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A Travel and Accommodation Guide for the Philippines

This travel guide features information and suggestions for planning your Philippine holiday, for both the Filipino and foreign tourist. Included are independent and frank reviews of many restaurants, hotels, resorts, guest houses and vacation activities. I started this website some 12 years ago as a way of sharing my passion for exploring the Philippines. Although it's difficult to keep this website up-to-date, with all the rapid changes occurring in the Philippines, but my favorite palaces are still my favorite.
The Philippines has been making world headlines in October and November, 2013, first with the Bohol earthquake, followed by the biggest typhoon ever to make landfall, Typhoon Haiyan. Note that the destruction has been very localized, and most of the Philippines is open for tourism as usual...... John

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Luzon

Sagada
Sagada has waterfalls, burial caves, spelunking caves, great food, lots of rice terraces to walk along - the list just goes on.  It remains largely a farming community, is Anglican rather than Catholic and has evolved for itself a sophistication and quality of life which is different from much of rural Philippines.

Banaue
Banaue is a great stopover destination on your way to Batad or Sagada, The main attraction is the massive and very old Ifugao rice terraces. Have a look around the shops that line the streets of the town of Banaue. The Ifugaos are skilled basket makers and some are good woodcarvers.

Batad
A very ancient village set in a breathtakingly beautiful amphitheater of rice terraces and rugged mountains. The Tappiyah Waterfall is great to swim in, so bring your bathing suit.
Batad Accommodation
Reviews and pictures of the 11 tourist accommodations.

Bangaan
The Bangaan Family Inn & Restaurant is the only accommodation here and is accessible by road, just past the Batad junction. Bangaan is a good alternative for those who cannot make the hike to Batad or don't have the time. It is also an alternative to staying in Banaue for the night. The walk to the Bangaan village is easy and the scenery is very beautiful.

Bontoc
The museum is well worth a visit for a couple of hours. It is a well organized exhibition of photographs (back in the head-hunting days) fabrics, basketry, jewelry, weapons, fascinating books etc, plus a replica of a village outside with the old houses, pig pens, girls and boys dormitories etc. The view of Bontoc from the lookout is worth the tricycle ride.

Buasao - Camping
Buasao is located somewhere in the common-land border region near where the Mountain Province, Abra and Kalinga borders meet in the Cordilleras of Central Luzon. It was a 9km trek with only the first 1km assent being arduous.  On this trek, we passed through numerous sections of "mossy forest". We slept by the fire on a mountain top surrounded by pines.

Tinglayan
The road, which follows the Chico River, offers some of the most beautiful views we have seen in the Philippines. Valley after valley of extraordinary mountain terrain with rice terraces situated in seemingly impossible places. Stay at the Riverside Inn which right in the heart of a small rural community - lots of free ranging pigs and chickens.

Baguio
Baguio is too crowded for most foreign travelers to enjoy. Spend as little time there as possible if you are passing through.

Manila
Don't spend time Manila unless you have a tour guide or you really know what you are doing. Manila can be a fun place or a nightmare, depending on who's showing you around. It is a filthy, overcrowded and polluted city. Getting around the city can be very difficult, and this is exacerbated by conditions of high humidity and choking exhaust fumes.

Festivals

Puerto Princesa - Baragatan Festival - 2009  Pictures or Videos
This festival is held yearly and runs for the whole month of June. The highlight of the 2009 festival was the June 23rd dance performances by the 7 participating municipalities of Palawan. The beautifully choreographed dances with their stunning costumes tell a story of the culture and traditions of the different regions of Palawan.

Lucban Festival
This harvest festival is celebrated each year on the 15th of May. The town Lucban, is situated about 2 hours (depending on traffic) south east of Manila. Famous for its visual beauty, the pictures speak for themselves.

Contributed Articles

Donsol - Encounters with Whale Sharks
Donsol is a small, coastal fishing town, 600km from Manila, on the southwest coast of Luzon. From about February to May every year, the town is frequented by Whale Sharks.

Palawan

About Palawan
Often called the "last frontier", this sparsely populated island is famous for its stunning seascapes, great snorkeling, wonderful beaches and some beautiful places to go kayaking. This guide provides a brief introduction to Palawan's major destinations with suggestions for itineraries.

Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa City is the Capital city of Palawan and is a pleasant, albeit busy commercial center. There are some fantastic restaurants and cafes here. The city also retains some of its old world charm as a port and fishing city. The major tourist activity is Island hopping and snorkeling around Honda Bay.

Sabang and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Although Sabang's main attraction is the underground river, there are many other things worth staying a few days for. Walk the Monkey trail to the underground river or take a guided tour of the mangrove forest. Note that the underground river is more than 80km from Puerto Princesa City so consider spending at least a night there rather than doing the day trip from Puerto Princesa City

Taytay
Only an hour from El Nido by road, this less frequented tourist spot has lots of things to do - visiting the 17th century Fort Santa Isabelle, island-hopping, snorkeling, swimming in the hidden lagoon (cave), kayaking on Lake Manguao, Irrawaddy Dolphin watching in Malampaya Sound, and swimming in the Canique Waterfall.
Lake Manguao
Located in Taytay, this is Palawan's largest lake - it is unspoiled and ideal for kayaking and bird watching.

El Nido
The setting is fantastic – rugged limestone outcrops crowned with dense jungle foliage form the backdrop. Lots of island hopping and snorkeling to do - islands rise out of the water all around. Rent a motor bike, a 4 wheel drive car or a mountain bike and explore around. Rent a sea kayak or a wind surfer and enjoy the silence. El Nido sunsets are really beautiful.

Port Barton
Located on Palawan’s west coast, about half way between Sabang and El Nido. The attractions are island hopping, snorkeling, beach lazing and swimming. There is a mangrove river tour and two nearby waterfalls. Port Barton has a real frontier feel and is also a great destination for the eco-tourists.

Coron
With a population of some 40,000, it is the largest city on the Island of Busuanga. Coron is famous as a destination for wreck scuba divers. Enjoy sea kayaking, eating at Bistro Coron, watching the stunningly beautiful ocean sunsets, relaxing in the Maquinit Hot Springs or snorkeling around the islands.

Cacnipa Island
Coconut Garden Island resort is worthy of being considered a separate destination. This beautiful low cost resort is located on Cacnipa Island, 15Km (45 minutes by boat) west of Port Barton. There is a easy trail that leads around and over the island with some stunning seascapes and views of mainland Palawan.

Bohol

Bohol Travel Guide
Bohol's major draw cards are the Chocolate Hills, the white-sands of Alona Beach, the first class dive sites of Panglao Island, the many old Catholic churches and the Tarsier, the worlds' smallest primate. Bohol is easily accessible from Manila and Cebu.

Chocolate Hills Tour
This tour typically includes the Chocolate Hills, tarsier viewing, a butterfly conservation park, many old churches and driving through a beautiful and varied landscape. The cheapest and best way to explore the Chocolate Hills is by rental motorbike. Many cars, vans and buses available for day-tours.

Alona Beach and Panglao Island
Alona Beach is a white-sand beach, on the island of Panglao. It features abundant snorkeling and diving spots, while being quieter than the more popular Boracay. Most tourists who visit the Chocolate Hills choose to stay somewhere on Panglao island.

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