Help with first visit to Philippines

Apr 3rd, 2005, 05:16 AM
  #1  
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Help with first visit to Philippines

Hi,
Just back from a trip to Vietnam and absolutely loved it...so much so it has made me look to the Philippines for my next trip.
My cards on the table...I know nothing...I would potentially like to go for about 16 days in October or November...
Flight is very long from Ireland so thinking perhaps of stopping in Hong Kong for a few days?
We do not like being constantly on the move...so prefer 3 or so nights in places...would like a little time at the beach...
Would love to hear any reccommendations.
Thanks in advance,
Slán.
Irish_Chic is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 06:48 AM
  #2  
 
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slan, you would love HK...it is a perfect break on the way....while 3 days might be slim, you would be able to accomplish quite a bit in that time...day one should be a fairly quiet day to recover from the trip...i prefer to stay in kowloon for a whole variety of reasons, but others prefer HK island...the Y on salisbury road if fabulous and affordable and right in the middle of things as is its neighbor the kowloon hotel, formerly owned by the peninsula group---or soon to be foremely...
it is easy to get around HK and language will be no problem for you...no galic of course, except in a few pubs....
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi Slan! The Philippines is a fantastic country to visit. I highly recommend the following places: Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Sagada, Subic, Camiguin and Batanes. October and November are still parts of the rainy season. So better schedule your visit sometime between December and May. You may check out the following websites for more details about the Philippines: http://pages.zdnet.com/AsiaBill http://www.lakbay.net http://www.tourism.gov.ph/index.asp

junel_ph is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Hello Slan, I traveled to the Philippines last year, and plan on returning in June. I can only speak of the areas I have visited already, I hope you can gain something from it.

If you will be stopping in Hong Kong, then perhaps you can forgo a stay in Manila. It is of course a very busy overpopulated place...and I tend to look for the locations that are outside of the rat race.

I would recommend flying south to the city of Dumaguete. I felt extremely safe on these streets, I stayed right on the boulevard overlooking the water, and from there was able to catch fast, safe ferries to a number of locations. Whether it is Cebu, Bohol, Apo Island or my favorite, Siquijor the island of witches and magicians, Dumaguete is a very good launching point and ferries to each location generally take 30-45 minutes.. Stay at the La Residencia..$27US a night..awesome accomodations. Fly Cebu Pacific to Dumaguete for about $40US roundtrip, flight takes about 50 minutes.

Siquijor is beautiful, I highly recommend it for the beaches as well as a location that is far less traveled. Stay at the Coco Beach Resort..unbelievable for just $30US a night.
Roi_Namur is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 12:16 AM
  #5  
 
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I am also a big fan of the Philippines. I also agree that late November or anytime between December and April is going to be better weather-wise as you will avoid the heavy rainy season. The weather in Hong Kong is also excellent during this time, although it will start to get hot and humid by April.

In addition to the island/beach places mentioned above, I would suggest you consider visiting the Baguio rice terrace areas inland. Gorgeous and very much unexplored.

The Philippines does have more security concerns than other places in SE Asia. You might want to take a look at the US State Dept website at http://travel.state.gov. The State Dept tends to err on the side of caution, so do read their bulletins for countries you consider safe to get an idea of the conservative nature of the reports.
Cicerone is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 01:42 AM
  #6  
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Thanks a million for your speedy responses...I will look into your reccommendations and continue to pester you with questions

Slán...is not my name...it is the word for goodbye in Irish Gaelic!

LOL
Mary
Irish_Chic is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:05 AM
  #7  
 
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Irish Chic:
Read my trip report to Manila on this forum (it may be in the second level of posts by now) It gives you a good idea of what can be done with Manila as your base. We were there last month. Our realtives took us all over the area. Our cousin is a traverl agent in manila and she can help you with day trips/drivers etc. manila is a town where having a driver is almost a must.
let me know if you would like her help.
BillT is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 10:27 AM
  #8  
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Bill,
Your contact travel agent contact details would be great...

Mary
Irish_Chic is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Here is the e-mail and address of the agency of our cousin there in Manila who can help arrange day tours such as Corregidor and others and help with getting a driver for you.
Tell her Uncle Bill from Houston referred you.
Myrna Casas. E mail is:
[email protected]
American Express Travel Service Inc./Adventure International Tour Inc.
Tel 8674888 to 93

Note that she is about to go on vacation for a few weeks so if you do not hear back from her that is why. I hope to get some info from here this week about driver costs etc.before she takes off and I will post it on this forum.


BillT is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Irish Chic:

I have received some info about drivers for Manila but I need to followup with my cousin to get some more info. Stay tuned. Note that she is out of town from April 12 thru 15.
BillT is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 08:37 AM
  #11  
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No probs Bill,

Mary
Irish_Chic is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Irish Chic:

Have you decided to stop in Hong Kong for a few days?

What about hotels- what are you thinking here- 5 star? 4 Star?

Did you read my trip report? That should give you some ideas about things to do and see around Manila and beyond.
Are you a shopper?
BillT is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Irish Chic- should have the driver costs to you in another week or so- they have the info but its not packaged up in a simple hourly rate- I 'm working with them to get the pricing simplified. A bit of a new concept for them.
BillT is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #14  
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Bill,
I read your trip report...very comprehensive.
Haven't decided yet on stop in HK...but would definitely like to and yes 4 or 5 star.

Thanks for all your help.


Irish_Chic is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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I would advise staying at the New World in Makati (Manila). This is a 4 star property but the attraction here is its location. Loads of shopping all around - a great mall with lots of different restraurants right across the street.
The other 5 star properties a further away and in Manila its all about location as the traffice is bad.
BillT is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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If you will be in the P.I. in October or November. Northern Luzon might be a good place for you. From Manila, you might want to consider going up to Baguio. The weather in the City is quite cool during this times, about 10-16 degrees Centigrade. From Baguio, you can go to Sagada in Mt. Province for some spelunking and cave adventure. It's a 6 hours bus ride from Baguio. After Sagada, you can go to Maligcong, which is also a municipality in Mt. Province, to see their rice terraces (for me, their terraces are better than that of Ifugao). Afterwhich, you can go to Banaue Ifugao to see the famous Rice Terracesn(the bus trip is about 2 hours). From Ifugao, you can go to Tinglayan in Kalinga for some white water rafting. Then you can go to Ilocos Norte, Pagudpud for the beaches and then to Vigan for their beautiful churches. You can go back to Baguio or go directly to Manila and then off to Boracay, Palawan, Camiguin or Siargao.
mylene68 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 02:10 AM
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We have now decided to Fly to Manila via Singapore and then stop in SIngapore for a few days in Singapore on the return. We arrive in Manila and will spend the first 3 nights at the Dusit...anyone stayed there?

We then have 10 days and no plans yet...have read the trip reports etc but have no decided on anything.
We thing we would like to fly down to an island and go island hoping...but the question is which island should we fly to? and where should we go from there... we like the sound of Roi_Namur's suggestion to go to Dumaguete and visit Cebu, Bohol, Apo and Siquijor...but will we miss out by not going to the likes of Boracay and Palawan?

Would Cebu be a better place to base ourselves for island hoping?

The forum has prices like on Dumaguete La Residencia..$27US...can you get these rates just by showing up at the hotel or do we need to pre book?

Thanks for your help.

Irish_Chic is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 10:45 PM
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Dusit is nice hotel although its kinda old, renovated though, location is great since its in makati, a central business district, shopping malls surround this hotel. Boracay is a nice place, staying at lorenzo resort, either main, south or villas would be perfect, u can have a night each within the lorenzo group of resort. The main is the middle part of the shoreline, the lorenzo south is in the far south, kinda exclusive, while the villas are sitted on top of a cliff with a swimming pool too and a great view of the island. Bohol is likewise a great place to visit, palawan, i can ask a travel agent here to prepare an itenirary for u if u want, then a quotation perhaps. let me know how long u'l stay in here. Welcome in advance
hotmale is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 07:24 AM
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Hi Irish,

I haven't been to Boracay, but I'll say that deciding to go there or Palawan as opposed to other places depends on your interests. I was in the Philippines a couple of years ago (and returning this winter)and made a 2 day trip to Bohol that I loved. Without question the Philippines is best enjoyed outside Manila (aside from nightlife maybe). I stayed at Panglao Island Beach Resort - this one and another whose name escapes me are among the most well known resorts. We had a private bungalow with an outdoor hot tub and ocean view. We were picked up at the airport and had a private car with guide for an entire day taking us around the island, including lunch on this open air river boat (more like a small, flat barge), plus a trip to the tarsier "preserve" and of course, the chocolate hills. On the second day we want snorkeling, also arranged by the hotel. Just check the flights from manila - ours was 6am I think so we could arrive in time to have a full day of touring.

For a nice day trip from Manila, you might consider Tagaytay and lake Taal (Taal volcano). I went with someone who's a native so I'm not sure how you would get there, but I'm sure there's a way. If you go, you can pick up a guide (ours was a 12 year old boy) in the village on the other side of the lake to take you up to the crater. That of course is after you commission a bout to get you across. Don't bother with the horse ride unless you have serious walking issues (it's only a 30 min walk).

I've heard both Palawan and Boracay are beautiful, but Boracay is really about the partying and beach from what I've heard (and the super cheap massages). Palawan sounds more beautiful in terms of scenery - it's where they were going to film "The Beach" until the resort they were going to headquarter at burned down. So I guess I'm saying it depends on if you're interested in beachside kinds of activites versus something more cultural.

Finally, don't stress too much about security. As long as you aren't travelling to Mindanao or areas frequented by NPA you'll be fine. My only caveat is that there's always the chance of political unrest, but I doubt it would result in anything other than inconvenience. I was there for a min-coup of sorts, which granted, didn't thrill me, but aside from businesses being closed that day it didn't really inconvenience me much.

Enjoy!
Herschey is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 09:12 PM
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i lived in manila for 6 years and am married to a filipina. BUT manila is the pits. there is little to do after one day as a tourist, and they have perfected scams that you cant imagine, and a good at it. unless you go to cebu or points south for resorts and the beach, save your money and go to bangkok.

my wife goes back occasionally to visit her mother, but i wont ever go back.
haroth is offline  

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