OUR TWO WEEKS IN PHILLIPNES.
Let me start by telling you that two weeks in Philippines is the worst idea ever – You need minimum three-four months for this beautiful breathtaking country. But like many people, we only had two weeks off of work to make this trip to the Philippines happen. So as you can imagine, we had to cut a ton of places from our wish list.
Most international flights land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. Fair warning: metro Manila is perhaps the busiest place in the country, so don’t be scared by the excessive traffic and urban jungle chaos – it won’t be quite like this anywhere else. Traffic in Manila is bad. Convenient modes of public transport connecting NAIA to the rest of the metro aren’t especially common either.
NOTE : DO NOT take an airport taxi. Instead download uber/grab and use this app to book transportation for your entire stay in this city. The airport taxi is ten times the real price (you can thank me later).
To be honest, Manila wasn’t that exciting of a city and we most definitely didn’t fall in love with it. We found amazing Airbnb’s located in ideal places at an amazing ideal cost but the traffic is unbearable there. Like i’m pretty sure the traffic moves faster in India and that is saying a lot.
Manila is literally filled with hundreds of things to do. If you’re into shopping they have massive malls here. If you want to try some karaoke, Filipinos love their karaoke. Everything you can imagine you can likely find in this busy city.
1. GO bargain Hunting at Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills Shopping Center (or “Greenhills” for short) is a bargain hunter’s paradise. You can find almost anything there like mobile phones, gadgets, jewelry, clothing, fashion accessories, watches, shoes, bags, etc. It’s also home to a good amount of quality knock-offs.
2. Sunset over Buckets of Beer at Mall of Asia (MOA)
Manila Bay is renowned for its sunsets and there are few better vantage points than Mall of Asia. Fronting the bay, its the third largest shopping mall in the Philippines. To catch the sunset, head on up to the second floor around 5 PM and look for signs pointing you to Seaside Boulevard. There you’ll find a row of al fresco restaurants facing Manila Bay. Pick any restaurant that appeals to you and order a bucket (6 bottles) of San Mig Lights or Pale Pilsens or San Mig lemon. Kick back and enjoy the light show.
Makati is one of the coolest suburbs in Manila. It’s the financial centre of Manila, offering loads of fantastic shopping opportunities at upscale malls like Greenbelt Shopping Complex or Powerplant Mall. Once you’re done with shopping, walk over to Ayala Triangle Park and take a rest and watch the locals or like us – go visit the Ayala Museum (Worth it to see the Philippines history displayed amazingly).
Intramuros, the Spanish Old Town, is an interesting place to explore. It is also known as the Walled City. Being on an Asian land, the architecture in Manila makes it hard to believe that you have such Spanish influence around you.
There are many more things to do in Manila and a detailed version coming up soon.
I have yet to know of another island in the whole world which divides public opinion like Boracay in the Philippines does; some people hate it, other people love it. It is the marmite of the Philippines.
Despite being frequently visited by huge numbers of tourists, Boracay (like most of the other Filipino islands) isn’t easy to get to. The two ways you can reach the Boracay Islands from Manila –
- You can catch a one hour direct flight from Manila by Philippine Airlines to Caticlan airport which costs about. This airport is tiny so only small planes of about 20 people can land there (this leads to an interesting flying experience!) but it is the closest airport to Boracay. Only being about a 5 minute taxi ride to the boat pier. Taxis are easily caught from outside the airport. Once at the pier the boat ride to Boracay takes about 10 minutes and hardly cost anything.
- The other (cheaper) way is to fly to Kalibo airport and this is what we chose (Because budget travelling). A bigger airport but further away from Boracay. This means that you can often get flights direct there from more options than Manila but it is about a 2.5 hour bus journey from the airport to Boracay pier.
NOTE : There are a lot of transfer options from tour companies at the airport itself to reach Boracay Islands but in our experience, it is much cheaper doing it yourself.
We stayed at an amazing Airbnb overlooking the kite surfing beach and we hardly had to shell out any money for such a great accommodation. (Leave a comment below if you want me to share the same).
Before leaving for Philippines I did a lot of research and most of the blogs online suggested to NOT visit the BORACAY ISLANDS. I’m supremely glad I did not listen to any of them because well this island is my favourite destination in the world.
Here’s why you should visit this island :
1. The Powdery White Sand : Boracay is a seven kilometer stretch of the finest, most powdery white sand you’ve ever seen. There is something truly spectacular about the quality of the fine white sand in this island that no other island has. Walking down most parts of the beach feels like you are walking on talcum powder instead of actual sand. You have to feel it to believe it.
2. The Crystal Clear Water : The quintessential image of Boracay is one that shows off easily its most breathtaking quality: its crystal clear turquoise waters. It’s so peaceful to take a seat underneath a coconut tree and watch the clear waters caress the white sand, as they merge and form different shades of blue reflective of the bright, sunny sky.
PS : THE SUNSETS ARE BREATHTAKING.
3. The Nightlife : It might not be for everyone, but I have to admit that the sheer choice of happy hours, cocktails, and bars on the island is one of the things I love the most about it. In Boracay, every hour is happy hour! It’s not an uncommon sight to see tourists still partying hard when the sun has come up, but if you prefer peace and quiet there are also many coves that lend tranquility away from the crowds.
4. The Food : Many foreign nationals have decided to call Boracay home and start a restaurant, so you can be assured that the international cuisine here is authentic. You also can’t go wrong opting for local Filipino food or fresh, mouthwatering seafood cooked whichever way you like it. There are several excellent restaurants throughout the island catering to budgets of all sizes.
Boracay has something for everyone. From solo travelers to families, the island offers a wide range of peaceful as well as exciting activities that everyone will enjoy. So pack your luggage and start looking for cheap tickets !
DOES THIS MAKE YOU WANT TO VISIT PHILIPPINES ?
BE ORDINARY !