Philippines Vacation 2018!
FINALLY! After 25 years of life I FINALLY get to say I've traveled to my second homeland of the Philippines and it was definitely worth the wait! I'm not exactly sure why it took this long for me to make this trip happen, but I'm so so glad it did! I should also note that this was my very first time traveling outside of the country in general as I've usually made it a habit to explore places in the US I haven't been to yet.
My Philippines trip was very special and meant an enormous amount to me because I was finally able to learn more about my Filipino culture and meet family members I didn't even know I had! There really isn't anything like the culture in the Philippines.
Over the course of about two weeks, I was able to explore six different main areas: Apalit, Tagaytay, Pangasinan, Palawan, Vigan, and Manila. I have to say every area I visited was unique in it's own way. However, out of all the locations I've traveled to within the Philippines, Palawan, Manila, & Vigan were my top three faves! The best thing about my entire trip was being able to just experience the culture in the Philippines versus what I've learned and heard stories about while growing up in America.
Apalit was a great place to visit because my mom's side of the family grew up within that area in a neighborhood called Pampanga. I was able to experience how my mom's siblings and her grew up and the type of lifestyle they lived before moving to America. I met SO many grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins I never knew I had! It was such a sweet experience and something I'll always cherish. Tagaytay was a great area because of the amazing views and hiking area. In Pangasinan, we were able to spend an entire day island hopping at an area called 100 islands. Just picture a hundred small, green mini mounds spread throughout a massive area of water! Within the bigger islands there were different activities such as zip lining, snorkling, banana boat rides, and all the halo halo you could eat!
If I had to choose one word to describe Coron, Palawan it would be breathtaking! The views were amazing and it's such a beautiful island filled with delicious food and welcoming people. I traveled and stayed in Coron for about three days and they were some of the best times of my whole trip! For an entire day, my aunt, little sister and cousin spent the 90 degree weather day island hopping. Compared to other popular island destinations in the Philippines such as Boracuy, Palawan is also a popular tourist island that isn't as heavily populated. I was in awe at how beautiful the island was! I seriously came back to America about 20 shades darker, no thanks to my SPF 100+ sun screen. Check out my quick Palawan recap video below!
After Coron, my second favorite travel spot during my trip to the Philippines was Manila! My family and I spent three days in Manila and were able to view most parts of the city. The hospitality in the Philippines, in general is probably the best I've ever experienced in my life. Literally, everyone is so overwhelmingly friendly and kind. My fave spot was definitely along Manila Bay. The views were amazing and there were a ton of local restaurants and the SM Mall of Asia nearby. Basically more places to spend my money towards pasalubong aka "souvenirs" and food. Check out my Manila recap below!
Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Vigan City is located on the coast of Luzon and is the most historic town in the Philippines I've visited. Imagine cobblestone streets with historic Spanish architecture filled with local shops and restaurants. Calle Crisologo is the main long road that features all of the historic buildings and is filled with a ton of different shopping opportunities. My family and I only spent one full day in Vigan, but I was glad to experience this kind of culture in the Philippines and also meet a few fellow Americans! Check out my Vigan recap below:
Although my trip to the Philippines was limited to two weeks, I definitely would love to return back soon and explore other areas I was not able to. One thing I would do differently is bring an empty luggage just to fill it with souvenirs and goodies to bring back home. Other than that, my trip was amazing and filled with so much love from my family members and beautiful, breathtaking scenery. Salamat Philippines!