How to Get to Boracay from Manila, Philippines

Our journey of getting to Boracay started off in Honolulu.

Our flight from Honolulu left at 12:30 on a bright sunny afternoon and as we circled west over the island we passed over Pearl Harbour where we could see the memorial to the crewmen of the Arizona below us in the bay.

Aloha Hawaii, we really enjoyed our short nine days in paradise. 

Next stop, the Philippines.

Surprisingly our flight to Manila was almost 11 hours long. Who knew Hawaii was so friggin’ far away – from everything. It’s way out in the middle of nowhere: 4650 miles (9 hours flying time) from Toronto to Hawaii and another 5,330 miles (10 hours 40 min flying time) from Hawaii to Manila. Manila to Bangkok, the next stop on our itinerary, is an additional1,374 miles (3 hours). So Hawaii to Bangkok is a whopping 6,704 miles.

Thank goodness we opted to stop over in the Philippines, a country we have never visited, to break up the trip.

See also Best Diving Spots in the Philippines.

Getting to Manila, Philippines
Philippine Navy’s dragon boats in Manila Bay, Philippines. Depositphotos.com

Arriving in Manila

As we gradually descended through the clouds into Manila we caught our first glimpses of small green islands surrounded by yellow beaches and the azure Pacific Ocean. Gradually large jagged mountains appeared covered with a shag carpet of lush green forest. Then, like a scene from a fairy tale, three dark green volcanic cones spiked through the wisps of cottony white clouds. The clouds reflected the golden rays of the sun and the dark silhouettes of the volcanoes jumped out against the bright blue background of the sky.

The effect was mesmerizing.

The islands showed almost no signs of habitation or development. Only the thin trails of smoke rising from a few fields of sugar cane gave any indication of life until we reached the outskirts of Manila where rice paddies and the rectangles of fish farms in the bay patterned our view.

Then we were engulfed by a shroud of smog as we dropped down towards Manila proper. But even here, colours still jumped out at us as brightly painted houses in shades of yellow, orange, blue and red dotted the ground like a Georges Serat pointillist painting.

Although for us it was now 10:30 p.m. Hawaii time, the sun was still shining because the local time in Manila was only 4:30 p.m. – but on the next day.

We had crossed the date line and lost a whole day!

So, in effect, it was the exact same time as back in Toronto, but 12 hours earlier. Confused? Join the club, so are we. It took us two days to adjust our internal clock to Hawaii time and now we have to start all over again. In fact, I’m writing this at 3 a.m., which is 9 a.m. Hawaii time, 3 p.m. Toronto time. Can’t sleep!

In the Manila airport terminal, we were immediately hit by several surprises. Everyone speaks English here and even the signs are all in English. They also speak Tagalog, influenced by Spanish from their colonial days, and they used to study Spanish in school. Now, however, they are taught English in the schools. The two major dailies in Manila are in English, but, interestingly, half of the comics are in Tagalog. They’re not quite as funny as the English ones – humour doesn’t translate well. :;

The second surprise was the presence of several separate customs lines for “Returning Overseas Workers.” Because of low pay and high unemployment in the Philippines, over a million Filipinos work overseas or on cruise ships to send money back home.

We noticed in Hawaii that almost all of the workers in the service industry (restaurants, hotels, bus drivers, shop clerks) were Filipino. Literally billions of pesos are sent back to the Philippines every month from OFW’s (Overseas Filipino workers). Without their influx of dollars the economy would sink.

Our initial impression is that Manila, while English speaking, is still exotic, with just a whiff of danger. Every store and restaurant has an armed security guard acting as a doorman, a Walmart greeter with a gun!

The streets are clogged with cars, trucks and small brightly coloured, gaudy buses called Jeepneys. You risk your life just crossing the street where four lanes of cars crowd into three lanes and cars dart through the red lights with impunity.

The sidewalks are uneven and broken forcing you out onto the street and into the path of motorbikes, pedicabs and handcarts all racing along and weaving in and out of lanes and even onto the sidewalk to get around the stalled traffic. You need to keep one eye on the sidewalk and one eye on the motorbikes.  

Young Filipinos push the handcarts along the street in flip flops. Each cart carries bamboo trays loaded with homemade rice cakes, food wrapped in banana leaves and Spam cooked in a variety of ways. Spam is a popular dish here and you see it in many restaurants.  As on many islands, Spam is a legacy of the US troops during WWII.

In sharp contrast to the handcarts, are the Starbucks on many street corners. The world is shrinking, and not necessarily in a good way.

Pollution is a big problem here. A lot of Filipinos wear cloths over their mouths and noses.

The smog is so thick in Manila that you can chew on it.

But unlike in China where they spit it out onto the sidewalk, here they just swallow it in chunks.

Breakfast was an adventure, but not too risky. Living in Toronto, we were quite familiar with Filipino dinner foods, like lechon (roast suckling pig), Adobo chicken, and sticky rice. The Philippino breakfast menu, however, was totally foreign to us. We ended up with two dishes that we shared, a hot rice noodle with a gloopy orange/brown sauce, shrimp and a slice of boiled egg on top, and a salty hot rice dish, like Chinese congee, called, appropriately enough, “Arroz caldo.” It came with another slice of boiled egg and some crispy fried garlic. Both actually tasted better than it sounds.

Initially we were concerned about coming to the Philippines because of the kidnappings in the past and a report that violence might break out over proposed changes to the current electoral rules. In fact, today a firefight broke out between a Muslim terrorist group and the military and 19 people were killed. But that is only in the far south island of Mindanao and we will be staying further north where the majority of the population is Catholic.

Then there are the monsoons and the typhoons.

We’re past Monsoon season, but just learned that three typhoons ripped through here in the last couple of weeks and they are expecting possibly one more soon. Hmmm!

All and all, the Philippines have already been a pleasant surprise. The people are exceedingly friendly, which one would expect given the fact that they export “service.” Everyone from airport security, people on the street and even the armed greeters at the stores has been polite, smiling and helpful. And one can easily accept the contrast between the verdant green hills we saw from the air and the reality on the streets of Manila, after all there is pollution in all big cities.

Manila skyline, Philippines
Makati Skyline at night. Makati is a city in the Philippines` Metro Manila region and the country`s financial hub. It`s known for the skyscrapers and shopping malls. Depositphotos.com

How to get to Boracay from Manila

But we didn’t come here for Manila and, in fact, we’re only staying here for one night. Now we’re off to Boracay Island where we hope the initial impressions of the lush, green Philippines we saw from the air will be confirmed.

Boracay is famed for its beaches and has the second best beach in the world according to TripAdvisor.  It ranks fourth of 25 on Travel + Leisure’s Top Ten island’s list.

Getting to Boracay is not easy however. As I said earlier, Manila is pretty far away from North America. Then you have to take a 72-seat puddle jumping turboprop from Manila to Caticlan with Cebu Pacific Airways.

At first glance, the flights look inexpensive, but once you arrive at the airport you’re suddenly hit with extra baggage fees of 150 pesos per kilo (approximately $3.75/kilo). They even weighed us and our handbags. Of course, traveling for seven months doesn’t afford us the luxury of traveling light, so it was expensive. Then there’s a terminal usage fee, which is surprising given that the new terminal has recently been voted the worst in the world.

Once you arrive at Caticlan on Panay Island you have to pay more access fees, then a fee to board a small outrigger boat that takes you across to Boracay itself. The rickety outriggers are called “Pumpboats.” I’m not sure what that means because they’re motor driven, but on the way over I saw a guy at the back constantly pumping a lever. Fortunately, the ocean was calm.

Then normally you hire a motor-tricycle to take you to your hotel. These things are amazing for how much weight they can carry without tipping over or hitting bottom. We saw one that was piled so high with boxes that it looked like a moving pyramid. Others had so many people crowded into then with their luggage that the passengers’ feet were almost dragging on the road.

The trip on the narrow lane up the island to our hotel was hair raising as the hotel vans and motor-tricycles barely squeezed by each other and somehow avoided hitting pedestrians with their mirrors. We haven’t yet dared venture out onto the lane on foot.

How to get to Boracay from Manila, Philippines
White beach, Boracay Island, Philippines. Depositphotos.com

But, getting to Boracay is well worth it

It is tiny, only seven kilometers by one kilometer wide, and is almost entirely surrounded by lovely white sand beach. We’re staying at Willy’s Boracay Hotel right on White Beach, the best beach with four kilometers of packed white sand and a shallow, calm ocean in front. There is no surf as in Hawaii so it’s very safe.  Local children make tips carving an intricate design into the beach along with your name. These little urchins are actually quite artistic.

Although the beach is full of strollers, the island itself doesn’t feel overdeveloped or crowded. We haven’t seen any high-rise hotels although there are some modern ones tucked away somewhere. And so far it seems that most of the people here are Filipinos with a few Koreans and Chinese thrown in, but very few Westerners, so prices a very reasonable.

The waters are warm and gentle and clear, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Dotting the azure and turquoise waters of our bay are brightly coloured outriggers, dugout canoes and sailboats that Carolann has started calling butterflies because they all have bright blue sails and dart about like a Morpho butterfly. The best part about them, apart from the colours, is that they’re not noisy at all, unlike the roaring long-tail boats of the Thai islands that kept us awake at night and woke us up at sunrise.

Last night we witnessed a phenomenal sunset with rays of light flashing into the sky and lighting up the palm trees, the bright outriggers and the blue sails of the butterfly boats. What a sight! We’re hoping to take a sunset cruise one night on one of the sailboats.

See also Calauit Safari Tour in the Philippines: What to Expect

Dinner at Willy’s Boracay Hotel

Meals at Willy’s are served on an outdoor patio with tables set into the white sand.

Dinner was BBQ’d Marlin for me and a large tureen of Thai hot and sour Tom Yam soup done Filipino style with lots of fish, shrimp, prawns, squid and octopus. Each of these dishes could easily have served two or three people. Both were excellent and very reasonably priced and we now know to order just one dish for the two of us.

As we sat watching the sunset, the boats flitting by and the strollers on the beach, the sky behind the mountains was suddenly lit up by a tremendous lightning display. But it never rained, the storm stayed on the mountain as it apparently does every night. Very curious. The evening was still, the night air was warm and we sat listening to the gentle waves lapping at the sand. It was all very, very pleasant.

Boracay doesn’t have that private, undiscovered, romantic feeling of Koh Lipe that we loved in Thailand. But then we’ve learned that even that special place has now been ruined by overdevelopment and paved roads. When we visited in 2004, there weren’t any cars and you could pick your fish for dinner right from a tub of ice on the beach.

Some people might think I’m complaining about the island, but the truth is that when you have visited as many places as we have, you can’t help but compare. It’s like being a movie critic.

For seven years we’ve been wondering if we could ever go back to that idyllic paradise of Koh Lipe in Thailand. Would it be the same? Our quest to discover the perfect island retreat continues, but in the meantime Boracay is doing quite nicely, thank you.

Seriously, how could you not like a country that has different types of mango in season every month of the year. It’s Paradise 2.


What to do in 24 hours in Manila, Philippines

Manila in the Philippines is a sprawling city. It’s so separate and distinctive from one area to the next. And, just spending 24 hours in Manila is enough to still experience the diversity that the city holds.

The traffic is utterly crazy. Cars pull out in front of each other constantly and traffic lights are a suggestion. In this game of friendly on road co-operation – I didn’t see one accident – it can take 45 minutes to get from an adjacent suburb to the next.

No wonder there are hawkers weaving in and out of cars selling everything from bottled water to fishing rods.

Manila skyline, Philippines
Makati Skyline at night. Makati is a city in the Philippines` Metro Manila region and the country`s financial hub. It`s known for the skyscrapers and shopping malls. Depositphotos.com

How to spend 24 hours in Manila

If you only had 24 hours in Manila, I recommend doing the following three things:

1. Eat a buffet dinner

Filipinos love to “eat and talk” at the same time. Buffets let you socialise and, of course, eat as much as you want. At the Lola Maria Restaurant the buffet featured traditional Filipino foods like chicken adobo, deep-fried seaweed, barbecued seafood, smoked tuna belly and DIY halo-halo for dessert. I was intrigued by the seaweed with little “grapes” which were salty and burst in your mouth as you crunched through the leaves.

2. Shop in at least one mega mall

Pace yourself in Manila, shopaholics. There are a lot of shopping centres in Manila like Greenbelt, Rockwell and the infamous Mall of Asia – the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere. If you’re pressed for time and on a tight budget, I’d head over to the department store Landmark for its crazily cheap prices. I picked up a bikini for $15, a headband for $2 and socks for 50c AUD.

Metro Manila is known to host three out of the 10 biggest shopping malls in the world.

Shopping malls may not be an ideal destination for any travellers to the Philippines, but it doesn’t mean that you have to miss it. Aside from shopping of course, here are 5 things that you can do to make your trip to the Philippine mall more interesting.

Go on a gastronomic trip

Philippine shopping malls hosts a number of restaurants – with lots of food variants. You can sample Filipino, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, British, Spanish, Ethiopian, Jamaican, Thai, Indonesian, French food  (the list goes on…) from one shopping mall alone. Prices are quite cheap with food choice starting at 100 PHP (1,5€).  

Insider travel tip: If you want to sample some cheaper Filipino snacks, head down to the supermarket  and sample some cheap food that can go as low as 15PHP (0,25€). These stalls can be found usually on SM shopping malls.

Enjoy some local music

Head down to a mall’s activity centre or food court and there’s a good chance that you’ll catch a performance from a local (or sometimes foreign) music band. Watching the performances are free of charge.

Insider travel tip: Performances are usually done in the late afternoon from 4-6PM

Watch the famous Manila sunset

Head down to SM Mall of Asia (the largest mall in the Philippines spanning 4.2 million square feet) and get a table with the view of the coast. On a clear day, it’s one of the best place to catch the sunset and enjoy a good dinner as well.

Do your souvenir shopping

The malls’ department stores & some specialty shops offer great choices for souvenirs – from wardrobes, postcards, shirts, food & liquor. I admit the price can be a bit higher than a local seller but lower than airport sellers, but if you are ever on a rush – the malls are the most reliable place to get them (Malls open usually from 10h00 – 22h00 – Monday to Sundays).

People watching

I admit this is my favourite activity from the list. Going to malls is one of the favourite past-times of Filipinos (instead of going to parks for example). So, malls are a good place to people-watch as you can see facets of people’s everyday activities. Be mindful though that the malls gets very crowded in the afternoon to the night – especially during Fridays, the weekend, and on the 15th or 30th of the month. So if you want a more tranquil people watching, avoid these periods and go in the morning

24 Hours in Manila, Philippines - SM Mall of Asia
SM Mall of Asia – Depositphotos.com

3. Have a night out at The Fort

If your 24 hours in Manila falls over a Saturday night…you’re in a for fun party night!

A Saturday night must start, though not necessarily end, at the Fort in Bonifacio. A hub of nightlife, the area is buzzing with busy restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Pier One is a themed bar set on the high seas. Wait staff are dressed in sailor outfits, signal them with an ahoy there if you dare and order cocktails. Bar foods like sisig (of the non-mystery meat variety) are a great accompaniment if on the off chance you’re still hungry after a buffet dinner!

Once you’re ready to hit the dance floor head to Encore. Chandeliers hang down over the stairwell as you strut upstairs into the main third floor party area. The DJ pumps out a heady mix of old school RnB and new hits whilst the dancefloor is shoulder-to-shoulder with the trendy 20-something set.

When you’re all danced out, jump into a cab back to your hotel. If the song playing on the radio is “It’s Time To Go Home Now” you know you’ve had a great night.

After spending your 24 hours in Manila, here’s what else to do during your time in the Philippines:


Road Trip to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur Escapade in the Philippines

A road trip to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur: Rich in Culture, Traditions and Lifestyle.

Our trip began at Quezon City, one of the cities that make up the Metro Manila.

We decided to travel on our own with our private vehicle and to use information about the places we were planning to visit through the web. We even used Google maps on how to reach our destination and it was actually accurate.

It’s not that hard getting to those provinces since we traveled on main highways, except for some dangerous curves on the mountain road.

Drive Safely!

Next Stop: The City of Vigan

Vigan is the capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur, a World Heritage Site since it is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines. There are hotels and other accommodations in and around the area; contemporary and traditional restaurants. Of course, go for the traditional! 

So our plan was to look for a good accommodation since we were planning to stay the night in Vigan. The travel time took 8 hours including stops to have a rest and to eat our packed lunch. We left Quezon City at around 6:00 am and arrived to Vigan at around 2:00 pm.

We searched in advanced for good places to stay the night in Vigan and decided to stay in Villa Angela, since it had positive reviews and reasonable rates. Unfortunately it has very few rooms and there were no vacant rooms when we got there. Don’t worry you can make reservations! We just overlooked. 🙁

So we decided to look for other hotels and found Casa Rica Hotel, a boutique hotel not far from Villa Angela. A really good place! You could feel the traditional life style! Surprisingly we were the only guests to check in the hotel, no worries! Was actually fun because we felt like it was our rest house! 🙂 They were very accommodating, informative and included breakfast. Good service and located less than five minutes drive from the Heritage Village.

It is not hard to find the tourist spots in Vigan. Just around the Heritage Village (which is the main attraction) are plazas, old cathedrals, churches, and museums (donation fee: any amount, others costing only from 20 to 50 pesos).

You can walk or ride the kalesa, it will take you to 7 to 8 different places, but you can request not to go to some of them if you have visited already. Of course it will take you more than one hour to make the complete tour since during that time you’ll take pictures inside museums, climb up a bell tower and other stuff. So be ready! 🙂 

We ate at Cafe Leona for dinner, there’s a wide variety of local to modern dishes. Again, LOCAL! 🙂 In the menu are their must try local dishes. We ordered llocos longganisa, Pinakbet Pizza, Chopseuy, and Plain Rice. Good good good! Good service too! Then back to our hotel for a good night sleep. 🙂 

Then we took off to Laoag, Ilocos Norte at around 11:00 am

Vigan to Laoag will take 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Vigan is the capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur
The City of Vigan is a Unesco World Heritage Site in that it is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines where its structures remained intact, and is well known for its cobblestone streets, and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European architecture. Because of this, Vigan City was officially recognised as one of the New7 Wonders Cities of The World.

Laoag, Ilocos Norte

We arrived to Laoag at around 12:30 pm and headed to the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum (Open daily, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm) We waited for 30 mins for the registration. It’s a place to learn a lot about Ferdinand E. Marcos, president of the Philippines for 20 long years, his power, success, riches and…more riches…..and more riches….and more and more and more…. riches. His embalmed body in the mausoleum looked like a wax replica to us. 

From there we headed to Malacañang of the North and Paoay Lake which took us 30 minutes to arrive (Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm). Also called the Malacanang ti Amianan, was the place where the former President Marcos resided with his whole family, had a golf course and the Paoay Lake at the back of the house where they played water sports. 

Wow! Lifestyle of rich and famous!

Since we were out of time, we decided not to go to La Paz Sand Dunes but we really recommend going check it out! We couldn’t make it to our planned lunch out since we were going to the Bangui Windmills and to the beaches in Pagudpud, where we didn’t know where we would stay the night. The original plan was to eat lunch at Saramsam YlocanoRestaurant or La Preciosa RestaurantTry them out! They are located in the city and are near each other. Very Convenient!

We headed off to Pagudpud, which took us another hour and 30 minutes.

Laoag, Ilocos Norte
Laoag, Ilocos Norte Jeepney is a most popular public transport on Philippines. – Depositphotos.com

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte  

Before reaching Pagudpud, we went to the Bangui Windmills. You can go down those sharp curves of the mountain roads for a closer look. They are actually gigantic windmills that generate electricity.  It is not hard looking for a Beach Resort or any accommodation in Pagudpud, there are plenty of choices from hotels to lodges.

We decided to stay in Terra Rika Beach Hotel, which is an “okay” hotel. I suggest you try out Hannah’s Beach Resort, which has lot of activities. You will have to drive another 20 kilometers, which is why we decided not to go to since we were tired. 🙂  

ENJOY THE BEACH! Good food everywhere! Very nice people!

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Aerial view of Windmills for electric power production on the coast. Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Ecological landscape: Windmills, sea, mountains. Pagudpud


Diving Spots in the Philippines

The island of the Philippines has some of the best scuba diving sites in the world.

Located in Indo-Pacific’s Coral Triangle with over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to pristine coral reef, huge schools of fish and some pretty rare species.

With so many dive spots in the Philippines, it’s hard to choose which one to visit. Which is why we recommend visiting more than one…a Philippines diving holiday is the best way to explore the islands.

No matter which dive spots you choose, make sure to include the Anilao diving spot! Here’s why:

Philippines scuba diving
Philippines scuba diving – Depositphotos.com

The birthplace of Philippines scuba diving: Anilao 

Anilao in Mabini, Batangas is regarded as the birthplace of Philippines scuba diving. Just 2.5 hours drive south of Metro Manila via the smooth SLEX – South Luzon Express Way, it remains the most popular weekend getaway for Manila diving folks to get their fix for compressed air.

Anilao has one of the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in the planet so it has something for everyone. From the beginner divers who have their check-out dive in one of the many beautiful shallow reef, to the advance divers who enjoy drift dives on strong current, to those training to be technical divers, it has deep sites that goes down to 140ft (43m). 

Underwater photographers are a common lot in Anilao. It isn’t rare to find a group of divers each carrying his own transformer like uw camera setup. It is a haven for macro-photographers for wide range of nudibranch species and underwater critters. It will neither disappoint wide angle enthusiasts as Anilao water is teeming with pelagic and beautiful walls and gardens of corals, both hard or soft. 

Some of the most famous (reasonably priced) Anilao dive resorts are:

There are over 20, maybe 30, dive resorts situated beside each other to suit every type of budget. 

How to get to Aniloa

Hop on any bus bound for Batangas and ask to be drop off at Mabini or Bauan. Take a tricycle and be drop off at one of the 20-30 dive resorts scattered around the cliff.

Search for transport options to Batangas below:

Scuba diving in Batangas, Philippines
Scuba diving in Batangas, Philippines

Insider travel tip

For travelers, or new divers with no group yet, log into one of the many dive forums/scuba board online and join planned weekend divers. You can hitch a ride and contribute on gas, and share boat and DM costs.

Beware:

There is NO beach in Anilao. You have a cliff and a reef. You snorkel here or scuba dive. Or catch the spectacular sunset by the resort deck. 

More spots for Philippines scuba diving

Here are a few more great diving spots in the Philippines:

  • Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
  • Coron Bay, Palawan
  • Dauin, Dumaguete
  • Malapascua, Cebu
  • Moalboal, Cebu
  • Puerto Galera, Mindoro
  • Anda, Bohol

Not into scuba diving? Try helmet diving at Boracay

Boracay is an island of the Philippines located south of Manila and off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.

It was orignally home to the Ati tribe and later a couple took over the ownership of the island around 1900 and cultivation and development of the island began.

Currently named the world’s second best beach after Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the award winning Boracay Island and its beaches is said to be the Maldives of Asia.

And if you do not have a diving license, you’ll definitely not miss the underwater scene at Boracay, Philippines.

For an average of about 600 to 700 pesos, you can opt for a leisure helmet dive instead and still get to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the underwater world. You can look forward to a casual walk amongst the fishes on the sea bed lead by experienced divers and even take a shot with the beautiful corals and fishes as memento to bring home with you.

Book a helmet diving experience here.

Helmet diving in Boracay, Philippines
Helmet diving in Boracay, Philippines

Aside from helmet diving, you can expect other water activities namely like para-sailing, banana boat, Discovery dives, island hopping and snorkeling trips. In my opinion, one should never miss a visit to Crystal Cove and enjoy an afternoon there.

For more things to do in the Philippines, check out the below posts:


Best Spot to Snorkel with Turtles in the Philippines?

 

In this vlog I visit Apo Island. One of the most amazing places to snorkel up close with turtles.

One of the best places to snorkel with turtles in the Philippines has to be Apo Island.

Located just off Negros Oriental, this island provides some awesome opportunities to film turtles up close. Snorkelling with turtles in Apo Island is one of the most popular things to do on the island. Whether you come for a day trip or stay overnight.

There are a number of accommodation options on Apo island from home stays to a couple of rustic resorts. This time I stayed at Liberty Lodge and Dive Resort. My previous stay here was at the Apo Island Beach Resort. I also checked out Mary’s home-stay on the island. The contact number for Mary’s Home stay is 0975 931 4058.

I had a walk through the village, and also walked to the view deck for some beautiful scenic views of Apo Island.

I booked directly with Liberty Lodged via their website, I couldn’t find rates on other 3rd party sites such as TripAdvisor. The resort was quite rustic and simple.

In this vlog I look at how to get to Apo Island from Dumuguete and the costs involved. Power (electricity) to the island is limited to a few hours. Liberty Lodge has power for 10 hours.

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*All rates, conditions and info shown subject to change.