Top 4 backpacker destinations in the Philippines

So you read here about Boracay, and realized that it is the place you want to visit in the Philippines. This is the best place in the Philippines for backpackers for certain, and we advise anyone to start his vacation there. You can meet many cool people, with some you’d like to continue traveling, and some will tell you stories and share their knowledge with you.

After having the time of your life in Boracay, there will come a moment that you’ll feel ripe enough for the continuation of your trip, as you cannot stay in heaven forever. And then what? Read below to get a clue on how the rest of your vacation is going to be like. All of these destinations work great with Boracay and each other, and a month backpacking in the Philippines is hardly enough for all, but if you want to push it through in such a time window you can use the services of a travel agency such as PhilippinesTravelPackage.com

#1 El Nido

El Nido PH

The best place in the Philippines after Boracay, so it’s one you definitely want to visit. Even try to make it on the wet season May-October, be attentive to the weather and keep your schedule flexible. El Nido is the crown jewel of Palawan, and it’s easily accessible from Boracay.

Why El Nido? The most beautiful beaches in the world. Not the beach, as in singular, but many, popular or hidden, long or short, whatever! El Nido is the only competition for Boracay in the Philippines. Stay in the center in Mad Monkey El Nido, or in one of the most beautiful beaches around in Mad Monkey Nacpan if you feel like having a quieter time, and we’ll make sure you enjoy your time there to the max.

What to do there? Island hopping is a must! You can choose between 4 tours, but if you have the time why don’t you do all? Snorkeling and scuba diving is also great there. If you go on an island hopping tour, don’t forget to bring a snorkeling mask. It is the perfect place if you’re traveling as a couple, as not many places are as romantic as El Nido.

Where to stay? Mad Monkeys of course!

Where to eat? Breakfast local: Silog Republic – serve cheap Filipino Breakfasts. That’s not a bad place to start your day, especially if you had a lot to drink the night before. Breakfast: V and V Bagel – great Italian coffee, and freshly baked bagels. The classic: Art Café – this place serves good food to tourists for yours now. Great pizzas! Seafood: The unanimous opinion is Squidos. You can tell by the ever present long line of guests. Drinking: Pukka bar in Corong Corong beach is very close to Mad Monkey and one of the liveliest bars in town.

#2 Coron

Kayangan Lake Coron PH

Coron is very easy to get to from El Nido, and if you’re already close by (3 hours away by a fast ferry), it’s important for you to know that Coron is a backpackers’ paradise. Almost as beautiful as El Nido, and so much cheaper. It is the second most beautiful place in Palawan in our opinion.

Why Coron? Because you’re already in El Nido, and it will be a crime not to hop by in this amazing place. Because you want to get away from the crowd that flock to El Nido during the high season.

What to do there? Island hopping again. Like, it’s really that good that you should go island hopping in El Nido and then in Coron right after. For the scuba divers among you, Coron is a place you must dive, for some of the world’s best wreck dives are here. The lagoons of Coron (the Twin Lagoons) and Barracuda Lake (which has a mix of fresh and salt water) are a must visit.

Where to stay in Coron? Fat Monkey Hostel. This neat place is 10 ride from town situated in a mango grove. The Fat Monkey also organizes a 3 day castaway tour of sailing, camping on isolated islands, eating food cooked over a bonfire, feeling like pirates.

Where to eat? Breakfast: Fika Indulgence – excellent waffles and pancakes, as well as Filipino breakfast dishes. Cheapest eats: Lolo Nonoy’s – one of the oldest establishments serving home-cooked local food. Lunch: KT’s Sinugba sa Balay – a Filipino style grill house, which is affordable and supposed to be the best one in Coron. Nice ambience but long waiting time so come prepared. Diner: Trattoria Altrov’e – best pizza in town, wood oven baked of course. Also famous for their seafood pasta dishes which are generous and filling. Drinking: Hangover Bar is your best bet – probably the best in town.

#3 Cebu

Cebu PH

You can reach Cebu from El Nido, Coron, Boracay, and actually all places in this post, and most destinations in central and southern Philippines. It is a travel hub for many destinations in the Philippines, and an adventure packed island by itself. Spend some time in Cebu when you transfer here, and you will definitely not regret doing so.

Why Cebu? Why not, you’re already there… and it’s cheaper here than many other places in the Philippines. Plus, it’s very easy to get around the island.

What to do in Cebu? Diving in Malapascua is one of the highlights, as there are thresher sharks present all year around in Monad Shoal. It attracts divers from all over the world, so if you’re into diving don’t miss it under any circumstances. Whale shark snorkeling in Oslob is another famous attraction. Going to Kawasan Falls in Moal Boal is another. Those are the 3 basic attractions that you should cover, and there are more things you can do. Trekking from Dalaguete (Nearby Oslob) through Osmeña Peak is a good idea for you who love a little bit of trekking.

Where to stay? Tr3ats Guesthouse is by far one of the best hostels in Cebu City – Very affordable, cool atmosphere, and in the most central location. Sharky Hostel in Oslob is one of the cheapest and offers the best quality for the price. They also have affordable private rooms. Chief Mau in Panangsama Moalboal is the newest and coolest hostel around. It’s also famous for its vibrant bar open till the wee hours.

Where to eat? In Cebu City just go round the city center and the malls. You will be fine because there are endless options for all budgets. The Pleasure Principle Resto-bar in Panangsama is one of the best restaurants on the beach, as well as Kockonuts (this one has a great ambience, romantic and intimate). For drink’s head to Chili Bar, the liveliest one on the beach. Well, besides of the whale sharks there isn’t much to do, so just pick any of the restaurants in the northern part of the beach, and get ready to move on.

#4 Siargao

Siargao2

This is the next hot place in the Philippines. A place that started as a surfers’ place, became a backpacking paradise and will soon be one of the most popular places in the country, along with Boracay and Palawan.

Why visit Siargao? Be among the first to visit here, before it will change due to overflowing tourism. It is still virgin, affordable, fun, and accommodating!

What to do? Learn how to surf, as it is after all the surfing capital of the Philippines. Visit Sugba Lagoon and the tidal pools of Siargao, explore the white beaches, and go island hopping in breathtaking islands. Party every night of the week. The parties are far from what you’ll have in Boracay. Let’s put it this way, the nightlife scene is premature, but wild!

Where to stay? The Smiling Pig – one of the newest, friendliest, and cheapest in Tourism Road, Siargao. This is truly a place to hang out with new friends. They only have dorms, and no private rooms. If you want a hostel that does offer private rooms, try Jing’s Place, also in a central location close by. Not as fun, but very good value.

Where to eat in Siargao? Breakfast: Shaka Siargao – fruit bowls, muesli, acai, fruit shakes. Their powerbowls will give you enough energy for the rest of the day. Lunch: Mama’s Grill – very affordable Filipino grill that make fresh seafood and meat. One of the busiest in the island because it’s really that good. Dinner: Kermit – genuine and high quality Italian food. Drinking: Bravo – a Spanish restaurant with really good food and a great lounge, very suitable for group, drinking into the night and meeting new people.

 

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Patio Pacific Boracay Hotel Review: A Paradise Worth Visiting

It must have been quite some time since I’ve last visited my blog. Must have been caught up with a lot of things that made me forget how to write, but not forget how to travel.

For all these months that I’ve been gone, I’ve still been travelling – a lot.

So a few weeks ago I found myself coming back once again (for the nth time) to Boracay.

While looking for a good quality, topnotch hotel with a good location but not one that is expensive, I came across Patio Pacific Boracay. Upon reading reviews from Trip Advisor, I found out it’s one of the most recommended hotels in Boracay. One that is totally worth your money.

Patio Pacific Hotel Review

Patio Pacific started in 1990 as the 8 room Pink Patio. Today it is one of the premier resorts of Boracay, with 66 deluxe rooms and suites, large swimming pool, full gym, wall climbing, chill out lounge, videoke song bar, wellness massage center, and full restaurant and bar.

Patio Pacific Hotel

Located in Station 1 Boracay Island, Philippines, the resort is non-beachfront but is only 2-3 minutes walk to the 3.5 kilometer long white beach and just a 5-10 minutes walk to Station 2 D’Mall area where there are various restaurants and shops.

boracay paradise hotel

The resort has won several awards for its hospitality and services, including the E3 award (Excellence in Ecology and Economy) of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and the Kalakbay award of the Department of Tourism. Continue reading

Beach Bumming at Boracay

After the long but fun filled day, we heeaded to the white beach and beach bum the whole afternoon.

Boracay is a 10 square miles island right in the heart of the exotic Philippine archipelago. Travelers from around the world awaits magnificent beaches, excellent infrastructure comprising a wide selection of 1-5 star accommodation, plenty of leisure activities, extensive shopping opportunities, delicious food and an exciting nightlife in the clubs and bars of Boracay.

Despite the relatively small size of Boracay it has much to offer.

Thus, Boracay’s famous White Beach, with its crystal clear water and fine white sand has been voted in 2007 by Yahoo Travel as the most beautiful beach in the world.

Who couldn’t resist this paradise?

The above blog post is part of my Iloilo – Guimaras – Kalibo – Boracay Adventure series of posts that happened last September 27-30, 2012.  To read more the rest of the series, click on the following links: | Boracay Family Trip via Iloilo | Iloilo – Boracay Roadtrip  |  | Descent and the Night Life in Boracay, Philippines | Exploring the Mystique Crystal Cove Cave | Snorkeling and Fish Feeding at Boracay  | Boracay Helmet Diving Underwater Exploration! | Beach Bumming at Boracay | City Strolling and Malling at Kalibo | Exploring the White Islands of Boracay Adventuroj Guimaras Island Tour

Descent and the Night Life in Boracay, Philippines

After 6 long hours of travelling from Iloilo to Caticlan, finally we arrived at the Jetty Ferry Port. Here we are going to ride a ferry going to the Island of Boracay. We then paid the following fees:

Boracay Fees

Caticlan Ferry Port

Boracay greeted us with fierce and angry waves

Where to Stay in Boracay?

I’ve always planned my itineraries ahead and book for the trips’ accommodations in advance. However this time it had been a hard time for me looking for affordable places to stay in Boracay (as this had already been a place for tourists and most accommodations are dollars hehe), luckily I found Villa Lourdes at Station 2.

Conveniently located at the heart of Boracay, walking distance from the popular D’Mall in Boracay, near supermarkets, and of course the beach front. The place is like an apartment style where you get to have your own kitchen. Good for us since it’s not a peak season it’s as if we’ve rented the whole house for ourselves alone.

The owner had been very accommodating, even provided us with a ‘sundo’ and a discount! You may contact him at:

Where to Eat Cheap in Boracay?

And if you’re looking for a cheap place to eat, look no more. Dine in this affordable Smoke Restaurant (Andoks) located in Balabag, Station 2, Boracay. Here you’ll have a myriad of choices, from fried chickens, lechon manok, silog meals, sinigang, etc.

And believe me, the food is really delicious! I particularly love their Sinigang.. just the perfect ‘asim’!

Night Life in Boracay

After filling up our tummies, we spend the entire night around the lively and lovely island. Here is where life begins at night.

The above blog post is part of my Iloilo – Guimaras – Kalibo – Boracay Adventure series of posts that happened last September 27-30, 2012.  To read more the rest of the series, click on the following links: | Boracay Family Trip via Iloilo | Iloilo – Boracay Roadtrip  |  | Descent and the Night Life in Boracay, Philippines | Exploring the Mystique Crystal Cove Cave | Snorkeling and Fish Feeding at Boracay  | Boracay Helmet Diving Underwater Exploration! | Beach Bumming at Boracay | City Strolling and Malling at Kalibo | Exploring the White Islands of Boracay Adventuroj Guimaras Island Tour

Iloilo – Boracay Roadtrip (v. Roxas – Capiz – Aklan – Kalibo)

Getting Around Iloilo Airport

Upon our arrival at Iloilo airport, we headed to the tourism office inside to inquire about the usual range and mode of transportation from the airport going to the city or to other destinations such as Boracay. We were informed that we could take either of the following:

  • Going to Boracay (Caticlan) via Public Transportation
    • Ride a Metered taxi (perhaps the cheapest) – range from 300/taxi from the airport going to the city to Ceres Bus Terminal
    • Ride a Bus from Iloilo going to Caticlan (6 hours trip) Php325/head
  • Hire a van direct from airport to Caticlan (easiest but can be expensive) Php 4,500/van

Lucky for us for when we were about to give up our quest for haggling a cheaper rent for a van and just opt for the public transpo by bus, we found another group of 6 that would also be going to Boracay so we decided to just get a van (all 12 of us divided by the Php4,500) which means we only get to spend around 375php/head. Wow!

***However be aware that some of the tour services (like the one we got) fooled us into believing that the very comfy and big van that we used from the airport to the city will be the one used in going to Caticlan. We were surprised to find out that upon arrival in their terminal in the city, they transferred us into another vehicle (still a van but smaller and perhaps smellier).

Of course this enraged us, until they finally gave up and just provided us with the vehicle that we wanted. I’m thankful that there are 12 heads complaining, what if there were less? For sure they probably won’t allow.

Anyway, we started our 6-hour journey. Below are some of the snapshots I’ve taken while we were on the road, passing by the various provinces.

Iloilo City

Capiz Province

Aklan

And yes, I love the weather. Cold, wet, rainy, with a smell of lemon dew. Makes me wanna sing … I’ll do my blogging in the rain…

The above blog post is part of my Iloilo – Guimaras – Kalibo – Boracay Adventure series of posts that happened last September 27-30, 2012.  To read more the rest of the series, click on the following links: | Boracay Family Trip via Iloilo | Iloilo – Boracay Roadtrip  |  | Descent and the Night Life in Boracay, Philippines | Exploring the Mystique Crystal Cove Cave | Snorkeling and Fish Feeding at Boracay  | Boracay Helmet Diving Underwater Exploration! | Beach Bumming at Boracay | City Strolling and Malling at Kalibo | Exploring the White Islands of Boracay Adventuroj Guimaras Island Tour