Philippines – 2019

After Taipei, I moved on to the Philippines for 3 weeks, from April 1st to April 22nd.

I visited many places (3 islands, Cebu, Bohol and Palawan), had many issues and at the end I went away with mixed feelings about my stay.

Full Album here.

I spent the first 3 days near the city of Cebu, nothing to do there, if you ever go to the area, do not waste time in Cebu unless you have logistics to take care of. That’s what I did but yeah, the first impression was not very good.

Anyway after renting a motorbike (for 2 weeks) I planned my next move, decided to go to the neighbor island, Bohol.

Bohol is known for a beach called, Alona, if you like beaches with backpackers and shops all over the place, go there, I don’t so I stayed outside the area. I decided to visit waterfalls first.

First one on the route was Damagan Falls, not the most impressive for sure but a good introduction, I had a very funny little girl as a guide.



You can also ask your guide to bring you to the “secret waterfall”, the locals love to call everything secret, it’s marketing to get more “tip money” from you. Most, if not all waterfalls, force you to use a guide, from what I was told, that’s an illegal operation but it’s more than tolerated by authorities, they don’t have a fixed rate, they just ask for tip. The falls usually cost between 20-40 pesos and tips are about 100 pesos. 1$USD is about 50 pesos as I write this. It’s not a lot of money and it helps the locals but just be aware of the situation.

Anyway next, the “secret waterfall” is IPO Falls:



Those 2 falls are OK but there’s much better ones in the area, one of those being the next one I went to, Pahangog Falls. Two falls that fall into the same “pool” very nice spot:



There’s also some rice terraces nearby:



My next activity on the highland was visiting the tarsier sanctuary, be aware that there’s two places to see those little primates and one of them is to be avoided from what I read, they treat the tarsiers very poorly. The one that I visited and you should visit is named: Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. Be aware that you might only see them sleep, the primates are nocturnal animals and usually sleep all day.






They look very funny to me and sometimes they can have a very creepy look:



The next day I drove to another waterfall, pretty and wide, well worth the visit:



After that I quickly drove to the Chocolate Hills, in Carmen, I was trying to get there before sunset and I made it just in time for a short drone flight and some pictures:



I then moved on to Anda, driving to Chocolate Hills at sunrise on my way to Anda, but when I got to the Chocolate Hills it was foggy and raining.

Anda is a very small beach/fisherman village on the east coast of the island, there’s the beach and you guessed it, waterfalls nearby, Can-umantad Falls, the road to get there is a little rough but in my opinion it’s the best falls in Bohol.




There’s also a nice rice terraces nearby, you can actually drive to the rice terraces and have a longer walk to the falls if you fancy a little trek. The rice terraces are great for drone photography:






One of the beaches at sunset in the Anda area:




The next day I just went to the beach until late afternoon, I thenm drove to the Lamanok Island area where I flew my drone and the ocean colors did not disappoint!






The next day I was taking the ferry back to Cebu to fly from Cebu to Puerto Princesa, on  Palawan Island, on the drive back, I went to Chocolate Hills for a third time, again, the sunrise was totally blocked by fog and clouds. but I managed to get some pictures a little bit after sunrise:




Some random girl modeling in my shot …



The light was good when it finally showed up:



So after sleeping a night in Cebu I flew to Palawan, flight was 5 hours delayed, and from Puerto Princesa I took a mini-van/bus to Port Barton where I arrived late into the night. I had booked 2 nights there but with my delayed flight I didn’t have time to do much. It’s a very chill and quiet place with moslty foreigner tourists and not much to do other than enjoy the beach and do island hoping boat tours, I just stayed around the village and beach for the only day I could enjoy there.

Here’s 3 cellphone pictures from the village:



Early next day I continued north to El Nido, there I rented a motorbike to explore the region, I drove to Nacpan beach, on the way there I saw a cockpit with many people and roosters, I decided to stop, I was the only foreigner there and the locals were pretty friendly so I decided to pull out the camera and take some pictures of that crazy event, crazy to me.

I know some of you might be offended by the cock fight pictures but this is a reality in the Philippines and I think it makes for great pictures, that’s why I am sharing, I have no opinion on this, but all I can say is that to me there’s many other important issues to solve before worrying about cock fights in countries such as the Philippines.

Anyway here it is, the cocks are put face to face to check out how aggressive they are towards each other, the owner hold his rooster:




If both roosters are aggressive towards each other, the fight is on and for about 60 seconds the crowd starts shouting at each other to place bets, it’s a pretty wild scene:



There’s is a referee and two judges from what I understood, the cocks are equipped with a blade, which makes this a battle to the death:



It’s pretty strange to see how aggressive a chicken can be:






Some of the proud owners:






Anyway after staying there for about one hour, I kept going to my destination, Nacpan beach, this beach use to be very wild but it’s getting more popular now from what I heard, there’s some small resorts and stuff but it’s still a nice place to enjoy a peaceful day at the beach, from the air the color of the water is amazing:




The sun was not setting just yet but the clouds position made for a wild effect:



Another aerial shot:



Sunset was pretty nice:




The next day I did a island hoping tour in El Nido, Tour C, there is 4 tours, A-B-C-D, I only did one so I can’t really compare them but Tour C was pretty good, all tours are the same price and same routes, it’s all managed by the local authorities, which is good in a place like that but also makes the location a little crowded, still I really enjoyed my experience. I only had my cellphone and drone with me that day, I wanted just enjoy and not have the pressure of carrying all my gear with me:


Cellphone shots:





Cellphone shots:




After the tour I  went back to my place, took my camera back and made it for sunset at Las Cabanas beach:






My last day in El Nido I went to another beach north of El Nido, Duli Beach, it’s a surf spot, very wild, only 2 hotels and 2 restaurants on a very long beach, very cool spot if you like wild waves and surfing:






Areal view of the whole beach:



The next day I went back south with a mini-van/bus to Puerto Princesa, where I had a return flight to Cebu the next day, took some shots of El Nido city before leaving:



These waterproof bags are the most popular item in El Nido:



And sunset at Puerto Princesa:




I had 3 nights left in Cebu, it was time to rent a motorbike again and drive towards the south of the island, it was holy week so many places were fully booked and very crowded, I decided to go to Oslob mostly because it was close to some waterfalls I wanted to visit and room prices were decent. Drove from one coast to the other through the mountains and the view was pretty nice from up there:




First falls I visited were called Inambakan Waterfalls, the main fall was very crowded so I only took pictures of the surrounding area:




And to finish the falls tour I visited Dao Falls, the fall itself isn’t great but the canyon you walk in to get to it is just amazing: