Korea reunion in Bohol

In October 2016 I had a reunion with Stacey who was one of my best friends in Korea. We had been planning to meet up for a bit and decided to go to the Philippines. We both brought our boyfriends, Taylor & Sam, and got together for a week long vacation.

It had been about 2.5 years since I had seen Stacey so I loved that we could plan a little reunion and bring the boys. Here’s a little breakdown of what we did in that time:

  • Day 1: Taylor and I arrived in Cebu a bit before Stacey & Sam. We were a bit jet lagged but walked around, got lost, found the Basilica del Santo Niño, played in the sun, and sang Justin Beiber with some little kids. In the evening when Stacey & Sam arrived we got KBBQ, of course.
  • Day 2: We took a Ferry over to Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol. We then taxied on over to the little island of Panglao and stayed on Alona Beach. It was about a two hour boat ride. We read, slept, drew, and relaxed in the sunshine on the nice ride. How great to be back in the Philippines!! This was my first time back to Asia since late 2014.
  • Day 3: We rented motorbikes and cruised around the little island. We found some deserted beaches, drank mango shakes, and went to the Hinagdanan cave.
  • Day 4: The four of us went on an island hopping & snorkeling tour. I was skeptical because I know these are overpriced and I really don’t want to get ripped off. Well, we did end up getting ripped off, but where do you draw the line of a few western $$’s? Honestly, it was beautiful. We swam super close to a bunch of sea turtles, enjoyed the crystal clear waters, and drank out of coconuts all day.
  • Day 5: We taxied about an hour east to Loboc where we would stay for a few days & enjoyed lunch on a river boat tour. I highly recommend staying at Fox & The Firefly Cottages. It was an adorable little get away right on the river. They also helped us book our SUP & mountain bike tour that we would do a few days after.
  • Day 6: We met some other travelers and all rented motorbikes, went to the Chocolate Hills, visited the tarsiers, & stopped at some waterfalls.
  • Day 7: Our cottages booked us a SUP & mountain bike tour for the day. Half of the was spent biking 15k around the area & then cruising down the river on our SUP boards. 
  • Day 8: Bye bye Stacey & Sam; Taylor & I went back to Panglao for one more night of beaching.


Taylor’s watercolor
  • Day 9: Taylor & I ferried back to Cebu and watched a crazy rave party at some random mall while I tried not to die from food poisoning. 
  • Day 10: Flight back to the states, but not before our long layover in TAIWAN. 

If you are looking for cheap massages, lots of downtime, great music at the bars, beach barbecue, food poisoning, laying at the pool, swimming in perfect water then you need to go to the Philippines! It’s not an expensive ticket, you can find very cheap accommodation, and who can refuse $1 dollar San Miguel beers? Perfect week in paradise with the people I love.

Don’t go to Manila

I somehow survived two nights in Manila. I slept in an airport to save $$, got ripped off on a tuk-tuk tour, went to an international basketball tournament, hung out at a casino, and had a mural of Jackie Chan plastered to my hotel wall. Manila is very useful in the sense that it is STEP ONE to get to the other islands… but don’t spend too much time there.

**If you have had a good experience there please let me know.**

At least I got to play driver for a bit

Well, if you are forced to go because of a layover you may as well make the most of it.

Rum shots on a waterfall

Philippines round two! Although I had gone to Boracay in the summer, I was given about one week notice from my teaching job in Korea to book my winter holiday. Because the Philippines is a close and cheap flight I decided to go to the island of Palawan. With about zero planning my friend Jaelim joined me and we were on our way right after Christmas 2013.

We stayed in Puerto Princesa just for a night before we took a 6 hour bus ride up north to El Nido. I had heard from multiple Korean expat friends how beautiful El Nido was, so of course I had to see this in person rather than just their #instagram accounts.

Jae & I stayed about half a mile from the beach because we had booked our place in advance. It cost us $20 a day ($10/person) which was honestly way too expensive. If you are planning to go to El Nido there is NO NEED to book accommodation in advance. There are so many little beach bungalows that cost just a couple of bucks/night. Those are the places that can’t be found on the internet.

The beach was very small and we were able to explore the whole place. The week was filled with island hopping, snorkeling, rum and coke, and relaxing.

**My favorite memory of the trip was on New Year’s day 2014. Jae and I hitched a ride on a tuk-tuk and went about an hour into the jungle. We got out at some random trail head and climbed another two hours to a waterfall. It seemed a bit odd that it was just Jae, our driver, and myself in the middle of nowhere without a clue where we were going. However, we ended up at the top of the waterfall and were greeted by about eight young teenage boys who were offering us shots of rum in celebration of New Years. I declined the cigarettes from our driver and of course said yes to the rum. We swam and hung out for a bit. After that little adventure our tuk-tuk driver took us over to a beach we had not yet been to. I taught some kids how to throw a frisbee and we relaxed in the sunshine. What a PERFECT way to start the year.**

Skinny dipping in Boracay

In July 2013 I spent a week in Boracay, Philippines. Originally I had planned the trip solo but grabbed a few friends to come along with me. This was my first time to the Philippines and I was excited for a lazy week on the beach. During this time of year in particular, a lot of foreign teachers who were living in Korea were on holiday so I met a lot of people who were doing the same thing as me.

I highly recommend going to Boracay. However, 8 days is MORE than enough. I definitely made the most of it. July is the rainy season. Although it rained very hard each day, there was plenty of sun, as well.

  • Stay @ Frendz hostel. I was there for a week. I met so many people here and we would have game nights and go out together each night. It’s a one minute walk to the beach.

  • Spend a day @ Ariel’s Point cliff diving.

  • There are so many tours for kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, sailing, etc. It doesn’t end. Each day my friends and I would plan a new tour. Or we would be content just soaking up the sun with a Red Horse & a book.

  • It is an island completely catered to tourists. Remember to eat the street food. Fish eyeballs are weird. It’s way cheaper than the restaurants on the water.

  • Rum & cokes are only 100 pesos ($1) and beers are 50 pesos.