People on the way

This post will be all about them, the great people we met in the Philippines. From day 1 until our last. I will write about their stories crossing ours. Some of them told us their experiences, some influenced our route, some just inspired us. Some have name some don't but every single one had a touch in my Philipino experience and I definitely don't want to let it fade away.

In my last post I mentioned already the lovely French couple and how important was to meet them in Banaue. In our way back to Manila we met another couple in the bus. They helped us save some money on the taxi to the airport. The station wasn't the last one yet so we could chat for 10min. I won't talk a lot about them yet but a funny coincidence touched me: they are also a mixed-country-couple, she is Brazilian and he is Italian. The fast talk goes in portuguese because he has been living in Brazil for more than 20 years. Memorize their names, Fernanda and Paolo.

April is the peak of the summer in the Philippines, a busy month from beginning to end, someone told us. The schools are closed, kids are home and families that can afford it tend to travel. That's how the airport looks like when we arrived to catch our flight to Boracay, packed! There are no seats available in the waiting room, the queues are long, flights get delayed several hours, but no one seems to bother. They simply embraced it. 
Our flight is delayed too but we got impatient and worried we wouldn't make it on time to the last boat. We convinced the checkin manager to get us in an earlier flight. Damn westerns she may have thought but she helped us without questioning. The funny thing is our new flight got delayed too!!! (Ahahaha!!) We did manage to get to the island on time.

That weekend was apparently a long weekend in the Philippines, so how Boracay looked like? Exactly, extremely busy! Specially with newly graduates eager to celebrate the college's freedom, and also packed with wealthy Filipinos. We learned a lot about it with Marco, a kind Filipino in his early twenties, that was the perfect fit for the stereotype. Even though was so busy, what we did more in Boracay was enjoying the views and jumping around. Beautiful sunsets! 

After flying to Cebu, the second biggest city in the Philippines, we ran away from it by catching a direct bus to Oslob, the village where you can snorkel with whale sharks. We had an amazing morning with these sweet hungry creatures and in the Tamalog falls. 

Even before that morning started we coincidently had breakfast with a German couple that told us that they camped on the beach in Siquijor, that it was perfect, peaceful, beautiful and less touristic. That's exactly where we went. We didn't even think about it twice, and off we go. 

We couldn't camp as they did in San Jose beach but we stayed at a little cosy resort in the nicest and most comfortable bunk beds ever. The island was indeed lovely, and the sunsets?! No words. 

In the resort's beach side we met another couple, from Switzerland, that was busy working. Valleria was totally right when she told us, "we couldn't have a better office, could we?!". Both bloggers, now long-traveling, had to edit pictures to entertain their thousands of Instagram followers and update their adventures in the web. Too bad (for me) that they only write in German, but here is the link to their blog.

In one of the evenings I was reading in the restaurant's sofas and I suddenly hear "Tired?". Yes, I was but I was also too curious to deny a talk so I had a long long chat with the resort's owner. We talked about business, family finances, love, traveling, marriage. Thanks to Jeziel I learned a little bit more about the art of being a host, starting a business from scratch and a lot about the Filipino society's rules. It was impressive to meet her because she is an extremely strong, positive, full of hope and joyful woman. The magic portion for success! Fingers crossed for her UK visa :)

Bohol, our next stop, and it's attractions - chocolate hills and what else? - gets saved by the cool people we met in our little private hostel tour, and no, there were no couples!
Besides being a little disappointed by the green rock formations and the tarsiers, the van talks, the zip line, the spontaneous swimming pool party and our hostel pizza delivery made our quick stay so worthy! Thank you Annette, Lizette, Liz, Cath, Joshua and Joan. I won't forget the Desigual talks with the Tarragona man, the "almost spoilers" Game of Thrones talks with Josh, the sisters' laughs (making me miss mine a lot! Snif) and the travel adventures of the girls. I owe you all big time and I feel terrible that I forgot to take a group picture:(

These poor little things are so ugly....

Palawan, our last island from our Philippines' tour, gets in my opinion the top #1 for the nicest people. In our way to El Nido from Puerto Princesa (PP) we got a lift to the bus terminal, offered by the guesthouse's owner. I don't know his name but I know that if I ever stay again in PP I will stay in the Royal Sunflower Guesthouse, the breakfast was amazing and the kindness incomparable. 

After 7h in a bus eating unhealthy snacks and drinking sweet bottled cold tea we arrived in El Nido, hydrated but starving. We drop our bags in our faraway hotel and we came back to the civilization to eat. In the El Nido Corner, around Happy Hour time, we met Fernanda and Paolo again - it looked like we planned it when we said goodbye in Manila. For the next 3days we were pretty much always together! Meals, tours, snorkeling, motorbike ride, sunsets, happy hours.  
Super bumpy roads...road, right...
Orange watermelon anyone?!

Paolo and Fernanda are the owners of a very famous restaurant and guest house in Lagoa do Paraiso in Jericoacoara. Literally translating, the paradise lagoon, located in the northeast of Brazil, Ceara. Together they have been building up their own space, bringing new visitors, showing the lagoon to the world, using the best of it to live the dream of paradise. Partners in many crazy adventures, they have been traveling a little bit everywhere in Brazil, and in the world, for over 20 years. Same years of marriage and as happy as in the beginning, Fernanda revealed the secret for success: "Wanting it". That simple, that beautiful and that inspiring. We exchanged so many laughs, ideas and stories, that I can hardly remember all - Brazil's political and social situations were, by far, the hottest topics discussed. Meeting them was not only another set of stories though. Meeting them made me question - what's our lagoon, what if our lagoon dries up, what about our future?!? - and made me be sure that time is key. The answers will come when it's time. Thanks for your wise talks and advises. We said goodbye to the traveling gurus, promising a visit to their paradise, soon. 

Already in Sabang, the village of one of the New 7 wonders of Nature, the Underground River, we met a friendly Dutch called Jeroen looking for "a less boring hotel". In that village things move slowly, as we were about to confirm, so chilling with a cold beer made it exciting. William had the time to discuss all the geek topics I'm unable to follow but we also talked about love, crazy travel adventures and some business. I miss the Netherlands so it's always good to meet Dutch people on the road.

Here it comes the longest story of this post...
Traveling in the Philippines was no easy task and we always had to pack with us huge doses of willingness, good books, a lot of time and Pesos. Time and Money, that's exactly what we did not have in our last days around. 
There are no international ATMs in small cities like Sabang and after using all our dollars, and because we did some incorrect planning of our expenses, we were too short in Pesos. Mission on - we can handle it until the next ATM!! But it's in the middle of an unexpected fasting we also do some incorrect time planning - it's summer, it's Sunday, we want to visit the Underground River and have a plane to catch. We thought that we had more than enough time and we had, honestly, no clue that it would be so complicated. You get your permit, you wait, you get in a boat, you get out of the boat, you wait more, you get into a smaller boat, then you get in the cave.
Why was a bad planning? We had to move from Sabang to Puerto Princesa to catch the flight to Manila, in order to get out of the country the next day.  Ufff. The time was passing by and we at the same spot. We got really worried. Despite the stress - to me it was the most stressful day in this trip so far - we were blessed to have amazing Filipinos around us. They not only tried to squeeze us in the multiple lines, they also counted the hours that we had left until the flight, they eventually discussed among them solutions to OUR problem. Our fault. 
And then boom! Alexander, a tour guide serving other tourists from the Corazon Tours, offered the solution that finally calmed me down - we could join their private van that was going back to PP after the sightseeing.  But this wasn't just a lift, the driver waited for us to grab our bags, the other van's refund, he stopped at an ATM (that did not accept our card!) and going totally the extra mile, he dropped us in the airport. In the AIRPORT! We gave him all the money we had left, totally sure that that it was nothing compared to what he did to us.
Mistake after mistake we were relieved and thankful that all went alright. That day taught us some lessons! All those acts of kindness towards us, strangers, were so incredible human that they undoubtedly connected me to them. How easy it is to change someone's life by a simple act, no matter how banal it might be to us?!? 

I promise, I'm almost done. But I can't finish this post without mentioning (again) the 3 Filipinos we met in the first days in the country. 2 cousins, a common friend. One calls me Mama, the other post embarrassing videoke videos and the shyest one writes me just to ask "how are you doing?". They truly represent everyone I met in the country - happy, smiley, shy, introspective, locos, easy going, patient, caring.

I guess I was lucky because somewhere there must be not-this-nice and kind people. But either way, Philippines I <3 you for so many reasons. The wonderful people I met while traveling add a huge plus to the experience and will never forget it.


  1. Amazing post Guys !!
    I am deeply in love with the jumping pictures - ligh, views, jump breathtaking :)
    Make sure you keep the high resolution for me hahahahha

    Keep updating us - Love you both


    1. We will keep high quality for you! Love back x2

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  3. Wow. That's what I call a real adventure. Thanks for sharing all the exciting details and for showing the beauty of the Philippines and its wonderful people, Di. Funny coincidence that you met Fernanda and Paolo three days after, in another city. Amazing!

    Have fun and be safe!

    P.S. - Loved the chocolate hills!