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Phillipines review

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February 9th, 2019 (Phillipines time)

We will be leaving the Phillipines tomorrow morning, so I figured this blog will serve as my Phillipines review.

Today the 4 of us woke up (Ivana and I & two friends) with big plans! We had some scooters rented and we were going to hit a bunch of the more interesting spots on Siargao. It was raining slightly when we took off, and shortly after it began to pour. And I mean pour. The 4 of us were completely soaked and didn't feel safe going more than 30 km/h. We were laughing our asses off. At our first three destinations we basically just scooted right past. There was nothing we could do -- the natural pools were too dangerous, the river was flowing too fast, and the cave was open but the guide admitted he really didn't want to take us. But we kept on scooting with good spirits.

And then bam! The clouds disappeared and out came the sun. We felt like the weather was rewarding us for our optimism. We hit a few more spots and then even more luck cam our way. Sugba lagoon, which unexpectedly closed a month ago for cleaning, was re-opening today! We were just driving past it and a lady ushered us in! So we paid our ticket and headed in a boat through the mangroves to a hidden lagoon. But wouldn't you know it, halfway through the mangroves the clouds came back and it really started coming down. We sat in our boat and got soaked again - and this time with the wind it was pretty cold. Ugh!

Eventually the rain stopped and we had a good time at the lagoon. But the real gem as the boat ride back -- at sunset. Mangroves sure are pretty, especially when the sky is pink and red above them. And every so often, a small beach full of palm trees. It hit me that palm trees look like fireworks. No wonder they are so beautiful. That boat ride back was really something special. We got off the boat and scooted home in the dark.

So let's talk about the Phillipines. To be fair, Ivana and I were only in Cebu for 1 week, and Siargao for 1 week. We certainly haven't seen all it has to offer. Although we did hit all the main attractions on both Cebu and Sairgao. We even stayed in Cebu city for one night -- which was an experience. First time I've seen homeless children. Oof. Pretty overwhelming.

The tourism on Cebu has the island pretty packed with foreigners. One of the highlights of the entire trip was swimming with the whale sharks -- along with a hundred or so others in the water and probably a thousand more waiting on land. You start to feel like you are cattle being herded as they organize you onto the boats. You can rent a scooter and explore at your own pace, providing you're ok at navigating small highways with lots of construction trucks and full size buses. This is not too difficult, but it can take away from the 'island paradise', relaxing experience one might hope for. Cebu has great weather, great beaches, great activities (waterfalls, canyoneering, swim with the whale sharks, swim with the sardines) but it is altogether pretty crowded with tourists. My guess is two or three years ago it would've been pretty ripe for travelling. Overall it was still a great time -- with the two best parts being canyoneering and swimming with the whale sharks.

Siargao is less travelled -- and more enjoyable for that reason. Same idea has Cebu really -- small island with great weather and beaches, lots of activities and things to check out... except this time the 'local to tourist' ratio is better. Also, Siargao has some of the most picturesque and enjoyable scooting I've ever seen or done. Palm trees line freshly paved roads with constant coastline to admire. Getting lost on Siargao is never a frustration; it can be some of the most fun you will have. There's more than a couple spots you just have to pull over to park your scooter and just admire. Combine that with some waterfalls to explore, some great surfing, a little island hopping or some swimming in a lagoon, and there is something for everyone. I had a great time on Cebu and made some great memories, but I preferred Siargao.

If I had a short amount of time to hit Cebu and Siargao, I would hit Cebu for the whale sharks and the canyoneering, and then go to Siargao for my open-ended adventure and relaxation time. Maybe a 30/70 ratio of time spent in Cebu and Siargao. This way you could check out the main attractions on Cebu, which are certainly worth checking out, and then put your feet into the sand or your scooter wheel to the road on Siargao. Siagao offers a more authentic and genuine little tropical island experience.

The ultimate island to explore with a scooter is still Nusa Penida for me. We will be back there in 3 weeks or so to see if it has changed much since we've last left it. There seems to be a perfect timing for islands like these ones -- too early and not a soul there will speak English, too late and they'll be lineups at the attractions, and loud music blasting on the beach. Lucky for me Ivana speaks Indonesian, so I think we first hit Nusa Penida very early in it's tourist life cycle.

I guess that's it for todays log. I've been keeping some ideas to myself as the next week or two Ivana and I will be with her dad and not necessarily 'travelling' too much, and I'd like to have something to say everyday.

Seeya guys tomorrow

Posted by JetlagWarriors 05:49 Archived in Philippines Tagged lagoon cebu scooter mangroves siargao phillipines_review sugba

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