Being based in Hong Kong from 2011 to 2015 (give or take a few side trips and jaunts around the world) allowed me to see most of Asia, and as of August 2021, there are only 5 recognised Asian countries I have yet to visit (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives). I was so busy working, writing and touring that I often forgot where I had been so it’s always nice to reflect and compile a best of. These are my five top memories from my time in the Philippines, which was two separate trips down the years including lots of island hopping, dolphin watching, snorkelling etc.. I loved my time there and solidly recommend it. These remain my top 5 highlights:
1.Chocolate Hills, Bohol Island
One of my lasting memories was a short walk up some steps for the phenomenal view of the so called “Chocolate Hills”. I was there in December and January time so the hills were more green than chocolate colour, but I still wrote about backpacking Chocolate Hills and enjoyed my time there a lot. It’s a beautiful sight.
2.New Year’s Eve in Panglao Island
My ex-girlfriend Panny and I ended up in the Philippines on New Year’s Eve. We watched 2013 come in on a party at the beach on the tranquil Panglao Island, where we also slept in a luxury resort nearby (one which I still haven’t written a cool review about!). We had cocktails and I don’t even remember the name of the bar but it was blissful!
3.Starfish at Virgin Island
Despite having travelled to all 7 continents and some 70 countries by the time my backpack hit the Philippines, I had never seen or held a live starfish before. Enter our boat tour to the gorgeous Virgin Island. An island with no houses or inhabitants, pure beaches, trees and tranquility of nature. Plus the chance to see real starfish.
4.Backpacking in Cebu
Cebu is often avoided as it’s an old city and has its problems with poverty. But we enjoyed our time there touring the markets, churches, shopping malls, old town and the bars by night.
5.On the Rip in Manila
Despite being hounded by mosquiots every night and getting too many bites and sore skin, I enjoyed my nights on the rip in the Philippines. I love the Red Horse lager there, which when ice cold and cheap is always a good tonic. Watching sunset in Manila and Cebu were glorious unforgettable memories.
Many tourists to the Philippines head to Boracay, and I so far know I need to get there as I skipped it on both my previous trips. There’s always a remedy though and I have been checking Boracay tour packages and deals for when my backpack takes me back to the gorgeous Philippines.
So I hope to reflect more on my ridiculous 151 country journey, especially places like the Philippines which I didn’t cover much on my blog before…