I’m back from a long, but not long enough, trip to the Philippines! My mother is from Baguio City, so we usually try to make it out once every five years to visit family and what not. This time around I brought along my boyfriend to meet all my aunties, uncles, and cousins. When we weren’t doing family stuff – reunion, wedding, baptism – we were out and about exploring the island!    

Sofitel Hotel, Manila: We stayed here for a few days at the beginning and end of our trip and it is seriously the most luxurious place I’ve ever stayed in Manila. They have an amazing lagoon style pool, big ass breakfast buffet, and fluffy soft beds. It was exactly what I needed before and after a grueling flight across the globe.

Pugad, La Union: I don’t know why, maybe I was feeling brave, but I had my heart set on zip lining through the mountains while we were in the Philippines. Pugad was the perfect place to do it! They have three sets of zip lines set up so the entire adventure park could look up and see me screaming my ass off as I zipped past them. They also have ATVs, paintball, a zoo, and like ten different pools. It was the perfect place to spend a day with both my young and not so young cousins!  

Bomod-ok Falls, Sagada: In the many years that I’ve been going to the Philippines and of all the places I’ve seen, Sagada is hands down my favorite spot. It even beats the white sand beaches of Palawan in my book! It’s a small, spiritual town that works hard to preserve tradition and culture despite being a popular tourist spot. It’s so refreshing to experience, if only for a moment, a way of life that is so opposite to mine.       

Hundred Islands, Alaminos: I can’t visit the Philippines without going to the beach! Although it’s not quite as picturesque as Palawan, it was fun to spend a day island hopping, swimming with the fish, and soaking up the sun. 

Since this post is way too long already, I’ll just leave you with a few quick tips to keep in mind if you ever visit the Philippines – which you obviously should. Don’t drink the water. Don’t eat raw oysters, or any other seemingly delicious raw seafood. Leave your heels at home. Spend a few more pesos on hiring a driver, it’s worth it. When in doubt, buy an extra suitcase to bring your souvenirs home in. 

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