If you’re in the Philippines as an expat, or you’re a Filipino expat on vacation back home, this post is for you. Well, unlike the more conventional tourists, we want a vacation that is usually short (because we have to go back to work, or we have other obligations on our “vacation”), and that also means a short travel time or commute. We also want to enjoy nice amenities and good resorts, and sometimes we need it to be suitable for children and elderly if our families are involved.
Most of the times, as part of being “locals”, we can take care of the booking and transportation ourselves. However, because we want our high standards met, especially if the family is joining, it’s important for us to be on the safe side. Therefore we like to rely on the advice of friends on where to go, and booking through a local travel agency like Philippines Travel Package, just to be on the safe side. So in this post I will give you my pick of the best places for expats to enjoy such a vacation.
Boracay, the queen of the Philippines’ beaches. Would I be wrong to argue that it is perhaps the most convenient destination in the Philippines? Why is that so? First of all, getting there is easy, there are many flights from both Manila and Cebu every day, and from other chosen destinations. After the flight to Caticlan, a 15 minute ferry ride and you’re there!
The wide selection of resorts makes it accessible for every budget, there are so many bars and restaurants, and beach activities too. And it’s also the best island if you want to go out and party. So who is it for? Young couples, young families, expats living in the Philippines, and actually everyone. The atmosphere of the island is very lively and young. If you are not much of a party person, and like to avoid the crowds, try somewhere else.
Because mostly visit, or can take some time off (if we live in the Philippines) in odd times, we can actually enjoy Boracay on the low-season. That’s a huge plus, because many people are compelled to go on the high season. Not only that they suffer from very high rates, it’s just that Boracay gets really crowded. It’s much better to have this paradise relatively to yourself.
Another very popular spot, and very good for expatriates on their short vacation. There are several flights a day from Manila both by Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, and Air Asia tends to give better deals, so try them first. A ferry from Cebu is also a valid option, as it take around 1.5 hours. That’s really not bad, even on a tight schedule.
Bohol is kind of a full package. Unlike Boracay which is a party package, it’s somewhat of an adventure package. It is one of the best places for scuba diving in the Philippines, and even if you don’t learn how to dive. It makes no sense to be from one of the best countries in the world to dive in, and not even trying once.
But other than diving, the white beaches of Panglao, and especially Alona, are something to remember. Than you can travel the land itself for the famous chocolate hills. There are quick tours that leave from most of the hotels that take only half a day and maybe less. So who is it for: beach lovers who want somewhere more quiet than Boracay, very suitable for families, it’s also a foodie’s destination
It can’t get any better than that, if you want the easiest and most convenient vacation of all, Mactan is waiting for you. Mactan airport is accessible from virtually everywhere in the Philippines, and you land straight into action. Or leisure so to speak. You don’t waste any time and you’ll have a blast even if you’re staying for 1 or two nights only.
The resorts are of the highest quality you can find in the Philippines. The beach in Mactan is also perfect, and it offers great diving and snorkeling. But mainly, this is the best place to just relax and drink a cocktail or two. When you get too hot, just have a quick wash in the ocean or hotel pool, and when you’re hungry, dine in the great restaurants of the resorts around.
We can enjoy places much less visited. Whether you visit the Philippines, or working in Manila, you can find some time to visit this amazing province. Flights from Manila are quite expensive, but recently PAL started a line from Clark to Basco, that cuts the price by 60%. Book enough in advance, and you can get a ticket for 2914P for each direction.
In a way, traveling to Batanes is like traveling abroad, so keep that in mind if you live in the Philippines and want to experience something different. But who am I kidding, it’s a place that every Pinoy wants to visit in his life time. Batanes is often compared to New Zealand for its scenic rolling hills and mountains, covered by green grass fields. It also have a unique indigenous culture too, and touring the island is also an interesting feat.
But don’t take this windy province as a trekking place only, you can also hit its beautiful beaches. Morong Beach and Chavayang Beach are two very beautiful white beaches in Sabtang, and the most popular bathing beaches in Batanes. Valugan Beach may not be so good for swimming, but a sight to behold, one of the few boulder beaches in the country. Other than that, there are many beaches waiting for you to explore. Batanes is ideal for people who love nature and want to see new things, and wouldn’t mind an active vacation which involve trekking.
The Island of mysticism, witchcraft and dark magic. This is what many Filipinos think when they hear the name if this province. And they are somewhat right, because it is an island of magic. But not any kind of dark magic, the island will put a simple spell on you that will make you fall in love with it.
If I’ll compare it to another destination on this list it must be Bohol. But as much as Bohol is easygoing, Siquijor is 10 folds as much. All you can do there is spend time at the quiet beaches, like Salagdoong, Paliton, and Bacong Beaches. Oh, and explore the wonderful nature of the island. Like the ancient Balete tree which is believed to be both enhanced and more than 400 years old.
Explore the Cambugahay Falls near the town of Lazi, and the spectacular Cantabon Cave that takes 1.5 hours to walk through. There is a butterfly sanctuary near Lazi too, that is a great spot for you to visit, as well as many old churches scattered around the island. Who is it for? People who’d like to have a quick beach getaway, which is off the beaten track, and involves other beautiful sites. It’s good for couples and families with big enough children