Tag: batad

Five Places I Loved In The Philippines

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After two months travelling around the Philippines, I thought I’d list my top 5 destinations:

1. Batad Rice Terraces

batad rice terraces philippines

The Batad Rice Terraces

It’s difficult to show how stunning the Batad Rice Terraces are on pictures alone. They are incredible. Built over 2000 years ago by the Ifugao people, it’s easy to see why they’re a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fact that Batad can only be accessed on foot makes viewing more worthwhile. Read more about getting there here.

2. Apo Island

turtle apo island philippines

There are too many turtles to count near Apo Island

Apo Island itself isn’t much to shout about but its surrounding reef is amazing. Boasting over 400 different types of coral and teeming with marine life, this is paradise for snorkellers and divers alike. Oh, did I mention there’s a turtle sanctuary?

3. Sagada

rice terraces sagada philippines

Views of the rice terraces near Sagada

Sagada is a beautiful village surrounded by mountains, caves and hiking trails. It also has an impressive number of restaurants with a large variety of foods. Sagada is very popular with Filipinos living in Manila, who drive there at weekends to enjoy some of the fresh mountain air. Read more about Sagada here.

4. Bohol

chocolate hills bohol philippines

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Bohol is an island close to Cebu and is home to the Philippines famous chocolate hills. Bohol is also home to the world’s smallest primate, the tarsier, which can be seen in a sanctuary. Bohol is a popular stop for tourists and backpackers. Read more about it here.

5. El Nido

el nido palawan philippines

El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is situated at the northern tip of Palawan. There are numerous islands to explore along with many gorgeous beaches. The water is incredibly clear which makes it perfect for diving.

Do you agree with this list? Got anything to add? Feel free to comment below!

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February Monthly Recap – What I’ve been up to in the Philippines

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It’s been just over a month since I packed my bags and left the UK for some sun & adventure in the Philippines. So what have I been up to for the past month?

A Brief Overview of the Past Month

On the 5th February, I arrived in Manila and met my friend Vicki. We spent a couple of days in Manila, had our first Jolibee’s and went to the Mall of Asia.

Two days later, we hopped on a night bus to Banaue, where we visited the Batad Rice Terraces. I’ve written a more detailed post on that which can be seen here.

Batad Rice Terraces

Batad Rice Terraces, Philippines

Then it was back to Manila for a flying visit to meet Lara who would be joining us as we travelled the Philippines. That same day, we hopped on a bus and a boat to Puerto Galera, Mindoro where we had a couple of days of relaxing beach time, watched a drag show and visited a waterfall.

Next up in Mindoro was Sablayan, where we spent Valentine’s Day on an overnight tour to Apo Reef.

After this, we spent 4 nights in Boracay where we relaxed and drank a cocktail or 3.

On the 19th, we headed for the island of Negros. The first stop was Bacolod which had a lot of cool street art and some Ruins to visit. The second stop was Zambonguita, near Dumaguete, where we stayed in a beautiful resort called White Chocolate Hills. We also visited a turtle sanctuary on Apo Island.

The next island we visited was Bohol, where we stayed on Panglao Island. The boat ride there was awful because the sea was so choppy. We saw tarsiers and the famous Chocolate Hills during a full day tou

Then it was onto Cebu where we visited the Cebu Taoist Temple and had our first experience of Filipino karaoke.

Today I flew from Leyte where we visited Ormac and Tacloban, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan/Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Here’s a rough version of the route on Google Maps:

 

What are my plans for March?

So today I arrived in Manila, where we got a bus to Tagaytay to see the Philippines’ smallest volcano. The plan is to travel around Luzon until the 21st March then to fly to Palawan for 8 days of island hopping, beaches, snorkelling and birthday celebrations. On the 30th March I’ll be flying to Borneo.

Some last thoughts…

I intend to write in more detail about some of the places I’ve been to in the past month. Unfortunately, most of the places I’ve visited haven’t had great WiFi, which isn’t ideal for keeping a blog up to date.

If you want to keep up to date, I regularly post updates on Instagram (@alexexplores) and Twitter (@alexexplorestw).

Thanks for reading!

Alex

 

 

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Batad Rice Terraces

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The Batad rice terraces were my first experience of Filipino life outside of Manila. And what an incredible first impression of the Philippines!

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Getting to Batad

The easiest way to get to Batad from Manila is on the night bus to Banaue. This should set you back 450PHP one way if you buy the ticket directly from the bus company, Ohayami. I’m terrible at sleeping on night buses so I was awake for the majority of the journey. This wasn’t helped by the drivers insistence on playing a Phil Collins concert DVD, at a loud volume, until the first stop after midnight and the freezing temperature of the bus. All I can say is take warm clothes & ear plugs!

The bus should arrive in Banaue between 6-7am depending on the bus you catch. From there, you can get a tricycle to where the road ends before Batad. There were two of us and we paid 300PHP based on what other travellers had told us. Leaving Batad, we managed to get a jeepney which was much cheaper. After the road ends there’s a 15-20 minute walk down a muddy path to Batad.

The Rice Terraces

Once in Batad, we checked into Simon’s guesthouse. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. We paid 500PHP for one night’s accommodation. Simon’s also doubles as a restaurant and has a decent menu. Simon’s also has great views of the rice terraces:

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Getting a guide to take you around the rice terraces is easy and should cost around 800PHP. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to do the walk without a guide, however, I would recommend a guide because walking around the rice terraces can be slippery and are very narrow in some parts. The first stop is a lookout point across all of the Batad rice terraces, which will give you spectacular views:

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The second stop is a waterfall which you can swim in if you like (it’s freezing). Overall the tour took around 3 1/2 hours, including a stop for lunch.

It’s possible to visit the Batad rice terraces without staying overnight in Batad or Banaue as the night bus leaves Banaue around 6pm.┬áThe Batad rice terraces are an amazing site and I would honestly recommend them to anyone visiting the Philippines.

 

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