when it comes to travel planning. The time difference, the number of islands, the amount of information I needed to process, rules and regulations I had to read, the time I needed for all of that... Just wow! I was really blown away by the trouble and the fact it takes that much time. If you plan to visit Philippines, my biggest and most important suggestion is to make sure you have a lot of time in advance to plan the trip. It's not just because there's a lot to process but you won't find cheap (or at all) domestic flights to hop from one island to another, you will have big trouble finding cheap accommodation and also there is a chance you won't be able to book island hopping tours as well.
With all that said, I will do my best to be as informative as I can be so you can learn everything you need to know about Philippines from this travel post. I apologise to the short readers, this one isn't going to be short at all.


Useful information to remember before travelling to Philippines

  • Philippines are considered rather cheap country coming from Europe. Their currency is PHP (Philippine peso) and 100 PHP equals about 10 HRK or 1,5 EUR/USD.

  • you need to have cash at all times when in Philippines because mostly they do not accept credit cards!

  • the food in Philippines is not very good and most of people who travelled here got food poisoning like me and Leš did. If you are picky when it comes to food, coming to Philippines might not be a very good idea.

  • regarding food, vegans and vegetarians might have difficult time finding vegan meal options in restaurants and boat tours.

  • if you want a chill 'laying down on the beach' vacation, the best time to go is from December to April (or even March), but if you love surfing it's better to visit from August to November (but be careful because it is also a typhoon season).

  • book all places to stay BEFORE coming to Philippines because it will cost you ten times more if you plan to book your accommodation right on the spot. The same applies for island hopping tours in Coron and El Nido and all domestic flights. Up to 3-4 months in advance is the cheapest and after that the prices become much higher!

  • DO NOT book domestic flight from third parties like kiwi.com or skyscanner! Use only official websites like Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines and buy all the baggage you need along with the tickets because it's 40% cheaper to do it online than on the airport.

  • try not to visit too many places but rather choose 3-6 islands to visit if you are staying up to 3-4 weeks in Philippines. It is very tempting to have a rich itinerary and see as many different islands as possible, but also this would be a terrible mistake. Transfers between islands take very long since distances are huge and delays are very common. Stay as flexible as you can be.

  • you DON'T need a visa if you are staying shorter than 30 days (I think this applies for all EU citizens. If you live outside EU check this information regarding your country on google)

  • the less stuff you bring the better. Also try to avoid suitcases and use backpacks instead. You will presumably move around a lot and having a suitcase will make it much harder. There's a lot of places where you can wash your clothes so you don't need to bring everything you own :D


Manila

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There is a 90% chance you will arrive to Philippines through Manila and you will probably need to spend a night there before continuing your trip to the islands. You can stay longer but honestly no need. TIP: Before exiting the airport buy a sim card with internet and download Grab app (you can download it at home but you will still need internet for using it). It is Philippines Uber and I promise you'll need it. We took a taxi to our accommodation and the driver charged us 1000 PHP for the drive!!! The day after we used Grab to get to the airport and payed 170 PHP for the same route so be very careful! We stayed in airbnb called Gramercy Suite which is very close to the airport and I recommend it big time. The price is very affordable (35 euros for one night), you have the 56th floor view and access to the private pool on the 34th floor! Next to the building you will find a shopping mall where you can try amazing sushi at Jinesi sushi bar and also buy everything you need. I also recommend checking out the Japanese store called Miniso! They have amazing beauty, office and home decor products and the prices are dirt cheap (I payed 7 euros all together for 2 glass water bottles, one journal and 3 pens).

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The traffic in Manila is one of the craziest I’ve seen in the world. It took us more than an hour to get from the airport to the accommodation and without traffic it would be a 10 minute drive tops. That’s why there is no point in staying any longer than a night here!

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In the morning we found a very nice spot for a breakfast near the building called Amelie. They serve really amazing food and I tried my first matcha latte there. It was really good and I recommend checking out the place for sure! :)

TIP: Philippines have this kind of electric socket so make sure you bring your adapter with you!

Coron

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Our next stop was Coron! The island known for its crystal clear waters and one of the best diving/snorkelling spots in Philippines. Coron is a part of Palawan island like El Nido and although they both have similar rock formations, Coron offers much more sweet turquoise water lagoons to experience.
We took a plane from Manila but if you are coming from El Nido you can also take a fast ferry. While booking flights pick either Cebu pacific or Philippine airlines official sites for buying tickets like I previously mentioned. When you arrive to Coron airport there will be numerous mini vans outside and all the drivers will be asking you (like their life depends on it) where are you staying. It is not a scam, that is just the way they do things there. Don’t freak out by the noise and yelling and just let them know where are you staying. You will wait few minutes for other people that go in the same direction as you to gather and you will share a mini van to the accommodation (150PHP per person and it is a fixed price). We stayed at The Ridge and it was nice being there but I wouldn’t recommend booking an island hopping tour with them like we did the first day. I had a problem booking with the company I wanted to while we were still at home because they didn’t have any option for the money transfer that works in Croatia so I couldn’t make a reservation. If you live outside Croatia you might have a better chance doing this. We booked a private tour with The Ridge and the whole point of it was to have the freedom to make our own itinerary for the day but we were following the captain’s schedule and couldn’t stay a minute longer in the spots he chose to visit. We were greatly disappointed with how everything went. In addition, we also had a really moody weather that day and should I mention that it was also Leš’s birthday and Valentines day! When things go south… Nevertheless we tried to have as pleasant time as we could and I have tons of pictures to show! I actually love how they turned out because they are not your usual Philippines pictures which makes them a bit more different and special. Don’t mind me, I see my pictures as if they are my babies haha.

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When the sun came out for few minutes

When the sun came out for few minutes

Birthday boy.

Birthday boy.

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During our first island hopping tour we visited Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons, Skeleton Wreck, Malwawey Reef & Coral Garden and CYC Beach. Usually, the private tour costs 8000PHP for 2 people but we were offered the price of 7000PHP so we happily accepted it. Later we wanted to use snorkelling gear and needed to pay extra 600PHP for both of us so there goes our lower price (usually the gear is included). I’m still not completely over how unpleasant this experience was for us, especially because I wanted Leš’s birthday to be perfect. Well, sometimes we just need to accept the things as they are and make the best of it.

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As I mentioned above, this was February 14, Valentines day and Leš’s birthday so few months before coming here I secretly organised birthday dinner for Leš in The Funny Lion. They didn’t previously have a plan to organise anything on that day but they accepted my suggestion because it was also Valentines day so they could make the dinner for their in house guests as well. They arranged a buffet and the band. It was perfect. Had I found out about them earlier I would have booked them as a place to stay while we were in Coron. They are beyond professional, kind, helpful and they helped me book another island hopping tour with Calamian tours, the company I wanted in the first place! Even though this day started pretty bad, I couldn’t hope for a better ending and all thanks to The funny lion staff <3 TIP: You should stay in Coron 2-4 days, it is more than enough to see and visit all the places you might want.

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Also while you are in Coron you should definitely spend some time in the downtown. It’s hectic but awesome at the same time. Try sushi in the Sky restaurant like we did or maybe check out the famous Trattoria Al’Trove, founded by one Serbian guy (you should know there is also one trattoria in both El Nido and Siargao, all equally good and considered amongst best restaurants on each island). TIP: Buy one or two dry bags in Coron. You will need them and they are really cheap (400PHP or 40kn/7eur, while in Croatia I only saw the prices starting from 200-300kn). I have to mention, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian you might have a difficult time finding appropriate food in Philippines. The same goes for coffee lovers. I am a huge coffee addict and some days I didn’t even had coffee because Filipinos mostly offer 3in1 small packages filled with tons and tons of sugar and brewed coffee is rarely an option.

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Our second island hopping tour in Coron went amazingly! We took the escapade tour which includes Malcapuya Island, Banana Island and Bulog Dos. Our tour guide was the funniest and kindest person and he made this whole day both interesting and chill. We could stay on each island as long as we wanted to and more importantly the whole day was sunny with no clouds in the sky :)

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While we were on our way to Bulog Dos, the guide told us the story about the Filipino tribe that lives on one of the islands in the bay and it can not be reached by tourists. They are completely detached from modern world and their way of living still resembles the old Filipino lifestyle. The most interesting fact is that they have extremely red lips from chewing cigars (not smoking) and also they collect bird nests for bird saliva from which they make soup. The soup is considered Filipino specialty meal.

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Bulog Dos is famous for its beautiful sandbar, which can shift all the way to the other side of the island with the wind. The island is also privatised and owned by one man who also built himself a little house on the top of the hill. The shells you see in the pictures are maybe the biggest I have ever seen and our guide, who is also a musician, showed us how to play them! He says they sound otherworldly while he plays them inside the caves. I can only imagine but it sounds just the way he describes it.
Our next and final destination was Malcapuya island. We didn’t have time for Banana island because we took a bit more time on Malcapuya. It was too beautiful to leave!

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We ended our time in Coron in the most beautiful way and it was time to head to our next destination - El Nido! We took the fast ferry which takes 5 hours to the island and the price was 40$ for a person. A bit expensive but it is a long way to go. TIP: Make sure to bring some long sleeves because it was really cold inside the boat.

EL NIDO

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Ah… El Nido. The popularity of this island is beyond any comprehension. But, it’s not unclear why. Perfect sand beaches, unreal rock formations, rich underwater world with loads of places to dive and snorkel… On the other hand, all of that makes it really touristy and not many people bypass it when in Philippines. Read all about getting to El Nido in this blog post by Saltinourhair.
Leš and I had a very unfortunate situation with food poisoning and although we spent 4 days (no need to stay longer) in El Nido, we didn’t really see all those beaches that we came here for. We were bummed, but at the same time I said to myself ‘This is not something to be ungrateful for, you are still in Philippines and you’ve already seen more than you ever would if you had stayed at home’. TIP: Do not drink tap water and do not put ice in your drinks. Brush your teeth with bottled water and also, try to avoid meat prepared on boats because that temperature is not enough for it to be completely safe for consuming. All of this applies especially when you find yourselves in El Nido because 90% of people got food poisoning right here on this island. I am still unsure about the origin of my illness but it must have been something of the above.

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We stayed at Mary Gold Inn. The location is great and the value for the money is excellent! The small little restaurant in the yard makes yummy mango smoothies! We loved it!
Since El Nido is all about the boat tours, months before arriving I booked 2 island hopping tours with El Nido Paradise. The moment I realised I couldn’t make it having the temperature of 39,4 degree celsius, Leš went over there and asked whether we can postpone the tour 2 days later. They said that it is not possible and I didn’t want the money to go to waste so I got up in the morning and went on a tour with temperature and diarrhea which of course made everything only worse. It was the most stupid decision ever, I still don’t know how and why did I do it. The tour was a disaster. Again, we couldn’t make any arrangements ourselves (it was a private tour) and our guide barely spoke any english. We managed to see the Big lagoon and Secret lagoon (only the beach, we didn’t enter the lagoon) where we stayed for a long long time waiting for other people to scatter a bit but that didn’t happen because it is too popular. We stayed there until the end of the tour because I was really sick and couldn’t bear another minute on the boat. When we came back to the office we told the staff I can’t do another tour tomorrow and we got 50% of the money back. The rest of our time we spent trying to lower my temperature and finding ways to put some food inside me which was the hardest thing to do at the time. For more information and pictures how the tour really looks like, check out these guys again.

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TIP: only swim during island-hopping tours or while going to more secluded beach areas. Beaches near a large concentration of hotels are often extremely polluted by motor oil and sewage. Another advice is to have lunch or dinner only in Pizzeria Al’trove or Art Cafe. They both serve safe food and you have a good variety of meals to choose from there.

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After few bad days we were rather happy to leave El Nido and move on to the next island - Cebu. Being a really big problem solver and even bigger planner, this situation only helped me grow as a person by learning how to deal with situations I cannot change and just let go. With a huge lesson learned I was fully prepared for continuing on with our tropical journey.

CEBU

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To get to Cebu we needed to take a mini van to Puerto Princesa (5h ride from El Nido) and then a plane to Cebu city. From there we rented a car with Saferide and drove all the way to the south of the island. I rented a car via Facebook messenger and paid with cash when we arrived, no need for a credit card. For a 3 day rent we paid 5500PHP (550kn/80 euros) all together. Even though it is a great price it was such a hustle driving through the Cebu city. If you are not a very good drive DO NOT do the same. There are busses that can take you south but you won’t have the freedom of making your own schedule. If I were to go one more time I would rent a car again haha! 3-4 days is just enough to see the main attractions on this island but I would recommend staying up to 6-7 days to see it all.
Our first stop in Cebu were Kawasan falls. The most popular waterfalls in Cebu for sure! There is a parking lot just along the main road where you can leave a car (whole day parking costs 50PHP). From there you need to walk 20 minutes to reach the waterfalls. What happened the moment when we got out of the car is that one Filipino who was hanging out in the parking lot with all the other guys just approached us and said: ‘I’m your guide for today, we’ll go to 4 different waterfalls and I will show you how to jump, follow me.’ He was rather nervous because we didn’t say anything and we started speaking to each other in Croatian trying to figure out the situation. What guide? Which 4 waterfalls? Well, this is another thing to keep in mind - Filipinos are very helpful but they don’t have a concept of personal space. This behaviour is shaped by living with numerous family members in small houses and it doesn’t have anything to do with them being rude. Also, they are trying to live off tourism so this guy was trying to help us find the way. We told them we only want to go to the waterfalls alone with no guide or jumping and he backed off. Don’t let them take you anywhere if you don’t want to. They won’t harm you in any way but if you don’t need help, just thank them and move on by yourself. What this guy meant was, there is a possibility to go canyoneering through these waterfalls but if you are up for that you can check out the experience online and maybe find the agency or someone who can take you through. Most accommodations in this area offer this as an option so you can ask them as well.

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Everyone suggests that you should go early in the morning, about 7am but we went around noon and managed to take some shots without people. It is possible, you just have to be somewhat patient.

After Kawasan we headed to our accommodation and on the way (few minutes south from Kawasan) we saw a sign for Aguinid falls and decided to stop and check it out. Since I haven’t heard anything about it I didn’t know what to expect. We parked our car in some old lady’s backyard (and gave her 50PHP afterwards) and she also showed us the way to the entrance. There, we were welcomed by people who supervise the falls and they said somebody needs to go with us which made me wonder why. They explained that these waterfalls are actually split into multiple levels and to reach the highest level you need to climb over lower waterfalls with a help from someone who knows the way. They used to take people to the level 8 but now they only go up to level 5 due to some unfortunate accidents that happened in the past. We paid the entrance fee (60PHP each, less than 1 euro) and with a bit of excitement headed towards level 1. TIP: Don’t hesitate to pay the guides in the end. The entrance fee goes entirely to the government and your tip is the only wage these guides are getting.

Level 1 is something you won’t even notice because it just the beginning (or the end) of the river. As Jackson perfectly described it: ‘However, from this point on each level offers a beautiful cascade of the milky blue water Cebu has become so famous for. Aguinid Falls isn’t an adventure to one big waterfall. The adventure to the waterfall is the attraction. You will walk through the water, along with bamboo bridges and at one point scale straight up the waterfall aided by a strong rope. Don’t worry it isn’t vertical. It is more of a 45-degree angle and not slippery at all. This is one of the reasons you have a guide with you. Keep an eye on your guide, they will probably run up this section without even touching the rope!’

Level 2

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Level 3

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Level 4

This is where you can jump because it is the deepest pool in Aguinid!

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Level 5

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We had the luck of having the waterfalls all to ourselves! It was already 3/4pm so everyone already left which I was much grateful for. TIP: Bring bug repellant with you all the time. You will need it, especially around water. Anyway, after visiting Aguinid our hearts were full and with big smiles on our faces we left to our little room in The Farm resort which we accidentally found along the way and just stayed there. They have amazing spaghetti bolognese and a pretty decent WiFi which was quite refreshing.

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Another waterfall we saw in Cebu was Tumalog. Because of recent lack of rain the falls were not as strong as they normally are but nevertheless breathtaking. Just like in Kawasan I saw huge differences regarding untouched nature which I’ve seen in photos prior to arriving than the same scenery in person. Filipinos do put a lot of concrete in these natural attractions and I can’t really think of a good reason. As some of you know, I’m a landscape architect by profession and most of my education consisted of finding suitable solutions for more sensitive places when it comes to construction work in nature. I guess these mistakes are all due to lack of education and they are still having difficulties dealing with mass tourism they are not prepared for.

I do not know who this girl is but it was a cute moment to capture.

I do not know who this girl is but it was a cute moment to capture.

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The water usually rises much more and covers these concrete walls completely.

The water usually rises much more and covers these concrete walls completely.

All of this brings me to the most sensitive topic I’m about to go through - Oslob whale shark watching, our last stop in Cebu. I have read many many posts and thoughts about this from different people and I still have mixed opinions about the whole experience, especially after having it myself.
First of all, whale sharks are world’s biggest fish and they are completely harmless to humans. That being said, this makes them perfect animals to have the exhilarating experience of swimming beside them in their natural habitats. Generally, there is nothing wrong with swimming with whale sharks, but what happens in Oslob is surely something to think about twice. As I mentioned before, Philippines still haven’t fully adapted to the number of tourists they get every day and not protecting the nature is one of the harsh consequences of the situation. I’ve read one article written 5 years ago that puts into question all the whale shark touching happening in Oslob. Having the experience now in 2019, when all the touching is extremely prohibited, along many other restrictions like wearing the sunscreen, I see the progress they’re slowly making. It should have happened earlier of course, but this is a developing third world country and we can only hope they are going in ascending trajectories following these changes.
What happens here is fishermen feeding the whale sharks about 50m away from the beach every day to attract them in staying in one place while they bring people from the shore to swim with them for half an hour each group. It is rather unique attraction everyone wants to experience and people start to wait in line from 5am to noon every day. Before coming here I thought you just go there alone and that’s why you have only 30 minutes. The reality is that you hop on a boat with 9 other people along with 10 other boats next to yours. All at the same time! That is a hundred people in the ocean simultaneously just tiny bit away from the shore. Not very personal and magical as it may seem. I tried to take photos of Leš being alone in the pictures and I did, but it was the hardest thing ever! I was annoyed by people around me who couldn’t swim and they were just floating on the surface with the help of life vests, constantly pounding with their legs which made the ocean ruffle non stop. One girl managed to have her butt in my face the whoooole freaking time. Christ! Sorry but I guess people raised by the sea have little to zero patience for all the non-swimmers. Well, guilty as charged, but you need to understand that this is not activity for you if you can’t swim or even if you are afraid to snorkel, moreover if you are only here for the pictures while at the same time you are afraid to take them! I rarely get this upset but man, this really gets to me. On the side note, these whale sharks are the biggest most gentle sea babies and I was so happy to have seen them just peacefully swimming around us. Watching them made me calm while this floating girl made me mad so it was a crazy bipolar experience I’ll never forget.

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My opinion is that this activity is not necessarily harming if done by the rules. The only problem that remains is the feeding which should be reduced to minimum. That would mean a lot less people would get to experience this in a day but that’s where the money plays, or should play, the important role. Extremely exotic attractions should have exotic prices as well and they shouldn’t be as accessible as they are. The price is 1000PHP per person.
On the brighter note, there is one place in Philippines where you can have more real and raw experience and it is called Donsol. The only downside is that you won’t ever know for sure whether you will bump into whale sharks because nobody lures them in and they wait for them to come naturally.

All in all, we had tremendous time in Cebu and I am really happy to have experienced such different kinds of activities and seen such beautiful and special nature this island has to offer. Fulfilled and enriched by these otherworldly experiences we left Cebu and moved to our last stop in Philippines - palm heaven Siargao.

P.S. Before leaving Cebu you should definitely visit tiny island next to it called Siquijor. We already planned to go but since Leš got really high temperature while we were in Cebu we stayed one whole day in bed so it was necessary to sacrifice visiting Siquijor at the time. The island is known for its magical powers and whenever I talked to someone who’s been there I only heard how amazing it was! Definitely make that island your priority! That is my biggest regret for sure.


SIARGAO

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Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines. People from all over the world come here to ride the magnificent waves these beaches get and this rich surf culture is deeply engraved in the whole island vibe. Another memorable thing in Siargao are definitely endless forest of coconut palm trees. My eyes have never seen so many palms at the same time. The whole island is fully covered in them and there is no a place where they don’t naturally grow from. Talking about heaven… :) Leš and I decided to stay in Siargao 7 days. After hopping from one island to another every few days we wanted the end of our trip to be a bit more relaxing and we chose the best island for that for sure. My advice for you would be the same. Should you decide to visit Siargao, don’t stay less than 5 days here, believe me! Life in Philippines is overly slow but it is even slower here and that laid down atmosphere will take you over and soon you will be laying down under the palm trees not wanting to leave or do anything else. As if it’s a bad thing :D

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It is most likely you will get here by plane. After arriving to the airport you can just tell the drivers outside where are you staying and they will take you there for a fixed price of 300PHP. I was booking our accommodation 4-5 months in advance and my number one choice was of course Kermit. Ah… I left my heart there and I can’t stop thinking about it still… It is really difficult to explain the story behind Kermit and its popularity but when you begin to read articles about Siargao you won’t find one that doesn’t glorifies it. And all for a reason. Kermit firstly offers accommodation but also, it has the most amazing restaurant I have ever been to and besides their clothing brand Gwapitos is famous for itself amongst surfers and surf lovers. Kermit also offers island hopping tours to Sugba lagoon and nearby islands aand most importantly they have surfing school for which they are most known for. Branding at its best! Kermit’s restaurant is so good and famous that all tourists come here every night even though they are not in-house guests. The line of people starts to build up from 6pm and some people wait for few hours because it is simply worth it. What I wanted to say is, excuse my love for Kermit, but 5 months in advance I couldn’t book the room here for all those 7 nights because it was already booked. I only had 4 nights available and I booked it instantly via their website. This is why I was telling you organising Philippines is not a good thing to do hastily. We firstly stayed at the Glasshouse for 2 nights and it was okay but the bugs kept coming in from somewhere and at one point me and Leš started screaming because we had a cockroach in the bed between us. Thanks but no thanks.

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While we were there we had our breakfasts at Bake, a nearby beautiful little shop that only serves morning meals and drinks. The food here is amazing and they have such a good coffee! Right across there is a cute fruit stand where we bought mangos and bananas every day :)

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We wanted to explore the island a little bit more so we rented a motorbike for a day (500PHP) and drove all the way north to the Pacifico beach. We wanted to stop on the way there to visit rock pools but they were closed for a month due to maintenance. Nevertheless, we had a great time at Pacifico. It is such an oceanic beach and it was quite different from anything I have seen so far in my life.

If you do rent a motorbike you will need to refill the gas. They sell it in these old coke bottles. It took us quite some time to figure out that this is not Coca Cola there haha!

If you do rent a motorbike you will need to refill the gas. They sell it in these old coke bottles. It took us quite some time to figure out that this is not Coca Cola there haha!

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My moon &lt;3

My moon <3

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We had a plan to rent a motorbike for one more day but then Kermit happened so we didn’t do it. After sleeping with bugs I couldn’t wait to move there!

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Chill out.

Chill out.

Good thing about Chill out in Kermit is that is reserved only for in-house guests. In the evenings, when the restaurant is overwhelmed, in-house guests can eat here and their orders have priority above those from regular restaurant guests. Furthermore, Kermit has 3 different menus depending on the time. Breakfast is served until 10am, brunch until 6pm and afterwards it is dinner time. I spent 4 days here trying to eat everything off the menu and I almost did haha I can’t even blame myself for trying. The next two days we explored Siargao’s backyard - Sugba lagoon and little nearby islands. I highly recommend booking tours with Kermit even if you don’t stay there. Their organisation is the best from all I’ve seen in Philippines and both days went perfectly and this time we didn’t even choose private tours. Met some amazing people along the way :)

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You will as well want to spend some time in General Luna, let’s say it is Siargao’s downtown area where all the restaurants and cafe bars are. There is only one main street and from there you can rent motorbikes, eat, go out, wash clothes, find souvenirs… all of it! TIP: Make sure to buy souvenirs elsewhere because Siargao is the most expensive island we have visited in Philippines.

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Make sure to check out Trattoria Al’trove as well. In my opinion this one in Siargao is the best :)

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Spending a lot of time researching Siargao I’ve read numerous times that the bent palm is one the best attractions on the island. After seeing it in person I would say my opinion differs. It was cool to see it and witness how locals tremendously jump off of it but I wouldn’t say it is that good of a attraction. You can also take a boat or pedal down the so called enchanted river but it wasn’t really inviting to us so we passed on that activity.

After seven unforgettable days in Siargao it was our time to leave the Philippines and go home. We arranged the mini van to the airport with Kermit and as we were leaving I left few tears. Don’t mind me, I cry for everything haha! Both of us had some ups and downs during this trip so my advice to all of you is to just be careful what you eat or drink because I have learned that lesson the hard way. Philippines is a country everyone should visit not only because of its unquestionable beauty but because of people. I have never seen men and women who have so little and yet are more happy than we could ever learn to be. They constantly sing, whenever they hear music they let their voices out so loudly you can hear them across the whole beach. They have relentless smiles on their faces and they just know how to enjoy the life. Children play in the streets so happily and without any fear of being touched or photographed, on the contrary they even look forward to it. I was afraid to take photos of them because the only thing I had in mind is what would other people think when they see me do that, would I offend someone or make children scared? This is a different world, our ‘first world’ rules don’t apply here and it was so refreshing to relive some of my childhood memories this way - being as free as they are playing games I haven’t seen kids play for quite some time, waving to everyone who pass in front of them like their lives depend on that. I loved that so much and I really miss some people I’ve met there.

I hope this article makes at least one of you buy that ticket and witness everything we have. It is the most beautiful thing you can do for yourself! I returned a different person, a better person. Hope you do too :)
Thanks for reading, I know it was a lot. Stay adventurous and I wish you happy travels!