• Philippines

    13 Things to Know Before Visiting Siargao, Philippines

    If you’re looking for a dreamy place to visit – a place where the beaches feel endless, the waves are perfect, and the underwater life is gorgeous, Siargao might be for you. It’s a tiny island in the state of Mindanao, and it’s like a whole different world. 1. Siargao is hard to get to, but worth it. Siargao is somewhat hard to get to, though it is getting easier. They now have daily flights from both Cebu and Manila, but there are just a few flights a day on and off the island. You’ll be flying on a small-ish prop plane, and the runway on the island doesn’t quite…

  • Philippines

    Coron Fireflies Tour: A Review

    In Coron, Philippines, there are many tours to choose from. Most of them are day trips around the islands, but one stands out for being a night tour – the Coron Fireflies Tour. Fireflies Tour Cost and Details The fireflies tour costs 950PHP per person, which roughly translates to $19USD. This includes pickup and dropoff at your hotel, the speedboat ride to the mangrove swamp, and dinner. They also give you some bug repellant lotion (you need it!), but I’d bring extra!

  • Philippines,  Tips and Tricks

    17 Things You Should Know About the Philippines Before You Go

    If you have the chance, you should definitely visit the Philippines. It’s an incredibly diverse nation, with thousands of islands and indescribable beauty. Here are seventeen things you should know before you land: 1. Everyone speaks English, but not everyone… Filipino children learn English in school, but Tagalog and other local languages are widely spoken throughout the islands. Especially for people in the islands like Habal Habal drivers, you might not get someone who speaks English. On the whole, you will generally be able to find someone around who does. 2. Each island is unique – with both beauty and safety I know this sounds like a “duh.” But each…

  • Costs,  Philippines,  Travel

    Spreadsheeting: How Much I Spent in Coron

    Coron was a bit more expensive than Siargao – Coron doesn’t have any beaches of its own, so basically every day is some sort of tour or adventure. It makes it incredibly fun, but it was also an expensive place to be! Overall, for five days and six nights in Coron (five days actually in Coron, including in the nights the overnight layover in Cebu), I spent $512.42 USD. How did that work out? Airfare: $143.00 This includes my flight from Cebu to Coron and then my flight from Coron to Manila. Accommodations: $88.01 This was for one night at a hotel in Cebu and then five nights at a…

  • Philippines,  Travel

    The Water Lights Up When You Touch It

    When I was looking at all the tours in Coron, there was one called the “Fireflies Tour Coron.” Given that I remember spending tons of time in my childhood chasing after and catching fireflies, I wasn’t that excited to pay 950 pesos to go see them. I mean, cool, but skip-able. And then I heard there was a phosphorescent bay on the way. I met two girls in my room at the guesthouse – Allyra and Pouchi, and they were so fun. They’re best friends who grew up together (Rachel and Jess… they reminded me of us!) and it was their first trip together. So they were ready to have…

  • Philippines,  Travel

    A Very Unique Safari

    Today I went on a safari to the Calauit preserve – essentially, once upon a time the Filipino President Marcos (likely best known to my American friends as the husband to Imelda) decided it would be a good idea to go to Kenya and bring back some animals for “conservation.” He thought the climate was similar and they would be happy here in the Philippines. {{alternate history, you decide the facts: President Marcos’s son Bongbong wanted to have a convenient place to go hunting for big game. This one feels more probable to me?}} So with that auspicious beginning, the animals were taken to Calauit Island – an entire (small)…

  • Philippines,  Travel

    The “Ultimate” Coron Tour

    The one tour basically everyone who visits Coron goes on is what they call the “Ultimate Islands Tour.” It’s a day-long adventure out of Coron Town and into the surrounding area. And the surrounding area is just breathtaking. The tour is split fairly well between lagoons, beaches, and snorkeling, so there’s something for everyone throughout the day. The highlights for me were the lagoons – we went to the Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake. Kayangan Lake (kay-ann-gann) is probably the image you’ve seen most-Instagrammed from Coron. It’s amazing, but I was surprised to see that the image spot that everyone uses is actually not of Kayangan Lake – it’s the…

  • Philippines,  Travel

    Every Day, Do Something That Scares You

    I’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive, but I’ve never gone. If I’m being completely honest, while I’ve always wanted to do it and thought it would be cool, I was afraid of it. Even when I’m on the bottom of a pool, my ears hurt – and so I was so scared for what would happen to them under water, and so scared that scuba diving would be incredibly painful. I could easily envision myself being one of those people whose ear drum ruptures under the water or something equally melodramatic. One thing I’m trying to do on this trip is to do whatever it is that a…

  • Costs,  Philippines,  Travel

    Spreadsheeting: How Much I Spent in Siargao

    Many people have asked me how much this trip costs, and to be honest – I’m fine being transparent about it! So I’ll try to recap for each destination how much things cost and how much I spent. It’s likely going to be a lot lower than you’re thinking! Overall, for five days and four nights in Siargao, I spent $292.89 USD. How did that work out? (Note that these do not add perfectly to the $292.89 above… they’re a bit off due to currency conversion and rounding. But like $2… so whatever.) Airfare: $88.10 It cost me about $90 to fly round-trip to Siargao from Cebu. (I’m not including…