I can say I’ve been to 0.00070353% of the islands that make up the Philippines! That’s right, I’ve been to only 5 out of the 7,107 islands. 😉
Every trip I take is different from all the others in some way. The Philippines was very different trip for me, because I was traveling with a very close friend from Cebu. The whole time I was in the Philippines I was staying with her family and living like a local. They took very, very good care of me and I now consider them to be my family as well. I got to see first hand, exactly what it’s like to live in the Philippines. The Philippines is a poorer country that’s happy with less. Family is definitely the most important thing in life and as long as you have that, life is good. We could learn a few things from them. 😉
As soon as we landed in Cebu, we hopped on our last flight to the island of Boracay. Whoa! Boracay is where dreams take place! It’s a bit of a party island with EDM on the beach and drinks always available. The sand is …. well … it’s just like flour or baking soda. It’s definitely the softest sand my tender little toes have ever touched!
We stayed in Frendz Hostel, which is in Station 1. It was amazing! We were probably the oldest ones there …. but I don’t think anyone noticed 😉 It was just a short walk to the baking-soda-sand beach that was always bustling with activity. The water was turquoise and warm and almost unbelievable ….. everything looked fake to me! I had no idea places like this existed outside of my dreams.
Soon after landing back in Cebu, I developed an addiction to Jollibee ….. spicy chicken to be precise. It’s soooooo good! If you ever go to the Philippines, it’s a must try. 😉 I first went there right after landing in Cebu. Lyn’s family went and ordered trays full of food and brought it to our table. On the trays were, what looked to me to be little hamburgers, they were wrapped in paper just like McDonald’s hamburgers …. guess what? They were rice!! LOL!
I also learned that “rice is life” and is acceptable to eat for EVERY meal! Sooooo much rice, every meal rice, rice, rice, rice! Whole, roasted pig is also a very common feast …. while I was there though, it was always large groups of people, so a whole pig went fairly quickly.
* Fun Fact: Filipinos use forks and spoons most commonly …. never knives! But as I look at the picture above …. I see only knives … making me a liar I guess 😉
It was a little harder to find vegetables than I thought …. but those little bananas that taste like candy sticks were in abundance! I had 8 of them one morning for breakfast instead of …. RICE!
I spent most of my time near Valencia in the province of Negros Oriental, at Lyn’s families home. It was on farmland and it was a drive to get anywhere. The food was cooked outside on fire and there was always, at any time of the day, something cooking. Red Horse Beer was always being passed around as well ….. one little, always full, glass for us all to share. 😀
I know this is going to sound sadder than I intend …. but I’ve never felt so alone, surrounded by so many people. We were there for the anniversary of a very close family members death. It was a huge celebration, in which the whole family got together. I totally understand that you’re seeing people you haven’t seen for years and you probably feel you can’t fully catch up enough …. but I sat there and listened to everyone speaking their dialect, not understanding a word for 3 days. The third evening at the house I decided to join the older generation in the front yard …. as I sat down, Lyn’s Uncle asked me how I was enjoying the Philippines so far …. when I responded, everyone stopped and listened. Then others started asking me questions and I realized that every single person there spoke perfect English! Whaaaaattt? Seriously? You guys could’ve been speaking English this whole time?! LOL! 😀 From that point on I got a little demanding …. all I would say when they spoke their dialect was: “ENGLISH PLEASE”. It worked like a charm. 😉
Karaoke, beer and rice. These are the things Filipinos love most …. oh …. and traveling in packs of 25-30 people. Safety in numbers, I guess 😉 Anyway …. I thought this would be more of a shock to me than anything …. but I adjusted better than I thought. I live alone, sleep alone and never travel around with more than one person at a time. This is NOT the Filipino way …. LOL! Even cars were loaded with 8-10 people on average. Kids have free reign in vehicles …. like my turtle in my condo. They crawl wherever they please and are never tied into a car-seat. I wonder if it’s even possible to buy a car-seat in the Philippines?
We stayed 25 people in only 3 rooms at a resort! 3-4 people per bed! I slept on the floor, on a mat, with my earplugs in. It was weird being surrounded by so many people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ….. but I survived it ….. and had an AMAZING time!
I got very used to “bucketing” before bed, instead of showering and I learned very quickly to ALWAYS CARRY A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER AT ALL TIMES! Never expect toilet paper …. ever.
Whale sharks …. giant mouthed, whale sharks …. we went swimming with them …. well … I did … someone else was afraid to let go of the boat. 😉 Teeheehee!
Cebu is a gorgeous city, that I’m so grateful I had the chance to explore!
Last stop on my Cebu City Tour was Fort San Pedro! Check out my amazing guides! Filipino tourists in the Philippines! 😉 Thank you for an amazing experience!
All of my flights within the Philippines were through Cebu Pacific and I hate to say this, but 100% of those flights were delayed …. LOL! I was on holidays and not in a hurry to get anywhere …. and the flights were super cheap … Cebu to Singapore cost us $56 so …. not a big deal.
So, all in all, the Philippines is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people! You could honestly travel around just the Philippines, for a year, and not even see half of the 7,107 islands that make it up. I wonder if anyone has been to all of them?
The people were amazing and the beaches were stunning …. and if I ever went back it would be to visit Whang-Od to get a Kalinga tattoo. The food wasn’t my favorite on this SE Asia trip …. but it did have to go up against Singapore and Singapore has AMAZING food …. but let’s leave that to the next post, shall we? 😉
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