Two friends, one camera and just under two weeks in the world’s second-largest archipelago, the Philippines. Here are some of my favourite spots and images of the region.
Eastern Islands off Palawan
Make a day trip to experience unspoiled deserted islands as far as the eye can see.
Palawan is a more rural counterpart to the mighty Borocay. Once you’ve ticked El Nido off your list, head inland for caves and waterfalls. AirAsia regularly flies to Puerto Princesa in the South while Air Swift is the only airline to fly into El Nido in the North.
Qi Palawan Resort
Qi Palawan, a resort with only seven bungalows was a standout. Stay a minimum of two nights to have the full experience. Tip: Open up a Paypal account before departure as some accommodations prefers this over credit cards.
The town of El Nido (Spanish for "nest") serves as the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago; a group of beautiful and busy islands.
El Nido, Palawan
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Puerto Princesa acts as the gateway to Palawan. Before jumping on a bus to El Nido, check out some of the local beaches for minimal crowds and maximum enjoyment.
Twin Beach, Palawan
Both Nacpan and Calitang beaches are increasingly popular destinations just north of El Nido. Nacpan was voted one of the "Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World." Expect a travel time of 40 minutes from El Nido.
This is one of the more memorable accommodation experiences I have ever had. A tremendous focus is placed on sustainability and the setting couldn’t be any more unspoiled.
Paradise Falls, Palawan
Be sure to ask a local where this place is, it's not in local guidebooks.
Head for Tops, a steep viewpoint overlooking the bustling city of Cebu. Cebu is notorious for its traffic, but Uber rides are extremely affordable. Many come to Cebu to snorkel among the gentle whale sharks. Don't do it at the cost of the animals' wellbeing - skip Oslob. Instead, head to Bicol near Legazpi City for a sustainable, more genuine experience.
El Nido Cave, Palawan
The Ille Cave, 30-45 mins from El Nido town, dates back over 12,000 years. To get there, rent a motorbike or go with a guide by tricycle. If you’re up for an adventure, climb to the top just before sunrise and be in for a treat.
There are four tours (A-D) for island hoppers; all of which visit a number of lagoons, beaches and caves. Snorkeling gear and lunch should be included, although it’s wise to double-check. Kayaking tours are especially recommended. You can also explore without a tour operator.
Bahay Kalipay Yoga Retreat, Palawan
Bahay Kalipay near Puerto Princesa is a must, with comfort stripped down to the bare minimum. Throughout the day, there are workshops on all things wellness, yoga, and food with a side of nature-related activities.
Dalaguete Farmers Market, Cebu
The Dalaguete Farmers Market is truly a "taste" of the Philippines: warm, friendly and filled with new experiences. Grab a cheap motorcycle taxi up the hill and arrive early.