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These are the 7 best moments, places and people (plus one animal) from my journey which I will never ever forget.
1. Most magical moment: sunrise over mountains
Waiting for the sun to wake up and start stroking the tops of still-sleeping mountains around Sagada is one of the first strong memories from the Philippines. I had to wake up as early as 5 am to get to the Kitlepan mountain on time. Although it takes only 45 minutes from Sagada on foot, I decided to hire a jeep with the driver as I was not sure I would find my path in the darkness. From some of the people, I met later during my trip I know that it is also nice to play to say overnight in the tent.
2. Coolest accommodation: The wooden hut
That night I slept as the locals around rice fields in Batad slept: In the wooden hut, with no running water or electricity. You have to climb a ladder to reach the upper part of the hut, where the room is located (right under the roof). To my surprise, you can actually make a fire inside: the flames are both source of heat and light. Is there anything calming than spend evening surrounded with woods in a room lighted solely by glimmering flames?
3. The most surprising place: Manila
Yes, I mean the capital of the Philippines – probably with the place with the worst reputation in the Philippines. Following the bad reviews of my friends, I was trying to avoid Manila in my traveling schedule. Anyway, I ended up spending there 24 hours- and I am glad I had time to discover the nice face of Manila and the great entertainment-Manila massage . After seeing the historical part from the on the horse carriage, I have to say that Manila exceeded my expectations!
4. The most interesting animal: Tarsier
Before my journey, I read that tarsier – the smallest primate – is capable head movement of a 180-degree. The one I found in Bohol island in Bohol island, was unfortunately not willing to prove it to me. Hanging on the bush, he didn’t show much movement at all (tarsiers are usually active during the night). His eye contact was, nevertheless, already intense enough to make this little creature the most interesting animal of my journey.
5. The sexiest Filipino: The surfer from Alona beach
I met this guy when walking around Alona beach, the most beautiful beach of Panglao island. He was surfing aside, and when I took a photo of him, he started posing as photo model (perhaps we tough I am working for Playboy magazine or what). No idea whether he has ever done this profession before, anyway, I kept laughing a long time even after his“photoshoot” was over.
If you enjoy beach destinations, consider stunning Camotes islands.
6. The most inspiring people: The couple from Siberia
I met the Russian couple when traveling in Palwan, the fifth-largest island in the Philippines. When I met them first – we happened to be on the same van on the way from Puerto Princesa to El Nido- they were tired after exhausting travel from their home in Siberia. As soon as we arrived, they went to the beach, had a swim together and then they sat son on the beach, drinking beer (I bet it was Don Miguel) and hugging each other.
Read a fellow blogger’s post about things to know before visiting Palawan here.
7. The most extreme experience: Climbing the cliff
I knew I am gonna sweat, I just didn’t know that I am also gonna sweat from fear. One hour hike to limestone cliffs of El Nido is the only place I would not be able to do without a guide. Hiking and climbing on stones requires lot of effort and also caution as some of the stones age quite sharp. Even though I was struggling even in my comfortable trainers, my guide Leoneil has done it is slippers. “First I climbed this cliff when I was seven years old”, he told me, ”and since then I know my way even if walking blind.”