No place I’d rather be
After stepping off the plane and being hit with a wave of humidity I knew we chose the right destination for our winter vacation. It was a welcome break to leave behind the cold and snow of Korea for 2 weeks to hang out in a tropical paradise, sipping mango shakes and lying on white sand beaches. The highlight of our Philippines trip definitely had to be getting PADI open water diver certified and taking a 5 day boat trip with Tao Philippines. If you’re heading to the Philippines anytime soon, or just want to hear about how amazing it is, read on for our must see experiences.
The first part of our trip was dedicated to getting scuba certified, and we chose Alona Beach, Bohol as the spot. To reach this island we flew into Cebu and then took a 2 hour ferry to Bohol, and then a taxi to Alona Beach. We stayed in the Hayahay hotel directly on the beach with an amazing view from the patio. Their partner dive shop Genesis was a short walk down the beach. The shop was run by a German man and our teacher was Dutch. They spoke many languages and were extremely friendly and patient.
We chose this location because we heard the coral reefs and fish populations were abundant and close to shore, and it did not disappoint. In 3 days of diving we saw frog fish, lion fish, clown fish, angel fish, and tons of others we can’t name. It was truly an unreal experience to be breathing underwater for the first time, and in the first few minutes I honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it. Each day I got a little more comfortable and was able to relax and focus more on everything there was to see. Had a huge feeling of accomplishment when we completed the course and am super excited to go on future dives.
After a day or so of relaxing and sightseeing in Alona we were off on our next leg of the journey – a 5 day boat trip with Tao Philippines. This company is run by 2 guys, one half Filipino/half American and one British, and is truly something special. Their trips run from Coron to El Nido and vice versa and take you closer to the culture and nature of the Philippines than any other trip I’ve heard of. You spend 5 days traveling from island to island, snorkeling and exploring by day, and sleeping on the beach under the stars at night. Since you are with a small group and they are close to the villagers and islands you travel through you really get the chance to interact with the people and environment. You can also tell that they honestly care for the Philippines and the people as they’ve worked to set up schools and daycares on certain islands and promote sustainable living.
All in all it was heaven staring out at turquoise water all day, eating delicious, fresh food cooked by our amazing chef on board, with the biggest concern of the day being do I feel like snorkeling right now, or laying out and reading my book? One of the best parts of the trip also had to be that the destinations we explored, hot springs, caves, lagoons, beaches, all really felt like secret, remote spaces. With no other tourists around it felt like you were exploring a hidden island. And after 5 days with the crew and other boat members it felt like traveling with a big group of friends.
So basically, if you couldn’t tell from that, I absolutely loved the trip and highly recommend it to anyone who’s visiting the Philippines.
Other than the diving and boat trip, we spent a few days in Coron and El Nido relaxing and sightseeing, and then traveling back and forth. The pictures in this post are just a few of hundreds, so to see the whole batch check out our flickr page. And with that, goodbye Philippines and on to the next one!