Travels

Manila

Coconut Palace

1h walk from Intramuros

Pope refused to stay there because it was too opulent given the level of poverty in the Philippines. Made of several types of Philippine hardwood, coconut shells. Now a museum and botanical garden.

Chinatown / Binondo

22min walk from Intramuros

Just near the Goodwill Oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594. permanent settlement for Chinese immigrants. herbal stores, restaurants and groceries, Chinese Seng Guan Temple, Arranque Market, seafood, exotic food, snakes, pigeons, rabbits, frogs

Orchidarium

33mins walk from Binondo

one-hectare rainforest-like park. Established in 1994, the Orchidarium houses orchid species

Mt. Pinatubo Volcano

2h 15mins NE of Manila

Mt. Pinatubo Crater Hike physical fitness required. Incl: roundtrip transportation Manila-Sta Juliana-Manila (2,5 hrs one way), set lunch at 4pm, hike with trail escort by a local (no guide available), 4×4 jeepride Sta Juliana-drop off point, Sta Juliana. Trek can be done in a day

TRAVEL: bus from Pasay or Cubao to Capas, Tarlac 2-3 hours, £3. Get off at McDonalds in Capas. Once at Capas junction (McDonalds), you can either take one of the many waiting tricycles for the 24km ride direct to the Tourism Office/Starting Point in Barangay Santa Juliana (smaller model of tricycle, seats max 3people) or take a jeepney to Patling (P28) and then a tricycle to the Tourism Office/Starting Point (P60 per tricycle). Be sure to agree the price with your tricycle driver beforehand (P300 return should be possible depending on your bargaining skills), and ensure he drops you at the Tourism Office, and not an unofficial tour operator who will charge you a higher price and pay your driver commission.The cut-off point for 4x4s to leave Santa Juliana is 10am, if you arrive after this time you will not be able to visit the lake until the following day.

Tagaytay / Taal Volcano

1 ½ h South of Manila
3 ½ h from Pinatabu
43mins Taal - Tagaytay
30mins from Twin towers

Taal Volcano that is best viewed when you are in the ridges of Tagaytay. Taal and Tagaytay Delicacy – Tawilis, that very small fishes that are very crunchy when fried can only be catched in Taal Lake.

TRAVEL: Buses from the Cubao bus terminus: San Agustin, Erjohn & Almark, Golden dragon. The buses go to Nusugbu (final destination), but have “via Tagaytay” written on the signboard next to the driver. 1 bus every 30 mins, 3h duration. Get off at a crossroad called Olivarez square near KFC restaurant centre of town. Tagaytay does not have a bus terminus. Take jeepneys around


Bohol Beaches

To get to the beautiful beaches of Bohol you would need to get a flight from Manila to Cebu then a ferry from Cebu to Bohol. The flights come as cheap as £15 on Air Asia and the ferry is of a similar price I think. The journey time on the ferry is around 1 hour and apparently tourists aren't advised to take the ferry due to pirates! We did unknowingly. It was a comfortable journey, they show a movie on board. I would advise you to bring snacks and a warm jumper as the A/C is on full blast! You can buy snacks on the ferry if you forget. When you arrive at the ferry port be prepared to be bombarded by taxi men trying to force you into their extortionate taxis. If you can arrange transport with your hotel, that would be much more stress free. Always check the taxi is an actual car before you agree to go with them as some have a cycle with a tiny side seat attached. Not good if you are carrying luggage. On Bohol beach you will find many dolphin watching, snorkelling, sailing and other water based excursions. We did the snorkelling and it was amazing because you can walk as the water is very shallow and calm! You will need to hire snorkelling shoes otherwise your feet will get cut by the coral.

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are a geological formation in Bohol Province, Philippines.[1] There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi).[2] They are covered in green grass that turns brown (like chocolate) during the dry season, hence the name.

We did an island tour which included the Tarsier monkeys, Chocolate hills, butterfly farm, a statue in town and a man made mahogany forest.

Tarsier Monkeys

The Tarsier Monkeys are the smallest in the world! Very cute, Nocturnal and very shy. You can’t touch them or they will get stressed and die. Also you can’t walk loudly or use a flash but just seeing them is enough! They look like E.T. In fact this is what E.T. was based on!