People have been asking me why I haven’t visited The Philippines in all my years of traveling abroad. Well, I actually went ‘back home’ when I was 13 to celebrate Y2K with family. I was born in The Philippines but moved to The Netherlands when I was 11 months old. During my visit in 1999-2000, I didn’t really visit sights and just enjoyed being with family.
Mark and I have traveled all over Europe and actually only made our first trip to Asia in 2013 (to South Korea). Since then we were hooked and we’ve visited a different country in Asia each year, crossing Thailand and Japan off our list. I can’t really give a reason why we didn’t choose to go The Philippines earlier than now, but after 16 years I am so ready to explore the beauty ‘my country’ has to offer.
This is the first time that I haven’t planned out and booked everything beforehand and I have to be honest by saying that I don’t like it at all. Planning this trip was so different (and more time-consuming) than all the other trips we did, not only because of the fact that it’s complicated to travel between the islands without losing too much time, but also because it’s impossible to choose what to see. With only 3 weeks of vacation, I am nervous that we won’t have enough time to take in all the sights. I do think that it’s better to just go with the flow, slow down the pace and just enjoy whatever comes along our path. Bahala na!
This is how I would like things to go: after visiting Manilla and seeing family, Mark and I will travel to Batad to trek in the ricefields. After, we will visit the Bacuit Archipelago in Palawan. I think I am most excited for that part of the trip! We fly to Cebu after Palawan to swim with the whale sharks, marvel at the Chocolate Hills in Bobol and pay a visit to the cute tarsiers. We end our Philippine adventure in volcanic Camiguin before flying to Hong Kong.
Our trip already started out great when someone asked me if I was over 18 when I scanned my passport at the self-service passport check at customs. I just turned 30 last December and really dreaded that moment, but I guess it’s not too bad if you are blessed with a younger look 😉 I’ll be enjoying these moments while they last haha!
After a wonderful flight, Mark and I went through customs without a line and got our bags within 5 minutes which meant we were out of the airport 10 minutes earlier than our estimated arrival time. My cousins and parents picked us up, dropped us off at our hotel and treated is to a nice Japanese Ramen dinner.
Tomorrow, we get our first taste of Filipino culture while we take a guided tour of Intramuros, one of the older parts of Manilla.