Tag Archives: Philippines

Beach Club co.

7 Jan

At the resort, we could go on day trips to our partner beach clubs for the day- for a beach picnic, some snorkeling, wind surfing and cocktail sippin.

The two were called Entalula and Dibuluan.

The beach club- Entalula

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Picnic

Trying to look relaxed

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aannnd Dibuluan.

Each had their own charms, with Dibuluan having an old bamboo forest trail, and an army of hermit crabs!

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Just a few of the many hermit crabs

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baby hermy- it was amazing; when we stayed still close to the ground we noticed all the little shells were moving; nearly EVERY shell had a hermit crab in it!

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As we signed another waiver, I asked if there were any snakes or tigers in there,just to be sure.. they laughed and assured us all we had to worry about was a recent storm that had damaged the look out point, so we were strictly advised not to go on it. We were guided by a blue rope….which we discovered somewhat vanished part way through once we came across some mangroves.

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The lucky guess path back to the beach club

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The moment of relief, spotting the beach club after wading through some water

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I’ve been daydreaming ever since I got back.. it was a year ago now

The Philippines -Part 5 Secret beach, El Nido

29 Dec

In the Philippines,you can rest assured you will constantly be surprised.
You thought a motorcycle was for one or two people ? Well not here apparently. I’ve witnessed families of five  quite comfortably cruising along a road looking pretty blase about it. Oh, and also the ones on motorbikes  AND mobiles , i was sitting there constantly comparing and whining… this IS SO ILLEGAL IN AUSTRALIA.!
Amazingly enough it seems these sort of places never have as many accidents as drivers do here.
I like to think of it like this; just as ants appear to the human eye as a chaotic, scattered mess of a bunch- it only takes a closer look to realise  they work in perfect harmony as a community. Just as the traffic in Manila looked  somewhat chaotic to me, i felt pretty safe in the end growing accustomed to the last minute  swerves and lane changes, they had they own system, different.
A horn would be used here to show your annoyance  at another  driver, but it seemed  a beep had many uses over there-another communication system. From saying hello to warning others you were overtaking-as you were doing it. When we were suck in traffic the drivers formed some sort  of horn acapella, i couldn’t figure out for the life of me why they were all beeping, i think it was for their own amusement.
Anyway, just as the people of the Philippines had their own charms  and surprises, the landscape of el Nido was full of just as much mystery to keep us in awe for our entire stay.
What seemed like just another a limestone cliff from the outside,later revealed there was so much more than meets the eye.
I felt a rush as a I jumped into the water, a mix of excitement and adrenaline, getting ready to witness this place  i had Google imaged the shit out of since the start of my travel plans.

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How someone discovered secret beach must be one hell  of a story,because i can’t picture why anyone would randomly stop there among the kms of lime stone cliffs and swim underwater in that spot.
The activities guy swum ahead if me,we ducked underwater for a second and resurfaced to crystal crystal clear  waters and warm white sand.
Like a private pool,in this safe little haven we were protected from any rough  seas.
You could picture memaids  bathing here in this magical cove. In a legend where some lucky sailor would end up washed up after his ship had wrecked.
Secret beach.

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Underwater Entrance

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Paradise

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Philippines holiday- Part 4 Matinloc Shrine/ Island – (where I want to get married one day !)

24 Dec

Towards the end of our stay at Miniloc Island we asked the staff if they could  take us somewhere different a because we had seen most of the other local icons/scenery and wanted to make the most of being in that area.
I think my boyfriend had heard or read about Matinloc Island or one of the activities staff mentioned it (can’t remember) but since we had been on the island for the longest out of everyone else (most people stayed 2-4 days) I think they got to know and like us and were very hospitable. 🙂 So Matinloc Island it was. This was probably the longest trip we made out for a day activity, which is why I can understand they wouldn’t want to take other people out who were only spending a day or two there when they would probably rather see things like big lagoon etc.

The staff pointed out islands where turtles bred, and told us  heaps of interesting stories about the area and their lives. One guy told us about how once they saw pigs swimming in a single line; each one with their head on the back of the other while they all trod water, till the one at the front would get tired and swim  to the back of the line!!
Haha this was highly amusing as my boyfriend and I are obsessed with pigs, and we couldn’t imagine ever seeing a pig in the area, let along a conga line of pigs swimming!
We also saw a gigantic Manta Ray on the way, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it.

As you may know the Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country, and Matinloc shrine holds a Catholic festival/feast day for Our lady of Matinloc Island in May I think for locals in nearby islands.. (Thats what I recall the guy saying anyway- almost a year ago.)
However it is somewhat run down, and abandoned.  No-one lives or stays there to maintain it its mainly just tourists coming by and I suppose the locals for a feast day.
Boats of tourists come by during the day and have a look around/ snorkel around the area- but don’t worry there was only one other group of tourists when we were there- it’s not one of those places flooded with people because it isn’t well known.

The trip there
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This was our view pulling upto Matinloc Island,

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I know I’ve spoken about the water before in general there and how beautiful it is, but this really was a beautiful place. As corny as it sounds, the sun flickering off the water reminded me of diamonds or glitter shining in the light- it was so so pretty! If i had a dollar for every time I was like wowwww this is sooo beautiful/pretty/amazing over there- I would be a very rich lady.

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See how the water goes from a light blue to a deep ocean blue?- we snorkelled around there and maaan the ocean floor just dropped down into nothingness it scared the crap out of me, I made sure my boyfriend was swimming on the deeper side beside me in case anything scary decided to appear, such as but not limited to hungry sharks.( great gf, yea i know..)

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Matinloc shrine

 

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Sittin on the dock of the bay. Wastin timmmmmmeImage
This was an old abandoned building, I lost the group for a bit so decided to explore it, there was some broken glass on the floor and not much in there- but it had a nice view.
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Here is the said view from in there.

Later on I caught up with the others who were checking out the underground shrine.
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After that, we walked up some rock/ makeshift staircase to one of the best views i’ve ever seen in my life!

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lol this aint passing no safety tests in Australia

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The View

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wow. just wow. I would love to be a bird and just glide over that amazing water.

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Water shot.

After Matinloc we head to secret beach  on the way back to the resort which ill blog about next
xx

Good night.

One more day till Christmas 🙂

Philippines-Part 3 Lagen Island

17 Dec

Howdy!
I just realised I hadn’t mentioned this earlier, but the resort we stayed at was called Miniloc Island Resort. All are under El Nido resorts- http://www.elnidoresorts.com/
It had a partner resort called Lagen Island, where we could spend the day, to eat their buffet, go on a little hike through the forest, use their pool, go to their bar etc.
It was something refreshing if you got sick of the scenery at your resort (*cough*  which wouldn’t happen) and only a boat ride across the bay. In fact, you could jusssst make out their lights on at night in the distance.
Call me biased in saying I preferred Miniloc better, but yeah we had a beautiful  reef out the front to snorkel with their resident turtle, and the lovely authentic looking bungalows right over the water. 😉

We spent one day at Lagen, and did the walk. We were told to sign a waiver, which made me question if there were any snakes, tigers etc we should know about haha. It was just us two on the walk. Through that still, lush green forest.
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Me with my Gandalf stick to break up any spider webs ahead.

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Do I look big in this butt?

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And finally! The trail out to the beach- where we had to kayak back around to the resort front.

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My Boyfriend had a look at this photo we took, and thought it seemed soooo familiar but couldn’t work out where we had seen it before, we figured it was on the cover of Lonely Planet or something.

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Just casually doing yoga poses on a remote tropical island.

Afterwards, we made out way back canoeing, after a little dip from being so sweaty and hot from that walk. ( yes, unfit)

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Photos of Lagen Island from the front.

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Fascinating camel shaped rock..

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This is the resort pool, ok this is one thing we didn’t have at Miniloc, but hey you can’t have everything- even on paradise. I really adore how the palm leaves look like peacock tails.We were told by staff that Monitor Lizards( Big lizards) often came by and swum in the pool. I was shocked and said “then what?!!- how do you get them out?” He just laughed and said they let them swim because it was their home before we got here- which is true, and I respect that. They are pretty harmless and don’t cause much trouble- unlike the monkeys haha. Naughty bastards.
The wonderful bar man said he would make me any sort of daquiri, provided he had the fruit-so I requested a papaya daiquiri  Not bad, Not bad 😉

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you put the lime in the coconut …

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The massage room. Ahhh.  Sweet Memories…
The massages were amazing at the resort(all resorts have massage places), you could go to their massage tent such as this, or request them to come to your room. At a fraction of the cost for a massage in Sydney you can’t complain, but thats how it all add up when we got the big bill at the end lol. “Just one more cocktail, one more wine, one more massage..”
Even cheapness is only cheap in moderation.

Random memory flashback but I remember this day I had a grain of sand stuck on my eyeball under my top lid- let me tell you this was the most uncomfortable sensations i’ve ever experienced- the resort nurse tried multiple times flushing it with eye wash, I really wanted to cry. It felt like anything I did made it worse. In the end I got it out by opening my eyes in the salt water and moving my eyelid around with my finger. * note to yourself for future*
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I’ll end with a picture of dolphins we came across on a boat ride back from one of the islands, apparently if you stop the boat ( which we had) and clap, the dolphins come closer in. They were curious little friendly fellows and probably loved the attention.
They would pop their heads up every now and then. This made my afternoon as i’ve never seen dolphins that close before 🙂

Good night everyone

oxxo

Philippines-Part 2 Sunrises, The Lagoons, Caves and Snake Island

11 Dec

So i’ve decided to start this new post at 11.45 pm for no particular reason, even though I have work tomorrow. Just waiting for my lime green nails to dry while i have a bit of red wine 😀
Any excuse, eh?

So I can’t exactly remember what we did on each single day unfortunately so I will do it in chunks of what we saw/activities 🙂

Almost every morning we went  out on the boat to watch the sunrise-but the last morning we opted to do the kayak instead. Haha call me lazy but I preferred watching the sunrise on the boat, more time appreciating the sunrise and chilling on the boat with instant coffee than kayaking and worrying if we’d make it to big lagoon in time to take photos of the sunrise.

We were unlucky the first few mornings as the cloud covered the sun.
I must admit, the instant coffee was pretty horrible, but that’s just because we’re spoilt for choice here, but hey the caffeine did its job.
The Staff kindly gave us a wake up call, we struggled out of bed, showered and head to the buffet for a snack and met one of the activity guys- Vlad ( awesome guy with the biggest smile and spikiest hair)
It was pitch black, and I felt guilty when I saw the “Banca boys” i.e. Boat boys had been woken up just to take us out.
They still had bed hair when they came out of their little boat bunk.
This is one of the mornings we missed out on seeing the sunrise.
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Interesting Sunrise shot. like firebawlls

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One really interesting thing we saw, which we had never seen before was the glowing plankton in the ocean while it was dark, the simple things, are sometimes the most fascinating

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So the most iconic thing about El Nido is the Big Lagoon, with its stunning, still turquiose waters, it looks like something out of a movie. This was probably one of the places that had quite a few boats of tourists, but definitely not overcrowded.

Here are some photos I took of big Lagoon
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This rock formation is seen as a miracle as it’s shaped as Mother Mary praying, very cool
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Look at that lovely colour

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Afterwards we swum from the boat to this little beach. Whilst we were swimming my imagination was getting my better of me. The visibility wasn’t great in some parts of the water, a bit of a cloudy turquoise colour.
I couldn’t help but visualize a shark only a few metres away underwater, and it being too late and not being able to do anything about it ahaha, so I decided to swim the rest of the distance with my head above water in ignorant bliss.. if I was going to be eaten, id rather enjoy my last few moments.

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The Small Lagoon was further in, past big lagoon,  you could go for a little swim and kayak into small lagoon, it wasn’t accessible by the bigger boats so we all had to kayak in there.

Next we head out to Cathedral Cove.. which were some caves sort of shaped like a cathedral??? I dont know really, but we went there, and this is it.

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Our next stop was Cadugnon Caves where we had to climb through a small hole to get in. That’s one thing about many of the hidden sites in El Nido, you truly wonder how people discovered them in the first place, as if you were just cruising past these cliff faces and rocks you’d assume there wasn’t much behind it.
There are a few other places ill  mention later such as “secret beach” where we had to dive underwater, under a rock and resurfaced to a limestone cliff enclosed exclusive beach, amazing! Our tour guide knew of a few other little secret lagoons which was nice of him to take us to. But yes, that’s for later 😉

This was the beach just outside Cadugnon Cave

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Peek a booo
Here’s the hole we went through to get inside the cave

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And some pics from inside the cave, ^ that one is known as the micky mouse hole if you can make it out.
Heres the roof of the cave
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Snake Island

I cant remember if this was the same day because I seem to be wearing the same clothes everyday lol, but I will mention Snake Island in this post before I go to bed

Snake Island is named Snake Island because of its shape, it’s only visible during low tide and different bodies of water meet there( I think? from memory..)
The surroundings were lush, green, and prisssstiiine!
We all had a little swim in the shallow waters, the water was very clear and I happily floated along the surface enjoying my moment of peace and taking as many mental photos and videos as I could, hoping to never have to return to reality.

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View from the walk

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Took us a few jumps!

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The walk up to see Snake Island from above.

Ahh blogging is really quite time consuming! its already 1.30 am! I can’t believe at first I was thinking of doing my holiday all in one post!

Goodnight!

oxxo

Philippines holiday- Part 1 Manila, Arriving at El Nido (more like el paradise)

9 Dec

Alohaaar!

Finally i’ve decided to start a personal blog, so I can share things like my holidays/travel to look back on. My bf and I decided to go to the Philippines for a long awaited tropical holiday! ( realllly needed a break after 4 years of uni and no holiday)

In mid January we left miserable rainy old Sydney to Manila, via Hong Kong.
This was my first time on Cathay and I was impressed! I think previously I had taken Philippine airlines and I don’t recall having my own entertainment screen, so I was more than happy to enjoy 8 hours of movies.

We Stayed in Manila for a night to get enough rest before our little flight to El Nido, Palawan. I.E PARADISE!!!
I think it will pretty damn hard to top that holiday. ( *nostalgic sigh)

In case you were wondering where El Nido is… it’s the South West diagonal Island down towards

Malaysia.

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The resort we stayed itself was in the lovely haven of Bacuit Bay. We took a little plane, and I admit I was a little scared having only ever traveled on large planes, but it was just a short flight
(just over an hour.) There were two single rows down the plane and we chewed mentos to relieve any potential ear pressure haha. All in all the flight was lovely, and it was very interesting flying over different areas of Manila, then over the beautiful islands along the way.

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This was our plane. Posting photos is making me so nostalgic dammet..

This is a shot I took from the runway where we landed, I thought the long grass looked quite pretty and it was refreshing being away from the smells and pollution of Manila.

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We took transport known as a Jeepney there (Sort of like a little bus) to El Nido Town where a boat was waiting to take us to the resort.

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On the Jeepney we passed a school, lots of little houses, a church, people out and about on the street, some pigs, chooks, and there were a few tourists about.
This is where the boat was waiting to meet us 🙂

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A church on the ride there.

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A primary school ( beautiful scenery!)

So these were the style of boat we spent all of our island trips out on.
I can’t even put in words how excited I was at this stage and in awe of all the scenery.
We were finally here  at this amaaaazing place and still knew there was a plethora of things we were yet to see and experience.

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We passed a few islands on the way with some named after their shape, (or some other story behind it) such as helicopter island.
( Which was shown in the Bourne Legacy at the end when they escape- they were actually filming in the Philippines when we were there)- cool little side fact

Here’s Helipcopter Island we passed
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We were greeted to the Island staff(Who I promise you,are the best people you will ever meet when it comes to customer service!) singing us a welcome song accompanied by guitar and we were given this leaf based necklace, sort of like their version of a Hawaiian Lei.

What happened next is probably one of THE most embarrassing moments of my life. So we stepped off the boat, and this man was holding a tray of something folded very nicely. He said “cold towel mam?” – What I HEARD was Cold Taro??…  I was jet lagged, and hungry, I thought ( wishful thinking) it was some sort of sponge cake and bit into it…my teeth told a different story,
……it friggen hurt! He said, no mam, that’s not food, I was confused. I looked around, and to my horror I saw people around me using it to wipe their hands and face.. it was just a cold towel for refreshing, yup. Not one of my brightest moments.

Anywayyyys.. back on track

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Naww first selfie at the resort.
By this stage it was dark, we had our first buffet(out of the 19 more to come)- the food here was heaven, sooo much choice, From sushi, fresh seafood, stir fried veggies, steamed veggies, various dishes with chicken, beef, omg too much to name, the food was a little different every day, plus some things typical of the Filipino diet like fried fish, rice, vinegar.
– and gawd damn, the bar had some very attractive happy hours at two cocktails for the price of one ( equivalent to $4 AUD.)
We had entertainment some nights, like traditional dancers who got some of us to join in ( As i did!) and other nights information on the flora and fauna of Palawan, I loved how eco-friendly and sustainable this resort was. This will hopefully prevent it from degradation due to large flocks of tourists as other South East Asian places have been, like Bali, and places in Thailand.

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We went to bed full, and tired, to find a little birdy folded from leaves on our bed, a goodnight message written on a leaf, and a bedtime story from the village locals passed on through generations. Some nights were about ghost legends haha, great way to go to bed.
They also left us a little sweet treat.

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We woke up to the picturesque scenery around the resort, edgy limestone cliffs, crystal clear water, the smells of our buffet breakfast being cooked! I was already starting to dread the fact I would be leaving in a week, haa. We also had some friendly morning monkey visitors, I had been warned by staff to be careful sitting near the porches and eating Pan de sal(their Spanish bread) as the monkeys were notorious for stealing it.

So what did I do?
I grabbed some bread and sat near the porch for breakfast with my bf.
I love monkeys ( …and pretty much every other animal) so I  was pretty excited to see one as I hadn’t yet.
We were well into conversation, and before I realised what was happening……
a monkey had crept along the porch from behind me ( I don’t know how my bf didn’t see it) and I felt like something was next to me so I turned, saw the monkey which had carefully picked up my bread( thank god not the camera beside it) and it ran off and up into a tree.
I swore reallly loudly and offended an older couple nearby, who didn’t realise what happened to me lol.

Haha…it was funny but I was in shock for a while.
I should have known something was up when this American tourist sitting outside the buffet area had planted himself on a deck chair, had his eye on the roof above me, with a big grin on his face. I just thought he was a bit weird and carried on.
After the monkey raid he was hysterical.. I wonder if he filmed it. Lol i’d love to see it..
Here’s one of those naughty monkeys with a mango

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Just a few photos of the resort..

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Lunch time snack!

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We did so much snorkeling just in the reef/ area in front of the resort..
We were lucky enough to see a turtle, some beautiful clown fish,big Jack fish, dangerous lion fish, a cuttlefish, flutenose fish, stick fish, starfish and heaps more colourful fish down there!!
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Here’s a  big jack fish!- was hard to get a shot with them before they took off.

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We also spent some time kayaking to neighboring little beaches/islands, which were uninhabited.. so we had it practically to ourselves!
A luxury you couldn’t get many other places 😉

Me (attempting) to do the splits on the little beach we had..

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I’ll end with my favourite photo of the holiday FOR NOW as i’m getting sleepy, in conclusion i am in love with the Philippines and it’s people!
I’m half Filipino myself and very proud, Filos are so lovely, as is the country in various areas.

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Ever been anywhere tropical?
Where’s your favourite tropical holiday destination?

Goodnight internet,

hello eye bags tomorrow.

Typhoon Bopha / Philippines

5 Dec

I just read of the typhoon in the Philippines “Typhoon Bopha”, http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/04/world/asia/philippines-typhoon/index.html
Over 200 people have already been killed.

It’s such a tragic situation, so many of the people there have very little to even call home in the first place, and to have this taken away from them, as well as family and friends is truly heartbreaking.

I’m not sure if you guys have been there or know any Filipinos but I really love the Philippines- so many beautiful islands to see. I love the people- friendly, hardworking, always making light of any situation- not dwelling on any negatives, regardless of how little they have they will joke about it!
I would really just LOVE to start a foundation or some sort of charity/ business with proceeds going  to the people there. I was in tears witnessing how the children beg and run around on the busy roads, wearing old torn clothes,dirt all over their faces risking their lives for some change. My Mum told me so many people there sniff glue so they don’t feel the hunger pangs. They are very sweet people with a lot of faith.

If you have never been to the Phillipines I highly suggest you go, you will fall in love with the place and people. In fact my background photo on this blog was taken there.

However the reality in the majority of areas there is that parents struggle to make ends meet, those with tertiary level education still struggle to find work, even at the local fast food joint.  These are people who work so hard, in the hope they can have a better future.
This is a photo taken of the area known as Tondo, where my mother grew up- not in this sort of dwelling though.


Tondo Slum Photo from: http://bit.ly/TP9msW

  • More than a quarter of Filipinos struggle to make the equivalent of $390 AUD/ $412 USD in ONE year.
    (Philippines Government, Philippines Development Plan 2011-2016, URL: http://www.neda.gov.ph/PDP/2011-2016/default.asp)

Think about it. That is less than one weeks’ pay here in Australia.

In contrast, many of the islands in the Philippines are pure paradise
and i will upload some of my personal photos in another post but here are a few from the net:
Palawan

Source: http://bit.ly/TJ4uWD

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