What does a week in the Philippines on a backpacker’s budget look like? Well, 4 islands and approximately $430 later, and I have the water-damaged iPhone pics to show for it:
Our flight – one of the cheapest ones I could find – landed in Cebu. Which is convenient, because Panagsama Beach is just a few hours away by bus. This was our first stop.
We stayed at Moalboal Backpacker Lodge, which gave us a private hut for one of the best deals we could find on the beach. Naturally, after a day of travelling, I made a beeline for the hammock.
To get around, you’ll need to either hire a ride on a tricycle (always an A+ experience) or rent a motorbike if you want to be more mobile (and feel cool).
Stopping for baby goats on the side of the road is an obvious must.
The bananas in the Philippines are shorter, fatter, and 100000% more flavorful than your run-of-the-mill Dole version.
And fresh mangos on the beach? I’m sold.
All good here.
We took a day trip to Kawasan Falls, one of the must-see stops near Maolboal. This was taken on the short hike up.
Along the way we found a guy selling coconuts from the trees lining the path.
We made it! Incidentally, this was also the last picture taken before my phone’s waterproof case failed. RIP, old friend.
Chilling in the common area of the Moalboal Backpacker Lodge.
Bananas for breakfast!
Our last night in Moalboal we had dinner on the beach as the sun went down.
The next island we stopped at was Siquijor! Just a couple minutes from our hostel was a quiet little marine sanctuary with tons of coral and fish.
This hermit crab was vicious! Lil sucker pinched me so hard.
A rooster and a dog, chillin’ in the shade of the best damn roadside bbq we’ve been to. Not pictured: a rousing “Happy Birthday” sung a cappella by the waitress, followed by her solo of Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do. Gold.
Cliff jumping at Salagdoong Beach on the northeastern tip of Siquijor! It doesn’t look very far, but I screamed like a baby.
After cliff jumping we swam in the cool water for the rest of the afternoon.
Tarzan-style jungle swing into Cambugahay Falls! One of our favorite spots in Siquijor – the water was so warm and blue and had several tiers to splash around in. Best way to spend an afternoon!
Our last island of our short trip was Dumaguete, where we stayed at Harold’s Mansion. The selling point of this backpacker’s haven was definitely the rooftop, which was perfect for chilling out after a day of snorkeling or exploring the town! Restaurant, bar, hammocks, and billiards – it was also a great way to meet new people (and run into old friends we had seen on other islands).
We took a day trip from Dumaguete to Apo Island (technically our 4th island of the week!) where we got to swim with sea turtles and gorgeous fish, which was amazing. We also got amazingly sunburned on our backs. You win some, you lose some!
The boat ride to Apo Island was under a hour from Dumaguete!
If tropical fruit is your thing, go straight to the source at the Dumaguete Fruit Market and load up to your happy heart’s content!
We rented scooters on our last day and checked out Casaroro Falls!
You’ll pass a pretty grove of bamboo trees on the 300-something steps down.
Mango courtesy of the fruit market, of course.
Rescued 2 baby geckos from our room at Harold’s Mansion!
Ended the trip with a giant veggie curry and a Halo-Halo, a popular Filipino dessert with shaved ice/taro ice cream/papaya/evaporated milk/actual milk/cornflakes/sweet beans/chewy things/a cherry on top. So refreshing and delicious.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to visit on a budget, the Philippines is the perfect place! Our only regret is that we only had a week – with the myriad of islands to hop around to, you could easily spend a month and still have more to see. Philippines, we’ll be back!