Sarah and I began our 1 month travel across SE ASIA on January 4th, 2012 in Manila Philippines. Taking a midnight flight from Hong Kong to Manila. The cab ride to our hostel was about a half hour, and was able to see a little of what Manila looked like, I can surely say it was nothing I expected. It was fairly dirty and lots of slums in most areas, lucky our hostel was in a decent area yet I cant say as though I felt 100% secure with the area around our hostel. We stayed at 1 river central hostel for a couple nights where we met the owner Garrie, and his friends Cee Devon and Hardy. Garrie took us around Manila, he seemed as though he was very connected. One of the best parts about our travels thus far was everyone spoke English. Hardy and Garrie took us to see some local rock bands play. Our hostel was fairly nice my only complaint being the loud noises from the street.
Our only adventure in Manila was to Tagaytay to see taal volcano. We had about an hour bus ride to Tagaytay where we then took a boat ride across a large lake, to then do horseback riding up to the volcano.
One of the best things we found on our entire trip was a 24 hour spa, Wensha spa where Sarah and I did a foot and body massage for 25 usd. We were allowed to stay and get massages and an all we could eat buffet for up to 8 hours! It was so good that we went there before we left for Bohol and the day before we headed to Singapore to end our trip in Philippines.
We spent the majority of our week in the Philippines in Bohol on the island Paglao. We arrived early morning exhausted, found resort to stay in hotel with hut right on the beach. So we decided to catch up on sleep and relax in sun first day. The next day we slept in and decided to go snorkeling, saw crazy stuff one of the most venomous snakes in the world, it was a black-white banded snake (scary!). Sarah loves reptiles and was intrigued by the snake, before we knew how venomous and dangerous it could have been, I on the other hand couldnt get away fast enough. Also saw tie dyed star fish, there were star fish everywhere! Few crabs and clams that we actually saw open and close, bright blue starfish were by far one of the cooler things we saw. Later that night we walked the beach at night and had an unbelievable seafood dinner for very cheap approximately 24usd. Among the things we ate were squid, lam bay crab, vegetable skewers, clams, and large prawns all was extremely delicious. One of the funniest things that happened to us the whole trip happened within the first few days, a monkey that lived on the resort stole my glasses, seriously it was hilarious, he couldnt get enough of them. He claimed ownership pretty quickly and loved looking at himself in the reflection from the shades. I ended up getting them back no worries:)
Baricagas Island is where we did all our scuba diving in the Philippines. We completed three dives the first day, Sarahs ear was bothering her so she didn’t do the last dive. Unfortunately was by far the best one! Swam with sea turtles, touched a lot of coral and was able to play with some creatures, such as sea cucumber. One of the coolest things was playing with finding nemo’s home, the coral is so amazing the feel of it, is something hard to describe but truly amazing. That is why I love diving so much, all the wildlife and the diversity you find is never ending. There are millions of beautiful things and for the short 45 minutes you feel apart of it all. Our dive master was John Rambo he was extremely nice and really fun to dive with, met Chinese group that was terrible at diving but I suppose we could give them a break as it was there first time. When they went out with us for the day I was amazed at how well Sarah could speak Chinese, it was cool to see the progress we both have made in the last 6 months but hers was astonishing at how much she knows. On the last dive I got stung by some coral on my wrist and it killed, lasted for a few days but found the cure was some lemon juice! But I lived and on top of that got some killer tan lines!
Went scuba diving the next day and did three dives again. First dive fairly uneventful, dove with Chinese man from Guangzhou (not very good like I said). Second dive was the strongest currrent ever was such a workout, almost used up all our oxygen lol, third dive was a night dive and was quite the experience. Love night diving its so surreal. Plankton and wildlife coming alive at night, basically its all the exciting wildlife aside from the fish. Then swam up to the shore from our night which was also quite the workout. Overall extremely successful day, have I mentioned how much I love diving?
Our last full day in panglao went on a tour of Bohol. Rey our tour guide took us to all the sites for 2500 pesos approx. 50usd. Then there was additional entrance fees to everything which we were not informed of but honestly wasnt that expensive in the grand scheme of things, overall ended being a good day. We started out at blood compact where Philippines and Spainards first made peace. Then to the second oldest church made out of sea coral stone, was a beautiful catholic church that actually had a service going on. Then off to the chocolate hills we went it was really beautiful, for some reason reminded me of sound of music hills. Then went to see the smallest monkey in the world a tarsier, they were really cute. Apparently, if a human touches a tarsier they commit suicide. Went to a butterfly garden, saw some butterflies mating was pretty neat I truly wondered how it occurred, I will never wonder again lol. Then went to an Eco garden where the worlds largest python was, was so gross and massive of course Sarah loved it, she says it was one of the highlights of the trip for her. Probably could eat a human was massive….ick! Laid out on the beach and relaxed the rest of the day.
Most people asked me what my favorite country was and I dont know as though I can say one for sure, but Philippines rates high on the list as it was relaxing and beautiful country. The people that we met are what truly makes the experience and some of the nicest and greatest people of the trip came from here.
Stay tuned to the rest of the 2012 tour.