For my 31st birthday this past September, I thought what better way to celebrate than with some of my closest friends, in my home country that I hadn’t been to in over 10 years – the Philippines! As I’ve gotten older I’ve found it more and more important to reconnect with my roots and figure out where I come from, beyond simply my direct upbringing. After all, what good is it to travel to various parts of the world and experience other cultures if you’re not even in touch with your own? That said, I felt it necessary to experience the Philippines as an adult (I was born there but hadn’t been back since I was a kid), so that I could gain some new perspective on both the country and my heritage.
For our first few nights there we stayed in Manila and ventured around the capital for food, massages, and drinks. Once Emil got there a few days after us, we took a shuttle from Manila to Batangas to board our boat to Coco Beach Island Resort in Puerto Galera. Coco Beach is owned by my family, so I can’t go to the Philippines without paying them a visit. Not only because it’s family, but also because the actual resort is amazing – sustainably designed to coexist harmoniously with the land, gorgeous bungalows fit for a honeymoon, live music, unforgettable scuba diving experiences, and that authentic, home cooked filipino food that surfaces every happy memory of my childhood. I literally had at least one fried fish every single day, and there was no stopping it. I’m so grateful to my nephews Vince and Ino for welcoming us all with such open arms, and for my friends feel like their family as well. They gave us an experience unlike we anything we could have ever expected had we not been in their good company and their good graces. If you’re ever there, make sure you save a day for a carabao ride to Tukuran Falls; it’s such a rich, authentic way to experience Filipino culture. Tell them I sent you. 😉
Once we left Coco Beach we headed to Palawan, an island of the Philippines that I had never been to before, and one of its current main attractions. There, we stayed a night in Puerto Princesa, and then made the trek past El Nido to Qi Palawan – probably the most remote resort I’ve ever been to. It’s about 45 minutes to an hour out of El Nido, but so well worth the drive if you don’t mind taking your time and being a bit disconnected from civilization. One of the most alluring characteristics about this resort was how indescribably calm and still the ocean was behind it. The secret to that is their barrier reef, a reef that acts as a boundary from the rest of the ocean so it breaks the waves before they get to the shore. It made for a stunning landscape scene to behold; perfect for paddle boarding, even in the rain! If you ever make your way there, make sure you rent motorbikes for at least a day (it was only 600 pesos for a full day which is about $12, insane!). It’s an incredibly liberating way to get around the island so that you can immerse yourself in the warmth of the sun and the tropical breeze.
The Philippines is truly a wonderful place. The people are so kind and welcoming, its cities and towns are alive with music, dancing, and singing, and in my opinion, the food is equivalent to the “soul food” of Asia. I highly suggest you get it on your must-see list for 2017, if you haven’t been there already!I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking. Emil really smashed it with this edit. You can expect more vlogs like this from me, where the narrative isn’t only provided by myself or myself and Emil, but by the locals as well. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!
I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking. Emil really smashed it with this edit. Please make sure you also subscribe to Emil’s Youtube channel, because he does his own edits of our trips together (and he’s way better at it than I am). You can expect more vlogs like this from me, where the narrative isn’t only provided by myself or myself and Emil, but by the locals as well. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!14 awesome people like this post