The Philippines are one of the most popular and easy destinations of South-East Asia as English is widely spoken and locals are known for their warm hospitality & their “more fun” vibes.

But the unpredictable climate, natural disasters, constant traffic in cities and the 7,000 plus islands can make it hard to pick and create the best itinerary. 

So for any first-timers travelling in the Philippines, here are some misconceptions to get rid of and tips to make your trip smoother and more enjoyable!

#1  – Are the Philippines really dangerous? 

Lately, a friend of mine asked me if the Philippines was safe because she has heard many rumours about people being kidnapped, robbed or even worse, especially for a foreigner. 

As any other countries, there are always risks and dangers. But those occur to very little cases.  As a half Filipino-French, my Filipino family has always been worried about my safety when I travel around the country. They keep saying it is « dangerous especially for a foreigner and a girl » – but those thoughts are being typically built up by conservative Filipinos, Western media and embassy news or anxious Filipino expatriates. 

But since I took a step out, I discovered that the Philippines is as safe as anywhere in Southeast Asia – even safer than in France with the « Gilets Jaunes » taking on the streets nowadays… So while there has been violence in a few provinces in the southern region of Mindanao, it rarely spreads into other parts of the country or affects tourists. Of course, always check the travel advisory and latest news to be safe but from my experience, relax and enjoy! 

# 2 – Taxis drivers try to scam me over few more pesos!

The Philippines is one of the cheapest places in the world to travel, especially compared to Europe and the US. And when foreigners travel around, accommodations and transport services will be highly tempted to add few pesos in the final rates.. Actually, in some touristic activities, you will notice a price differences between « International tourists » and « local » ones. BTW, if you are a student, bring your ID student to have a discount! But, don’t let your anxiety come over you especially if the taxi driver is driving you through rush hour of Manila and asks for 1.00€ to 2.00€ as surcharges, just make sure that the meter is on, ask locals if the price is the average and don’t lose your temper, simply keep it cool.

# 3 How is the food and what can I eat there? 

Filipinos love pork! One of their favorites the famous lechon, Pork BBQ, Chicharon and many more. But the Filipino cuisine has so much more to offer. Often described as “the original fusion cuisine”, Filipino cuisine is inspired by Spanish, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and American cultures. 

It bridges the gap between the world’s favorite flavors: you’ll find typically sweet, savory and sour ingredients which will please almost every palate. For non-meat eaters, you can definitely fill your tummy with delicious sea food, vegetables and tropical fruits! Kain na*! 

*let’s eat!

 

#4 The weather can be your best friend or worst enemy …

The weather in the Philippines is not that simple: across the country there are variations in the climate and because of its location on the volcanic area, it is prone to typhoons and strong rains.

But in general, the best months to visit are from December to April where the weather is warm and dry. I love December because our family gathers for the Holidays but Beware of the busiest holiday periods over Christmas and Easter when the resort and hotel rates will skyrocket.

#5 There are more than 7,000 islands…Where to start?

Many of my friends have been asking me that they plan to travel in the Philippines and they want to see everything in a record time of 10 to 15 day!

+7,000 islands in 10-15 days? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!

Even I, who travel in the Philippines every year, have not seen all parts of the country yet…. Creating or choosing an itinerary can give headaches even for regular travellers. So, it all depends on you

  • what type of traveller you are
  • with you who travel with
  • on your personal interests
  • are you a beach or mountain person?
  • are you looking for adventure or relaxation?

 

credits: Mark David Acoba Productions

But the Philippines has plenty to offer and satisfy everyone! Whether at the beach, on an island, surfing, scuba diving, canyoneering or in the mountains, exploring caves and undiscovered places or just in the city, learning about history, culture and party!

I invite you to check our destinations page to learn more about the gems of the Philippines!

 

Author: HeyoLeah

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“Don’t go chase the waterfalls…🎵”

This is the music lyrics that describes the perfect hunting day of waterfalls, right?! So in this article, I will bring you to the South of Cebu, an island of unique and beautiful waterfalls & natural pools.

One of the most beautiful and famous are the KAWASAN FALLS!

Although it is very touristic, it is a must-see! To fully enjoy it, I advise you to get up very early to be around 6:00 am; that way you will avoid the arrival of the mass of people and therefore be able to take your  #INSTAGRAMGOALS photos

The particularity of the waterfalls of Cebu is that there are many waterfalls in one in a place! For example, the Kawasan falls have 13 floors and you can explore them 1 by 1 by doing  the Canyoneering! The flagship activity of Kawasan Falls!

What is Canyoneering? In small groups, you will climb and jump into different levels of waterfalls! No worries, lifejackets and helmets are mandatory to wear because SAFETY IS FASHION you (PS: do not take your go-pro AT RISK of losing it)

After spending the morning in the Kawasan Falls, you still have the whole afternoon to explore the rest of the island and chase all the other and hidden wild waterfalls that are as beautiful as the Kawasan Falls.

The best way? Rent a scooter and feel free to stop whenever you pass by a waterfall entrance!
Here is a quick list! Will update it once I will visit them!

  • Tumalog Falls
  • Cambais Falls (my personal favorite discovery ❤️)
  • Dao Falls

Written by Léah with an H
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“It is dangerous”, “Girls shouldn’t travel alone”, “You act like a boy”, “Why don’t you stay home”

But why?

I’ve always heard those words growing up from my family – mostly because they simply care. And I love them for that and appreciate their concerns but somehow,  it is not helping me to grow as a human being. My instinct has always pushed to leave and explore the world and one of the best experiences was when I first travelled alone in New Orleans, USA. Here are 5 reasons why you should travel alone and some tips!

#1 – You discover yourself

When you travel alone, you face yourself. You have to make your own decisions, follow your instinct and learn what you actually love or not. When you are in a viewpoint, ^ut your phone away or cut your network, sit down, enjoy the view and meditate.

#2 – You learn to be responsible & confident

The key to a safe and successful alone trip is PREPARATION. Before leaving your safe house, make a list of the essential medical kits, don’t forget the MUST-TRAVEL ITEMS (chargers, power band, passport, money). Bye bye papa, mama, now you can only count on yourself. So always be aware and focus. Little by little,
you will become more confident on your decisions making. My father tip: separate your money in different places in your backpack or luggage just in case someone steal from you, at least you still have some money!

#3 – Get out of your comfort zone and grow!

Well the title says it all fellas 😉

#4 – Scared of being alone? No! You’ll make tons of new friends!

Paradoxically, you won’t feel alone AT ALL. Actually, I’ve met more people and made more friends by travelling alone than with my family or group of friends. As you travel alone, you have to develop some social skills to ask for directions, to socialize and meet locals; And the best way to visit a city is with locals! So my tip is to pick hostels as accommodations because there you will meet young travellers and maybe solo ones with whom you can travel with for a day or two! And who knows… meet a special someone? HA HA

# 5 – More freedom & independence

Obviously! However, if you come from a Filipino family, I know it’s not that easyAs a single child and a girl, I had a hard time convincing my parents to let me travel. One of their secret concerns was – I think – that I would abandon them if they gave me too much “freedom”. But over time and using the right words, I managed to make them understand that traveling and taking a little distance with the family was not a way to escape them permanently but rather a better way to get back to them.

 

So what you are waiting for? Plan your solo travel and enjoy the ride!

 

Author: Léah with an H

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One of the most famous attractions of Cebu Island is swimming with whale sharks at Oslob!

Where is Oslob? How to get there?

Oslob is located at the south point of Cebu Island, so if you are in Cebu City it takes 6 hours of bus ride from the South station of Cebu City without hazards. Or if you are from Moalboal (if you follow my route) 2h30 by bus. From Moalboal, take the bus at 4AM (be patient). Stop at Samboan and take a second bus to Oslob.

So I’m sure you’ve seen these incredible pictures on Instagram of super good girls and boys swimming a whale shark? And of course, when you see this kind of photos, the magic of Instagram + egocentrism of the human being that YOU WANT this photo too.

Well, know that these instagram photos hide a lot of truth ..

1. The mass of tourists 

2.It’s a real business

In reality, Whale sharks are in a “net fish cage” so that they cannot espace the shore. As you can see from this drone shot, it is very well organized! Boats are lined up while whale sharks are being fed on each side of the boats so that tourists can see them, swim next to them (snorkelling or scuba diving).

Tourism is not a bad thing, actually locals need it to support financially themselves. But it would be better if it was ethical and in respect with the wildlife and environment.

3. Photos are hard to take!

From my experience, I remember the water being so salty, the waves kind of strong that it was actually very really difficult to swim down and take #instagramworthy photos! Plus, I was pretty nervous to swim by the whale sharks as their were enormous! I could have been easily swallowed by one of them! And even though you are not allow to touch them, they were still very close to you and their long tale could accidentally touch your feet if you don’t pay attention! It was hard to navigate around them but at least…thanks to my friend I have my photo..! Do you like it?! haha #kungfukick

Now the question is, Is it really worth it?

To be honest, no. It’s not ethical for the environment and the whale sharks natural behaviour and habitat are being jeopardised.
As a visitor, I’d rather explore a place in respect with the environment.

However, there are other places than Oslob where you can ethically swim with wild whale sharks that are actually protected! The spots are, Donsol, in the south of Leyte and the Tubbataha Reef.

 

Comment below to share your thoughts! Would you swim with whale sharks or not?

 

Author: Léah with an H

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If you travel in the Philippines and you have the opportunity to attend a Filipino Fiesta in the area you’re visiting, just GO & CELEBRATE! It is an unique and immersive experience that you won’t regret. 

Across the Philippines, cities and regions organise many festivals to celebrate their culture and believes. For example, the Coconut Festival in Laguna, the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City etc They arevery festive and colourful with parades, music, dance and colourful Filipino costumes!

Last January 2019 I finally had the opportunity to go to Cebu City and attend the Sinulog Festival!

When? It is celebrated every year during the third week of January.

Where? in Cebu City

What? The biggest religious fiestival of the Philippines where thousands of people coming from the Philippines and the world gather to celebrate the Little Jesus and party!

The Philippines is a very religious country – the majority of the Filipinos are catholic christians. The Sinulog is one of the many religious festivals as it celebrates Santo Niño – the little Jesus – to honour him, locals shout Viva Pit Señor! 


For a week, Cebuanos (people from Cebu) pray and worship the little Jesus. On Saturday, they go on a pilgrimage that starts from the center of Cebu City to the Basilico of Santo Niño. During the march, you will see hundreds of people praying and holding a statue of their little Jesus.

On the week-end and especially on the last day, on Sunday, the festival take a whole different turn, people party on the streets, there are different kind of music festivals – rave parties, hip hop, electro – organised on parking lots, parties & safe drinking. People are very friendly to each other, they sing and shout “Viva Pit Señor!”, you’ll be hugged and painted in the face – that is the tradition!

© LostJuan ft HeyoLeah & VlogbyBlair

SO THE QUESTION IS, IS IT REALLY DANGEROUS..?

The first time I’ve heard of the Sinulog festival was when my friend Akiko mentioned it to me back in 2016. Since it stucked to my head and I knew I had to go there one day! Then I asked my family and the first thing they said was:

« ahh ang gulo duon! Madaming tao tapos lasing na lasing- mga botte lumilipad! » 

is a chaos there! It is very crowded, people are drunk and bottles fly in the air! 

Well… it really sounds like any other music festival… HA-HA

So, on 2019, I got to finally go to the Sinulog festival. My mission was to get content of the parade and live the celebration to the fullest!


Here are some information & tips on how YOU can enjoy the Sinulog Festival

  • If you are afraid of the crowd or claustrophobic, don’t bother to go to the Sinulog Festival. It is very crowded. You will have a hard time to enjoy and blend in to the fullest.

 

  • Budget & Hostels – Expect price ticket fares to be higher and the price of hostels tripled up! I got super lucky as I booked our nights super last minute at Bunks Hostel. And feeling ko meant to be because this hostel has the BEST LOCATION EVER in cebu especially during the sinology because it is literally in the center of everything! Plus, I got to meet the owner, his family and make some new friends! 
  • Be open-minded and friendly! This Sinulog was perfect as we met local people, amongst them the blogger Blair, who toured us around Cebu. Super friendly people!They gave us tips, taught us some cebuano words and grabe really welcomed us as king and queen. Guys, if you go to Manila or Paris, just hit me up
  • Get dirty & Blend in – In order to enjoy a festival, you need to feel part of the whole thing! So we bought some t-shirts and accessories to be comfy and ready to get dirty painted!

  • No signal for 3 days – On the week-end, major telecoms will cut their networks for the day. If you are with friends, make sure to pick a meet up point.
  • Secure bag – Bring a fanny pack or water bag that you can keep close to you. Make sure to wear it in front of you because some people can cut the fabric from the back and steal from you.
  • Drugs & Alcohol – During those crowded party events, alcohol is all over the place. But since 2018, the mayor has put strict measures to avoid any major incidents : liquor ban for 24 hours: all convenience stores within 100 meters of the center are not allowed to sell alcohol; And people are not allowed to bring bottles and drink publicly. However, you can still have some drinks in private bars or at your hostels on the parking lots. Now, Like anywhere else, dangers are still around.  So always have a look on your glass, be well accompanied with people you trust and can take of you, drink with modernity and don’t accept anything from a stranger.

Special thanks to Reggie and Blaire Tumalak @VlogbyBlair and his whole squad for welcoming us in Cebu! Thanks to Pierre and the Bunks hostel squad where we had an awesome time! Best location ever during the Sinulog Festival!

 

For more tips, please read Thetravellingfoxes’s article named ‘How to experience Sinulog like a local‘ as one of the Nats who is from Cebu, gives you more information and tips about the Sinulog Festival!

 

Watch my  videos vlog for more insights of the Sinulog Festival!

 

Written by Léah with an H

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Tangandan falls

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

mad monkeys burgers

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Tangandan falls

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

mad monkeys burgers

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