The archipelago of seven thousand islands – Philippines.

April – May 2014

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Philippines – quite an extraordinary country, which in addition to the white sandy beaches, palm trees and turquoise waters has lots of interesting and unusual places.

Route:

There are many interesting places, but the complexity of the journey was that all of them are scattered in different islands of the archipelago. After much thought and miscalculations were selected 4 of the big Philippine Islands – Luzon, Coron, Palawan and Bohol.

North Luzon:

In North Luzon we were attracted by volcanoes, rice terraces, a unique type of burial and just unusual mountains.


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Coron:

Coron is famous for its beaches, lakes and diving to sunken Japanese ships. At Coron, we planned to spend only 2 days, but thanks to the Sebu Pasific spent one (and for this day we chose not standard entertainment.


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Palawan:

It is in Palawan, near the town of Puerto Princesa is the world famous underground river in the Subterrnean River National Park. Another famous palce is Bukit archipelago in the northern part of the island.


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Bohol:

We couldn’t find a direct flight to Bohol, had to spent some time in Cebu – strange city. Bohol was no less impressive compared to other islands – tiny monkey tarsiers, white beaches, Chocolate Hills and cockfights.


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South Luzon:

South Luzon not the most popular place among tourists, but it is here is a beautiful cone-shaped Mayon volcano and the place where the great chance to swim with sharks.


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Filippines visa (Kiev):


Philippine visa we received at the Consulate of the Republic of the Philippines in Ukraine in Kiev (Museum Lane, 4). Consulate almost closed in February 2014 due to the fact that it is next to street Grushevskogo. In most term of waiting visa was set from 5 to 7 days, but in reality it turned out to be 14. We gottThe visa only at the day of departure, though it was stamped on 3 day after applying. And this was despite of our requests and offers to organize urgent supply. List of documents were fairly standard and was no difficulties with it. Obtain passports could anyone with a receipt.

Money:


The currency of the Philippines is the Philippine peso. One dollar corresponds to about 44 pesos.

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Flight:


We bought tickets about 3 weeks before the trip, the situation with vacation was really uncertain. In spite of these terms tickets were not got much more expensive. The best choice was the Etihad airline for flight Kiev-Manila-Kiev with transfer in Dubai. The planes and the service is in very decent level. Ticket Kiev-Manila-Kiev was $ 1,111.

Travelling:

Domestic flights:


Here are many Domestic Aircompanies, but the complexity of the journey betwing islands is that the vast majority of flights connect separate island and Manila and any desire to fly from island to island turns to two flights with the change in the Manila airport, which has taken a dominant position in the list of “The worst airports in the world.”
When choosing airlines for domestic flights, our choice fell on SebaPasific. Prices weere quite nice, reputation is acceptable, of course only in comparison with other airlines operated domestic flights))). And they had a very comfortable flight Puerto Princesa – Cebu which we were intrested in. Certainly there was even more convenient flight Puerto Princesa – Tagbilaran, but we bought tickets right before the trip and all tickets for that flight were sold.
In total we had 6 domestic flights: Manila – Coron – Manila, Manila – Puerto Princesa, Puerto Princesa – Cebu City, Cebu – Legaspi, Legaspi – Manila.
Of these 6 flights 1, the very first to Coron was canceled due to the fault of the aircompany and we had to spend the night in an unprovoked admiration Manila and lost one of the two days on the island. Yes, we were paid for the night in the hotel, transfer, something like dinner and breakfast, but we have lost a lot more.
The plane from the Coron to Manila was delayed for 5 hours and we were late to the next flight to Puerto Princesa, despite the fact that all the time we were said thatPuerto Princessa flight will wait. As a result, one night in th city of controversial impressions).
Two more flights were delayed, but not much.
And lastly flight from Legazpi to Manila we missed on tour own, though oddly enough with great pleasure). We just managed to buy tickets to the wrong month. But missed flight made us one of the best days of the trip in Legaspi.
Still I want to say separately that sometimes the Philippines airport fee is not included in the ticket price and must be paid at the airport just before the flight. 200p for domestic flights and international – 750p. We were flying with the same aircompany but in some airports we had to pay the fee? in some not.
$ 463 spent for domestic flights.


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Ferries:


The country has a lot of different ferries , but we have used them only onece – from Cebu to Tagbilaran. The ferry was decent, quick and adequate as for price – $ 20.

Busses:



Here are a lot of buses different by price and comfort.
Luxury buses are quite expensive by local standards. They are comfortable – in a line are 2 + 1 seats, they are wider than in plane and well laid out, there is WiFi,thay are air conditioned. But now I’m not sure it’s worth attributed to pluses – all the time it is from 15 to 17 degrees and no one is going to regulate it, this despite the fact that outsode is not less than 25 and warm clothes is not used there. Knowledgeable people are taking a blanket to a trip.
Usual buses, which are used by the locals are much more simpler. There are 2 + 3 seats in row and open windows are instead of air conditioner. Whindows are completely ok, but deliver great inconvenience when driving on a dusty dirt road. Local peaple are very confused to see “white” people in these buses and even try to give a place)


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Other transport:


In addition to standard modes of transportation in this country are very common so-called jeepney – cars made in the manner of the US military jeeps and painted in the most amazing way. Jeepney is cheap, but tourists as well as in some other Asian countries are tryed to get more than from locals. Another impressive fact is the possibility to go on the roof, often possible to see the double-decker stops. It is really nice, not hot and beautiful to be there, but a little dumb at some corners of mounting roads.
As taxis are very spread Tricycles(something like Tuk Tuk) – convenient and cheap, but again you need to know the price otherwise risk being taken more than enough.
In many places, as a public transport are original boats – Bangka. Prices are rather big, but it is a very pleasant journey.


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Hotels:


Hotels are probably the only thing on this trip where we tried to save money … and it turned out very bad idean. Contrary to the habit of book hotels on www.booking.com , hotels were booked on www.agoda.com . Choice in Agoda for South-East Asia is much broader and more hotels in more places.
The level of hotels in general is low. Night at the really good hotel can cost up to 1000$ per night, and there is nou much of such hotels. Unpretentious and simple hotels are opposite – quite cheap. But some of cheap hotels are not worth even this money. If you spend large sums on flights and transfers, it’s not worth saving no hotels here …
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Dishes:


Food variety is not really big. The main side dish oddly enough is rice, very common dished are fried chicken and fried eggs. Filipinos still adore egg Balut, but I’ll tell about these extreme things later)
Here unusually tasty fruits – especially mango. I’ve ate pineapples for half a year ahead, but it is simply impossible to be overeated with this delicious mango. Many different types of other fruits: Dragon fruit, white orange, yellow watermelons and breadfruit (Jackfruit).
Excellent selection and prices for seafood – different fish, lobsters and shrimps.
Still impressed with the taste of ice cream of tomato, bacon and ginger with pepper.

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People:


People are marked with kindness, good-natured and laziness. This of course those who are not associated with the tourist industry. Those that have already understood what was happening and is already spoiled by “white” people behave almost in the opposite way. More than once we called the price twice and three times higher than the real, but for this trip I was getting ready as never before and price levels were well known. With such awareness price is easily cleared, that sometimes it is even cringe from such a sharp change of requirements. Often thay try not to give the change, pretend they do not understand what you are saying. “Forgets” about the advanced payments and try to knock out a tip and a all this is in a very cheeky and brazen way. These were the most unpleasant moments of the trip.
History of the Philippine has developed in such a way that absolutely all speak English. And thay have American-style sockets.

Ilnesses:


The Philippines is a country in South East Asia and tourists should be fairly accurat. For entry there is no compulsory vaccinations. But a lot of recommendations. Among the recommended vaccinations from gippatity A, B and typhoid. Water in this country, as in many others can be drinked only bottled or boiled. First aid kit compiled with the greatest care.

Part 1. Volcanoes day. Flew Over the Pinatubo and climb to the Mount Arayat.
Part 2. Sagada. The most unusual cemeteries in the world.
Part 3. Bontoc – the capital of the Mountain province.
Part 4. Rice terraces Maligkong.
Part 5. Rice terraces of Ifugao tribe – Batad.
Part 6. Banaue.
Part 7. Ancient Spanish Vigan.
Part 8. Lunch and dinner on the San Juan beach.
Part 9. Living cemetery in Manila.
Part 10. Flight to Coron and famous Philippine sunset.
Part 11. The way to the island Сalauit and Lake Kayangan.
Part 12. Calauit Safari Park.
Part 13. Coron town.
Part 14. Palawan. Port Burton.
Part 15. El Nido. Tour А+B.
Part 16. El Nido. Corong Corong beach.
Part 17. El Nido. Tour С.
Part 18. Subterranean River National Park.
Part 19. Bohol. Funny tarsiers and river Loboc.
Part 20. Bohol. Small attractions.
Part 21. Bohol. Chokolate hills.
Part 22. Bohol. Cockfights and fireflies.
Part 23. Bohol. Island hopping tour – Balicasag and Pontod.
Part 24. Bohol. Island hopping tour – Pamilacan.
Part 25. Bohol. Coconut Farm.
Part 26. Bohol. White beach.
Part 27. Mayon volkano.
Part 28. Swimming with sharks.
Part 29. Mayon ATV tour.
Part 30. The capital and national oddities.

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