Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paradise in the Philippines

Jules and I have just returned from the most wonderful holiday in the Philippines. We were there for about 10 days from the 29th January to the 8th February.

It was so refreshing to just get away from Sangju and Korea for a bit: to experience a country where most people speak at least a little English, where the climate is warm and where the people are so laid-back and warm and friendly. (Koreans are certainly warm and friendly but I would hestitate to put them in the 'laid-back' category!)
...And where we had 10 days to ourselves to do just as we pleased - this was probably the most important part of all! These 10 days of freedom to come and go as we liked and just to relax did us the world of good!

We were in the south-central part of the country. We flew from Inchen/Seoul to Cebu City on Cebu Island, which is a 4 hour flight. Cebu is the 2nd largest city in the Philipines. We stayed there for one night, had some time to take in some of the historical sights of the city, and then we caught a ferry to Bohol Island. The ferry took about 90 minutes. Bohol is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines: mostly for the diving, snorkelling and beautiful beaches (and of course the famous "Chocolate Hills"). We were hoping to experience all those things and a little more...

We were on Panglao Island, which is a smaller island very near Bohol, for 4 days, and then we spent 5 days on Bohol itself.
We experienced the varied scenery, gorgeous beaches and ocean, spectacular coral reefs (both by snorkelling and diving!), warm & welcoming people, beautiful forests/jungle, rivers, wildlife, domestic wildlife, rice paddies with water buffalo, etc. etc.

Some of the words which come to mind when I think of the positive feelings I experienced in the Philippines are: warm, relaxing, freedom, familiar chaos, San Miguel (beer), rum and coke, mangoes, smiling children, warm rain, easy lifestyle, colourful, fresh air, outdoors, exercise, English!, beautiful nature, green lush vegetation...etc...etc the list goes on! The Philippines is often referred to as the Africa if Asia: I tend to agree with this (from what I've expertienced anyway, not that I've seen much of Asia) but the chaos, poverty and relaxed approach to life there reminded me of Africa/home quite a bit!
The Philippines certainly does seem a near-perfect holiday destination!
My only (minor) chriticism would be the food: I can honestly say the Korean food is better- surprising actually since it does have some very unusual ingredients! But I do think the generally rather bland and mediocre meals we had in the Phlippines have made me appreciate the effort Korean people make with their food: flavour and freshness, presentation and variability in textures make a big difference!

We took soo many photos during our holiday. Jules has posted some of the better ones on his Facebook profile. I have turned some of them into powerpoint slides/jpeg files and will post them here. I hope they give you a good idea of what a great time we had!


EEbEE said...

Wow looks like fun.some great photos too.

Bradpetehoops said...

Wow Philippines!