27 january - 16 february 2007

Boracay photos El Nido photos Palawan photos Various photos


For a sea-lover like me, the Philippines have been in my list of the countries to visit since a long time!!!

More than 7000 islands for a country still relatively (and oddly!!!) little touched from the mass-tourism. Another reason for the trip: diving and particularly from a wrecks lover: the Coron bay where numerous ships of the Japanese fleet sink during a bombardment in the September 1944.

And so started this adventure I shared with my dear friend Meggy.







Dubai - Manila


9 hours






Manila - Puerto Princesa


  1,5 hours


Puerto Princesa - El Nido


  1 hour


El Nido  



El Nido    


El Nido    


El Nido




El Nido - Coron








Coron - Manila


1,5 hours


Manila - Tagbilaran - Panglao


1,5 hours








Panglao - Cebu - Boracay


1 hour
1 hour










Boracay - Manila


1 hours




Manila - Milan


8 hours


Damp heat above all in Manila, in the other places damp was mitigated by the sea breeze, perfect for my tastes!!!


Boracay: despite is the most tourist destination of the country, his white beach is worth a trip in the Philippines.

Palawan: considered the last frontier and a place that every traveller should see, particularly El Nido and his lagoons represented for us a myth, even if I expected a little bit more, the sea and the beaches are spectacular and still relatively uncontaminated.


The first excursion we had in program was the visit of the subterranean river of Palawan, unfortunately one hour before leaving the tour was cancelled because of the bad sea, we thought was an excuse instead I had confirmations then from other travellers that the sea in that places can be really rough.

In El Nido, the varied lagoons can be visited singularly or with 3 tours that gather those principal, we choose the tours: A and C (map). In almost all the lagoons there is the possibility to snorkel on backdrops rich in coral and substantially uncontaminated.
The costs and the services are more or less equal for all the operators, important to choose who offers the most comforting and/or safe boats, we choose the ArtCafé and were quite satisfied.

In Boracay numerous activity are offered, I rented a bicycle and had a pleasant stroll for his beaches and hills that in some points are quite a lot steep/strong.


One of the main motives for my trip, has been probably the only disappointment:
Coron: the wrecks are exceptional with beautiful penetrations usually quite difficult, sin for few life and above all for really very bad visibility, the locals explained that sometimes it improves but a little. Even if are not deep dives, for the bad visibility, the penetrations and the tides this dives to dissuade a little experienced divers. The team-manager of the Sea Dive Resort have proven competent.
Panglao: I dived on the reef of the Balicasag sea park of that is considered one of the best underwater sites of the country, visibility quite sufficient (for a tropical sea) with life and coral discreet; the red sea is another thing!!!


The Filipino cooking is a mixture of Asian and European influences, basic dish is garlic rice, even Filipino eats a lot of chicken and roast pig. In Manila our Filipino friends has made us try some their dishes with specialty from the varied provinces; I have very appreciated of the spicy vegetables with shrimps. I expected to find more fish, the shellfishes are quite expensive in comparison to the other country of the area. Excellent tropical fruit, has made a bellyful of mangos!!!
Meggy unfortunately took an ugly intestinal infection because of the bad food of the restaurant Squidos to El Nido.
For against instead to Puerto Princesa I signal the KaLui restaurant, where we tasted some good seafood in a really nice place.


The country is decidedly convenient even if a little bit less respect to other Asian countries, the ATMs are diffused to the exception of Palawan (only to Puerto Princesa), where besides it is almost impossible to change €.
Average costs (1 € = 63php):
restaurant lunch or dinner= 250 php
McDonald's  menù= 50 php
pension double room = 800 php
taxi = 80 php

In more than an occasion happened to find vendors with unbalanced calculators (obviously to them favor).


I remained absolutely amazed by the fact that practically the whole country is covered by a Wifi internet connection, also to El Nido where electricity is furnished only during the night by generators. Also the cellular connections are capillary and very convenient.


Dangers & annoyances 
Despite is considered to blame a country to risk attacks, seemed me decidedly safe apart Manila where with the exception of the central/touristic districts is necessary to pay a lot of attention.


Manila is considered the city with the most diverse nightlife in Southeast Asia, Filipons adore the karaoke and also during the week there are many things to do.
To Boracay along the long pedestrian walk there are numerous place to drink and/or to listen music.
In the other places the evening you feel asleep soon cradled by the noise of the waves.


I used the airplane a lot, mainly for convenience, confort and because I didn't trust to move by sea due to the frequent castaways, above all small boats; the safety level of the airplanes seemed me more than discreet. To Palawan you have to travel with very small airplanes (max 20 seat) where the passengers are also weighed, for this place above all it is worthwhile to book in advance the flights due to the limited availability; there is the advantage that usually to change booking cost only few php.
The taxis to Manila are very convenient, sin that the drivers often scam the tourists, for this ask always the driver to turn the meter, from the airport it is practically impossible to get it and for this I preferred the prepaid taxis even if decidedly expansive for the filipinos standard.


It's quite easy to find discreet lodgings with good price for the low budget travellers, the only exception is El Nido where the offer is still low and the relationship price/quality unfavorable.
Malate Pensionne: in good position really in the proximities of the sea and especially in a safe district; being in the nightlife zone the rooms are very noisy, ear plugs are essential!!! double room with common bath 740 php.
Friedly's Guesthouse: near the from the Malate, a private hostel, dorm room bed 250 php.

Puerto Princesa
Puerto Pension: in the proximities of the yown pier, beautiful wood rooms, the rooftop restaurant has some beautiful views, double room with a/c and breakfast 900 php.

El Nido
Lally & Abet: to the extremity of the bay, rooms with decidedlyunfavorable price/quality, but all the other palce were fully booked, double room with cold water and breakfast 1400 php.
Apart the resorts, in the village the best accomodation is Rosanna's, unfortunately it has only 4 rooms and it was fully booked.

Sea Dive Resort: on the dock, the rooms are discreet, with very polite personnel, the excellent restaurant, double room 500 php.

La Isla Bonita: I follow a tout (thing that I rarely do) but I must say that the choice was really good, it finds in the "low zone" of the beach, beautiful double room 1300 php.


LINKS Tourism Office Local Airline specialized to Palawan flights Local Airline National Airline National Airline Compagnia aerea Coutry guide El Nido information Resort & diving in Coron
The Virtual tourist comunity gave us really good informations Boracay info Informations about the Coron wrecks Travel agency with shops all over the country


The thing I appreciated more in this trip have been the Filipinos, absolutely hospitable, cordial and friendly, I will remember with a lot of pleasure the evenings with the Manila friends and the smiles of the Filipinos!!!




Copyright © 2007 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.