Our Philippines Impressions? It’s not what we expected

  • 2

Our Philippines Impressions? It’s not what we expected

Our Philippines impressions were formed gradually over the 3 weeks we spent there. We arrived in the Philippines with open minds, though it’s difficult to erase all the pre-conceptions you have about a place before you visit it.

In our case, we were anticipating white sand beaches, relaxed swimming, fresh fruit & fish and tasty local food. We chose to visit some out-of-the-way places, so hopefully we would find some secluded places to spend our time.

Philippines impressions

Philippines impressions – Pangangan

For such a short trip – just 19 days in the Philippines – we had to be extremely selective about the places we would visit. We narrowed our choices to a shortlist of 2 islands (Cebu and Bohol) and 5 destinations that could be combined into a viable route (see The Philippines – Planning the Trip).

Beaches

For anyone who enjoys hassle-free swimming, the beaches in some of the more remote locations we stayed were not ideal.

Access to the sea was sometimes difficult over shallow and rocky areas. Fine for snorkeling or diving, but that was about it. There were good sandy beaches in the more touristy areas in Bohol, but we were mainly trying to stay away from the crowds.

Apart from Alona Beach, the public beaches we visited were sometimes heavily littered and not always that clean.

Philippines impressions

Philippines impressions – Beaches

Our Philippines Impressions – Local Food

The biggest disappointment of the Philippines for us was the local food.

If you really want to pile on the calories, this is the place to come. Sugary, sticky marinades are the order of the day. Whether we chose fish, pork or chicken, it all came out tasting the same: Sweet, bland and filling.

We ate as much fruit as possible, but you can’t live off just that. There was a super-abundance of Western junk food outlets everywhere we went, and many of the locals obviously have a taste for them.

Philippines impressions

Our Philippines impressions – Bland Food

By far, the best food we had was prepared by Julian (a British expatriate) at the Seaside Boutique Hotel in Panglao. Using locally-sourced ingredients, he produced some delicious 3-course meals for us during our short stay there.

Phone Cards

I picked up a local Globe simcard for 40 pesos, and paid another 50 pesos to add credit. This is the minimum amount, but was plenty for a 2-3 week stay. The only problem was that we couldn’t send sms text messages back to Europe. They appeared to be sent, but no-one received them.

Philippines impressions

Jeepneys in Manila

Final Budget – Actual Costs (not bad at all…)

Planning our trip 2 months earlier, we allowed ourselves a budget of €35 per person per day. This was to cover the 18 nights we would spend in the Philippines.

Since we were flying to the Philippines from Rome, we also needed to allow for 2 nights in Rome – one night before our flight out and another after our return flight.

For these extra nights in Rome, we budgeted €50 (per person per day).

The combined cost of all of our flights was €1,434.

This included return flights for 2 to Rome (Air Malta), return flights from Rome to Manila with Emirates, and internal flights in the Philippines from Manila to Cebu, and Bohol back to Manila (Philippines Airlines).

All for 2 people.

Our Philippines impressions - Costs

Our Philippines impressions – Costs

The total trip duration was 24 days. This included flying and stopover time. We also took out travel insurance for €47 per person.

Our accommodation in both Italy and the Philippines came to €633 for 2 for 20 nights (including breakfast on 7 days). Apart from accommodation and flights, we took a total of €973 from cash machines during the trip.

The final combined cost for the trip was €1,620 per person (€3,241 for 2). This averages at around €67 per person per day, including flights, accommodation, food… and all other costs.

This wasn’t too far off from our planned budget of €3,200.

Philippines impressions

There is so much to see in the Philippines that you can’t do it justice by visiting one or two of the islands. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Hopefully, our short visit was a precurser to other trips to different parts of the country. In the south Mindanao, with its sizeable Muslim population, could offer quite a different experience. Palawan would also be on our shortlist of islands to visit.

…on our next trip.


If you enjoyed our Philippines impressions, check out Central Philippines – Cebu & Bohol. You may also like:

image code

2 Comments

Mr.T

August 22, 2018at 5:26 am

Thank you for sharing your review! It may come in useful for me 🙂

Gr8 Travel Tips

Gr8 Travel Tips

April 21, 2018at 5:14 pm

A Good & Honest Review On Your Stay In The Philippines. 🙂

Tell us what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

________________________________________

Getting to the Philippines

Rome: This is where it all begins...
Rome: This is where it all begins...
Rome is not exactly South-East Asia, but this is where our journey begins, following a short flight [...]
Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas
Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas
The initial inspiration for our Philippines Travel Plan came from the discovery of very reasonably p[...]
Transit between Manila Airport Terminals 2 & 3
Transit between Manila Airport Terminals 2 & 3
Following an overnight stay in Rome, the first stop on our 20-day trip to the Philippines was Manila[...]

Cebu Island

Cebu City Guesthouse: New Era Pension Inn
Cebu City Guesthouse: New Era Pension Inn
Our first real experiences of the Philippines was our Cebu city guesthouse, since we had decided to [...]
Cebu City to Moalboal by Bus
Cebu City to Moalboal by Bus
Cebu City is quite a congested, noxious conglomerate. Transport from place to place moves at a snail[...]
Mangoes in Moalboal, Cebu
Mangoes in Moalboal, Cebu
This is why we came to the Philippines: To relax in an off-track, secluded location with an open bat[...]
Habal-Habal - Filipino Motorcycle Taxis
Habal-Habal - Filipino Motorcycle Taxis
Habal-Habal (motorcycle taxi rides) provide an alternative form of public transport, and is availabl[...]
Snorkeling in Moalboal Cebu
Snorkeling in Moalboal Cebu
Snorkeling in Moalboal Cebu was one of the highlights of our visit to the Philippines. Moalboal is l[...]

__________________________________________

Pangangan Bohol

Bohol Ferry From Cebu
Bohol Ferry From Cebu
After spending 3 nights in the small T-Breeze Beach coastal resort near Moalboal, we were heading ba[...]
Pangangan Island, Bohol
Pangangan Island, Bohol
After spending 3 nights in the small T-Breeze Beach coastal resort near Moalboal, we headed back to [...]
Booze in Bohol - Philippines
Booze in Bohol - Philippines
After spending 3 days in Pangangan we headed down south by bus to Panglao, and the celebrated Alona [...]
Colorful Filipino Currency
Colorful Filipino Currency
Check out the colorful Filipino currency. These notes are brightly colored like Euros (though the eq[...]

South Panglao

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach
Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach
To get to Alona beach, we needed to arrange transport from Pangangan in central Bohol. We left our g[...]
Snorkeling at Alona Beach
Snorkeling at Alona Beach
After spending 3 days in Pangangan (Bohol) we traveled down to Panglao to try out the beaches there.[...]
The White Sands of Dumaluan Beach, Philippines
The White Sands of Dumaluan Beach, Philippines
Our trip around the Philippines Central Visayas was concentrated primarily on Cebu and Bohol. Pangla[...]
In the Philippines Karaoke is King
In the Philippines Karaoke is King
In the Philippines Karaoke is treated almost as a national sport - and taken very seriously indeed. [...]

Loboc Bohol

Bland Filipino Food
Bland Filipino Food
Before we started this trip, from our research we gathered that there was no distinctive Filipino cu[...]
Philippines Tokay Gecko - The "Little Britain" Lizard
Philippines Tokay Gecko - The "Little Britain" Lizard
Wherever we travelled throughout the rural areas of the Philippines, we were entertained most evenin[...]
What to See and Do in Loboc Bohol
What to See and Do in Loboc Bohol
Famous for its lunch cruises along the scenic and winding river, Loboc Bohol is also one of the few [...]
Fox & Firefly Cottages Loboc
Fox & Firefly Cottages Loboc
Our 3-week trip through the Philippines included a short break at a small guesthouse resort in Loboc[...]
2013 Loboc Earthquake Damage, Philippines
2013 Loboc Earthquake Damage, Philippines
Before leaving Loboc, we stopped to take a closer look at the damage caused by the 2013 Loboc earthq[...]

North Panglao

Philippines Buses & Jeepneys
Philippines Buses & Jeepneys
There are a few tips we picked up the hard way from our travels using the Philippines buses & je[...]
Seaside Boutique, Panglao in the Philippines
Seaside Boutique, Panglao in the Philippines
We chose the Seaside Boutique for our second stay in Panglao, and we're very happy we did (€27 per n[...]
Panglao Island Nature Resort
Panglao Island Nature Resort
The Panglao Island Nature Resort  is a classy 5-star resort located far from the hustle and bustle o[...]
Philippines Best Beach Destinations? 50 Shades of Pink
Philippines Best Beach Destinations? 50 Shades of Pink
If getting a suntan is high on the priority list, then unless you want to stay pink you need to choo[...]

Manila & Final Impressions

Philippines Trikes Taxis & other Transport Options
Philippines Trikes Taxis & other Transport Options
Before coming to the Philippines, we read a lot of articles about people being ripped off by trikes [...]
Our Philippines Impressions? It's not what we expected
Our Philippines Impressions? It's not what we expected
Our Philippines impressions were formed gradually over the 3 weeks we spent there. We arrived in the[...]
Oasis Hotel Manila
Oasis Hotel Manila
Our trip back to Manila followed a 3-night stay in Panglao. For the capital city, we booked the smal[...]
Griller in Manila Shabu Shabu self-service
Griller in Manila Shabu Shabu self-service
We tactically avoided a trip into Manila on our arrival in the Philippines, but opted to spend just [...]