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...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

Sorrento
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...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

Hi everybody!

First of all I am Serena, 26, from Italy, ad second of all: yes, I've read some of the top questions on the right, but I was wondering if i could bother you a little and submit my own personal question! Hope it's ok :)

I've not decided yet, but my boyfriend and I are considering some locations for our 2-3 weeks holiday next january, and Philippines really drew my attention!

What puzzles me the most is the fact that I can't figure out what "kind" of vacation would that be! Let me explain myself: we've been to Thailand (Phuket), rented a scooter and explored the island, but with such a variegated archipelago as the Philippines one, it would be a shame to stick to just one island, wouldn't it?

On the other hand, though, from a first look at them, some of the most interesting islands seem quite far from each other! Would it be possible to visit 2/3 of them without wasting too much time in travelling?

I know for sure that Boracay would suit us, since we also like something to do once the sun goes down (but we're not party animals!) and I wonder if any of the other islands combines stunning natural beauties (beaches, waterfalls, snorkeling) with some low key entertainment (restaurants, bars, mixing with locals).

In the end, everything should fit in our budget (€2000 each), which maybe is the toughest part...?

Many thanks! :)

Serena

Singapore, Singapore
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1. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

Travelling in Philippines can be daunting for some but there is where part of the fun is.

You did not specify which island and what vibe you are looking into. Remote, quiet, nice beach etc. Also your activities like diving, surfing, snorkeling, just laze at the beach etc.

If you give us some ideas, we may be able to recommend you in a more specific way.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

In 2-3 weeks you can certainly visit several places. Many places are only an hour away by flight so not all places are necessarily difficult and time consuming to reach.

Here are some waterfalls to think about.

bukisa.com/articles/458324_15-amazingly-beau…

www.insights-philippines.de/waterfalls.htm

Or for something different you can dine at the foot of a man made waterfall:

villaescudero.com/waterfalls-restaurant.php

<< (beaches, waterfalls, snorkeling) with some low key entertainment (restaurants, bars, mixing with locals)>>

Lots of places meet your above requirements. A couple of places I suggest you research further are Siquijor and Bohol. Alona Beach Bohol would be a great place to base yourself. You then are only a fast ferry ride away from cebu and Dumuagete.

For stunning scenery you cant go past places like El Nido or Coron in Palawan.

...and dont forget to read <<JBR's) Just Back Reports>> to the right as they detail what others have covered in their itinerary.

Tommo

Edited: 19 August 2014, 02:12
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3. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

I wonder if any of the other islands combines stunning natural beauties (beaches, waterfalls, snorkeling) with some low key entertainment (restaurants, bars, mixing with locals).

-----------------------------------------------------------------

You have described Alona Beach, Panglao island, Bohol

Sorrento
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4. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

Hello and thank You so much for Your kind replies!

You're right, I've been quite vague: what we are looking for is basically a place where we can go exploring during the day (maybe by scooter? is it common?), with some day trips, relax on beautiful beaches (we love sea&sun) and go out at night (local food, maybe some bar on the beach...?).

It would be great to base ourselves in one place and then go round and about without the "trouble" to take flights (packing, going through customs, etc), but I understand that each island is different and has something special to offer (for example, I'd rather use the suggested fast ferry connections so we could maybe leave the big suitcases at the "base" and take with us just what is strictly necessary, but that wouldn't be possible with islands far from each other).

As a first look, I checked out some of what I understand are the most popular islands (Cebu, Palawan, Boracay), but in the end I think we will either visit 2 max 3 different islands (thus catching max 2 internal flights) or take one island as a base (maybe the one with more night entertainment?) and then explore the areas nearby.

I will also read the "Just back" reports: that will help me a lot :)

Once again, thank You for Your time and precious advice!

Serena

Australia
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5. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

what we are looking for is basically a place where we can go exploring during the day (maybe by scooter? is it common?), with some day trips, relax on beautiful beaches (we love sea&sun) and go out at night (local food, maybe some bar on the beach...?).

--------------------------------------------------

You are still describing Alona Beach

From Bohol, you can also travel to Cebu, Camiguin island and Siquijor Island

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

Yep definitely sounds like Alona Beach Bohol.

Siquijor is another great option but is a lot less touristy place. Has the waterfalls bike riding and some resorts on the beach for dining. I like Coco Grove Beach Resort. Check it out.

http://www.cocogrovebeachresort.com/

Tommo

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7. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

From Bohol, you can do what you wanted there + Balicasag Island.

Maybe after a few days, hop to Siquijor and visit the neighbouring Apo Island.

Finally, go to Dumaguete.

I suggest you make Boracay your last stop.

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8. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

You money is plenty

However, since you are worried about your budget and would like to be able to ride a motor scooter, I have a suggestion for you

It is Hope Homes near Alona Beach. I stayed here in September last year.

http://hopehomes-danao.com/index.php/en/

You need to be able to ride a motorscooter as it is about 30 minutes to walk to Alona Beach. They provide motorscooters free with the room. Having a motorscooter means being able to explore the whole of Panglao Island and Bohol island very cheap. In case you are unaware, the main island of Bohol is joined to Panglao Island by a bridge and a causeway. There are multiple waterfalls and caves to explore plus there is the Chocolate hills, lunch cruises on the Loboc river, butterfly sanctuaries, tarsier sanctuaries, wild life sanctuaries, fire fly tours, adventure tours including ziplining and more.

Hope Homes have 2 classes of accommodation

- P750 per night. With free motorscooter. room with double bed and fan for cooling and a cold water shower. No aircon, No TV.

- P1300 per night. with free motorscooter, room with double bed, aircon, satellite TV, mini bar and bathroom with instant hot water shower.

The place has a restaurant with pool table and free wifi. They provide 2 helmets. Fuel and insurance is your cost.

In Septemeber, there was a pay car park just a 100 metres or so from the beach where you could park your bike for P10 for 3 hours while you enjoyed your daytime activities such as diving, snorkelling. whale and dolphin watching.. Having a massage on the sand or relaxing in the multitude of bars and restaurants along the beach.

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

You have an excellent budget of 4000 Euros for a three week trip. This equates to above A$250 a day to make it easier for me.

Depending on your accommodation (hotels) requirements, I don't believe that you will spend that much.

Good quality three star hotels are approximately P2500 to P4000 a day including breakfast. For instance Coco Grove Beach Resort on marvellous Siquijor Island (truly an interesting, laid back near paradise from my two visits) has rooms for approximately P3000 - P5000 a day including breakfast. You might spend another P1500 on food and drink if you had a tiny lunch (due to a heavy brekky) and a reasonable dinner (two courses.)

Costs at many other seaside B & Bs or inns, or small hotels, will be less.

I strongly recommend booking your first and either last or two last nights in Metro Manila through the excellent www.asiatravel.com Unlike others, it has a local office in Makati as well as competitive prices. It also has mystery hotel 'Crazy Rates' that in places such as Makati (one of the business districts) can be excellent value.

Public transport and airline frequencies can be excellent: better than on some European routes. For instance there are normally 10 or 11 ferry trips a day (not all by the same operator) between Dumaguete City's port and Siquijor Island.

You may be best to visit Boracay, fly from Caticlan or Kalibo to Cebu City then Ceres Bus (for the adventure: you'll enjoy it even if it's non airconditioned) to Dumaguete, ferry to Siquijor Island, then finish off in Alona Beach on Panglao Island and fly to Manila NAIA airport.

One good alternative in the better weather months (and believe me, January is generally fantastic weather in Philippines as the humidity is relatively low for the tropics and there's usually little rain and plenty of sun) is to travel in a suite on the excellent 2 Go ferries that link Manila and quite a few other ports including Cebu. If interested in this, take your own food on board and don't panic about booking as the voyages usually only open for bookings two to three months in advance: you will normally obtain a suite.

Be aware that in mid January next year, Pope Francis is apparently visiting Philippines.

January also has the exciting Sinulog festival honouring Sto. Nino (the Christ Child) in Cebu City: hotels put up their prices. there are many other festivals held around Philippines. Have a look at some of the YouTube videos as they can give you a good idea as to how Filipinos celebrate festivals.

Also have a look at www.beyondcebu.com as Rob Brand (who is TA member expresstrip) has a great collection of videos, some of which have been very recently submitted to YouTube.

Coron, Palawan also has a once weekly 2 Go ferry ex Manila and has some wonderful offshore islands from the main island of Busuanga. However you cannot visit everywhere in three weeks.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 10:41
Los Angeles...
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10. Re: ...yet another 1st timer topic (so sorry!)

you will be happy with Bohol- Cebu ( Mactan Island)...Davao City/Samal Island also has a lot to offer....I heard Siquijor is very nice but may be lacking in entertainment options