The Start in El Nido

From Manila airport, we travelled from the island of Luzon to the scattered region of Palawan Islands, particularly to El Nido! We departed in a 50-seater propeller plane at around 11am and arrived at the tiny yet exotic El Nido airport at around 12 noon.

Although it was scorching hot, we could not dismiss the fact that the waters were sky blue and the sceneries were amazing from the airport!

After retrieving our checked-in luggage from the plane, we reported to the tricycle stand where we waited for a tricycle that would send us to our hotel, Coco Resort. Just by the beach, it was around a 20min drive from the airport. When we arrived at the hotel, we checked in and brought our luggage to our room, which was all the way at the other end of the hotel. We then had lunch at the resort’s restaurant. I ate their local delight, adobo and my parents ordered fish sinigang, another local dish.

After our late lunch, we had a dip in their small pool and also tested our new and sturdy GoPro which we would use for tomorrow’s tour around El Nido’s straits! With our camera working spot-on, we had a quick bath at our room before heading to the nearby restaurant just beside our hotel, a la Plage! (in French, it means ‘to the Beach!’) It was facing the beach which was illuminated by the orange setting sun!

As we took photos of the fantastic sunset, we ordered our food.

By nightfall, our food had arrived! As we gobbled down our sumptuous meal, a dog that was owned by one of the restaurant staff was collecting coconut husks thrown to the sea by the tourists with its sturdy teeth! When it saw our food, however, it came to our table and started begging. When my mom tried to call the waitress, it apparently got ‘unhappy’ and sort of pissed behind my mom’s sit in ‘revenge’! It was such a humorous sight to behold! Another dog was also caught napping under our table!

Out of nowhere, a shower poured as we ditched some of the food and ate the remaining under the shade. I also fed another dog who was begging for a long time already! What a starter day!

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Our Beginnings in the Philippines

Our holiday in the Philippines began quite a few days ago. We started off in the bustling city of Manila, and from there, a vast adventure began!

Our hotel was located in Ortigas, a bustling district in Metro Manila. Our hotel was called Discovery Suites. For the next two days, we did nothing much as my dad fixed several paper works. We mostly went for window shopping in the gargantuan SM mall.

However, the highlight of our start here was my ice skating session on the second day. My parents and I were at SM and were intending to watch a movie. Unfortunately, the cinemas had few movies available. Moreover, the movies we wanted to watch were R-13, which meant that we could not watch them since I was only 12!

As such, we decided to look for other ways to entertain ourselves. Upstairs, there was just the things for us to do… supposedly.

We dropped by the bowling center first as that was the sport my dad and I were most keen of! Unfortunately, there happened to be a bowling tournament. As such, we could not bowl! The second thing I tried was ice skating! Thankfully, I was allowed a spot as I got into a sturdy pair of ice skating shoes. I also got a fake polar bear which would help me to balance as I hadn’t ice skated before!

Once I was on the rink, my parents got onto the seats outside the rink and spurred me on as I encircled the rink with the polar bear. Although I suffered a few cuts along the way, I soon got the hang of things and let go of the polar bear as I started gliding without assistance! With the sense of accomplishment, I enjoyed the rest of my session.

With that, we got ready for the next adventure…El Nido!!

Our First Whole Day in Bohol

My parents were early birds and woke quite early for a good jog by the sea at the beach while I was asleep. At 7am, they woke me up for breakfast. There breakfast had everything I wanted. (Scrambled egg, Pandesal, Filipino dishes, etc.) And indeed, it was sumptuous.

 

For that day, we would be staying at the hotel. So, it would be visits to the recreation center and the beach, but would still have adventure, though.

After my heavy breakfast, with the help of my mom, I had to recall on how to properly control a bike as I never drove a bike for a long time already. I was certainly afraid to fall as I rode the vehicle once again. In fact, this unique bikes have bamboo body frames.

After changing into my swimming outfit, I got the hang of the bike and suddenly liked cycling. I decided to cycle to their 2nd deluxe swimming pool which has no beach views unfortunately but is distinctly bigger. However, I still prefer the first pool to this one as it is surrounded by many rooms!

There, I started swimming a few laps with daddy from one end to the other. We then did a few laps of cycling so that I could get full control of the bike. And well…back to swimming for a few more rounds before making a pace to the beach barefooted which was a little painful.

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Once again, I tried there kayaking services solo and also tried there stand up paddles. Though a little scary, it was challenging as the controls are complicated. I had a great time figuring and mastering the controls of this boat. Using my knowledge, I helped my mom get the paddles under control.

For lunch, I had a delicious Four Cheese Pizza with a thin crust once I had a fresh bath.

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Napping

With our tummies full, me and my dad went to the recreation area for another game of table tennis before having a long nap all the way till 4pm. We then had a quick swim before having a rushed bath as we had to catch a jeep sending us to Alona Beach where we would have a sumptuous dinner.

When we arrived there, we made a wrong turn and went to the wrong direction where there were fewer restaurant options. For dinner, I ate pork barbeque. At the right side, we had Halo-Halo for dessert before buying some snacks to eat back at the hotel.

As the time to take the ride back came, we waited for the jeep patiently as we went back to the hotel to sleep. The next day would be a day tour which would have many ups and downs.

Our Start in Bohol

After checking in, we headed down a path made out of small stones to our room. The room was actually by itself like a villa. Its roof was made from native materials which my dad said was a kind of palm tree. We just had a delicious lunch and were ready to start fresh with some physical activities. We changed and started the afternoon off with a game of table tennis with my dad. My dad easily won a straight 2-0 though I gave him a tough match. We also played a game of futsal where dad won through luck, literally.

 

With that done in the recreation center, we walked down to the beach which gave me a sense of calm and serenity though the tide was high.

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For a good start, I myself decided to try the hotel’s kayaking services alone. Well…not for long. Anyways, I had to take a few seconds to remember the maneuvers of a kayak when paddling it along the beach. However, I soon got it and was on my way to exploration of the shores.

As I said, I wasn’t alone for long, my dad joined me on my kayaking spree as we kayaked by the beach at a distance. At the end of it, I really felt the tone in my muscles.

With that done, me and my dad put on snorkeling gears on our faces as we swam for the distant waters. We were cautious at the same time as there are sea urchins lurking in the ‘not so friendly waters.’ We snorkeled and bumped into numerous starfishes and other sea creatures.

We also had a quick swim in their first small pool which was facing the calm beach. (There are 2 pools in this hotel)

As that was completed, we ended the great day. We had a quick shower before eating a sumptuous dinner at the same restaurant we ate for lunch. Oh, and the hotel restaurant’s name is Oceania Restaurant.

For the day was closing, we had another quick visit to the recreation center to play ping-pong once again along with billiard. In my opinion, I like this hotel as it has many facilities. And, much  more was about to come…20161213_194659-our-start-in-bohol

The Ride to Bohol

It’s time to say goodbye to Cebu as we start our voyage to the wonderful island of Bohol.

In the morning, we went to the hotel’s gym for some morning exercise. At 8am, we immediately went for a quick breakfast. We had to be fast as we were worried we would not reach the ferry terminal on time. Despite our worries, the opposite happened.

After checking out, the ride to Cebu Port was quick, so we were an hour early! After going through security, we checked in our luggage and our tickets were given slots in the ferry at 10.40am! (We were supposed to leave at 11.40am)

In glee, we got ready for a two-hour journey to the small island of Bohol. At around 12.40pm, we arrived at the small port of Tagbilaran City. To get things going, we went to the exit, searching for a cabbie to send us to our hotel, South Palm Resort.

Within minutes, we found the perfect driver. He drove us go through the small city of Tagbilaran, across a bridge to a smaller island called Panglao Island. Though the journey was long, it was all worth it. When we finally arrived at the hotel itself, we checked in and learnt all about the hotel’s facilities.

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To my amazement, they have a gym, a recreation center with a variety of sports such as table tennis and billiard, 2 swimming pools, an office room, kayaking, stand up paddling, snorkeling and diving services, an area to play beach volleyball and a vast beach. They also have gazebos and a vast restaurant. In my opinion, this hotel was almost perfect and I was already ready to try all their services in store for us with my parents.

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The second day in Cebu

We woke up early for breakfast as the breakfast time in the hotel is very short. We got our tummies full as we got sufficient food to satisfy ourselves with.

For starters, we went to a bank in the center of Cebu City to withdraw cash as we were starting to be short of it. It was quite tedious as we couldn’t withdraw from the bank’s ATMs. However, we were soon on our heels at around 9am.

Nearby was a small farmer’s carnival to celebrate Farmers’ Day in Cebu. We walked through it and saw a variety of decorated stalls of fruits and veggies. The scene was really colourful. There were reporters rushing everywhere, having their chances to interview the stall owners. Behind all the stalls were beautifully decorated cars with fruits and veggies covering the original layer of the vehicle, just like the food stalls.

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We then started a short 5 minute journey to the Heritage of Cebu Monument, a monument with all the events of the Spanish and the natives clumped in one statue. Our guide there told us that the artist took three years to develop this piece of hard work. We were really amazed by his efforts as it’s a masterpiece. It was made by Eduardo Castrillo from 1997 to 2000.

Next, we went to the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, the oldest house in Cebu. It was built at around the 1700s. We had a different guide there. The house was first owned by a Spanish family, as generations gone by, other rich people owned the lot. However, the house soon became old. So, it became a landmark of Cebu. We explored the house from different angles and came across a wishing well, 2 dining rooms, 2 bedrooms and a living room. The house is two levels and is quite huge, our guide took some great shots and I definitely enjoyed exploring the place.

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When that was done, we rode a taxi to a popular restaurant called CNT House of Lechon. There, as you reckoned, we ate Lechon. I also drank a native drink called Calamansi Juice. Thankfully, the Lechon here was very crispy, and I enjoyed my meal a lot.

We a fantastic meal adjourned, we had a nap at the hotel before taking another cab to Tops Lookout, which is located at one of the vast and steep hills of Cebu. Though, there was a jam along the way, we arrived there just in time to take some good shots.

The views there were spectacular, even when the sun goes down. When the lights go up, the city looks very dynamic.

For dinner, we ate at Lantaw, a restaurant on a hill by the vast city, and the view there was awesome to. Halfway through our meal, we were entertained by fireworks, which lightened the view.

When dinner ended, we bid farewell to the views of Cebu as we got back to our hotel and ended the day.

The first day in Cebu City

We woke up, fresh and renewed. We were ready for an exciting day ahead. After a quick bath, we made our way to the hotel’s breakfast hotel which was actually a café called Café Breeze. As the breakfast availability time is really cramped, there was little food spared for us to enjoy with, unfortunately. So, we had tons of space for more of it in our tummies.

After our light breakfast, we made our way to the city center, where the famous and historic Magellan’s Cross was located. When we arrived at the historic landmark, which was through a wide alley way with two major and gargantuan cathedrals along it, we took many shots. I was surprised he was Christian, as all I knew about him was he was a Portuguese Explorer that proved that the Earth was round but was killed in Philippines by Lapu-lapu. Lapu-lapu was a tribe leader in Mactan when Magellan came.

 

With those moments over, we went to a fast food restaurant called Chowking where we tried a traditional Filipino ice-cream called halo-halo, which was a combination of ice-cream-jelly and other sweets.

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With that, we took to the cathedral for mass. It is called Basilica del Santo Nino. There were statues of him and other saints. I took some photos with them.

There was also a painting which talked about a blood compact between the Spanish and the natives of Cebu at that time. A blood compact is a treaty where the people involved sign with their blood, which was shocking and weird in my opinion.

With the mass adjourned, we had lunch, eating sumptuous barbeque at a restaurant called AA BBQ. Along the way to the restaurant, we met homeless folks which made me feel very pitiful and appreciative that we have all the necessities that most humans need.

With that, we advanced on for a ticket center to buy tickets for our ferry to Bohol Island, an island with breathtaking beaches.

Before going there, we went through San Pedro Fort, a fort built by the Spanish in the 1800s, then used as a barracks by the US Army in WWII, and now a famous landmark in the city of Cebu. There, we had a glimpse of old photos of the fort from different angles and learnt the history of this small space. There were many cannons and other fortifications to despite its small size.

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After getting those tickets, we headed back to the hotel to take a nap.

For dinner, with ate at an eatery which serves Lechon. Lechon is a crispy Filipino pork. To our dismay, the Lechon was not crispy, meaning we did not enjoy dinner.

With dinner over, we bought some basic stuff from the shopping mall nearby before ending the day.