Philippines | Complete 2 Week Travel Guide



Money Exchange Rate

One of the main reasons why we chose the Philippines was because the exchange rate with the US dollar is really good, meaning you get the best bang for you buck in the Philippines. 1 US dollars converts to 50 Philippine Pesos (P). Going into our trip we didn’t know the most efficient way to obtain Philippine Pesos, so we brought a couple hundred dollars cash each as well as our US ATM cards. This was extremely helpful because not everywhere we visited had access to an international ATM, but at least there was a money exchanger. The big cities had international ATMs all over the place but smaller towns such as Moalboal and Oslob were much more limited and you could only use your USD to exchange. The international ATMs will only allow you to withdraw P10000 at a time, and I believe they charge you around P400 fee plus whatever your US bank charges you. Don’t expect to use your credit card to buy anything except maybe the hotel, if you are staying at a nice one. Our total expenses including the flights, hotels, and daily expenses totaled to be around $1600 for the two weeks. Our daily food and activity budget was around $50 each. This is extremely low considering the amount of things we were able to do.

Drinking Water

This is a big no no in the Philippines. Not even the locals drink the water, you see them carrying large jugs of water on their motorbikes and their vehicles. I was so scared of getting sick that I didn’t even brush my teeth with the water in the sink. Most of the hotels that we stayed at had purified drinking water that was available to the guests, and if that’s not available you must buy water bottles. Water bottles typically range about P20-60 for a small and P50-100 for a liter.

Motorbike Rental

No matter where you are in the Philippines I can guarantee that you will be offered to rent a motorbike several times a day. Everyone rents motorbikes or knows someone that rents a motorbike, which makes the price of them extremely low. Typically, the motorbikes at the hotels run a little more expensive than on the street. Hotels rent them for around P500 for the entire day and on the street you can find them for as low as P350. And if you rent them for several days they will give the best rate. The hotels are the safest place to rent the motorbikes because if something goes wrong, it would be much easier to work it out with them, rather then just some random person off the street. When renting a motorbike, NEVER let anyone hold your passport, instead have a paper copy ready or convince them to hold onto your driver’s license or something less important. A couple things to go over with the person you are renting from is: 1. Take pictures of the bike and point our any damage prior to riding 2. Show them how much gas is in the tank.

Riding Motorbikes

This may be one of the most intimidating things to do in the Philippines, but once you get the hang of it, its quite easy. I don’t have a US motorcycle license, and I don’t have much experience on motorbikes, so basically I’m a beginner. The first time we rented the motorbike we did a couple laps around the dirt parking lot and felt confident to take it to the streets. There are a couple things to consider while riding a motor bike in the Philippines. First, there are little to no street lights in the Philippines besides in the big cities such as Manila or Cebu City. Second, you absolutely must use your horn at all times! The horn is not used to honk at dumb people, but rather letting other vehicles know you are near, or you are passing.


Food

To be completely honest, the traditional Filipino dishes are quite boring, to my US taste buds. A typical dish is either fish, some type of pork, or chicken serve with rice, along with a banana or some other type of fruit. Luckily there is plenty of restaurants, even in the small tourist towns that serve western food. There is an abundance of pizza places, burger places, Italian, Greek, and many other types. Although the traditional meal is quite boring, make sure you make it to an outdoor BBQ and try all the different types of meats and seafood. The BBQ in El Nido is amazing, has tons of different options, and you can sit right on the beach and watch an amazing sunset. Also, when you are in the airport or in the city make sure you get yourself to a Jolliebee, you will thank me later. Everyday we ate an "American Breakfast" at the hotel went off on our activities for the day, ate a small snack for lunch, and went out to a restaurant for dinner.

Weather

Prior to our trip we were constantly watching the weather online, and we were extremely concerned when it said thunder storms and rain everyday. Also, we were traveling during the edge of the wet season, which is from June to October. When we arrived it was a lot different from the predictions. Everywhere we went in the Philippines was 85-90 degrees Farenheight and very high humidity. Once you start walking around you start sweating, so just make sure you always have plenty of water during your activities. In Bohol and Cebu we received little to no rain during those 6 days, but when we got the Palawan the weather was different, and much more wet. We were stuck inside for almost 3 straight days unable to leave our hotel with intense rain showers for the entire day.

Navigating

This was one thing I didn't know about until I surprisingly found out while traveling. Using the Google Maps I had saved all the locations that we were hoping to visit, but I figured we wouldn't have any internet service to track our location. The Google Maps app tracks your location even when on airplane mode, and this is an absolute lifesaver in the Philippines when all the roads look the same, and there are little to no signs marking any of the roads. I couldn't count how many times we pulled over our motorbikes on the side of the road to check our progress of whatever journey we were on. Another way that this is extremely important is to track your progress, whether you are in a bus, a boat, or a taxi, its nice to know where you are at all times. It's really comforting knowing you are going in the right direction, especially in a taxi.

Safety

One of the most frequent questions I was asked was if the Philippines was safe, due to the unrest in Mindanao and the presence of ISIS in the southern region of the Philippines. I admit my family really freaked me out, because Marshall Law had just been declared right before they left, and even ISIS members were captured in Bohol. This did not deter us from going, but we were definitely on high alert and always aware of our surroundings, as anyone should be while traveling abroad. Now to get to the point, no we were never scared and never witnessed anything that would cause us to fear for our lives. The scariest moment of the entire trip was the short time we spent in between the transfer from the boat to taxi in Cebu City Port. There were armed guards everywhere, and chaos everywhere trying to get a taxi. A person asked me if we wanted a taxi, I said "yes" he took my bag and started running, I followed close and he took me to the taxi person and demanded a tip. I never made the mistake of giving up my bag again... Overall the people of the Philippines are the nicest people you may ever meet. Everyone calls you sir or ms and they are extremely hospitable for what ever you may need they are glad to help.

Day 01 | Wednesday May 31

We found an awesome deal and booked our round trip flights with China Airlines from Los Ageles to Taipei, then Taipei to Manila. I had never flown with my drone before and I was exemely worried about having problems going though security or worse having it confiscated, grated this is my baby practically. Luckily I had no problems on any flights thoughout the entire trip.

China Air | Los Angeles - Taipei

I was dreading the first flight, because it was a little over 13 hours long and I have never been on a plane for that long. The airplane seating was 3/4/3 and each seat had its own TV and plenty enough leg room for both of us being about 6 feet tall each. Our flight left at 12:05am California time so we were hoping to just fall asleep right when we got on the plane. Within an hour of the plane being airborne, they fed us our first meal. The first meal they served us was chicken pasta with a red sauce. Our expectations were not very high when it came to airplane food, but I would have to say the food was DECENT, definitely not good. We finished up our meal, played some Plants vs. Zombies, and then passed out for about 7 hours. When we woke up, immediately they were ready to serve us breakfast, which was an omlet and probably our favorite airplane meal of the entire trip. We finished up our food watched a couple movies and we were there in no time.

Day 02 | Thursday June 1

China Air | Taipei to Manila

We lost a day fly over the international date line. When we landed in Taipei we needed to get to our connecting flight to Manila, but the Taipei airport in very confusing and the signage was not all that great. The best was to find your flight is to look on the digital screens and that will tell you your gate number. We found our gate number, went through security, and watched some MLS soccer on the television before our next flight left. We boarded our flight to Manila, got up in the air and once again like clockwork they fed us right when we got up in the air and this time at 8:00am we got our beef noodle and we were all set to get to Manila and finally be in the Philippines. Compared to our 13-hour flight this flight was only 2 hours and we were in Manila before we knew it.

Cebu Pacific | Manila to Tagbilaran

When we landed in Manila we went though immigration, got our bags, and proceeded to exchanged some US dollars incase we needed to take a taxi or buy some food. Manila airport is HUGE and very confusing, but luckily everyone is very willing to help you out. There is a free shuttle that takes you from the international gates to the domestic gates, so do not take a taxi there is no reason to. Also, the shuttle is pretty cool because you drive on a road that is pretty much on the runway and you get to see all the planes and the hangers. So the next goal was to get our boarding passes and check in our bags with Cebu Pacific. Let me just say Cebu Pacific is super professional and awesome. They are extemly accommodating, and very professional compared to any US airlines that ive been on. We boarded the plane after taking a shuttle on the tarmac and got to walk up the stairs onto the plane, we were pretty stoked on this. Finally we were on our final flight after our long journey, we were ancy to get off the plane and start exploring the Philippines. The flight was only a little over an hour to Bohol, so as soon as we reached the flying altitude we were already descending to our location. We get off the plane in the smallest airport that you will ever see. The airport bulding was the size of restaurant with one baggage claim conveyor belt. We grabbed our bags, found the first taxi out of there for P400 and made our way to Ashiyana Resort at Alona beach.

Day 03 | Friday June 2


Tarsiers

Our first stop was the Tarsier sanctuary, from Alona Beach it took us about 45 minutes to get there. I read that the sanctuary is much better than the conservation, because the tarsier are roaming free in their natural environment. The entrance fee was P60 per person and you get a guide that walks you through the sanctuary and gives you all the information and history of the tarsiers. We were there around 9:00am, there wasn’t much sun and the tarsiers were quite hard to photograph. Most of them were hiding or still sleeping in between leaves on the trees, so it might have been better a little later on in the afternoon. Anyways, these little guys are awesome and the sanctuary is doing an amazing job preserving them. They are much smaller than the photos make them out to be, they are about the size of a big rat. Be careful not to frighten these little guys, they are extremely sensitive.


Man Made Forest

We hoped back on our bikes and made our way to the man made forest, which took another 45 minutes or so. The man made forest is a few kilometer stretch of road that is completely engulfed in these large trees and the sun barely shines through the dense forest. This made for some awesome photos and videos. Im not completely sure of the story behind the forest, but it is an incredible area to ride the motorbikes through, just watch out for tourists standing in the middle of the road, taking selfies, and jumping in the air to get that perfect Instagram picture.

Chocolate Hills

From the man made forest to the chocolate hills it was about an hour on the motorbikes. The entrance fee to get in was P50 each and then you drive a short ways up the hill and park your bike. The viewpoint that everyone takes pictures at is a couple hundred feet up, in the brutal sun and humidity. By the end of the hike up, our shirts were completely drenched with sweat. At the top you get a pretty awesome 360 degree view of the chocolate hills that seem to go on forever. We were really hoping to get away from the crowds of people, and try to climb up on top one of the chocolate hills, but we felt it wasn’t a good idea. Anyways we hoped the little railing and got some sweet footage for the video. Fired up the drone and got some aerial footage At this point were pretty hungry, that’s where our protein bars came in clutch. We grabbed some ice creams at the little restaurant/store at the chocolate hills and then got ready for the long journey back.


Ashiyana Resort Review

Ashiyana Resort was our very first hotel experience in the Philippines and we were blown away by the service we received for the price we paid. Our first night we were mostly worried about our safety, and Ashiyana is enclosed by a fence with a gate. Along with feeling safe, our rooms were very well maintained and cleaned everyday while were out and about. The pool is really nice and there is plenty of room just to lay around or you can walk a couple hundred yards to Alona Beach. A funny experienced happened here: in the bathroom it says "do not put used toilet paper in the toilet" so we decided to ask the ladies at the front, "so where do we put the toilet paper?" They laughed at us and told us it needs to go in the trash can, this is true for most places that you will travel to in the Philippines. The breakfast was great, which included toast, bacon, and eggs, aka The American Breakfast. We rented motorbikes on the main road down to Alona Beach, since Ashiyana had a limited supply.



Day 04 | Saturday June 3

Boat Transfer | Tagbilaran to Cebu City

This experience was a huge blur because it happened so fast. From what I remember we arrived to the Tagbilaran Port around 8:10am and bought a ticket for the ocean jet fast boat that left at 8:20am. After we bought our ticket we were sent to a second window to pay a fee (tourism fee maybe) then we were sent to a desk where we paid for our luggage. We opted to pay an extra P100 or so to sit in the AC section of the boat, and it was completely worth it. After all the fees I believe the total came to about P800 – P1000 each, don’t remember the price too well. The boat ride took two hours to get to Cebu City Port, we just watched a movie on the Ipad and we were there in no time.


Cebu South Bus | Cebu City – Moalboal

Take a taxi, amongst all the chaos at the port (for real this was probably the scariest part of the trip, we had so many taxi drivers running up to us) to the Cebu South Bus Terminal, which is only about a mile away. The bus terminal in Cebu City is one of the most unorganized, chaotic places I've ever been to. Our taxi driver dropped us off and pointed to go through some convenience store for the entrance to the bus station. After walking around confused, sure enough you walk through the back of the store and around to where you wait for the buses. If you want an AC bus (which I recommend) the wait time is 3-4 times as long as a normal non AC bus, but you don’t want to be on a non AC bus for 3-4 hours. We waited almost 2 hours probably before an AC bus was available for us, while people jumped ahead of us that chose to ride the non AC buses. The South tour buses either drive clockwise or counterclockwise around the southern part of the island. If you are going to Moalboal like we were take the bus to Bato and let the driver know when you need to get off. The price from Cebu to Moallboal is P260 vs P3000 with the taxi, so there is a huge price difference between the two. The bus ride to Moaboal takes about 3-4 hours, and definitely a long one so be prepared with lots of snacks and entertainment. By the time we got to our hotel it was quite late so we just grabbed some food and drank some Red Horse till we fell asleep.

Day 05 | Sunday June 4

Kawasan Falls

We left at 6:30am from Moalboal and its about a 45 minute motorbike ride to the parking lot of Kawasan Falls. There you will pay about P20 to some random parking guy that will give you a ticket. Pay P40 to get into Kawasan falls and hike around 1 mile to Kawasan main falls. Knowing that it was a Sunday we wanted to get there as early as possible. We hiked a little over a mile and arrived to the first falls (Kawasan falls) around 8:00am and there was maybe 10-20 people. Next we hiked up to the next set of falls which is another 10 minutes upstream. We spent an hour or so swimming around and jumping off the falls. Its about a 25-30 foot jump and there was a lot of people coming down stream from the Kawasan canyoneering tours jumping off the falls as well. We hiked further to the final area, which is a shallow pool area and a fun little rope swing. Some small children were charging people P10 to go on the rope swing, but we somehow convinced them to let us swing so they could laugh at how ridiculous we look. The river narrows and we decided to go back to the first falls and take some more pictures. When we arrived there was hundreds of people everywhere, swimming, eating, getting a rides on the raft. We couldn’t even move around because of the crowds, we left quickly after.




Dinner With The Locals

We were lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Philippine dinner with a group of locals that were staying at the same hotel as us. They were from Cebu City and had been planning a weekend trip with their friends for two years now. We happened to meet them at the hotel common area, and they were kind enough to invite us to join in on their feast. The meal consisted of a whole fried rockfish, rice, and pork belly. They were all amazing and shared stories about their lives with us, and it really put into perspective how good we have it in the United States. Several of them had graduted college with credetinals to become nurses, but none of them were working as nurses because the wages are so low. Most of them worked in telemarketing jobs, because of the higher pay. We ended up passing a bottle of rum around in a circle until we were all singing Justin Bieber songs in unison.


Pescadores Seaview Suites

Pescadores was situated in one of the most beautiful locations on our trip. Our room on the second story overlooked the ocean and the nearby island situated just off shore. The thing I liked most about Pescadores is that it has a common area with a pool table, board games, tables and chairs for all the guests. Pescadores, also has a pool right at the edge of the ocean, which makes for a perfect spot to watch the sunset over the neighboring islands. We rented motorbikes from Pescadores to get to Kawasan Falls, since the town is quite small and doesn't offer as many options for motorbike rentals as other places. Moalboal doesn't have any sand beaches, mostly rocky shores, and many people scuba or snorkel along the coast and the nearby islands. The town of Moalboal has a couple restaurants, bars, and several resorts and shops aimed toward scuba diving. Really not all that much to do, but it is the closest place to stay to get to Kawasan Falls.


Day 06 | Monday June 5

Bus | Moalboal – Oslob

The bus picks you up at the same place it drops you off, in the main town area. Just get on the first bus you can, then you take about an hour ride to Bato. When you arrive at the Bato station you must get off and transfer onto a new bus, just tell the driver your going to Oslob (or wherever) and they will tell you what bus you need to get onto next. From Bato it was a very quick ride to Oslob, only about 40 mintues. On both of these bus rides there were hardly any people, because it was the end / beginning of the bus route.

Sumilon Island

We arrived in Oslob around 11:00am, and we wanted to squeeze in an activity, so we didn’t waste the rest of the day. The last boat that left to Sumilon Island for a day trip left at 12:30pm and we barely made it there on time. You have two options for a day trip to Sumilon Island. The first you can hire a boat for P1500 round trip total, but you can only visit the sandbar. The second option, is P1500 per person and it includes access to the entire island, the infinity pool, snorkeling, and buffet lunch. The buffet was excellent in our opinion with tons of different options including pork, chicken, veggies, and tons more. The main reason we wanted to go to the island was to hike to the lighthouse which was on the opposite end of the island. Probably one of the scariest expiereces climbing to the top, (I don’t recommend climbing it and I don’t know if you are even allowed to) but such an amazing 360 degree from the top. After the lighthouse we made our way to do some snorkeling, which is right next to the buffet area and it was incredible, all sorts of colorful fish and even some eels. We spend the remaining time we had at the infinity pool and the jacuzzi before we had to board the boat back to Oslob around 4:30pm or 5:00pm. We checked out the sandbar, it was pretty cool how it just outlets into the ocean, but there were just way too many people there to enjoy it.




Oslob Street BBQ

Oslob was probably the least tourist area of our trip and the food options were minimal. There is one pizza place in town, where we saw most of the foreign tourists. We went out on a limb and tried the outdoor BBQ in the center of town along the main road. Pretty much all the stands sold the same food, so we chose the one with the friendliest person. We placed our order, sat down at the table and the food was brought to us. We were pleasantly surprised, the pork was our favorite, but we also tried the chicken breast, several different sausages, and the eggplant. They even had some very interesting menu options, including chicken feet and chicken intestine that we steered clear away from. Overall it was a pretty cool experience and I would recommend everyone try it sometime while you are in the Philippines.

Day 07 | Tuesday June 6

Swimming with Whale Sharks

We were told that the whale sharks are the most active first thing in the morning when they are fed. So we planned to leave around 5:30 am from out hotel to make it there by 6:00am. Once we arrived everything happened very quickly. You go to a briefing area where the lady told us about the order of events and the rules when you are in the water. Next, you pay P1000, get your snorkel, life vest, and hop in the boat. I thought arriving at 6:00am we would beat the crowds, but there were still quite a few people. You hop in the boat with about 16 other people and they paddle you out a couple hundred meters. Once your in the water you have 20 minutes to swim around with the whale sharks. Only about half the people in out boat swam in the water the other half just watched from the boat. This was one of the most amazing expiernces either of us had ever done. There were at least 12 different ones that we saw in all different sizes, small and large ones, ones swimming deep and others eating at the surface. PLEASE don’t be an idiot and swim too close to them, bring your gopro, swim with them, and enjoy the experience!!! Forget about the seflies, you only have 20 minutes with these beasts.


Tumalog Falls

After a couple hours of napping, we woke up and still had an entire day to kill. We decided to rent 1 motorbike and ride together to Tumalog Falls, since it was so close by. It only took about 20 to 30 minutes to get there from Oslob. The road to the falls is pretty steep uphill, you park (for free) and then hike down a steep hill to the falls. Its about a half mile hike or so then you arrive at the slow trickling falls. The water wasn’t flowing all that much, but we were still impressed and the plus side is that we were basically the only people there. Careful on the ride back, the road is very steep where it meets the main road, and our back tire slipped out from under us and we took a little spill… luckily we were only going 2 mph, and they didn't cause any damage.


Oslob Malonzo Pension House

Oslob Pension House took care of us like no other place ever did. Firsly, when I booked the room for the two of us only a single bed was available, but they upgraded us to a room with two beds for no additional charge. When we arrived back from Sumilon Island, it was late and we were pretty much out of cash. In Oslob, there are no international ATMs (that im aware of) and the cash money exchangers close early. The owners (I wish I remembered there names) lent us the cash to pay for the whale sharks the next morning. They wanted to make sure that we did all the things that we planned to do, and they trusted us that we would pay them back. The owner woke us up at 5:00am to make it the whale sharks and hired a driver so he was ready to take us. They made an American Breakfast in the morning just like all the other places, and Malonzo had a fridge with drinks and snacks available at all times, just write down what you get and they bill you later. Oslob is a very small town and is famous for the whale sharks, but make sure you do some exploring because the coastline is beautiful and the people are awesome.

Day 08 | Wednesday June 7

Bus Oslob – Cebu City | Cebu City – Puerto Princessa

As I have I have talked about before, the bus will pick you up at the town center or pretty much anywhere on the roadway, just flag them down when they are coming around. The bus ride is another 4 hours to the Cebu South Bus Terminal where we all started, we just did a giant loop. Once you arrive at the bus terminal you need to arrange a taxi to Cebu Airport, which can take a while because the traffic is horrendous in the city, so make sure you allow enough time, it took us about 45 minutes to get to the airport. The taxi driver tried to guilt us into paying more than we should of, but we settled on 500P because we didn't want to argue with him. Next, we checked in for our flight, got some Jollibee, and waited until our flight was ready to board. Once again we flew Cebu Pacific and it was another quick 1 hour flight to Palawan.

Puerto Princess to El Nido Van

After a 4 hour bus ride back to the Cebu South Bus Terminal, a taxi to the airport, and an hour flight, we finally made it to Palawan. As soon as you land in Puerto Princessa you are surrounded by people offering you van rides to El Nido, since that’s were a majority of tourists are traveling to that arrive in Palawan. The van costs around P800 and takes about 5-6 hours to get to El Nido. The van ride was extremely unorganized, we stopped at a gas station, waited for another van and then transferred to the new van without any prior notice. Depending on how full the van is, it can be very crammed so be prepared to be squished in. We downloaded a couple movies from Netflix prior and got a seat for just two of us in the back so we were all set for the ride. About 3 hours into the journey the van will make a stop for about 30 minutes and you can grab some food and use the restroom. The food at the restaurant that we stopped at was quite questionable, so we avoided the food and just got a couple snacks for the next couple hours to El Nido. The nice part about the van, is that we were dropped off right at our hotel, so we didn't have to worry about any additional transportation.

Day 09 | Thursday June 8


Nacpan Beach

Please, Please rent a motorbike for the trip to Nacpan, it’s the best way to experience it! The first part of the journey is on the main road, but then you get have to ride on the dirt road which is the best part! On the dirt road you start making your way down many turns until you finally reach the beach. The beach is stunning and not many people were there when we went on Thursday. Nacpan beach is stunning, there is a peninsula with white sandy beaches on both sides and small islands surrounding the area, that look like you could possibly swim to. There are a few little shacks along the road parallel to the beach that you can get some sodas and snacks at. On the way back to El Nido stop at Lido Beach and there are several restaurants, bars, and a beautiful beach... but doesn't compare to Nacpan. We even rode our mopeds on the beach... Not really sure if you're allowed to do that, but it was a great time!


Day 10 | Friday June 9 - Day 11 | Saturday June 10

The next two days were pretty frustrating, as we were trapped inside with not much to do. We would wake up each morning at 6:00am hoping to do one of the El Nido boat tours, but our dreams were crushed when we would wake up and see the pouring rain. We were like 5 year old children hoping they could go outside to skateboard, but couldn't. We did a lot of napping, watched the Warriors destroy the Cavaliers in the finals, and tried to eat at several restaurants within walking distance. The rain was so terrible that you would step foot outside for 30 seconds and be drenched head to toe, and there was no break in the weather for two continuous days. During the evening Spin Designer Hostel had organized a ping pong tournament, movie night, and Filipino BBQ, so that kept us entertained during the night time.



Day 12 | Sunday June 11

El Nido Tour C

Finally, after two days of rainfall and being trapped inside watching basketball and napping all day, we woke up and the sun was shining. Our energy level was reenergized and we were finally ready to see all the islands of El Nido. Since I wanted to bring my drone with me to get some aerial shots, we asked the people at SPIN if they could put us in contact with a company who does private tours of El Nido. The name of the company they set us up with was Islanen Outdoors Tour, and the cost of the tour was P4400 for the two of us. The tour went from 9am to 4pm and we were served a huge lunch, which included chicken, fish, rice, vegetables, oreos, and soda all grilled up on the boat. The price for one person on a tour with a large group of people is about P1400, so its about P1600 more expensive, but its completely worth it because we could do everything at our speed and didn't have to wait around for anyone else. We opted to do Tour A, which took us to 7 Commando Beach, Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Shimizu Island. We tried to communicate that we wanted to alter the trip and swap out some islands with different ones, but sadly they didn't allow it... Our favorite part of the tour was Small Lagoon, because we could swim all the way through the small opening into the lagoon and you are surrounded by steep cliffs on each side. The big downside of the tour was that there are just way too many people. Hundreds of tours are going on at the same time so its incredibly hard to get away from the crowds of people. Secret Lagoon was such and amazing unique location, but you had to wait like 20 minutes to get though the narrow opening into the lagoon. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do the tour though, you will be amazed by all the islands, the steep cliffs, the clear water, and the snorkeling.






Day 13 | Monday June 12

Taraw Cliff

The evening before, we asked around to all the different tour groups if they would take us up to Taraw cliff and all the places were fully booked or were not doing a tour. We went back to the lady that rented us the motor bikes to go to Nacpan, and we asked her if she knew who could take us. Her 19-year-old son volunteered to take us up at 5:30am. We promply showed up at 5:30am to beat the incoming 90 degree heat. Our guide Jerrick was wearing flip flops and was easily climbing on the wet rock while we were struggling with our shoes on. This hike is no joke, in some places its like rock climbing straight up. It was really nice to have our own personal guide because we passed several tour groups of 10 or more people equipped with helmets and several guides. It takes about 45 mintues to get to the top, and about the same amout of time getting down. Bring LOTS of WATER you will need it, even though its 6:00am it was humid as all hell. At the top you get one of the most amazing and 360 degree view of El Nido that not many people would otherwise see.


SPIN Designer Hostel

If you are traveling solo or in a group and looking for an affordable placed to stay in El Nido without a lot of luxuries, SPIN Designer Hostel is the place for you. I would say that it appeals to the younger age group, because they have community meals and group activities at night. Every morning they had a buffet of fruit, breads, pancakes, and omelets made to order. The rooms are small and very basic, but after all it is a hostel and its affordable at $60 US a night in one of the most expensive areas of the Philippines. Some rooms are shared with other people, but we opted to get our own personal room with a bunk bed and shower/bathroom. Ken that works for SPIN, organizes all the activities that take place. The first night was a ping pong tournament, the second night was a movie night, and another night they had a traditional Philippine BBQ. Also, the location was perfect walking distance to all the street shops, the beach, and many restaurants.



Below is the video I put together after one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on. Enjoy!!



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