Take a Jeepney to a Pineapple Farm: A Bucket List for Traveling the Philippines

Have you been saving and searching for a dream vacation? Well, stop searching, because we’ve got a bucket list full of the best things to do in the Philippines that’ll have you booking your flight in no time.

For the Avid Hiker

The Philippines consists of 7,641 islands with a tropical maritime climate–which means it’s warm and humid the majority of the year. The extensive coastlines and rainforests on the islands provide a perfect habitat for plant and animal life to flourish. Hiking expeditions through this exotic wildlife offer unique experiences at sites that are inaccessible by car.

Explore the Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces

Carved into the mountainside more than 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces created–by the ancestors of indigenous Filipinos–are a sight to behold. The rainforests above the terraces provide water to the ancient irrigation system, which is still used today.

Catching a ride in a Jeepney–which provides local transportation across the Philippines–is the suggested way to start your hike. Guided hikes can be negotiated and purchased when you arrive in Banaue or before leaving for the Philippines.

Learn more about Lotte, a travel blogger from the Netherlands, and her hike through the rice terraces on her blog, Phenomenal Globe.

Backpack Mount Apo

Backpack to the top of Mount Apo, the tallest peak in the Philippines archipelago. The best known starting point originates in the national park located in Kidapawan City, the capital of Cotabato Province. The hike is expected to take three to four days and is considered a seven out of nine-difficulty rating, according to the local mountaineering guide.

Go Spelunking in Cantabon Cave

Described by some as an experience much like an obstacle course, you can try spelunking into one of the least corrupted caves in the Philippines when you visit Siquijor. The professionally guided caving experience at Cantabon Cave may leave you wet, dirty, and tired–but it’s unlike anything else you will see while visiting the islands.

The 800-meter hike into the cave is expected to take around two hours to complete. Watch this video of one group’s experience in the cave.

For the Divers and Swimmers

Under the clear blue water, the flora and fauna of the Philippines provide a spectacle any diver would enjoy. In fact, you can find more than 500 types of coral and 2,400 species of fish. Beyond the natural wonders of the area, you’ll find sunken ships to discover, special swimming classes, and friendly boat captains.

Attend the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy

Photo used courtesy of the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy[/caption]

Have you dreamed of swimming through the seas with one fin like a mermaid? The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy will teach you how! Start your introduction to a mermaid’s life in Boracay, Cebu, or Manila. For more in-depth courses, you’ll have to visit Boracay.

Initial intro classes include tail measurements and fittings, safety and photo training, and free swim time in shallow water. Advanced classes further teach safety, methods for swimming in deeper water, and lessons on how to act more like a mermaid by doing handstands and blowing mermaid bubbles.

Discover the Coron Bay Reefs and Wrecks

With more than 1,000 types of marine life to discover among the reefs and a dozen wrecked World War II ships, the area around Coron Bay is a diver’s paradise. It has been named among Forbes Traveler Magazine’s Top 10 Dive sites. Rock formations in the area also provide a lively snorkeling experience for those who like to stay near the top of the water.
One famous dive site is known as Gunter’s Cave, where you can visit a naturally lit, underwater cave. At certain times of the day a beam of light shines through the opening in the cave and illuminates the entire space.

Scuba at Tubbataha Natural Park

While visiting the sites at Tubbataha Natural Park, you must schedule a boat and stay on board during your trip. Its location in the middle of the Sulu Sea, with no human-inhabited land, makes visiting without a boat impossible.

Experienced divers, as well as newcomers to the hobby, will be impressed with no less than 360 coral species, 600 types of fish, 11 different shark species, and 13 whale and dolphin species that call the area home. Since December of 1993, the area has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected and loved by those who Scuba dive there.

For the Natural Wonder Enthusiasts

The climate and location of the Philippines creates natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the natural wonders require boat rentals and some you might want a guided tour to enjoy. Either way, these are experiences you don’t want to miss.

Tour the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park

Copyright by Eric Beltran[/caption]

Under the island of Palawan, you’ll find an exciting experience. The Puerto Princesa subterranean river flows directly beneath the St. Paul Mountain Range, weaving through cave-like structures beneath the mountains for 8.2 km. Getting to the starting point of the underground trip at Sabang is only about a 40km trip from Puerto Princesa. Once you’re there, this “New 7 Wonders of Nature” site will amaze you with waterfalls flowing from cave walls, ancient fossils, and creatures that live nowhere else in the world.

Don’t forget to get a permit to travel there, or else you won’t be allowed in. If you book a guided tour, your permit, boat, guide, lunch, and transport are usually all included. If you are staying in Sabang, you can opt to buy everything separately and use your negotiation skills to save some pesos.

Soak in the Hinatuan Enchanted River

Copyright Dennis Onashi[/caption]

The Hinatuan River is a deep spring, saltwater river on the island of Mindanao, which flows directly into the Philippine Sea and onto the Pacific Ocean. Catching a ride on a habal-habal motorcycle is the preferred way to get to the river once you arrive in Hinatuan.

The enchanting color of the water has long left local people to believe the water holds secrets. Whether the water itself has healing powers or if spirits keep the place safe, no one knows for sure. However, novice adventurers or advanced swimmers alike can find an area of the river they enjoy.

For the History Buffs

The history of the Philippine Islands is diverse. Different regions have unique stories and not all the islands have the same background. Travel the islands and sample cultures from around the world without having to get additional stamps in your passport.

Step Back in Time on Corregidor Island

Corregidor is an island found at the mouth of Manila Bay, in the southwestern part of Luzon Island. It has long been fortified by the reigning military forces to protect the most important seaport located in Manila. During World War II, the area was of great importance to both the Japanese military and the Allied Forces.

Today, the ruins of the fortifications from that time serve as a memorial and reminder to visitors about the cost of war. Families from around the world visit the site to remember loved ones and learn more about the history of the Philippines during WWII.

Hanging Coffins of Sagada

The practice of burying the dead in hanging coffins predates the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Hoping to get the dead closer to the spirits of their ancestors, Filipinos hung or nailed the coffins to the sides of cliffs. However, the tradition is practiced today on a much smaller scale than in the past.

Today, the burial ceremonies are only held by the elders of Sagada, as the younger generation have adopted more modern burial traditions and enjoy being able to visit their ancestors on All Saints Day.

Walk the Cobblestone Streets of Vigan

Vigan is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines, but its structures have mostly been preserved and restored. The cobblestone streets and unique architecture–which marry the Philippines’ traditional Filipino structures with those of the Spanish-colonial era–make it a popular vacation destination.

One can visit preserved houses near the central park, known as Plaza Salcedo, which surrounds Plaza Burgos. You’ll also find a museum along Crisologo Street with unique antique collections of memorabilia and vehicles. When your feet tire of walking along the cobblestones, snag a ride in a kalesa and complete your journey back in time.

For the Nature Lovers

The unique land, as well as the special plants and animals that call the Philippines home, often require protection. Unfortunately, it would be easy for these unique plant and animal species to be endangered without formal conservation efforts. While you’re there, visit a few of the reservations dedicated to protecting the Philippines’ natural wonders.

Experience Everything El Nido Marine Reserve Park Has to Offer

Located on the northernmost tip of the Palawan mainland, El Nido Marine Reserve Park is a perfect example of the diversity you’ll see when traveling through the Philippines. You can fly into the airport at Puerto Princesa or travel by boat. When you arrive, you’ll see white sand beaches and limestone cliffs, high-end resorts, endemic and endangered species of birds, and lush forests.

With more than 30 dive sites, there’s more to see while diving than you’ll be able to fit in during most trips. The resorts on nearby islands offer snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and spa treatments in addition to the diving expeditions. You can even find a secret beach hidden among rocks if you’re brave enough to swim through a hole in the limestone.

Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary

The Tarsier, one of the world’s smallest primates, is indigenous to the Philippines. You can visit the Tarsier Sanctuary while you are in Bohol and, for a small price, you can pay for a guide to help you trek through the sanctuary and spot the Tarsiers in their natural habitat. Your guide will be glad to help with taking videos and photos along the way. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and culminates on a viewing deck over the sanctuary.

See the Ruins at Mount Mayon Active Volcano Natural Park

Mount Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines and is located on the island of Luzon. The most destructive eruption happened in 1814. Five towns were destroyed in that eruption, but each one was rebuilt, demonstrating the resilience of the locals.

The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of a Franciscan church destroyed in the 1814 eruption and are one of the most visited areas of the Natural Park. Near the ruins, you will find the Cagsawa National Museum, which helps the local government care for the park and ruins.

Live Like a Local

One of the greatest treasures you will find while traveling the Philippines are the people who live there. Learn about how they live while doing things the Filipino way. Get to know them, make friends, and let them show you the best ways to enjoy your time in the Philippines.

For more information on how to eat like a local or see what the locals see, check out our blog. Don’t hesitate to send us your questions. We can’t wait to help you visit the Philippines!

Top 3 Honeymoon Destinations in the Philippines

Preparing for a wedding can be too arduous and time-consuming which makes newlyweds crave for the events to follow the wedding itself. Still overwhelmed with so many options? Listed below are three destinations you can spend that sweet honeymoon like no other.

Cebu

Cebu, the Queen City of the South is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. In fact, back in 2010, Cebu was chosen as the best honeymoon destination at the World Travel Fair Awards which makes Cebu’s strong foundation as a honeymoon destination recognized worldwide.

Taking a boat tour around dusk would give couples that unparalleled moment of watching the sun fall while holding hands. The night breeze and atmosphere might even join in the fun which would create nothing but memories for the two of you.

If you and your partner are inclined more towards attaining adrenaline, then fret not as Cebu is also known for water activities. You can either visit Moalboal to get a glimpse of the rich marine life underwater which cannot be seen in other places besides Cebu or Kawasan Falls, listed in Travel + Leisure’s beautiful waterfalls around the world where you can raft through the three levels for a cascading massage. You can certainly never run out of things to do together in Cebu.


Bohol

Not too far from Cebu, another famed tourist spot known as Bohol sits by. Newlyweds can witness majestic landscapes such as the awe-inspiring Chocolate hills or drop by the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, home to one of the smallest known primates, where a couple of Tarsiers are carefully taken care of without destroying their niche. At the sanctuary, the lovely wide-eyed tarsiers are trained to roost in during the day but are active and hunting at night which makes them free to roam around the area which is several hectares large.

One cannot leave Bohol without the fireflies encounter experience. Fireflies can be found in Loboc River in which you would have to rent a boat to visit. Five minutes in and you’ll be guaranteed with small blinking lights swarming in and around the mangroves. The surreal atmosphere and gentle breeze while traveling along Loboc River will leave you and your partner reminiscing the day you met.


Palawan

Certainly not what you have expected, Palawan makes its mark as the last one on our list. Sometimes referred to as Asia’s Garden of Eden, Palawan will be able to give you and your spouse-to-be the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon both of you have always been dreaming of. Unlike the crowd favorite that is Boracay, Palawan provides the much-needed privacy to create lasting moments with only the two of you.

Known as the Philippines’ last frontier, the well- preserved Palawan offers so many couple activities you are encouraged to do. Kayaking your way to the amazing turquoise-green Big and Small Lagoons of Palawan where you could seclude yourselves and be astonished by the beauty of untouched nature. Explore the overwhelming Honda Bay and tunnel through the ravishing underground river of Palawan and leave nothing but priceless moments that you’ll cherish for your life as one.

Want to make your honeymoon struggle-free? Leave it to our travel experts and they’ll make your dreamy honeymoon come true.

Four Travel Moments You Need to Know to Reach your Market

Just like any other business, targeting your market is all about knowing exactly how to communicate with them. What do they find interesting? What is important to them? If you have the answers to these questions, then you’re a step closer to reaching your market.

Now most of those in the travel and tours industry believe that effectively marketing their audience only revolves in offering airfare sales. To some extent, yes, that is definitely one way to entice your market to travel with you but you can’t always hold promos, right? If you want to learn how to attract clients to make their dream vacations a reality with your agency besides just lowering price, then read on.

You see, there are four important traveler’s moments you need to be a part of. Once you know what these are, you can finally come up with content that will perfectly send your message across that you are the travel partner they should trust.

Here are those travel moments:

Dreaming Moments

Your market’s desire to get away. If there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s that these people travel to get away, whether it’s from the daily hustle and bustle of the metropolis or the demands of a difficult job, your market finds travelling a sort of sweet escape. For this particular moment, you can make an impact by providing them content designed to help them decide on where to go next. Going for articles and newsletters focused on dream vacations and best holiday travel destinations will definitely get you on their radar.


Planning Moments

Your market’s preparation for the trip. Once they finally have a destination in mind, your market will surely start researching all they can about that particular place. From tourist spots and local cuisine to climate and available accommodation, rest assured that a traveler will do some studying to prepare themselves for the trip. If you are offering an all­inclusive tour in a particular destination, then it’s best to provide your market everything they need to know to plan the perfect trip there.


Booking Moments

Your market’s ready to book. So your market is done picking a destination and researching about it, this is right about the time they start looking for the most convenient way to book. If you have an online booking system, best to do a user test to make sure every process in the system works smoothly because if your client encounters even just one hindrance, your chance of being their preferred travel and tours agency drops immediately. On the other hand, always keep your contact details readily available for no matter how convenient booking is online, there’s still a portion of the market who prefers to talk to a travel agent.


Experiencing Moments

Your market’s looking to maximize their stay Vacations are called as such because they are short and sweet so take our word when we say that your market wants to do the best they can to maximize the little they have on their dream vacation destination. Help them achieve this goal by proposing set itineraries and giving them advice on what to see, where to go, what to eat, where to stay, what to do, and how to get around their preferred destination. Remember, you want to build a relationship with your client and helping them in their travels is the best way to turn them from a new customer to a loyal one.

Filipino Street Foods Worth Drooling Over

Admit it, you love trying new food. Everyone from Food Network toBloomberg claims 2017 is the year Filipino flavors will explode onto the food scene. Bon Appétit named the D.C.-based Filipino restaurant “Bad Saint” the second best new restaurant of 2016, providing evidence for the claims that Filipino flavor is about to find fame.

While eating his way through food-friendly cities around the world for television audiences (since 2002), Anthony Bourdain has shown some serious love for Filipino street foods. He claims his favorite street food in the Philippines, sisig, is “possibly the best thing you could ever eat with a cold beer.”

It’s time for you to let your taste buds join the adventure and get to munching as you travel through the streets of the Philippines. The endless choices from street vendors will get your stomach rumbling. Some of the foods you’ll find may test the limits of your palate, but if your’re craving adventure, you can find it among the stalls of Filipino food markets.

However, if eating from a stall in the street seems too extreme, choose these items from a menu in a bar or restaurant. Many places offer wine or local craft beer pairings with these traditional street foods.

Savory Snack Foods in the Philippines

You can find a variety of grilled, barbecued, and roasted savory dishes on Filipino streets. Don’t forget, as you snag your street food, it is proper to stop at the sauce station and add salt, vinegar, onions, chilies, and various sauces as the Filipinos do.

Sisig

One of the single most popular dishes in the Philippines, Sisig, is made from pork. It’s created by cooking the delicious parts of a pig’s head and is often seasoned with golden limes, also known as calamansi, and chili peppers. The go-to add-ins are coarsely chopped onions with a runny egg on top. It’s most often served on a sizzling plate–like fajitas.

If you visit during the right time of year, you could find yourself at the Sisig Fiesta held in Angeles City.

Lechón

You won’t want to miss trying the national dish of the Philippines, roasted suckling pig known as Lechón. It is prepared throughout the year for special occasions, celebrations, and holidays. After removing the insides of the pig, it is seasoned and skewered by a large stick. The skewer is then placed in a large rotisserie and the entire pig is cooked over a charcoal pit for several hours.

The Lechón is usually crispy on the outside due to the method of basting and the hours on top of the coals. During his visit, chef Anthony Bourdain claimed Cebu had the most delicious version of the dish, but Skyscanner claims they know the nine best places to grub down on some Lechón.

Lumpia

Lumpia looks like a spring roll but is found in the Philippines and Indonesia. Inside a thin pastry skin, you’ll find filling of the savory sort, including carrots, cabbage, green beans, bamboo shoots, and leeks (or some combination of those). You often find meat–chicken, shrimp or beef, but most often pork – as well. The whole roll is often deep fried but can be prepared in other ways. Try dipping them in banana ketchup or sweet chili sauce.

Lumpia is incredibly popular during celebrations, on the street, and in restaurants. If you’re interested in learning more about Lumpia recipes, you can check out Pinterest’s board for “25+ best ideas about Lumpia.”

Balut

Walking around a local market is one of the best ways to try the adventurous and famous street food snack, Balut. The partially developed duck egg embryo is often referred to as the king of Filipino street foods.

You eat it by first cracking open the top of the boiled egg and drinking out the broth or the soup. Then you peel the rest of the egg and season it with vinegar and salt before finish eating the snack. See how Americans react to the dish in this Buzzfeed video.

Isaw

A famous Filipino street food, isaw is the barbecued intestines of a pig or a chicken coiled on a skewer and grilled until smoky and crispy. Of course, the intestines are cleaned, then turned inside-out and cleaned again, with this process occurring multiple times before cooking.

During the afternoons, you can find vendors selling isaw on street corners across the islands. While visiting an isaw vendor, pork barbecue, atay (liver), and adidas (grilled or barbecued chicken feet) are usually available for your culinary pleasure.

Isaw is popular across the country, but comic book artist Maniz Abrera’s “KikoMachine” comic strip made the food a staple at the University of the Philippines Diliman. The comic strip featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer began with many scenes featured on the campus around the isaw vendor’s stall. Abrera’s comic is now a daily find in the newspaper and even though it deals with weightier topics most days, people still visit the university as homage to the origins of the comic strip.

Kwek Kwek

Kwek Kwek is a tempura-like battered and deep fried street food. The batter is dyed orange and when you bite through the batter you find a soft-boiled quail’s egg. It’s much like a corn dog, only with egg inside instead of a hot dog. Sounds like a perfect street snack, doesn’t it?

Get psyched for your Filipino food tour with a virtual tour alongside Mark Wiens of Migrationologythrough the Quaipo Market in Manila.

Sweet Treats You Need

Savory isn’t the only flavor you’ll find when trekking through the streets in the Philippines. Sweets are often flavored with the abundant fruits of the islands including ube (also known as purple yam), coconuts, and mango.

Binatog

A favorite local merienda snack (a light meal, sort of like afternoon tea), Binatog is made by soaking and boiling white corn sliced off the cob. This dish is often seasoned with freshly grated coconut and salt.

If you’re interested in trying binatog before visiting the Philippines, there are many recipes available online, like this one from blogger Lalaine of Kawaling Pinoy, a blog dedicated to Filipino and Asian-inspired recipes.

Halo–Halo

Halo-Halo is one of the most popular and inexpensive summertime sweets you’ll find when visiting the Philippines. Halo-Halo is made from shaved ice and evaporated milk. Vendors mix in sweet fruits or other sweet ingredients like corn, coconut, or sweet beans.

The dessert is served in a tall glass or bowl and has been featured in multiple travel and food television shows, including Bizarre Foods and Top Chef.

Ube Halaya

While there are lots of different desserts which feature ube, from ice cream to cakes, ube halaya is most common on the street. Ube halaya is ube boiled, grated, and combined with other ingredients like sugar or milk until it thickens. You can then add it to halo-halo or ice cream, or you can eat it like pudding.

This recipe from the blog 196 flavors will awaken your sweet tooth in no time. “Ube halaya was a blissful and unexpected discovery for me, as we featured Filipino last June,” said Mike Benayoun of 196 flavors. “I especially loved making latik, this crunchy residual of coconut milk that adds a beautiful sweet and crunchy note to this dessert.”

Buko Juice

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, which means that coconuts, also known as buko, are never far away. In the street markets, you can find buko juice, or coconut water, almost everywhere you go.

Buko juice not only tastes good and helps with hydration, but it is often heralded for its health benefits. The juice has been known to help prevent kidney stones, reduce sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, and improve digestion.

Plan Your Culinary Adventure

Explosive flavors and generous portions await your arrival in the Philippines. Whether these flavors seem exciting or extreme, you are bound to find something in the Filipino culinary world which will light your flame.

Let us help plan your next trip! We have great ideas and can help you find experts so you’re never overwhelmed with options. We can’t wait to shout magandang araw–or beautiful da –to you across a market full of Filipino street food.

GUILLAUME NERY FREEDIVING WORKSHOP

The Department of Tourism – Philippines is excited to host the freediving workshops of world champion Guillaume Néry this July and August, 2017.
There would also be a meet and greet for fans in Mactan, Cebu on July 20, 2017.

Guillaume Nery Main Poster A4 size

Why an out-of-country trip is the best gift for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spoil your mom and give her something extraordinary. While sales and discounts on high-end bags and luxury perfumes can be enticing, ditch the material things and look for something irreplaceable. Here are five reasons why you should consider traveling with your mom on her special day.

  1. Spending quality time with your mom can be redundant if you go to the same places. Try looking for new destinations outside the state where you can get lost and score an unforgettable experience that only you and your mother can share. This could also be the perfect story you can share on your next family reunion!
  2. Sometimes moms just want to flaunt on social media after days of constant struggle and stress. Help her unwind by adding more selfies and photos on her profile from visits to iconic tourist spots and must-try restaurants.
  3. If you haven’t traveled overseas with your mother before, this could be the start of a new tradition! Help her tick off bullets on her bucket list as she finds home at a different country, or better yet different continent. It can be one of the best gifts you could offer as she may need to leave a piece of her heart there just like how she left a big chunk for you.
  4. It may be cliché but not all superheroes wear capes, moms are known to be the epitome of all superheroes. Wonder woman needs a break from time to time and this is the perfect chance to it. Sometimes all she needs is an adventurous vacation to remind herself of the beautiful life she is living. Give your all in creating a fun but relaxing itinerary for your mom as she de-stresses from all realities of her work life and even family life itself.
  5. Material things can be tempting to buy at first but these could also mean you barely have the time to think your gift through. Planning the best tropical vacation with all the activities your mom could possibly enjoy is intangible and would make her  feel even more special than what you intend to. Travelling is known to bring out the genuine personality of a person. This trip may also be an eye-opener on how much you really know about your mom.

You can arrange it for just the two of you, or even for the entire family. What’s important is to spend the meaningful holiday doing something she’ll enjoy immensely. Create an unforgettable bonding experience with your Mother and immerse yourselves on the beauty of the Philippines. Book through our travel partners for an affordable vacation and score an invaluable experience for you and your mom!

Learn more about the different destinations in the Philippines and see some of the latest ongoing travel promos and tour packages here.

Best souvenir in Kalinga: A tattoo from the Philippines’ oldest artist, Apo Whang-od Culture

With technology rapidly changing, traditional culture is gradually being forgotten. While the city life can bring all your aspirations in life, it can certainly break the wild soul within you. Sometimes all you need to divert your busy schedule from falling apart is through experiencing a laid-back adventure travel where you can’t be disturbed. A meaningful trip to the Northern Philippines may be just the place for you!

The Philippines is known for its colorful and unique culture and this can be greatly seen in the provinces of Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province in Northern Philippines.  Sagada, a perfect destination where one can witness the beauty of both tangible and intangible things. You can experience the incomparable nature and unparalleled culture you have yet to discover. Home to 31 ethnic groups, Sagada has a lot of different adventure tours to offer. It is not only blessed with gorgeous sights and attractions but also with different stories of the people whose lives are greatly influenced by what their ancestors have passed down upon them. Sagada is more than just capturing the picturesque nature itself but also what they had to go through to get them to where they are now.

Usual activities such as trekking, visiting the hanging caves, hiking, or gastronomic hopping can be all fun and exciting but if you’re feeling that you need an upgrade from the usuals, you could simply try something new. Take a side trip to Tinglayan, Kalinga, and bring out the thrill seeker in you! Get a tattoo from Apo Whang-od, the oldest and the last living traditional artist who is still practicing the craft of Batuk, a traditional tattoo crafted in the Philippines. She recently rose to fame years when her artistry was featured in Discovery Channel’s Tattoo Hunter. Getting a tattoo inked by her means something more than just a permanent mark on your skin, it is a gorgeous form of art that imprints culture from years back.

The process of getting a tattoo is surely an adventure of its own. The process of getting there, and getting the tattoo itself, can take some time, but it definitely will not disappoint you. Along the way, you can witness the beauty of nature, and appreciate the simplicity of life and it can be too astonishing that you might even not notice the time. This adventure tour might even solve your constant struggle of finding serenity in the midst of all the adventures.

With numerous designs to choose from, each having their own special meaning, you can opt to choose one yourself or have it the traditional way and let Apo Whang-od choose for you. With a thorn, a bamboo stick, and wet charcoal, she will carefully bring your chosen tattoo to life. With this simple act, she preserves and keeps the tradition of Butbut tribe of Buscalan alive. She truly leaves a legacy to each and every person she meets.

The tattoo marked by the legendary Apo Whang-od serves as a permanent reminder of the traditional life roots that modern technology can never erase. A tattoo is can be the best and most meaningful souvenir for your next best tropical vacation, for it is not just something you can simply buy from a souvenir shop, but a first-hand experience you can never forget. It is more than just a symbol—It contains your very own story and life-long connection to the Kalinga culture.

Not sure how to plan your trip? Contact our travel partners now to help you out. Experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of engraving Kalinga’s enthralling culture right through your skin.

5 Gadgets to Bring to Your Tropical Island Adventure

Contrary to popular belief, packing for a vacation can be easy with the right gadgets. There’s a certain satisfaction in thinking you’ve brought everything you need after being restricted with your luggage allowance. Bounded by the rules and the baggage load you have acquired, you just can’t bring everything you have. Besides, you wouldn’t really want to go island hopping with so many things in hand. At the same time, traveling isn’t just about self-improvement, sometimes you may want to brag about it once a while to your peers. Here are 5 gadgets that would make your friends and fellow travelers die of envy on your tropical island adventure.

Wireless Portable Speaker

To make the most of your tropical adventure, a portable speaker is something you can’t not bring. Ideally, it allows people to chill and relax at their own room while listening to their preferred music. It can also connect people together to create a more enthusiastic atmosphere where everyone can have fun. With two 40mm speakers, a built-in microphone, a 10-hour rechargeable battery and being one of the most versatile portable speakers in its category, Scosche’s boomBottle is highly praised for its remarkable mix of high-quality audio and rough waterproof abilities.

Water Purifier Bottle

Unprepared travelers often find themselves in pain after consuming contaminated water, which means they didn’t invest in a water purification system before travelling. Getting yourself, one will be useful in many ways as you travel in destinations such as the Middle East, Central America and even Asia. Rather than a straw or a pumping mechanism, go for the Grayl as it works more like a coffee press. You ought to fill the lower part with water, attach its upper and press down. In 30 seconds or less, you’ve made yourself a 16 oz of purified water in a sophisticated container. It’s simple to use, reliable, safely eliminates unwanted viruses and bacteria.

Solar-Powered Inflatable Light

While checking for your stay in a remote island by yourself, you may want to bring necessary equipment to ensure that your dream-like wishful thinking doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Secure your trip by bringing a solar-powered inflatable light like Luci’s MPOWERED. Luci has produced an inflatable LED light which is ultra-compact, waterproof, solar-powered, has multiple functions and the most important of all, inexpensive! Before going back to your home, you could opt to leave it to the locals to aid a community with little to no electricity.

Scuba Mask Camera

Discovering the diverse marine life underwater is too surreal and sometimes you simply want to capture the whole experience with ease. While mounting action cameras on scuba masks is possible, it just doesn’t help you enjoy and interact with the magnificent life under the sea. Scuba underwater HD recorder masks are now must-haves for people who are basically mermaids and mermans at heart. Liquid Image HD movie mask features a 720p HD quality with 30 frames per second, and also has a light attachment to help you record movie in dark waters. Swimming with schools of fishes will be something you can boast to your friends and family without you worrying about showing proof to support your claim.

Scrubba Wash Bag

To fully experience immersion among locals, one must explore further to rural areas to get the sense and feel of their genuine culture. It would be hard to do this unless you’re open to do lots of physical activities like trekking or walking and packing light. Packing less is actually quite easy but the problem lies on where you could do your laundry. Of course, living in the 21st century, everything is possible! And that includes packing your own washing machine without breaking your back. Scrubba Wash Bag effectively cleans your clothes with the help of hundreds of internal Scrubba ‘nobules’. Simultaneously, you could also use it as a dry-bag which makes it cost-efficient and worth more than you pay for. At the same time, by lessening your luggage allowance, you could allot more of your money into travelling further.

Getting ready for your next tropical adventure? Check out these Top Destinations in the Philippines where you could fully utilize these gadgets to their greatest extent.

Ways to Maximize your Travel Rewards Points and Miles

International travel is becoming more accessible as airlines and travel companies cater to different interests, personalities, and budgets. Relying on seasonal airline promotions or special travel packages don’t always enable us to get the best vacation experience or travel as often as we would prefer.

Here are a few ways you can take advantage of travel rewards point and miles to travel in style or simply book your next trip for (practically) free.

Invest in a Rewards Credit Card

Credit card companies offer competitive and wide-ranging travel reward credit cards.  Popular travel reward credit companies include American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi. Depending on the card, points acquired from valid affiliate purchases can be transferred to airlines or hotel chains. You can also earn points when you gas up your car, get your weekly groceries, or indulge in your favorite restaurants. Airline credit cards often offer perks like priority boarding and booking, free checked baggage, and no foreign transaction fees. There are several websites such as nerdwallet.com, thepointsguy.com, or creditkarma.com that provide reviews and tips on credit cards that fit your needs and lifestyle.

Compare offers meticulously.

Buying and booking in advance is always better than doing it so close to your departure. In fact, frequent flyers know that last minute airfare offered miles spike up. The first offer you see is not usually the best you could find. It pays to exert more effort on comparing prices and points because it could give you an idea on which one best suits your requirements.

Travel to lesser-known destinations and off-peak season

Using travel rewards points or airline miles in the high-traffic destinations can be a bit difficult especially if you have specified travel dates. Whether you’re using travel awards miles or travel points to purchase your flight, it is likely hard to book seats to Hawaii, Bangkok, Cancun, or the Carribean. Instead, explore the lesser known vacation spots. Be on the lookout for airlines that just opened or increase new flights. You will likely get your desired vacation on your preferred dates. You might even get a great deal on upgrades. For instance, many Asian airlines have opened increased flights between the US and Asia. You may opt to avail or ongoing promos or increased airline seats to fly to Manila, Coron, Puerto Princesa (Palawan), or Cebu for that much-deserved tropical island getaway.

Use your miles for other purposes

For long-haul trips to Asian destinations like the Philippines,  use your reward points or miles to upgrade your cabin from economy to business class for a more comfortable flight. You can also spend them on booking a hotel room, renting a car, or including a stopover to your flight.

And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask!  Airlines and travel companies don’t always post all their offers and travel perks online.  Take time to research in travel forums, call/email customer service, or have a chat with the airport staff and hotel desk agents.

Ready to book your next trip? Check out these amazing Philippine destinations and find out how to get there. You can also check out our Travel Partners’ offers for great deals on Philippine hotel and activities packages!

What to bring on a travel to a tropical destination

Philippines is an archipelago made up of 7,641 islands. This world-recognized tropical destination is famous for its picture-perfect beaches but since the climate here is very different from what you’ve been accustomed to, you need to know how to prepare so you can maximize your vacation. We’re not just talking about booking your flight ahead or reading about the must-visit places on your chosen destination but also about knowing what to pack for your travel to the Philippines or any other tropical country. To help you out, here are a few things your bags should contain:

1. Documents

First and foremost, you can’t go traveling the world without your important papers. Anything can happen during your tropical vacation so make sure to have all these documents ready for a no-hassle getaway.

-Passport

Of course, this is pretty obvious, you can’t explore the amazing places that make the world without your passport. Wherever you go, it’s best to have this in your purse since it’s also accepted as a valid ID.

-Valid IDs

Doing various transactions, especially when it involves banks, require you to present at least two valid IDs. Government IDs like your driver’s license and professional IDs should always be in your wallet so in the event you’d be asked to show one.

-Photocopies of your travel documents

It may seem redundant but having photocopies of your travel documents can prove to be helpful. This is one of those instances when it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Have photocopies of your IDs, passport, and birth certificate.

2. Essentials

When it comes to other basic necessities you should bring on your travel, there are some things that are specific to a tropical country. We’ve listed a few here including other items your bag should contain no matter what destination you’re heading to:

-Map

Whether you’re an old-school physical map user or one who relies on map apps available on your smartphone, having one allows you to roam around and explore your destination much easier. Of course, you can always ask the locals but if you really want to feel like an adventurer, knowing how to read a map could be really helpful on your travels.

-First Aid Kit

This one is definitely a must-have for travelers. Having a first aid kit on your bag allows you to be prepared in case of emergencies. Whether it’s against scrapes and wounds or cough and colds, being ready with band-aids, gauze, and medicine can make you feel a little less worried about yourself and others around you as well.

-Insect Repellent

Since tropical countries are continuing to be a top choice for holiday travelers, scientists are encouraging adventurers to carry and use insect repellent. Remember, tropical destinations like the Philippines are surrounded by bodies of water and are filled with lush forests, mountains, and other landscapes so it’s best to be prepared against mosquitoes and other insects.

-Sunscreen

If you don’t want sunburns that sting, better apply some sunscreen to your skin before frolicking on the beach. In fact, you could also use this not just on the white sandy shores and blue waters but when you’re about to go on a trek to mountain peaks or just have plans to walk around and explore, protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun with a reliable sunscreen.

3. Gears and gadgets

Advancements in technology have provided travelers the liberty to document their journeys and turn moments into captured memories. To help make your adventures something you can revisit anytime, here are a few things you can bring to your travel:

-Extra phone

It can be another, cheaper phone but having an extra one is not just for picture-taking purposes but for making calls and messages as well. When you’re in a different country, it’s advisable to always be available for incoming and outgoing communications in case you find yourself lost in unfamiliar grounds.

-Camera

Of course, visiting a tropical country on your dream holiday is not complete without your camera. With social media readily available for you to share your adventures, this particular gadget continues to be a travel necessity, so you can post your favorite views and moments real-time.

-Power bank

The lifesaver of the new generation. If you have this on your travel, you don’t have to worry about low or empty batteries for your smartphones. Just make sure it’s fully charged before your every adventure; believe us, it’s a great help if you like documenting your travels.

4. Clothes

We’re not going to list three clothing items in this part but instead give you a piece of advice- it’s all about layering. Tropical countries like the Philippines experience mostly hot or humid weather but when you’re staying somewhere in the rural areas where the great beaches usually are, it could get pretty cold at night even without air conditioning. Our suggestion? Learn to layer clothes. Bring summer clothes, of course, like tank tops, swimsuits, and shorts but don’t forget to pack light cardigans, leggings, or jogging pants when the nights prove to be a little cooler than usual.

So, there you go! Make sure to check this list out every time you’re about to take on a new tropical country and remember, the best way to maximize your vacation is to always be prepared no matter the situation.

Viva Visayas- 4 must-see destinations in Central Philippines

There’s more to the Philippines than the picture-perfect seascapes of Boracay and Palawan. In fact, more and more travel writers are becoming gateways to the world as they beautifully narrate their adventures in this amazing archipelago. The great thing about this country is that with over 7,000 islands, you will surely find the kind of escape you are looking for. So how about experiencing four amazing islands in the Visayas, in just 8 days? Some may say it’s crazy, but we say it’s possible! To help you fully appreciate the beauty of this country, let’s go on a wild ride through Cebu, Panglao, Bohol, and Siquijor.

First stop- Cebu

It only makes sense to start this tropical escapade in the Queen City of the South. This part of Visayas is like a bite-sized version of the country’s capital Manila with its electricity but with an additional serving of mother nature’s best creations. So, if you the vacation of your dreams is a perfect combination of the pulsating city life and the quaint charm in the arms of amazing oceans, then Cebu is the place to be.

We’ve done a few articles highlighting the many destinations you should experience in Cebu. For places that are rich in history, you definitely should pay a visit to Magellan’s Cross which Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan erected to commemorate the conversion of King Humabon of Cebu and his Queen, son and daughters, together with some of 800 of their subjects to Christianity. Another historical site worth visiting is the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño, the home of the original and oldest religious relic in the Philippines in honor of the Holy Child Jesus.

Of course, you can’t leave Cebu and move on to the next destination without treating yourself to an actual magnificent tropical getaway. The seascapes here are incredible with marine life that would definitely make you want to stay underwater. Our recommendation- Tingko Beach, Mactan Island, and Malapascua.

Second stop- Panglao

The beautiful Central Philippines is located in the north Bohol Sea and is home not just to breathtaking white-sand beaches but also to gorgeous terrains like mountains, hills, and limestone formations. Out of all the many islands that make Panglao (like Gak-ang, Pontod, and Balicasag), the most popular is Alona Beach, recognized for its white sand and pristine waters. This island is also perfect for travelers looking to take their adventure travel to the next level through water activities such as scuba diving, dolphin watching, snorkeling, and island hopping. In fact, around 250 new species of crustaceans, as well as 2500 new mollusks species, were found around the island, this discovery actually revealed that Panglao has more marine biodiversity compared to the Mediterranean Sea and Japan.

Third stop- Bohol mainland

Now, we go to the mainland of, an island province filled with natural wonders. Yes, Panglao does the fair share of bringing in tourists to this destination but Bohol mainland is known for its lush forests and white-sand beaches, and more importantly for the majestic Chocolate Hills.

The Chocolate Hills makes for some breathtaking landscape views you would ever see in your lifetime and what makes it even more amazing is the many stories and legends that surround it; one of which is of two giants in a battle throwing boulders at each other. But this place is just the tip of the iceberg that is Bohol because you still have those cute bug-eyed tarsiers, the delectable local delicacies, the historical attractions, and the white-sand beaches to see and experience.

If you want your #SummerGoals achieved, Bohol is definitely a place to visit because you will go back home with a suitcase filled with unforgettable adventures.

Last stop- Siquijor

Known for being a place of mystery and magic, Siquijor is a must-visit destination for those who are after a truly unique tropical adventure travel. If you’re up for it, you could time your vacation to witness their festivals which focus on rituals of healing. On these local occasions, incantations are being sung while the elders brew potions made out of herbs, insects, tree barks, and roots. In fact, if you’re lucky, a few locals would gladly share legends of witchcraft on the island.

But stories of wizardry are not just what makes Siquijor a must-experience destination; it has plenty of natural wonders that would make any traveler come back time and again. With a 102-kilometer coastline of white-sand beaches, it comes as no surprise that Siquijor is home to some of the best diving spots in the Philippines. It also has caves, waterfalls, a natural park, and a butterfly sanctuary.

Ready to take on these four amazing islands? Check out the eight-day tour of Central Philippines our travel partner has for you and start booking your flight for another summer to remember!

5 Travel hacks when travelling to Southeast Asia

Sunny days, white sand beaches, diverse marine life, interesting culture, accommodating locals and delectable food! Southeast Asia is the paradise on Earth where many tourists flock each year to the thousand islands searching for the ultimate Asian adventure. No matter how much you search for flights and accommodations, you’ll always be behind in preparation until you get there. Here are some of the best travel hacks to save you the trouble as you explore South East Asia.

1. Pack as light as possible

Travelling as light as possible not only saves you money on luggage fees but also lightens your actual travelling process. Frequent travelers tend to carry two bags – one for clothes and a slightly smaller one for airport essentials and toiletries. Before starting your journey, make a list of the things you’ve brought so you could check everything before you return home. Everyone knows the rolling clothing trick, but don’t forget to use vacuum seal bags or ziplock bags. It would allow to use every nick and cranny of your suitcase and at the same time, make your things more organized.

2. Travel during the Shoulder season

The monsoon season, usually from June to October, are most commonly avoided by rookie traveler. Little did they know that during that season, you could easily haggle for lower prices on accommodation, transport, and activities. It will certainly rain from time to time during the monsoon season but it won’t hinder the experience to seeing the astonishing beauty present throughout Southeast Asia, plus you’ll get to save some bucks along the way.

3. Book Flight connections wisely

One of the most common mistakes first-time travelers make is that they add too much on their itinerary leaving no time for unprecedented events. Southeast Asia is full of islands, mostly reachable through diverse modes of transportations such as airplanes, buses or boats but it doesn’t mean it can be easily accessed. It will take hours and hours before you can get to your uninhabited destination. And you also have to factor out schedule delays which is very common in Southeast Asia.

4. Bring skin protection

Take note that you are travelling to a tropical destination, surrounded by lush forests, rice fields, rivers, and mountains.  Protect your skin from the sun as well possible insect bites by buying a good and efficient sunscreen and insect repellent.

5. Take your time

Spending more time in a foreign country may require bigger budget. But it doesn’t need to be expensive if you research and plan well. Inquire with tourism information offices or check with travel websites and blogs for tips and recommendations. Make sure to spend enough time to immerse yourself with a culture you could only search about on the internet before. Learning more about the locals and savoring the beauty found nowhere else is undoubtedly priceless.

Ready to embark on a new tropical vacation? Choose among our 7,641 islands – from our multi-awarded destinations like Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu to the best-kept hidden gems such as Banaue, Albay, or Vigan.

Contact our travel experts to help you plan your adventure!