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…
20 thoughts on “Backpacking in the Philippines: My Top Five Memories”
I remember when you initially wrote about going to the Philippines as it was around the time I was introduced to your blog. Ever since then, I was hooked by DSL and your writing style. There is something just so refreshing and exciting reading about your first hand account experiences in the most obscure places in the world. Hopefully, you do return to the Philippines. It would be interesting to read your take on some of the lesser known islands of the country or about their sports/music/entertainment culture not typically covered by the media or other bloggers.
Ray recently posted…Coney Island, I Hardly Knew Thee!
Yeah I liked the Philippines and hope to go back one day!!
Hi Bernie, thanks for the comment. Yes, a great part of the world and I too hope to return someday. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi, yes that would have been actually a live covered trip and my second jaunt to the Philippines , which was in late 2012 and early 2013 (Panny Yu and I were there for NY Eve). I always enjoyed my time there but I stopped writing about places like Philippines, Australia etc. as I always felt they were covered too much. It was a few years after this I started touring crazy republics and covering them. All that said, I do wish to return to places like Philippines again as I loved it. It is one of the rare countries I have been to yet never once backpacked a football stadium, so if I do go back that will be on my list. Safe travels. Jonny
Those starfish are unreal!
Jennifer recently posted…Visit Vancouver Like a Local
YES! Philippines is such a nice country to explore and get close to nature. There are a lot of beautiful spots everywhere. It looks like you had a grand time. You should visit more often as I’m sure there are still a lot of places that you should try.
Hi Angie, thanks for the comment, yes I agree a great place to travel in and I hope to return to the Philippines one day. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi Jennifer, thanks for the comment, yes the starfish were great – worth a trip for that reason alone. Safe travels. Jonny
Looks like you had an amazing tie in the Philippines. Bohol and Cebu are our favorites too. The Chocolate Hills were amazing, the tarsiers were so cute and we had fun watching dolphins and snorkeling in Balicasag Island. Bantayan in Cebu is a gem. It’s quiet, relaxing and boasts of breathtaking views too.
The Open Route recently posted…Masungi Georeserve: Ultimate Guide for First-timers 2017
Hi The Open Route, thanks for your comment and safe travels. Jonny
Phillipines is an amazing place and Amazing experience you shared of that beautiful place. its really enjoyable place and stunning photos you shared of that beautiful place.
Hi Sarah, thanks for the comment. Yes a beautiful country for sure. Safe travels. Jonny
It wonder full memories, Philippines looks extremely wonderful! I can’t wait to tick this place off my bucket list!
Thanks for sharing this post! As what they say ” It’s more fun in the Philippines” I love the photos, especially the photo taken from Chocolate Hills, Bohol, such a nice view. It looks like there are so much to enjoy more in the Philippines.
Hi Evan, thanks for the comment. Yes, I am glad you also had a great time in the Philippines. Safe travels, Jonny
Hi Naveen, yes the Philippines was a wonderful place, I had a lot of fun there. Safe travels. Jonny
really lovely place..
Hi Gayatri, thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed it. Safe travels. Jonny
Place were so attractive. Hope you enjoy your trip. This opportunity gives me an idea how to travel in the Philippines with the right budget.
Hi Jonrick, thanks for the comment, yes it was a beautiful place indeed. Safe travels. Jonny