Asia,  The Philippines,  Travels

Philippines – a heaven on earth?

The Philippines is a place a lot of people dream of. The first word which connotes with, is a heaven on earth. Pictures from the Philippines show pristine paradisal beaches with palm trees, hidden glaucous lagoons, outstanding coral reefs. In one word, it is a paradise for beach and swimming lovers. There is no law against that everyone dream of travel there – this place is real heaven on earth. Here you can find general information about Philippines.

The Philippines - a real heaven on earth
The Philippines – a real heaven on earth

My trip to the Philippines took place at the beginning of March 2019. I spent there the best 11 days. Maybe I’m not a beach lover, but it is worth to visit the Philippines for its breathtaking views. It was my first time when I did island hopping, admired coral reefs, saw starfishes, and ate a squid. Moreover, I was on Bohol Island, a showcase of what you can find in the entire the Philippines, where I visited the Chocolate Hills and observed tarsiers.

The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It is unbelievable that it consists of about 7 641 islands. Travel around the Philippines is a little complicated and time-consuming. You will need a lot of free time to explore an entire country. During my journey, I decided to visit the most popular Palawan and Bohol Islands and its surroundings. Why? Because I read that Palawan offers the best beaches and views. We didn’t want to travel around the whole country to see all beaches – as I said, I’m not a sunbathing lover. Rice fields we saw in Sapa (Vietnam), so we scrubbed the plan to visit Batad and Banaue. At bottom, Bohol is considered a showcase of what you can find in the entire Philippines, so we decided to spend more time there.

The Chocolate Hills on Bohol
The Chocolate Hills on Bohol
Philippinian tarsier
Philippinian tarsier

The best time to visit the Philippines

The climate in the Philippines is tropical, with hot and sultry summer during the most part of the year. The temperature on almost all islands is the same.

There are two seasons: dry (from November to April) and wet (from May to October).

The best time to travel to the Philippines is between November to middle May. The average temperature is 30 Celsius degree, and humidity about 70%. The rains rarely drop. You should only remember that May will be the hottest month and you will need good sun protective cream.

From June to October is monsoon season and you should avoid these months. The rains drop steeply and constantly about 15 days in a month, and the humidity increases to 90%. Additionally, in August, September, and October come up typhoons. Out of typhoon’s extent are islands: Palawan, Mindanao, Sulu, Visayas, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, and Panay. But you can’t exclude the possibility of typhoons occurring.

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How to travel around the Philippines

As I mentioned, the Philippines consists of almost 7 461 islands. Traveling around all of them is a little complicated and time-consuming, but I can say, that public transport is well-developed.

Plane

The fastest way to travel from one island to another is by airplane. Unfortunately, not on every island is located at the airport. Then, you should fly to the nearest island and take a boat or ferry to your final destination. The price of flight tickets depends on how many days left for your trip and airlines. You can choose between Cebu Pacific Air, Philippines AirAsia, Philippine Airlines or Cebgo. You should know, that in the Philippines flights are often delayed. Remember about that, planning your next trip with a stopover.

Additionally, there is an extra terminal fee, when you departure from Mactan-Cebu (international flight – 800 PHP, you can pay it by credit card) – it is proven information. I heard about the terminal fee at Puerto Princessa Airport (domestic flight – 200 PHP and international flight – 700 PHP), but we hadn’t to pay that.

Ferry or boat

Another option is taking a boat or a ferry. This option is timeconsuming, but sometimes it is the only way how you can get somewhere. You can earlier make an online reservation for your trip. There are a lot of ferry companies which provides ferry service between islands. Sometimes you can get an extra discount for earlier booking. Additionally, you can choose seat class: Open Air (without air conditioning – when the temperature is high it can be uncomfortable), Tourist Class (with air conditioning) and Business Class (with air conditioning and snacks).

A boat trip can be a little complicated because is offered by private owners and the price is negotiated. Sometimes is hard to haggle over the price if there is the only boat owner. I remember when we negotiated the price for a boat from Baclayon boat station to Pamilacan. It was so exhausting. Finally, we paid 1 000 PHP less.

The bangka boat for island hopping tour
The bangka boat for island hopping tour
Scooter

If you want to explore an island and its surroundings, I recommend scooter rental. This option enables you being independent and better traveling around. You can rent a scooter in almost every place. Remember to not leave your passport against documents. If it is not possible, try to find another place. On Bohol, we paid 600 PHP for 1 day of rental.

The best option of exploring the island
The best option of exploring the island
Tricycle

It is an indigenous form of the auto rickshaw. The tricycle is the most popular means of transport in small towns and cities. It is made by building a sidecar and affixing it to a motorcycle (both covered by a roof). If you decide to take a tricycle, remember to negotiate the price – usually it is higher for tourists.

Jeepney

It is used as “a public bus”, but is a cheaper option. Jeepney is the most popular means of transport in the Philippines, used by locals. It’s a truck but adapted for people transfer. Depending on the length, it can load from 18 to 25 passengers. It has open ventilation through windows all along their side and an open backdoor for easy passenger embarkation and disembarkation. What is special about jeepney? You can’t see two identical jeepneys. Why? Because of its artworks painted on their sides.

Jeepney - the cheapest way to travel around island
Jeepney – the cheapest way to travel around island

More interesting facts about the Philippines

The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Southeast Asia. Almost 80 % of its citizens are Catholic. The only Mindanao Island is mostly Muslim.

In the Philippines (San Pedro Cutud), during Easter, you can attend the famous, bloody the Way of the Cross, where the Filipinos scourge themselves and nail themselves to the cross.

In many places (on walls, buildings, jeepneys, tricycles, etc.), you can find a lot of Catholic symbols. Filipinos are very religious.

Tricycle with text from the Bible
Tricycle with text from the Bible

Cockfight, locally named Sabong, is popular entertainment in the Philippines. It is a fight between two cocks. For Filipinos, it is a legal pastime, which held in special cockpits every week. There are also illegal cockfights (named tupada or tigbakay) held in secluded cockpits where authorities cannot raid them. Only men are allowed to watch this sport.

In the Philippines, you can find many cocks, and their little characteristic houses, which look like tents.

Cockfight, locally named Sabong, is popular entertainment in the Philippines
Cockfight, locally named Sabong, is popular entertainment in the Philippines

Have you ever been to the Philippines? Do you have more interesting information about this country? Share with it! 

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