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An Action Packed 3 Day Trip to The Philippines While Teaching in Korea

Posted on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

One of the greatest rewards about teaching ESL abroad  is having the luxury of traveling during vacation time. Recently, I traveled during Seolnal (Korean New Year) to the Philippines. The Philippines is a great destination to travel to from Korea, since it is super cheap and a quick island getaway from Korea . There you can enjoy and visit some of the top beaches in the world.  Having endured the harsh Korean winter, I wanted to make sure I made the most of my three day trip.
My travel partner and I decided to spend the night before our flight in Incheon.  By doing this it allowed us to avoid the airport traffic, which can be extremely hectic around an Asian holiday travel weekend. The flight itself to Cebu in the Philippines was 4hrs and it was a perfect amount of time to catch a quick nap. Once arriving in Cebu we caught a taxi to the nearest port called Pier-1 Terminal.  The drive itself took about 15 minutes by cab and it only cost 500 pesos which is equivalent to  about $11.00.  We then booked a ferry to the port of Taglibran city on Bohol Island. The boat trip, which was a speed ferry, took about 2 hours and it cost 347 Pesos ($7.00).
Once arriving in Taglibran port our adventure began! Traveling is all about spontaneity and I managed to convince my travel partner to hop on a small scooter-like thricycle.  With all our luggage tightly wrapped to the back, we started our exciting journey to Panglaos Island. In a cab it would usually only take about fifteen minutes, but on our well-equipped thricycle we got a 45 minute guided tour from our driver before arriving at our hotel in Alona beach. 
The Alona Kew White  Beach Resort is situated right on the doorstep of one of the world’s top 10 beaches, Alona Beach!  The Philippine staff was friendly and warm and they immediately helped us with anything we needed.  They led us to our huge room that we only paid $120.00 per night for. We were shocked at how cheap the four and five star resorts were on this strip.  The best part about traveling South-East Asia is that places like Thailand, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia  and Indonesia is that luxuries are so affordable. 
As I mentioned in the beginning, we were visiting for only 3 full days so if you ever travel to Panglao Island, here is the how I would recommend making sure your short trip is both as action packed and relaxing as possible.
Day One
The first day was stunning beach weather, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful Alona Beach! Since our hotel was right on the doorstep of Alona Beach, we got beach and deck chairs and enjoyed the sun and ocean for a day.
Alona Beach is a breathtakingly beautiful white sand beach with tropical waters engulfing its’ shoreline. The beach runs along the coast and one can take relaxing strolls right around Panglao Island to other beaches like Dumualuan Beach and the Beach Club. We enjoyed freshly cracked-open coconuts, beach massages for $10.00, and delicious peanut kisses ice-cream from the famous organic Buzz Café. All the ice-cream from the Buzz Café is made from honey and is absolutely delicious!
That night, and every night we indulged in a feast for dinner! In the Philippines you can choose your own freshly caught seafood and have the Philippino’s grill it for you on the BBQ. We tried everything from freshly BBQ-ed scallops in butter to Lapalaulau fish, prawns, marinated chicken, pork kebabs and lobster! Not only was all our food amazing, but you could also eat right on the beach with your toes in the sand at a table that is candle-lit while the waves gently crashed around you.
Day Two
Our second day, we decided to rent a scooter and explore the island. We decided this would be better than going on a group tour, since our time was limited. The Philippines is a third world country, so driving is quite an experience with the road filled with cattle, goats and people! It can be rather nerve-wracking, but the experience was totally worth it. We ventured in the rain and sunshine, around the island to San Augustine Church and the Hinagdanan Caves. This  truly was a memorable day and an exciting way to experience our time on Panglao Island. That night we enjoyed beach massages and a fancy buffet dinner at the famous Amorita Resort at the end of Alona Beach. The Amorita Resort overlooks Alona Beach and has a stunning view of the whole area.  Afterwards, we joined fellow travelers at a local bar on the beach for cocktails and listened to a local band playing music.  
Day Three
On our final day we woke up at 5 a.m. to go dolphin watching, snorkeling and island hoping at Balicsag Island and Virgin Island. Island hoping in South-East Asia is a lot of fun, and is a top activity to do when you are out in this part of the world. I have snorkeled in some beautiful destinations, but I must say that Baligsag Island has one of the most beautiful reefs I have ever seen! We saw a lot of tropical fish and big green turtles! The water was clear and abundant with sea-life and the tour guides were informative and helpful. We saw unique coral coves and ancient large clams.
That afternoon we enjoyed our last moments on Alona Beach with manicures and pedicures for $12.00 and a swim in the warm ocean. Our hotel let us leave all our belongings at the front desk and even arranged us a shuttle ride to Taglibran pier for our departure back to Cebu. I would definitely return to the Philippines, as there is so much to discover and see and for such an affordable price. The Asian continent has so many beautiful and untouched places so any opportunity you have to travel it, is worth every missed nap or penny spent!
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It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen120@hotmail.com to request more information on teaching in Korea!

Tags: vacation destinations, traveling, solnal

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