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!

Philippines: Where to scuba dive

The Philippines is known not just for the hospitality of the Filipino people but also its islands that make up some of the world’s best tropical destinations for dream holidays. Being an archipelago allowed this country to continuously capture the attention of tourists on a global scale with its breathtaking beaches, scuba dive spots and other natural wonders.

Of course, when it comes to booking a flight and spending a few well-deserved holidays to get your dose of vitamin sea, you’d probably want to create some new memories through adventures you either haven’t done before or want to do again. One of these sought out water thrills that consistently entices the market is scuba diving. Through this, you won’t just enjoy the clear blue waters of the sea, but you actually get to experience it while being introduced into this wonderful country’s underwater riches. To help you out, we’ve listed the top three must-visit dive destinations for your next tropical vacation:

1. Tubbataha Reef, Puerto Princesa

Scuba diving in the Tubbataha Reef in Puerto Princesa, Palawan is something you would surely not want to miss. Here, you can experience the ocean in multi-colors of marine biodiversity especially since Tubbataha Reef is part of what is called the Coral Triangle.

The Coral Triangle is globally-recognized as the center of marine life making up 75% of the world’s coral species and 40% of the world’s reef fish. Scientists who have been studying and visiting Tubbataha since the 1980s have found that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 359 species of corals, over 600 species of fishes, 14 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales. If you’re all about coral gardens, then you won’t be disappointed as the reefs boast of an amazing 100-meter perpendicular wall, two coral islands, and a few extensive lagoons. You can also expect to see over a hundred bird species, including migratory birds.

The best time to visit Tubbataha for a dive is during mid-March to mid-June and is reachable only by boat leaving from Puerto Princesa’s harbor at sunset for a 10 to 12-hour journey arriving at this marine sanctuary by sunrise.

2. Monad Shoal, Cebu

Considered as the number one dive site in Malapascua, Cebu, Monad Shoal is the only place in the whole world where divers can witness Thresher Sharks in their natural habitat. But there is more to this underwater island than that. Since Monad Shoal is part of the Coral Triangle as well, this wall is a marine protected area making it possible for visitors to still see its soft coral species as well as other pelagics fishes like Manta Rays. Critter lovers will also have a good time diving in Monad Shoal is home to various species of Nudibranchs, Mantis Shrimps, and Pygmy Seahorses, among others.

If you’re into underwater macro photography as well, it’s best to visit this during summer so you won’t have to worry about sudden rains ruining your plan to scuba dive. Visibility ranges from 10m to 15m, with a maximum depth of 24m. Currents can be strong but if you are an experienced diver, you’ll surely enjoy the waters.

One final word of advice, make sure not to sleep too late the night before so you can witness the magnificent Thresher sharks at early in the morning, which usually requires a 5 a.m. departure from Malapascua.

3. Panglao Island, Bohol

In Bohol, besides the world-famous Chocolate Hills, adventurers can also enjoy scuba diving at Panglao Island with an area that stretches to over 94 kilometers. Inside this island lies one of Bohol’s treasured beaches called Alona, popular for its white sand, clear blue waters, and rocky cliffs. Since Alona Beach is situated in close proximity to a house reef, water thrill seekers can expect colorful corals and fishes with or without diving gear. This makes Panglao Island famous for a number of underwater activities such as snorkeling, freediving, and scuba diving.

Alona Beach dive site boasts of colorful species of western clown-anemone fishes, angel fishes, Moorish idols, pufferfishes, and baby barracudas. Night dives are also possible here and is the perfect time to scuba dive if you want to see boxer shrimps, cleaner shrimps, moray eels, and decorator crabs.

Summer in the Philippines usually begins the moment the month of March steps in so if you want to experience this tropical destination has to offer in terms of adrenaline-pumping water activities, then we suggest you book now! If you’re a first time or amateur diver, no worries, Filipinos are known for being warm, welcoming, and accommodating so they’d gladly guide you as you discover the diver in you! Plan your trip with us now!

What to do in Bohol

Home of the cute Tarsiers, Bohol is serene but adventurous version of the entire archipelago. The endless possibilities found in Bohol will not only calm your screaming tired soul but also awaken the sleeping adrenaline junkie within. Listed below are four things you must not miss when in Bohol.

1. Exploring Loboc River

Surrounded by captivating rainforests, Loboc River is a jaw-dropping turquoise-colored river that Bohol takes pride in. While most people opt for a cruise along the impressive river, adventurous people can take an extra mile by stand-up paddle boarding along the river. It is a lot easier to paddle board in Loboc due to tranquil waters which involves less friction and smooth-sailing. Stand Up Paddling offers a quiet time and re-connecting with nature. You paddle at your own pace, meditatively as you cruise down this river paradise in Loboc. You’ll get to see the ruined 17th-century coral stone San Pedro Apostol Parish Church which was destroyed by consecutive natural disasters. Watching the colors of the sky change as the night time approaches is an added bonus to end your relaxing day at Loboc River.

2. Island Hopping in Panglao, Bohol

What would a vacation mean without getting a luxurious time at a beach? But in Bohol, you should not stay at just one beach. Known to have a lot of beaches with light blue waters and defined sandbars, it would be hard to discover them all. There are plenty of activities you can do depending on the island you are about to encounter. Passing by fish pens can be arranged so you could feed the tiny schools of fish., you can also check snorkeling off your list in an island called Gak-ang or scuba dive in the neighboring island of Balicasag. Immeasurably protected and preserved by the government, you will only find unspoiled beaches with clear waters free from litter and any kind of trash. Since they are strict with implementing rules, you must enjoy the lovely sceneries while abiding the rules. Leave nothing but memories, good friend!

3. Getting cozy with tarsiers

Traveling around Bohol without visiting the tarsiers in their sanctuaries would be incomplete. These cute googly-eyed mammals are most active at night and lives on a diet of insects. One of the smallest primates in the world, Tarsiers even have a special adaptation in the neck which allows its head to be rotated 180 degrees. While visiting these shy lemur-like animals, always move in with caution. As they are extremely introverted, flashes of cameras and loud sounds can startle them in an instant. Make sure to ask your guide for any questions to fill up those tarsier trivia you’ve been dreaming of learning.

4. Sight-seeing the Chocolate Hills

Last but not the least, the essence of Bohol, Chocolate Hills. Spread in a wide area of 50 square kilometers, the majestic hills are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate brown making it one of Bohol’s main attraction. One travel tip would be to ask locals or your tour guide on famous folklore about the chocolate hills that you could brag and pass on to your friends. Make sure you have eaten before watching over the symmetrical chocolate-colored hills as it would just make you crave more for Hershey’s kisses.

Convinced of the ultimate Bohol getaway? Contact our travel partners and we’ll arrange everything according to your taste. See you soon!

Top three summer destinations in Palawan

Summer is right around the corner so it’s only natural that you and your friends are starting to plan ahead for this year’s #SummerGoals. No worries, Philippines doesn’t come short of tropical holiday destinations that would make your summer a time to remember. If you consider yourself a traveler, then the wonderful 7,641 islands of this country are probably part of your travel bucket list.

Known as the country’s last frontier, Palawan has managed to preserve its fascinatingly natural habitat through the years. Palawan, the largest province in the country is an irregular coastline that stretches for almost 1,200 miles. The place is peppered with over 1,780 islands and islets as well as fine, white sand beaches and rocky coves. It is also home to some of the Philippines’ most amazing stretch of virgin forests that cover numerous mountain ranges, so sea and landscapes are something you can marvel at.

This world-recognized tropical holiday destination is famous for the quaint charm and paradise of white sand beaches namely, Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. To help you decide on where to go on your Palawan trip, here’s what you can expect from the three:

PUERTO PRINCESA
In the heart of Palawan lies the capital city of Puerto Princesa, a tropical paradise with lush rainforests and white sand beaches simply hours away from the city proper. Puerto Princesa is known not just for its beach resorts and exceptional seafood cuisine but also for being recognized as the cleanest and greenest city in the country. Tourists continuously get enticed to visit Puerto Princesa to indulge in vitamin sea, sand, and sky since the island is city crystal blue waters, white sand beaches, and green luscious forests. Puerto Princesa is also home to one of the New7Wonders of Nature – the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. So if you’re not just a traveler but adventure and thrill-seeker as well, exploring the waters and caves of Puerto Princesa is the right itinerary for you.

EL NIDO
A slice of paradise is another possibility in El Nido. Here, island hopping is not to be missed. El Nido is a managed resource protected area so you can expect nothing less than spectacular white-sand beaches, limestone cliffs, and rock formations. You can also see great coral gardens if you have the time to go underwater. El Nido is also popular among travelers since it is the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, another seascape you shouldn’t skip visiting if you’re into lagoons, coves, white-sand beaches, and diverse marine life. The Bacuit archipelago is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. On any given dive, you are likely to see dugongs, manta rays, sea turtles, and a very large number of fish species, some of which are endemic to the Philippines.

CORON

If you are one of those people in search of some well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of city life, the place to unwind is Coron. This part of Palawan is popular among divers because aside from its fine white-sand beaches, its waters are also home to a dozen sunken World War II Japanese warships, corals reefs, and marine life. You could also give Calauit Safari Park a visit to experience a nice walk in the wilderness. Calauit Safari Park is a 9,100 acres game reserve and wildlife sanctuary located in Calauit Island alive with indigenous species and African wildlife including giraffes, zebras, and gazelles. Sea turtles, sea cows, and a variety of marine life nestle on its shores.

What are you waiting for? Book your travel now and visit one of the top tropical destinations in the world! If you want a different experience, you could also try booking a cruise with us and we’ll take you right to Puerto Princesa Port.

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.

1. Cebu

Cebu, the Queen City of the Southern Philippines, is one of the most popular tourist spots 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 beside Cebu or Kawasan Falls, the best waterfalls in Asia, 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.

2. Bohol

Not too far from Cebu, another famed tourist spot known as Bohol sits by. Newlyweds can witness majestic landscapes such as the awestruck Chocolate hills or drop by the Tarsier Sanctuary, the home 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 witnessing one of its pride and joy, fireflies. 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 travelling along Loboc River will leave you and your partner reminiscing the day you met.

3. Palawan

Certainly not what you have expected, Palawan makes its mark as the last one on our list. Sometimes referred to as Asia’s Eden, Palawan will be able to give you and your spouse-to-be the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon both of you has 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.

Believed as the last unspoiled paradise on Earth, the well-maintained 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 which 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 lifetime as one.

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

Packing for a trip to Boracay

The year 2016 is about to come to an end (finally) and with its inevitable closing comes another year for you to explore and travel the beautiful Philippines. With spring break just a few months away, now is the perfect time to book your flights and take advantage of various year-end airfare sales. But with 7,107 islands waiting for you in this tropical destination, which one deems worthy of your spring break? We have one word for you- Boracay.

There’s probably a very slim chance that you have not heard of Boracay because this small island and its breathtaking beaches have taken the world by storm by receiving numerous awards from various travel publications and awarding bodies. The island is renowned worldwide for being home to some of the best white-sand beaches and if there is a place that could make you forget the daily city chaos and school pressure, it’s definitely with some sand, sea, and sun. To help make your visit to this tropical destination fun not fiasco, here are a few essential that you should pack for a trip to Boracay:

1. Sunblock

Let’s start with the obvious. Frolicking under the sun is well and good until you wake up feeling like a slightly cooked chicken leg. If you want to enjoy your time at one of the top beach destinations in Asia, it’d be wise to slather on some good ol’ sunblock, unless you want to spend your time with red skin that stings with every move.

2. Personal Toiletries

Hotels in Boracay usually provide free basic toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste but if you have sensitive skin and scalp, it’s best to bring your own. Transient homes and Air BnB accommodation are also not likely to provide those so if you are not willing to allocate time and money trying to look for a store that sell those, the most convenient way is to pack it up before getting on that flight.

3. Plastic and Eco Bags

An experienced and self-proclaimed beach lover knows that packing extra plastics and ecobags comes in very handy on trips to tropical destinations. Whether it’s for a quick, makeshift hamper for dirty or wet clothes or storage for souvenirs you’ve purchased on your trip, you can never have too many plastic and eco bags

4. Spare Phone

If you do not have a camera to capture the mesmerizing land and seascape Boracay has to offer, then the next best thing you have to document your adventure is your smartphone. But your smartphones can only do so much especially if you will also use it to connect to the internet, make calls, and send SMS. Our advice? Bring a spare phone assigned only for those three activities and use your smartphone solely for taking photos. If you do not have a spare phone, then invest in a reliable…

5. Power bank

Thank your lucky stars for technology because power banks are now here to save you from strolling around with a smartphone that has an empty battery. Just make sure both your smartphone and power bank are fully charged before you head out to your tropical vacation.

There are probably a number of other essentials you should pack on your trip to Boracay (like clothes and flip flops) but these 5, on our opinion, are a few that most people tend to forget so make sure to include it in your checklist. Check out our promo deals here and you might just find an airfare sale for your Boracay trip!

5 must-try delicacies in Vigan

One of UNESCO’s World Heritage Cities, Vigan is acclaimed for being an intact example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia that features 233 historical structures built during the mid 18th to the late 19th century lined up in a grid of 25 streets.   The famous cobble-stoned Calle Crisologo is definitely one of the highlights but roaming around the rustic but elegant streets of Vigan would definitely tire you out. Worry not, here are 5 of the most sumptuous foods from the city of Vigan that will boost your energy fuel.

Pakbet

Pakbet or more known as Pinakbet for people in the South, is also one of Ilocos’s preserved dishes. Vigan’s style of pakbet sets its difference from the Southern’s through adding bitter gourd and excluding squash which is a key ingredient of Southerns. Ilocanos customarily uses vegetables which can be grown from their backyards such as eggplants, okra, string beans, chili peppers, and bitter gourd. If you’re feeling a bit conscious about your health, this is the perfect meal to try out in Vigan.

Royal Bibingka

A sweet tooth must-try, the royal bibingka also made its mark as one of Vigan’s specialties. If compared with the ordinary “Christmas bibingka”, Vigan’s royal bibingka falls short if size were the basis. But, what they say is true, small is terrible. In this case, terribly delicious! The crusty top and the sticky but soft cupcaked-sized body makes up the crowd favorite bibingka. Topped with cheese and butter, you can never go wrong with a Royal Bibingka.

Longganisang Iloko

If you’re a breakfast geek, Longganisang Iloko which is also branded as Vigan Longganisa among locals is the town’s own traditional version of a sausage. A bit plump, full of garlic, and seen as a bit yellowish compared to usual sausages but one small bite can change your life. Filipinos cook them in a pan with a bit of water. After the water evaporates, the longganisa is fried using its own fat and is further fried until it turns slightly brown. It brings out its best flavor when dipped in vinegar.

Empanada

Of course, if you’re in town, you shouldn’t miss out on this one. Found almost anywhere within the crowded plazas of Vigan, Empanada is something Vigan takes pride in. Combining the aforementioned Longganisang Iloko, beans, shredded cabbages, grated unripe papayas, onion, garlic and egg makes up the core of orange-colored Empanada. Sellers make it right before your very eyes which is also another interesting sight.

Bagnet

Traditionally dried under the sun, marinated then deep-fried to make it crisp and tender, Bagnet is recognized as the region’s delicacy symbol. This huge chunk of meat with crunchy golden skin that was fried to perfection can be eaten at any time of the day which is convenient for travelers as it is available basically everywhere. One bite and you’ll get hooked so be wary of this cholesterol-rich slice of heaven.

So, if you’re going to give in on the Filipino-Spanish nostalgia that comes with visiting beautiful Vigan, then we suggest you try these delicacies before packing up your bags to go back home! To learn more about Vigan, just click here!

Cebu’s Hidden Gems

Cebu, Queen City of the South, is consistently becoming one of Philippines’ most visited destinations. The place may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think about dream vacations and tropical holidays but if you just, for a moment, try to stop yourself from going through inviting photos of the more popular beach destinations like Boracay or Palawan, you will see that this city is where the buzzing electric of the metropolis meets the quaint charm of a tropical island.

The city is known for being home to some of the country’s most historical places. From Magellan’s Cross to the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines), there is more to Cebu than just history (which we still suggest you see, of course).

Cebu, being one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, has the second busiest airport in the country so you can be sure that booking a holiday travel here will be breeze. To guide you on the not-so-obvious, hidden secrets that Cebu holds, read on:

1. Ka-Tinggo Falls

Ka-Tinggo Falls may not be that dramatic in terms of height but this 100-meter waterfall is a sight to behold and a journey to experience. It’s a great place to explore for adventurers looking for an adrenaline-pumping ride because to get to Ka-Tinggo Falls, you have to trek, crawl, climb, and swim. Because of its friendly height, it is a perfect destination for jumps and dives. Besides the actual falls, you could also enjoy another attraction leading to it- a hanging bridge built over clear waters.

2. Binaliw Spring

Located in the north-eastern part of Cebu, the shallow spring locally known as Binaliw is rumored to have extraordinary healing powers. Near the source of the spring, a grotto with a statue of the Our Lady of Lourdes is erected. Tourists and visitors are more than welcome to take a dip in the spring while basking in the magnificent flora that surrounds it.

3. Virgin Beach

Now we get to the part we know you’ve been waiting for- the beach. Who says Boracay and Palawan are the only tropical destinations that offer sun-kissed white sand beaches? Another of Cebu’s well-kept secrets is Virgin Beach, a quiet, secluded, idyllic beach resort located in Daanbantayan Northern Cebu. The resort has everything you need for a peaceful tropical vacation away from the city chaos- the beach, the pool, the cottages.

No more waiting around! Book a flight now and get roundtrip fares starting $608! Plan your trip here.