Summer is finally out and you can’t wait to be on vacation!

  • Picking your summer destination. DONE !
  • Booking your airplane ticket – at your favorite travel agency 😉. DONE !

Now it’s time to get ready for the airport!  Despite the excitement, you cannot hide your worry about the crowd, the luggage to check in, the long line to get your boarding pass..!

Well, I, Léah with an H, will share with you my travel tips to make your pre-summer vacation peaceful! My secret? Preparation and new tools: the Internet!

In this article, in collaboration with Cathay Pacific, we will guide you on How To Check-In Online ! It is FREE, EASY & FAST.

Why Check-in Online? The benefits are multiple and here are the main ones

  • avoid the long lines at the check-in office
  • gain time
  • choose your favorite seat in advance
  • eco-friendly: no more paper boarding pass, just a QR code with your smartphone!

When to Check-in Online?

48 hours to 90 minutes before your departure (for free)

STEP 1 : LOG IN ON THE AIRLINE COMPANY

Open your browser (ex: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari..) and get on your airline company’s website (ex: www.cathaypacific.com). If you already have a member account, log in by clicking on Log In. If not, just click on the button “Check-In Oline” or “Find a booking”

STEP 2 – LOG IN / IDENTIFY / CHECK-IN

If you are logged in: Click on “REGISTRATION ONLINE” and in the “Find My Booking” section, enter your personal information

– Last name and first names (please double check the spelling! No error)

– Reservation Reference Number or E-TICKET Number

If not, click on “Check-In Online” and enter the same credentials to connect and identify your booking

 

STEP 3 – SELECT YOUR FLIGHT AND CHOOSE YOUR SEAT

 

This is my favorite part! We all have our favorite seats or at least, a seat that we don’t want… No more surprise! The advantage of check-in online is that you can choose in advance your favorite seat!

However, notice that there are different options: free seats and preferential seats with additional fees.

  • Choose your seat according to the availability (see plan of plane) or you must choose to buy your seat, or to be given a free seat at random (if your flight takes place within 4 days)
  • Once you have selected an option, you will see your avatar on the selected select, select continue to pay your seats or retrieve your boarding pass.

    STEP 4 – SECURITY & CONFIRM BOARDING PASS

Next, follow the steps (security, luggage restrictions …) and confirm your online registration. Your boarding ticket will be sent to you either by phone (QR code) or by mail (document to print)

 

If you don’t plan to print, make sure to have enough battery on your smartphone (take a powerbank with you) when you’ll present your online boarding pass at the gate.

If you have not had the time to register online at home, you can always head to one of the automatic check-in machines at the airport. These terminals are free and make you avoid queuing. Bring your passport and / or reference number / e-ticket number and follow the steps. Please note that online check-in is possible 90 minutes before your flight.

Finally, once check-in online is finalised, once at the airport, instead of going at the check-in line you can directly go to the luggage line to drop yours!

Thank you for reading.

Good luck & bon voyage!

Here is a sum up to share to your family and friends!

Written by HeyoLeah

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In collaboration with Cathay Pacific

Heyo! This is Léah with an H and I am so happy that you are reading this article because it means that you are considering to visit soon my motherland.. the Philippines!

But you are lost between the opposing opinions: one advises you to travel this month but the other one doesn’t for meteorological reasons – So here you are, confused and perplexed, very hesitant to buy your tickets on those dates because above all it is a long journey (+10 000km from Paris), a budget and of course you want to enjoy your first trip to the Philippines in the best possible conditions!

No worries you are at the right place because not only I am half Filipino/Algerian born in Paris, France but I’ve travelled in the Philippines every single year since I am 5 years old and I lived there for almost a year, so let’s say that I really know the Philippines and that you can trust me, my friend!

Now, in order to help you prepare your next vacation, I am going to share with you all my travel tips and all the basic information about the best time to visit the Philippines!

I will talk about the weather, the hotel rates depending on the seasons and when to book cheap flights with our travel agency Visit-Philippines. So basically everything you need to know to make your first travel in the Philippines worth it and memorable!

Okay now let’s go!

👉 Get to know me more! Follow me on Facebook, Instragam and subscribe to my Youtube channel for videos, photos and a dose of  fun!

Perfect weather in Dumaguete – Manjuyod Sand Bar on March 2019!

How’s the weather in the Philippines?

 

First of all, weather in the Philippines is not that simple!

4 climate zones & 2 seasons: The Philippines has four distinct climate zone. Globally, it is a tropical climate that is for the most part hot and humid year-round, but can be roughly divided into a dry season and rainy season.

And, depending on which area you are, the climate will be drastically different! For instance, in Baguio City in North Luzon, the coldest city of the Philippines (10° to 20°)  –  you need to wear a jacket or even gloves whereas in Siargao, few kilometres away, it is warm and hot (25° to +30°)!

So in overall, the weather in the Philippines is not the same everywhere and throughout the year! 

Now, because I care about you and your next vacation, I made a personalised calendar for each destination I visited throughout the year. You are welcome! You can check them out when you click on the destinations 🙂 For example: For Cebu City, on the weather section, you’ll the weather forecast below

Cebu Weather Estimation

Best times to travel in the Philippines?

 

From my experience, here are the best seasons to visit the Philippines from the best to less good:

December 🎄💝: It is the month of celebrations with Christmas & New Year! Not only, the weather is great – not too hot or too cold and unlikely to rain – but you will experience & feel the Christmas spirit of the Philippines! As soon as you’ll step out of the airplane, you will be greeted by smiles, welcoming Filipinos, festive songs, and Christmas lights – the parols – and decorations! However, it is a high peak season. Many OFWs (= Overseas Filipino Workers) from the world come back home to visit their families they haven’t visited for years. So be prepared to see traffic, crowded malls (need to buy Christmas gifts) and higher hotel & local plane rates.

 

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: A vendor sits beside for sale colorful Christmas lanterns as church goers pass by to attend a traditional dawn mass in Manila 22 December 2003. AFP PHOTO ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

 

January,February & March ❤️❤️❤️: In 2019, I travelled for the first time in the Philippines during those 3 months and… I LOVED IT! The weather was PER-FECT for travelling! Plus, there are less local & international tourists than usual so it is easier to take #instagram photos & videos! On February, I highly advice you to visit the rice terraces and mountains of North Luzon. You will be able to see high green rice fields! Plus, the weather was sunny & chill.
February is the “coldest” season of the year with temperatures around 20° to max 30°. Plus, the best thing is that in general people are either working or in school, thus touristic places are not THAT crowded comparing to the rest of the year.  And hello… February is Valentine’s Day, so best time to spend some quality time with your love one!

 

Green rice terraces in Banaue, Ifugao

April☀️☀️☀️: It is SUMMER VACATION in the Philippines & IT IS VERY (TOO?) HOT & DRY ! I think I’ve never felt this hot in my life… and I can tell because 1)  I couldn’t walk around without sweating 2) I kept staying inside malls to be in the AC and as an half-European I usually can’t bear AC! To give you an idea, temperates reach +35° in the city of Manila! Imagine that temperature + the pollution: hella hot. So my advice, take the plane, go to the beach and put sunscreen! PS: It is Holy Week from April 5 to 11, so many Filipinos either go back to their province (hello traffic) or travel around the country! So be ready for higher hotel & place fares and crowded beaches. Actually, I think Manila is the best place to be during Holy Week! There is less people and no traffic. On May and June, the temperatures stay high and it is mostly dry season.

© Mark David Acoba Productions

July/August/September ☀️🌧️🌈: It is officially the rainy season of the year! And at the same time, not really? I think the weather during those months are the less predictable ones of the year. I know that most of you may only have July & August to go on a summer vacation and you should definitely go! As I said in the intro, the weather in the Philippines can be different everywhere at the same time! It can rain in Manila but sunny in Palawan. True story: we were lucky to have sunny or worst case scenario – cloudy – weather during all our group excursions on August! (El Nido, Cebu, Bohol). It is so unpredictable! To be honest, despite the rainy season in the Philippines, I still advice to give it a shot! I mean, if you want  Plus, a rainbow may appear in the horizon 🙂

On November, the rainy season gets less intense and the temperatures are pretty good too.

 

Why not travel during summer (Europe)?

 

1.it’s the most touristic season of the year! As July and August are the summer vacation, French people will be travelling there but also everyone else!

2. usually airplane tickets are more expensive.

3. rates of hotels and resorts are more expensive during this time.

 

Travel Tip: Always keep a raincoat or sweater in case of some rain!  Keep an eye on typhoon, weather forecasts websites!

When to book & get the cheapest airplane tickets with VISIT-PHILIPPINES?

 

Now that you know when to travel to the Philippines, the question that follows is when to book and buy your airplane tickets to get cheap rates?

NOW! 

But more seriously, we highly advice to book your tickets one year earlier! But I know it can be hard to commit in advance because you don’t know when you’ll be on vacation and also how’s your budget going..

No worries! The travel agency Visit-Philippines has negotiated exclusive and preferential prices with their Airline partners throuhgout all the year! And even if it is a last minute purchase, they offer an instalment payment solution, you can pay in multiple time don’t waste your time!

Book your tickets today! FLY NOW. PAY LATER

With its endless stunning islands, the Philippines offers a variety of beautiful natural spots from white sand beaches, crystal blue water to spectacular mountains landscapes, waterfalls, rice terraces and more!

After travelling for 4 months around my motherland the Philippines , let me share with you the 10 must-go-NEW-places to visit in the Philippines in 2019!

If you are not a reader lover, you can watch my travel series videos #VISITPHILIPPINESWITHLEAH on my Youtube channel & Facebook page!

1. Ifugao Province: magnificent mountains & terraces 

If you like hiking, bonding with nature and you are ready to disconnect from the Internet to immerse yourself into an authentic experience to learn about the origins of the native Filipino culture, you should explore the Cordillera of Ifugao! Go on a 2 to 5 days hiking to Banaue, Cambulo, Batad, Patpat, Mayoyao, Bangaan.

And in case if you were wondering, the rice terraces of Batad are the 8th wonder of the world and a UNESCO site. For those who are familiar with the rice terraces from Vietnam or China, these ones are far more impressive as they are perfectly built symmetrically into an amphitheater of rice fields with endless stairs (sensitive knees abstain). They have existed since 2000 despite the many challenges and natural disasters (typhoons, earthquakes, torrential rains …).

Magnificent, incredible, WOW these are the words that came to my mind.

ifugao

2. Diving at Apo Island in Dumaguete & Maldives of the Philippines: Manjuyod

Dumaguete Island, the capital of Negros Oriental, in the province of VISAYAS, is famous for its diving spots. There you can go on a day trip snorkelling or scuba diving and get your license, and explore the rick marine life of the area: corals, fish of all kinds & sea turtles in Apo Island.

But Dumaguete has more to offer: it is a multicultural island that offers various hidden food gems: Chicken Jo’s Inasal, Sans Rival, Boulevard Street Food – to eat squid balls, tempura. And at night, locals and students coming from all around the world dance, sing and enjoy their time at the various bars and clubs such as Tiki Club or Hayahay Bar for live music bands.

The second highlight of my stay was watching Dolphins and chilling at the Maldives of the Philippines: Manjuyod. You can rent a private boat for the day to go see watching dolphins in the nature and then enjoy the sand bar beach in Manjuyod ! There, you can have fun and do water activities: banana boat, have some fresh grilled lunch, have some drinks a la pinoy and just enjoy! Oh and if you are craving for snacks, No worries, there are SARI-SARI boats floating around! Also, little tip: you can rent a cottage for 3k-3,5K only and stay over one night with your family and friends! It can welcome +15 people!

3. Fall under the spell of Siquijor

If you visit the VISAYAS, you should definitely stop by the mystical island of SIQUIJOR! Locals believe that there are witches, ghosts and mystical creatures that will either hurt you or put a magic love spell called the GAYUMA on you…But those are just stories and legends that gives the island a little bit of charm! Siquijor has a lot to offer to adventure-seekers such as waterfalls such as Cambugahay Falls where you can swim in natural water, jump from swings and cliffs, relax on white sand beaches such as Pilaton beach and have a taste of freedom as you ride your scooter around the island.

HEYOLEAH’s TIP: The nightlife is very little developed so enjoy your stop in Siquijor to relax! Stay 1 night and 2 days, for 1 day of rest and 1 day of exploration. If you want to avoid the crowds at Cambugahay Falls, wake up early, leave at 6am to arrive at the opening at 7am.

4. Sardines Run in Moalboal, South of Cebu

From Manila or Clark airport, the most sensible way to continue is by taking a flight to Cebu. Cebu City is the 2nd largest city in the Philippines and has a lot of resemblance with Manila – an urban city growing into the center trade, commerce and tourism of the Philippines with many old historic & religious monuments. Click here for more info!

While there’s a lot to do in Cebu island – whale shark watching, waterfalls, canyoneering and more – the one attraction which stands out as the most unique is undoubtedly Moalboal’s Sardine Run.

HEYOLEAH’s TIP: Great news! As the sardines at Moalboal don’t migrate, it’s available all year long.

 

5. The Chocolate Hills, Bohol vs Osmena Peak, Cebu

The Cholocate hills are one of the most famous places in the Philippines located in Bohol because of its homogenous shapes.

But Cebu, also has its own Chocolate Hills called the Osmena Peak! Indeed Cebu is a total package: you don’t only have beaches, waterfalls to jump and swim in but also mountains to climb and hike! 

Locals often compare the view to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. But instead of rolling curved mounds, the hills have salient peaks.

Along the way, you can see farmers carrying large baskets of freshly harvested vegetables. The Mantalongan & Dalaguete Vegetable Market is the wholesaling station for cabbages, carrots, peppers and other vegetables. This is also the most popular starting point for hikes, if you do not want to hire a Habal-Habal driver to get to base camp.

HEYOLEAH’S TIP: Rent a scooter for the day to be free of your movements!

6. Malapascua Island, New Boracay North Cebu

 

From South Cebu to Cebu City, we highly hesitated to visit Bohol and explore the famous Chocolate Hills, but instead, we decided to have a complete tour of the Cebu Island by going up north to Malapascua Island.

From the North Bus Terminal in Cebu City, we took a 4hour bus to the Port in the North then a 30minutes boat ride to Malapascua Island. (TIP: there is a boat ride every 30minutes from 6am to 6PM)

And there, we found the most underrated island and beach in the Philippines! My first impression was that IT WAS VERY HOT! But right after, I thought that Malapascua looks like Boracay but 15 years ago: white sand beach, not crowded, yet enough developed to offer basic structures & amenities (resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs) to let tourists enjoy their stay.

Our program was simple: rest & chill by the beach for few hours then island hopping tour at 4PM to 1) dive near wrecked ship  2) jump off a cliff of +15meters (I didn’t jump) and watch the sunset on the boat.

HEYOLEAH’s TRIP: Being a small island, supermarkets and restaurants are very few and prices more or less high; so before heading to the island, buy basic products: water, fruits, snacks!

7. Kalanggaman Sand Bar in Leyte

One of my dreams was to go on a heavenly sand bar, and I finally realized it in the Philippines on Kalanggaman Island! The water there is crystal clear, clean and fresh – the beach is beautiful and breathtaking! You can either take a half-day tour from Malapascua or stay overnight in a tent and enjoy an unforgettable experience under the sparkling stars.

Do not worry, the island is not that empty! There are small shops called “sari-sari”, the municipal police, cabins, a medical team and even a resort!

9. Siargao or the island of Surfers

Time to get adventurous and live the surfing beach lifestyle! Siargao is one of the best surfing spots of the Philippines and in the world! You will enjoy surfing or watching the seasoned surfers tearing up the bigger waves out at Cloud 9 and in Pacifico.The waves are perfect for both pros and amateurs ! Many will compare Siargao as Bali but the main difference is that you will fall in love with the island but more especially with the locals who are warm and very welcoming. As visitors, let’s respect the environment and avoid plastic use as locals want to prevent any consequences of mass tourism.

There are different also various places to explore in Siargao Island! Click hERE to see the different activities to do!

HEYOLEAH’s TIP: The best way to go around? If you are an adventurer, by bike or motorcycle! But there are also private tours by vans or jeepneys!

9. Above the clouds in Sagada

Located in the mountains of North Luzon, Sagada doesn’t offer what most of you are used to hear of the Philippines- no crystal clear blue water nor white sand beaches – but instead – natural waterfalls, high pine trees forest, caves, hanging coffins… So take a break in the fresh air of nature and go on a hike to the Marlboro Hills to watch the sunrise above the clouds. Experience this unforgettable trip that awaits you.

Sagada is a touristic spot that attracts many local people and international ones especially adventure-seekers. FYI: it is expensive and you cannot visit the place on your own – DIY travel – you must be accompanied by a local guide – I recommend you to contact my friend Reynald, a young and professional local guide (09 954 177 696).

TRAVEL TIP: Visit Sagada as a group to have lower prices on activities and get a jeepney to tour you around! If you travel solo, you may easily join other groups at the Tourism Center.

10. Old & Modern Manila

Give Manila a chance!

Unbelievably known for its appalling traffic jams, polluted air and overcrowding, Manila may well be the most underrated capital of Southeast Asia. But Manila has proven to be one of the places you would really like to go. Why do you think there is traffic in the first place? It is growing, evolving and has a lot to offer tourists.

Staying in Manila can be an intense experience. But the beauty of this historic city, formerly known as the “Pearl of the Orient” in the 1950s, is based on its paradox: Manila is large but vibrant, dirty but full of historic, noisy and cumbersome places, but filled with life, music and music. entertainment.

So, despite the chaos, there is still something about Manila that will bring you back to the Philippines.

Written by HeyoLeah

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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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