Ferry to Coron

Day 6 – Coron

My alarm was ringing at 4am. Not the greatest time to wake up, but it was time for me to leave El Nido Island. Therefore, I tried to be as silent as possible while getting ready to check out. Luckily, there was security around the reception area for the check out. I walked the last time along the beach and headed upstairs to the street, where some tricycle drivers already waited for me. Apparently, I am not the only backpacker on this island, deciding to leave at 4 am in order to catch the ferry.

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The check in for the ferry wasn’t the most comfortable procedure I ever experienced. It was dark, but already hot, I was tired, carrying the heavy backpack and sweating as hell, because I had to wear the clothes that didn’t fit in my luggage. But well, I was just happy that everything worked out and I entered the ferry as planed at 6am. I even managed to relax and sleep a bit during the almost 4-hour ride. The time went by so quickly, I didn’t even mind the long drive.

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The first thing I saw, when arriving in Coron at 10 am, was a big poster warning and informing about the Corona Virus. We also got some flyers. Furthermore, our temperature got tested before we were allowed to enter. I was kind of scared that my temperature might be too high, considering the hot climate and the long clothes I was wearing. But it was all fine. I was really surprised that the actions taken on such a small island were that strict already. During that time, the virus was definitely a huge issue in China, but in the Philippines only 3 cases were confirmed. However, being aware of the current situation in Europe, those measurements were definitely appropriate.

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A thousand of tricycles were already waiting for all the tourists arriving. I took mine directly to the hostel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to check in yet. Honestly, that’s so annoying! But thinking from a hospitality business perspective, understandable. Therefore, I just got changed and headed outside. I just wanted to have a walk, get a first impression of Coron and eat something for Lunch. The atmosphere was completely different. Coron is definitely a little less touristy than El Nido. That’s probably why many people prefer Coron. The locals seemed to be very friendly and a little more used to tourists than the locals I met in Manila. Therefore, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. What I liked immediately, was the authenticity I felt. I saw students waiting for the bus and locals working and cooking.

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And guess what. I obviously went searching for hygiene masks. In some shops and pharmacies, they already had a poster on the window saying, “Mask sold out”. So frustrating. But then!! I actually found some! I was the happiest person on earth. Not kidding! I went to so many different pharmacies in so many different cities and even countries, and now I finally found at least a few hygiene masks. Oh Lord! It really made me feel safer.

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For lunch, I just randomly went into a small shop, where they were selling different types of Buddha bowls. From a variety of ingredients, you could just choose what you would like to have in your bowl. It was nothing special, but I was totally satisfied.

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To be honest, I really didn’t know what to do the whole day on Coron island. The main purpose people are coming here is to do Boat Trips to the little islands around Coron. There is nothing much to see or do on the main island itself. However, there is a saltwater hot spring in Coron, that I decided to visit. The tricycle drive was quite an adventure, considering the horrible condition of the roads. But somehow, I made it. The hot spring was a weird, but definitely unique experience. Luckily, there weren’t many people. Kind of understandable. It was super-hot outside. And the hot spring even hotter. I thought I almost burned myself when I went into the water. Such a weird thing to do. But it was kind of nice too.

After a few hours I headed back to the hostel and finally checked in. I shared my room with 3 other people. The room was really small, but I actually preferred it to the other hostel, where I had to share with 11 other people. In the afternoon I just relaxed in my bed, watched some Netflix and texted my friends.

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Then before sunset, I spontaneously decided to hike up Mount Tapayas. It was quite exhausting to hike up all the stairs, but definitely worth it. I made it just in time for sunset and had the most amazing view over Coron. The scenery was just beautiful. I could see the ocean, the small islands, Coron town and the “mountains” around. I really enjoyed just sitting here and watching the sun set.

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Before it got completely dark, I headed back to town to eat some dinner. I wasn’t really sure to which restaurant I should go. I ended up at a Thai restaurant, where I ordered the most delicious mango shake, a papaya salad and green curry. I even had some life music while eating. The food was okay, but I definitely had better curries in my life. Nevertheless, I couldn’t complain.

Afterwards, I just walked back to the hostel, looked at the new pictures from that day, watched a movie and went to bad. The first day in Coron was definitely better than expected. But it hasn’t even really started yet.

I found Paradise

Day 5 – El Nido

It was my last, and by far the most amazing day I had in El Nido. I think I have never in my life seen so beautiful beaches and lagoons. At around 9am I had to be at the boat tour company in El Nido Town. From there we hoped on the boat and started our journey. This time, I decided to go for Boat Tour C, which I definitely preferred to Tour A. And you will see why.

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Our first stop was a beautiful lagoon. We all rented a Kayak and paddled into the lagoon. The water was very shallow, which made it much more enjoyable for us. Whenever I wanted, I could just hop off the kayak to have a swim or take some pictures. I definitely preferred this lagoon, to the once I have seen on my first boat tour. Not only because this time, there weren’t as many people, but also because the whole atmosphere and the nature were incredible. I also got to know some people from my boat. Obviously, the majority were couples again, but that didn’t bother me as much. They were all pretty open minded and kind. I almost forgot the time here and paddled back when everyone else was already waiting for me. Oops!

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The next spot was an amazing beach. I do not remember the actual name anymore. I think it was called Helicopter Island, or was it Talisay Beach? But what I remember is that the beach looked stunning. Our group was the only one at that time on the beach, which made it much more enjoyable. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to snorkel and swim, which was really fun!

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But then something happened I was waiting for the whole time. I actually already gave up that I will ever see such a place during my Philippines trip. But here we were! Wow! Wow! Wow! It was just breath-taking. I still can remember every minute we spent at this beautiful place. The tour guide told us that we might not have the opportunity to visit a secret beach. Similar to the secret lagoon last time, there was only one entrance and one exit. During high tide, the entrance is not accessible as it would be under water. But we made it just in time.

I was considering if I even should bring my camera this time. But I am so glad I did! When I swam through the small hole and entered the bay, I had no words. It was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This time, I could understand why it’s called secret beach. We were the only people here and it actually felt like we had just discovered tis beach. This perfect white beach and the crystal clear light blue water. Amazing! I really didn’t want to leave. I could have literally spent the entire day here. But obviously, that wasn’t in my choice.

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The only thing that convinced me to leave was the fact, that it was lunch time. Finally! We were all hungry already and couldn’t wait to get some food. The lunch spot this time was on Matinloc beach, if I remember correctly. A beautiful spot to enjoy an island lunch. The food this time was pretty similar to the one last time. I ate grilled fish, some seafood, veggies, rice and fresh fruit. So yummy!

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For the rest of the day, we went snorkelling and swimming in the sea. We also visited another “secret lagoon”. But there were so many people, that I didn’t think it was worth it to take some pictures. And then, it was already time to head back. The ride back was definitely not the most comfortable one. We were so so lucky with the weather so far, but suddenly it got pretty windy and wavy. I was lucky that I didn’t sit at the front. The people there were completely wet when we arrived. But everyone took it with humor. It couldn’t ruin our day. Nevertheless, I was quite happy when we arrived in El Nido Town.

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It was already around 5pm when I hopped off the boat. Therefore, I just decided to eat something for dinner now, even though I wasn’t that hungry. As it was my last day in El Nido, I just needed to get another Smoothie Bowl. And that was just what I needed.

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Back at the hostel, I took a shower, watched the most beautiful sunset ever, packed my backpack, set my alarm at 4am and tried to sleep as early as possible. It was an amazing, but also exhausting last day in El Nido. I am so happy though that I had the honour to experience this boat tour and to see those amazing places of nature.

Find me under the Palm Trees

Day 4: El Nido

After being a full day on a boat, discovering small islands and lagoons I decided to stay the day on El Nido and discover what else this island has to offer.

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I read online about a walk you can do to see one of the best views that the island has to offer. However, the staff from the hostel told me the hike starts only very early in the morning, at around 5am, to see the sunrise. But I didn’t believe him and just decided to go by myself to have a look. I took a tricycle to El Nido town, walked to a small tree house, where you could buy the tickets for the different walking tours. Then, I understood what the staff members meant with “the hiking tours are only at 5am in the morning”. There were different types of walks you could choose from. The most challenging one, being the cliff walk, only takes place early in the morning, when it’s not already too hot. However, there were still some other options I could choose from. Finally, I decided to do the Canopy Walk.

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It was quite surprising when the guide gave me a climbing equipment and a protection hat. I thought that you could just walk by yourself up. But no! We went together as a group with one guide leading us. We walked across a very cool bridge before we reached the top. The nature around us was already amazing.

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After a couple of minutes, we reached the top. It was so so quick. I could have definitely walked a little more. But here I was! The view was definitely amazing. We could see the ocean, El Nido town and its beach, all the boats and the forest. The entire landscape was just stunning. We spend some time just enjoying the view and taking pictures. I was super glad that I came here. The tour guide was super nice as well and felt how much I liked it. He invited me to join the morning cliff walk tomorrow. But unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time on the island to come back again.

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When I came back from the Canopy Walk, I walked into town to eat some breakfast. I really was craving a smoothie bowl. And I ended up, not only having one, but two! I just had to try two different places. And it was just too good. A perfect island breakfast. Afterwards, I just walked around town to see all the small shops and restaurants. I also booked another Boat Tour for the next day.

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Then, I decided to take a tricycle to “Las Cabanas Beach”. I had no expectations. I just didn’t really know what else I could do on the island, without having to rent a scooter. That’s how I just randomly got here. And I loved it. The beach was absolutely beautiful. There were quite a lot of people, but that didn’t really bother me. I went for a swim and just enjoyed the sun on the beach.

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Later, I headed to the very cute looking beach restaurant to drink a fresh coconut. There, I met Berta. We talked and talked for a long time. She actually lives in Zurich, which is why we could speak in German. It was nice having a conversation with someone living close to my home. She also recommended me to walk further along the beach. And that’s what I did.

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It was amazing! Suddenly there weren’t any people anymore. I felt like I just had discovered a new island. It was just beautiful nature and me. That’s how I imagined the Philippines to be. Just magical!

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Then it was time to head back to the hostel. I took a shower, got ready, drank a mango juice and headed back to El Nido Town. I really wanted to try a local beach restaurant. I ended up at the restaurant “Jarace”.  They specialised in grilled fish and seafood. It was so cool, and nothing I have ever seen before. You had to go down to the beach and choose the fish and seafood you would like to have grilled. The variety was big! I wished I would have come with more people to try more different dishes. My final dinner was grilled squid with rice, some sautéed spinach with tofu and a fresh coconut. I couldn’t complain! The rest of the evening, I walked through the town to buy some souvenirs. Then I went back to the hostel to get everything ready for tomorrow. The next boat tour was already waiting for me!

Boat Tour Time

Day 3: El Nido

My first night in El Nido was quite good, considering the circumstances. I had to wake up pretty early in order to get ready for the boat trip, that I have booked already the day before. That’s actually the main reason why people come to El Nido. There are a couple of different boat tours, which include different beaches, islands, lagoons or snorkelling spots, the most popular being Tour A and Tour C. I decided to go for Tour A, which was maybe not the smartest decision. I can already tell you, that if you visit El Nido, you should consider doing the less popular Tours. You will see why.

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My tricycle driver came to pick me up at the hostel and drove me to the town centre, where our boat already waited for us. The beach directly in El Nido town is really nice, but loaded with boats that are waiting for all the tourists going on a Boat Tour. Therefore, El Nido is often totally empty during the day, but quite crowded in the morning and evening.

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Our first stop was “7 Commando Beach”. Such a beautiful place! The white sand, the crystal clear blue water and palm trees. Everything you expect from a dream beach. However I wished there wouldn’t have been as many people around. But I guess that’s unrealistic, considering that Boat Tour A is the most popular one. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed just walking around, enjoying the sun and getting to know some new people from my boat. Obviously, I was the only one travelling solo. The majority on my boat were couples. Therefore, it was not that easy for me to really get to know them. Nevertheless, they were all very nice and kind of impressed that I was travelling on my own. Especially the Phillipino couple was so kind. I really got along with them well.

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For the next two stops we headed to the “small” and “big” lagoon. To enter the lagoons, we had the possibility to rent a kayak. But in my opinion that wasn’t really a possibility, but more a necessity. Obviously, everyone wanted to see the lagoons. And that was the only possibility to get in. First, I wasn’t really secure about going on a kayak on my own. But it wasn’t as difficult or exhausting as I thought it might be. The water was so clear and blue, just beautiful! I really enjoyed spending my time there.

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Afterwards it was finally time for lunch. I was really looking forward to the food, as I only read amazing things about it. And it definitely fulfilled and actually exceeded my expectations. We headed to another small beach, where other boat groups had their lunch as well. It was fascinating to see how the tour guides created an amazing lunch buffet in such a short amount of time on such a tiny boat. But it was just amazing. And the variety of dishes was insane. Just how I imagined a perfect island lunch to be. We had some grilled fish, seafood, rice, a meat dish, grilled eggplant salad, fried vegetables, fresh fruit and more. Sooo sooo good! I loved it. It couldn’t have been better. Just sitting on a beautiful beach on a small island in the middle of nowhere and eating delicious food! I wished I could go back immediately.

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Then we went back on the boat. Obviously, we had some time to snorkel and swim. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my underwater camera for this trip. But it wasn’t that spectacular under water anyway.

Our last spot was called the “secret” lagoon. “Secret”? Not anymore. I was quite shocked when we arrived at the “entrance”. There were people lining up to actually enter the lagoon. It was ridiculous to be honest. There was only one little hole, functioning as entrance and exit. Crazy! I mean, I cannot say that it wasn’t beautiful. It was! But there were just too too many people, which kind of ruined the whole atmosphere, as well as the nature. The water wasn’t crystal blue as it supposed to be, but rather a sad grey. Therefore, my expectations were not met at all. Nevertheless, right nearby the lagoon, we found a much more beautiful bay with much less people.

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Then we headed back to El Nido. It was definitely a very nice day. I enjoyed seeing amazing beaches, kayaking into lagoons, eating delicious food and being around with new people. The only negative aspect was definitely the number of tourists doing exactly the same tour. The increase in tourism is understandable but does definitely not contribute to the experience you have during your visit. I mean, when travelling to the Philippines, you think you are doing something very special. And it is! Not everyone has the possibility to do so. And I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to travel around the world. However, when you then see how many people are doing the same thing, it doesn’t feel as special anymore.

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I was pretty tired after the entire day on the boat. Therefore, I headed straight back to my hostel, took a shower and watched the sunset. I can still remember how much I loved this view and this vibe. I didn’t have to worry about anything. It was like time was standing still.

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For dinner, I headed outside and just randomly walked into a local restaurant. It was one of the weirdest experiences I have ever had. Honestly! I went into the restaurant, took a seat and looked into the menu. I didn’t really know what to order, because I have never heard about any of those dishes before. Therefore, I wanted to ask a waiter about his recommendations. When I ask, the waiter just tapped on his shoulder, where the word “DEATH” was written. I felt so bad! I tried to explain him that I don’t eat meat and that I would like to know what he likes the best. But it didn’t really work. I was so lost! But I really tried my best. Later, a colleague came to help, which made me feel kind of sorry. It didn’t take me long until I figured out that the majority of staff members were death and that everyone used sign language. A very unique atmosphere! I still don’t really know what I ate, but it was quite tasty.

And that’s how my day ended. I went back to the hotel, talked to some people I was living with in the hostel and went to bed. Such an eventful and exciting day!

 

 

El Nido, Palawan

Day 2 – El Nido

I almost got a heart attack when the receptionist called me at 3:30 in the middle of the night. But then I remembered, that they just wanted to make sure I wake up for my flight to El Nido. Some of you may wonder, why I had to fly again just one day after I arrived in the Philippines. But I can say, that this is how it works when travelling here. The Philippines consist of 7.641 islands, of which 2.000 are inhabited. Obviously, you have to decide beforehand which islands you want to visit. The most popular areas and islands are El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Boracay, Siargao, Cebu and Bohol. But there are definitely many more popular tourist places. All of the islands are usually only reachable by flight or by boat. The fact that getting from one point to another is quite difficult and exhausting made me sceptical, if I would really like being here. But I just hoped, that all the effort would be worth it.

Back to my morning situation. I quickly got ready, packed everything and went immediately to the lobby downstairs. The guesthouse offered a shuttle to the airport, which I was extremely happy about. However, I arrived there definitely too early. My plane departed at 6:55am, but I was already at 4:15am at the airport. Well, better too early than too late.

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The procedure to check in was very uncomplicated and super quick. First, I was a little scared that I needed to pay extra for my luggage, which was definitely 1 or 2 kg more than the allowed 10kg. But they didn’t care at all! The domestic airport in Manila itself is so small, that there is literally only one room, with two gates and a few small stores to get something to eat or drink. Therefore, I just sat there for ages, bought something to drink and waited for my flight. Most of the travellers here were wearing hygiene mask as well, but I still couldn’t find them. But I was happy about seeing some other foreigners travelling.

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When it was finally the time for departure, we got into a bus which drove us to our small plane. It was very small! But I didn’t expect anything else. It took us around 1 hour to reach El Nido. And I am not sure if I ever in my life arrived on such a small and cute airport. We walked casually from the plane to the arrival section, where we waited for our luggage.

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From there I just planned to take a “taxi” to my hostel. “Taxi”? Maybe not in El Nido. I didn’t book a shuttle beforehand. Therefore, the only opportunity I had was to take a tricycle. And those tricycles turned out to be my daily companion in Palawan. I couldn’t have had a more authentic way of getting to my hostel. That’s for sure. And I actually really enjoyed it the first 10 minutes. I got already some first insights to the island and the people. But honestly, at the end it was just uncomfortable and loud.

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When I arrived at my hostel I was first completely impressed. The location was amazing. I have never ever seen a hostel like it. When I got off the tricycle, I thought it might be a joke. There wasn’t a hostel in front of me. I had to walk some stairs down to the beach, a few metres through the sand and then there was it, the Outpost Beach Hostel in El Nido. I can already say, that this was the best decision I could have made. It turned out to be always fully booked and the most popular accommodation for backpackers here. I was actually lucky that I have booked it early in advance.

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t check in yet. The staff was extremely friendly, but I really didn’t want to wait 6 hours to get into the room. Therefore, I just got changed, looked a little bit around and went back up to the street, where my tricycle driver from the morning waited for me. He took me back to El Nido downtown, which took us only a few minutes. There he introduced me to some activities you can do on the island. I researched before and knew what I wanted to do here. But first, I needed some breakfast.

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I headed to a very cute little café, which sold mostly juices, breakfast bowls, but also some lunch and dinner options. It was a very delicious start in the day. Just what I needed! Afterwards I went back to my driver. He actually took advantage of me and sold me a tour that I didn’t even agree on. But that’s what happens when you are just a tourist not knowing exactly what other options you might have. I definitely paid more than I could have, when just renting my own scooter. But considering it wouldn’t have been the best idea for me to drive a scooter on my own, the price wasn’t that bad.

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Our first stop was Nacpan Beach, well known for being the most beautiful beach in EL Nido. The 30-40 min ride was quite intense, I would say. The streets here are not very developed, to express it nicely. Driving here by myself would have been a very bad idea. The beach itself was absolutely stunning. I could have walked forever. It was just beautiful. At first, I tried to avoid the main area with the restaurant and all the set-up beach chairs. I first walked along the beach and searched for a nice place to just relax. Considering that I didn’t sleep much the last two days, I was quite tired. Therefore, I just needed a few minutes without doing anything. But obviously I had to go for a swim. It was quite windy and wavy out there, but I totally enjoyed it.

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Afterwards I headed to the beach restaurant for a drink. And guess what I got! A coconut of course! You have no idea how much I missed drinking coconut on the beach. It’s just the best thing in the entire world.

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My driver waited already for me. Then the other stop on the list was Lio Beach. I have never heard about that beach before. But I really liked it, maybe even better than Nacpan Beach. Lio Beach just had more character and a nicer atmosphere. The beach itself wasn’t as incredible as at Nacpan Beach, but that didn’t bother me. I just had a walk and chilled. The hippie like decoration was my favourite here. It just created a very nice vibe. But the best was definitely the smoker’s area. I really had to laugh when I saw all those people standing together in this small area. Ridiculous!

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After those two beach stops, we headed back to the hostel. I was already able to check in. And at least now, I was back in the backpacker lifestyle. I shared my room with 11 other people. Yes! I know, that’s not for everyone. Considering you only go to the room to sleep; it is not as bad as it may sound. Without no doubt, the nicest thing about the Outpost Beach hostel is the first floor. Just beautiful and the best sunset spot on the entire island.

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For dinner, I ordered a spicy tofu dish with rice, which was actually pretty tasty. Food, beach, sunset! I couldn’t have asked for more. The first day in El Nido was definitely a success! I was really happy that everything turned out as planned. Maybe it was a good decision to not cancel this trip. I would have regret it!

Welcome to the Philippines

Day 1 – Manila

I made it! After an 8-hour flight from Dubai, I finally arrived at 12am in the capital of the Philippines, Manila! There was no TV screen or food provided in the plane. Therefore, I was pretty happy that I took a flight during the night. The flight itself was okay. As I mentioned before, I was really the only foreigner and one of a few who didn’t wear a hygiene mask. But I arrived safely, and that’s what counts.

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At the airport, I first picked up my Backpack. I decided not to take a suitcase with me because the weight restrictions to travel to smaller islands is pretty strict. You are not allowed to bring more than 10kg with you. And that’s not a lot. I really didn’t expect to go backpacking on my own so soon again, but it almost felt like I am back on my world trip. Afterwards I decided to buy a sim card for the Philippines. The WiFi situation here is not the best. I just really wanted to make sure that I am not stuck in the middle of nowhere and cannot even use google maps.

Then, I took a taxi to my guesthouse, which was just a few minutes’ drive away from the airport. Manila is not really a popular place to stay for tourists. It is not the most beautiful city on earth and is actually seen as quite dangerous. That’s why I decided to stay for only one night. It took me a while to find the entrance of “Siayan Travellers Inn”, but some locals guided me to the guesthouse and even helped me to carry my luggage.

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I was very happy that I was able to check in already. The staff members were really nice. And by the way, almost everyone in the Philippines speaks very good English. Most of the time even better than Europeans do. That’s definitely an advantage for travelling here. I experienced in Japan how difficult travelling and living can be when you are not able to communicate properly with the locals. But that’s not a problem here.

To be honest, I just relaxed the whole afternoon in my room, watched some Netflix and thought about my first impressions. I mean, at that time I couldn’t say much about the country and the people. But already in the first hour, the atmosphere, the traffic, the noise, the hot weather, the low prices and the people let me feel that I am literally on the other side of the world. There couldn’t have been a bigger contrast to Germany or Dubai, than being here in Manila.

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However, even though Manila is seen as unsafe and nothing special, I wanted to go out and make my own picture of the capital. To be honest, my biggest motivation was to find something to eat for dinner. The moment I stepped out of the guesthouse; I knew immediately what other people meant. I really didn’t feel that comfortable and had the thought of just turning around and going back to my room. There was no tourist as far as I could see. Everyone was staring at me and almost every second car or motor bicycle honk. I felt very uncomfortable, but just tried to avoid eye contact and walk confidently and rather fast.

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I saw on google maps that there supposed to be a local area with a market and some shops. That’s where I headed. But the situation got rather worse. More and more locals stared at me from a 300-meter distance. However, I never really felt extremely unsafe. The people seemed to be friendly, but I guess they just had never seen a “white” person before. Maybe it wasn’t that common either that a girl walks alone through the local neighbourhood. Some kids came to me and ask for money, which I tried to ignore. But quite a few people greeted me very kindly with “Welcome to the Philippines”!

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I went in a couple of pharmacies to search for hygiene masks, but even here they were all sold out. I was already giving up. It seemed like they were sold-out all-over Asia. Anyway. I first wasn’t really brave enough to take out my camera and take some pictures. But I gave my best. It was just crazy. People, cars and scooters all share the same road. Locals were selling street food, as well as colourful clothes on the street. Moreover, I don’t think I have ever seen so many “wild” dogs, cats and chicken. It was a cultural shock. But to be honest, I didn’t regret coming here.

It was very interesting, but also shocking to see how different their life is to the western world. It seemed like I just travelled back in time for a couple of hundred years. The people here have totally different issues to deal with. In such situations I realize how lucky we are to have the privilege to travel, go to school and live in a house. It’s just a different world.

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Then, I tried to search for a restaurant to eat something for dinner. The hygiene level in this area didn’t seem like I should be eating here. And I really couldn’t afford to get sick. Therefore, I walk a little further to a Chinese restaurant, that had quite good reviews online. I ordered a Tofu – Seafood hot pot, some sautéed spinach and rice. The food was very fresh and delicious. I absolutely enjoyed it. Obviously, the prices were higher than on the local market, but still very affordable.

When I finished eating, it started to get dark already. I definitely didn’t want to walk back at night-time. On my way back, a police officer stopped me. He was very kind and just worried about me, I guess. He asked if I am alone and searching for someone. He was shocked when I said that I was travelling alone. But he just told me to be careful out here. Very sweet!

I was very happy and a little bit proud when I finally made it back to my room. But I am more than happy that I saw the real face of Manila. I went straight to bed, because I knew I wouldn’t have much sleep this night. Stay tuned where I headed next!

 

Mission survive

Day 7 – Dubai

Our very last day in Dubai. The whole week went by so fast. We visited so many different places and made amazing memories. It definitely got never boring. I cannot really tell you anything exciting that we did for that day. We just enjoyed our last breakfast, packed our luggage, checked out and went to the beach.

Since the day before, I was just all the time thinking about what to do. That hasn’t changed. However, I made my decision. If it would be the right one? I was not sure. But finally, I decided to take the risk and travel for almost two weeks alone to the Philippines. Crazy? I know. But it wouldn’t have been me if I would have decided to fly back home and cancel the entire trip, which I spent already so much time, money and nerves on it.

I am not going to lie, of course I was a little nervous and had a weird feeling. I haven’t planned the trip like I did my world trip a few of years ago. Many things were still unclear. But I knew that I could do it. However, my whole mindset about the trip changed. I wasn’t that excited anymore, which was sad. I did not perceive it anymore as a holiday to relax, have fun and forget everything around me. At this point, it was just a challenge to me. Am I able to master this trip on the other side of the world alone? Will everything go alright so I can come safely and healthy back home as planned?

Obviously, my mum wasn’t that happy about my decision, I could tell. But she knew as well, that if I would have travelled back to Zurich with her, I would have been not happy either. I would have always asked myself, what if I would have taken the risk? Was it just a waste of money? On the other side, health and safety is always more important than anything else. It was a tricky decision. But I did, what I have to do.

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We spent the entire day on the beach. The weather was perfect again. Afterwards, we were allowed to use the spa to take a shower and change clothes. The staff members at Rixos Premium were all very kind and helpful. It was sad to leave. Who knows when we will have the luxury again to stay in such a nice hotel again?

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For dinner, we wanted something casual and quick. I discovered a Chinese restaurant called Chowking, which is actually a popular fast food chain in Asia. We ordered their specialty platter, a shrimp curry, some fried tofu, sautéed spinach and rice. It was more than enough, but actually pretty good for a fast food joint. We were both totally satisfied.

I tried like crazy that night to find a mask for my flight and travels to Asia, but even at that point they were all sold out. I was shocked? Already? In the Middle East, where no one was affected yet. But I just couldn’t find it, which made me worry. Therefore, we headed around 7:30 – 8pm to the airport. My flight was very late, before midnight. My mum’s flight was even later, at around 2am in the morning. We hoped we could check in together, but the luggage Drop-off for the Swiss counter wasn’t open yet. Therefore, we had to separate already, which was not the easiest thing.

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When I passed the security check and passport control, I was still trying to search for a mask, but no chance. When I reached my terminal, I immediately felt that I was going to the Philippines. I was the only foreigner and two heads taller than everyone else. No joke! And everyone was wearing a mask, except me. I didn’t really feel that comfortable. In general, I was just in a strange mood. My mission? Just survive!

Miracles

Day 6 – Dubai

We already did a lot in the couple of days in Dubai. However, there were still two things on my To-Do List. The first thing was to visit the dunes of Dubai. However, we didn’t feel like doing a full day trip again. Therefore, the desert has to wait for us. One reason to come back. The second thing was to visit the Miracle Garden. And that’s what we did.

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After a relaxed and amazing breakfast, we took a taxi to the Miracle Garden of Dubai. The Miracle Garden got my attention mainly due to Instagram. It seems to be a perfect place for making pictures. The garden is not open all year long, which is understandable. In the hot summer of Dubai, flower would definitely not survive. However, the season at that moment was just perfect for a visit. It took as around 20-30 min to reach the garden. And we were surprised positively, that there weren’t so many people around. We could immediately buy a ticket and enter the park.

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