04/ 20/ 15
Here are 3 of the most memorable experiences I had in the Philippines. If you’re headed there (lucky you!) check these out – they’re guaranteed to be highlights of your trip.
1. Tour Puerto Princesa’s Underground River: Deemed as one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature,” the Underground River is part of the Cabayugan River covered by an awe-inspiring limestone cave. A tour will guide you through the towering rock formations, under stalacite ceilings habituated by thousands of bats, and through the largest cave chamber in the world. Pitch black and eerily silent, it’s a surreal experience that’s slightly haunting. Luckily, your boat is equipped with a flashlight and a friendly tour guide.
2. Try Balut: Balut is a developing duck embryo that’s boiled and eaten in the shell. Yup. Sounds pretty sick (and not in the good way). It’s sold as street food in the Philippines and is an easy snack that’s filling and protein-rich. The key is to get a younger balut, so the chick doesn’t have crunchy bones or feathers yet. It actually just tastes like yolk and chicken broth! Definitely mind over matter. Some of my favorite memories are associated with food and trying balut is no exception – it was actually one of the first things I told people about when they asked about my trip to SE Asia.
(I will spare you the icky balut pic, and show you this nice beach shot instead.)
3. Island Hop in El Nido: There are 7,107 islands in the Philippines and exploring them is absolute PARADISE. Think: picturesque hidden beaches and secret lagoons, crystal clear turquoise water, and white sand so soft I literally sat there and rubbed it all over my face (free exfoliating facial yo). We did Tours A and C through Ipil Suites and the experience was incredible – snorkeling, kayaking, and lounging on the beach with halo-halo in hand. Lunch was fresh seafood grilled directly on the boat. And, major brownie points for their unbelievably kind tour guides. My hair was tangled in my snorkel and without even asking, a guide patiently untangled it for me – can’t get better service than that.
Got any travel tips for the Philippines? Let me know in the comments!
*photos taken by my partner in crime, Jamie