Josh & I flew home to the Philippines to continue our adventures together. We had a busy month planned for March where we had a lot of local travel and new adventures in store.
Known to our generation as Dumzville and later on Dumaghetto (and more recently, as per Twitter, Dramaguete), our hometown is a small and laid back city. It is a relatively artsy place serving as a second home to a lot of university students from different parts of the country. When my friends here in Canada ask me what we do for fun back home, it can always be summarized with two words: eating and drinking.
The food culture in Dumaguete is phenomenal, considering that it’s not that huge of a city. It caters to a wide variety of cuisines such as Korean, Tex-Mex, Spanish, fusion and so much more.
Food talk aside, our time in Duma was also primarily spent catching up with good friends. Since Josh & I more or less run in the same circle, a lot of our friends are mutual so we get to see them together without the hassle of planning and organizing. Some friends we know all the way back from high school (for me, some even as early as pre-school) and others are friends we both met in college.
Our country’s capital, Manila is a bigger and busier city compared to our hometown. It’s a good place for shopping and the party scene is also pretty tight.
We were there for a few days to meet up with some childhood friends that were now based in the city, as well as to attend the annual Wanderland Music & Arts Festival. We stayed at the Crimson Hotel which was situated within walking distance from the venue of the event, which that year was held in Filinvest City, Manila.
The festival itself was fun, local bands like Up Dharma Down and Gab + John of Urbandub, had everybody singing and dancing along. The international line-up was also very impressive. Acts like Honne, Lany & The Ting-Tings rocked the stage and had everyone on their feet, screaming their hearts out.
There were also some games and other forms of entertainment within the area so there was always something to look at. For food, there were a lot of stalls available with really tasty and convenient (handheld: pizza, hotdogs, food in bowls or cups 🥡) so you could still eat without having to worry about finding a spot to sit. It was there, actually, where I discovered the Poke bowl (not related to the Pokémon catching contraption), which is generally a deconstructed sushi roll in salad/rice bowl form.
After the festival, we spent the last few days around the city checking out some of the trendy places to grab a bite. We also managed to meet and catch up with two of my closest girlfriends Kate & Korina, who are both in Manila for medical school.
El Nido, Palawan
After a semi-hectic couple of days in the big city, our next destination gave us our much needed one-on-one time with nature. El Nido has gained so much popularity recently as a top tourist destination. With the white sand beaches and the famed island tours, you could book a full Maldives-vibed vacation for a fraction of the price.
My sister joined Josh & I and we made our way to Palawan via a short flight from Cebu. Once you reach the capital, Puerto Princesa, it then requires a 5-6 hour drive (depending on how fast the driver is going) to reach the town of El Nido.
The long journey was then soon rewarded by the spectacular view. Despite the number of tourists in the area, it wasn’t very crowded to the point of claustrophobia. The island tours were organized well (you had a choice between four types) and the boats were in abundance. Each tour had a guide and hot lunch served in the boat.
We spent two days to explore the islands, taking advantage of two of the four tour options. There were various activities in the itinerary including rafting, exploring a cave, chilling at a sand bar and a quick hike up to get a bird’s-eye view of one of the islands.
Despite being a short visit, our hearts were full by the end of our trip. It wasn’t perfect and there are things (with regards to the planning) that we would definitely do differently next time, but all in all we had a great time. On to our next adventure! 🌏