Somewhere in between teaching English in Taiwan and planning for my 4 month trip to Southeast Asia, I found myself the opportunity to travel somewhere not so far from both. Once my boyfriend decided to come to Taiwan and live with me, we had to figure a way for him to leave the country for his visa run. “The Philippines“, he said with much excitement in his voice. A thoughtful lady that he use to work with once said he could always visit her family in the Philippines if he wanted. It seemed perfect in every way possible: free stay, free food, free transportation and a beautiful family to make memories with. With the little budget we had, it seemed more feasible to provide food and gas money to our friends than stay in a hostel and eat out every night. So, we took the offer, flew to the Philippines and now I’m here writing at the second to the last day of our trip while waiting for our large cargo boat to pull up to Coron Town and take us to Manila. I’m more than grateful for the family that helped us for the first week in the Philippines, but also for the many opportunities we’ve had along the way of our two week trip.
To break it down for you, every second of this trip has been amazing. And the best part about that is half the time we were in Coron Town, Palawan, Philippines we were scuba diving between WWII shipwrecks and colorful reefs, and when you’re underwater time seems to slow down — at least for me.
When I arrived in the Philippines I felt a little uneasy. The air felt warm and there were a tons of people standing outside of the airport ready for you to give them your money. I waited and finally saw Caleb on the other side of the gate… I said to myself… thank goodness! He introduced me to a few members of the family that would be taking care of us for the next few days and then we were off! When arriving to their house we were welcomed by children of the neighborhood, their parents and the most darling old lady I had ever seen. She always wanted to talk to me, but we could only communicate through hugs and smiles. I loved her so much.
In the first full day we went to Pico de Loro, a mountain located on the west coast north of Batangas, that takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to hike. Compared to the many hikes I’ve done in Taiwan, I’d have to say that this one is definitely in my top 3. It’s a dirt trail surrounded by forestation and wildlife with a waterfall, large boulders and a great view once you make it to the top. However, while climbing to the top I would caution you, it’s very windy and the side of the mountain where you climb isn’t the safest. Also, there’s another peak called you can reach that’s a vertical climb and can also be very dangerous.
A day or two later we went to a beautiful place called Batangas where we stayed at a resort that the family had a time share with. The resort didn’t offer any free meals or activities, but they had a giant pool, luxurious lounge and beachfront private property for your enjoyment. We spent two relaxing nights there and took advantage of every hot shower we could get.
Days had passed and we finally said our goodbyes after a long night of dancing and feasting on the delicious meal they made us. Unfortunately before we left for Coron we had to deal with some drama at the Taiwan Embassy. But four hours and thirty minutes later we were on our 24 hour boat ride to Coron Town.
Did you find this article helpful? Are you traveling to the Philippines and have questions? Feel free to leave your comments/questions below!
Kollin is an avid traveler and entrepreneur. When she’s not working as a Marketing Consultant, she’s strategizing ways to make Every Girl, Everywhere even better. She’s passionate about helping people, traveling and living the best life possible.