My useful Philippines

On 20 March 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

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When I was there, the exchange rate was : 1€ = 61PHP (make it to do simple 1€ = 60 PHP)

Visa
No visa is required for the French who want to visit the Philippines, if you want to stay less than 3 weeks.

ATM
Attention in the Philippines, you will not find ATM everywhere, remember to withdraw money in advance. No ATM on the island of Malapascua for example (you can pay diving in Evolution by Paypal or credit card), or in El Nido and no way to pay by card wherever I have been!

My tips by island now:

BOHOL
Accommodation: Nuts Huts, 900 PHP night for a classic room , 1200 for the top 300 in the dormitory. This is a beautiful hotel in the middle of the jungle which offers quite an extraordinary nature with the river below and others. Good restaurant. Attention, however , it is quite far from everything (in Lobok , you can take local bus to Tagbilaran in 1h, 25 PHP) , you have to walk about 15min from the road and down 300 steps to reach it. Same for going up! So be careful it is not suitable for all ! You can also join via a boat which is about 5 minutes before the bus on the road that takes you down the facility for 150 PHP (but you still need to climb 150 steps to reach the reception / restaurant ).
Visits: Alona Beach , frankly not terrible despite what guides say, packed with restaurants and shops for tourists. We rented a day motobikes with guides to see the surroundings . You will find guides everywhere so I do not tell you any names on this (especially since we did not have the best security level and that it was not awesome) but it’s worth it to see the Chocolate hills , no interest the butterfly garden however. If you want some thrills, go ziplining to the park in Lobok (300 PHP for an round way between two mountains.

CEBU
I did not stay there long, just 2 nights to sleep so I just put up 2 places I stayed :
Cebu city : Sugbutel family hotel , Japanese dormitory ( approximately 200 beds all in a row ) , 250 to 300 PHP depending on the bed you want, after you pay supplements for sheets, towel, leave your bag and baggagerie and other. It is located in a place where there is not much if it is not a great business between ( filled restaurants you fart belly with pizza , ice cream , donuts and other culinary marvel !) But has the advantage be cheap and near bus stations , not far from the airport and the port !
Maya city (to take the boat to Malapascua) : if like me you miss the last boat of the day, you can sleep at Kekoy GH managed by a super friendly family! 450 PHP night (bargain!) and they have a restaurant barbecue just below where you can eat well for less than 100 PHP playing with the kids!

MALAPASCUA
Transport : To get there from Bohol, take a ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran (500 PHP – 2h) . In Cebu , go to the north bus station by taxi ( 50-100 PHP) and then take the bus Maya, north of the island (163 PHP – 4 to 5 hours ) . Finally, take a boat from Maya to Malapascua (80PHP +40PHP for small boats that take you big if you take the public boat , otherwise negotiate for private boats if you do not want to wait for the public one, I paid 200 PHP to be on a small boat carrying food on the island and it dropped me right outside my hotel – 30min).
Accommodation: I was the first 2 nights at Mr Kwitz which is in all the guidebooks … I highly discouraged! Sure it is only 500 PHP per night ( one of the cheapest on the island) but being in the midst of cockroaches , larvae, in the morning you have roosters and dogs fighting… I moved in Danielo , bungalows on the beach for 600 PHP, much nicer ! Super clean, direct view of the sea as on the beach, negotiate a little ( this is normally 800 PHP night).
Restaurant: by laziness and lack of time sometimes, I am confined to meals at Craic House, the restaurant of the diving center / hotel developments with whom I did my diving. Not the cheapest on the island but super nice staff and good food .
Diving : You surely come to be on island for that! I decided , on the advice of a friend, Evolution center which was great, pro, very nice and perfect. I spent my open water for 17950 PHP (slightly less than 300€ , price equal almost everywhere on the island) and the shark dive in the morning cost me 3000PHP . I had a great instructor Albin, a Swedish working freelance with several centers but leaving soon I think. In Evolution you also have Dannie , also Swedish , which apparently is great for learning! On Albin statements, Evolution is the best island to snorkel. You also have Exotic and Thresher are two other good diving centers apparently.

PALAWAN – EL NIDO
Transport: Palawan must be reached by air from Manila or Cebu (35-40€), then take a van at the airport of Puerto Princesa who joined El Nido in 6h for 500PHP (bargain!)
Accommodation : Hotel Sands Inn – 500 PHP night with private bedroom and shared bathroom (300 dorm room, negotiate price which is normally 600 or 700 PHP for the room). Clean, sea view from the terrace and therefore direct access to the beach, west of the main street of El Nido right next to the restaurant La Salangane. You also have Rico ‘s cottage which overlooks the beach and offers rooms 500 PHP but book in advance absolutely !
Restaurant: I have tried a lot ! 2 restaus near my hotel were offering grilled fish with rice and vegetables for 200 PHP and you choose your fish on display directly ! Sea Slug and Ogies offer the same kind of menu, feet in the sand , nice! La Salangane is a little more expensive but opened by French offering good food restaurant. Top during breakfast too! Mexican Restau Cabanao lounge very good! And Bodega is another good place, also opened by French ! Art cafe which is in all the guidebooks in my way overpriced and not good taste. For a drink, sight Pukka beach bar with live music and good atmosphere.
Diving: it had been recommended to me and I recommend my turn to go diving with Yoshi who opened his dive center El Dive last December. It is located in the middle of the main street that runs along the sea, he is a man of uncommon kindness , which identifies all the fishes, explain to you everything, is very helpful. Really go there eyes closed and just take the time when you speak English ( he is Japanese and can be hard to understand) . 1 day on the boat with 3 dives including breakfast for 3200 PHP .
Boat trip : absolutely everyone has the same tricks at the same price so there is the feeling. Each tour includes a certain number of spots ( lagoons , beaches, islands … ) . A tour ( 1200PHP ) and C Tour ( 1400PHP ) are the most famous ! I toured A, personal paying 1000PHP after negotiation but it is best to create your own tour combining the A and C , the boat will cost you the day 3000-4000 PHP quickly so it ‘s worth it if you are more than one!
Scooter : to explore more remote beaches ( the Nacpan beach in particular) or waterfalls. 500 PHP day (bargain!) + 200PHP gasoline .

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