I’m going to say it… it’s more fun in the Philippines (this is not an ad)
….like anyone would sponsor me (please sponsor me).
My parents are from the Philippines, which makes me a first generation Australian. Because of this, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel back to the homeland a number of times throughout my life.
The last trip, however, felt like an actual holiday. Those who have to travel to see family understand – those trips don’t exactly scream ‘vacation’ do they? Anyway.. primarily going to attend my cousin’s wedding, we decided to turn it into a little 3 week reunion/getaway. So many people at work had raved about island hopping and snorkelling adventures around the Philippines, which obviously made me feel super jealous, so it only seemed right to convince the rest of my family to agree to tour around our home country and see what all the fuss was about.
Now before I get into the details, I must warn you – the following images may induce severe cases of #fomo and #travelenvy. I take no responsibility of your reactions.
Let’s start with the wedding. My goodness, it honestly felt like I was at some real flashy celebrity wedding. Let me try and sum it up with a list of key descriptors:
- Flower-covered entrance (think Kimye wedding flower wall)
- 20 giant chandeliers
- Never depleting food supply (good thing I wasn’t wearing a tight dress!!!)
- Two dessert bars
- Professional MC
- Manila philharmonic (legitimately)
- Free bottle of Moet (?!)
If that didn’t set the scene, here are some photos to help you visualise.
We ate, we danced, (I) cried during the father-daughter dance, and generally had such a great time celebrating such a beautiful union – that only took 11 years to finally happen (Congrats again guys!)! Thanks for giving me ideas for my own wedding! Relax mum, this is years away.
The highlight for me, however, was spending quality time with my family. This was the first time we had a holiday as a complete family – myself, my parents, my brother, his wife, and my little niece and my now teenager (what?!) nephew.
I caught up on lost time with my grandparents, cousins, second cousins (etc.), ate my grandparents home-cooked meals and really got the opportunity to appreciate my family (all whilst I drowned in my own sweat).
To kick start the ‘holiday’ part of the trip, we took off from Hagonoy at 4am one morning to embark on our epic 14 hour road trip to Naga City – where my dad is originally from. He hadn’t been back there since leaving the city when he was a teenager a million years ago, so it was pretty much a first time for all of us. It honestly could not have been a better way to spend time with the people that mean the most to me, whilst seeing and experiencing the country that my parents and brother grew up in.
We stayed in Naga City for a couple of nights, where we witnessed the Mayon volcano aka ‘perfect cone’.. for obvious reasons, and ate ridiculously delicious Bicolano food, then headed for the little getaway of Caramoan. Brace yourself for the photos.
The most breath-taking place we went to though, was the island of Coron in Palawan. It was probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and I, without hesitation, would go there again (and again and again and again). The people are gorgeous and welcoming, the food is so fresh and delicious, and the islands, the lagoons, the beaches, (the everything) were all S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Cue awe-inspiring photos now.
Not going to lie, I definitely got used to the ocean breeze in my hair and sun on my skin, sailing from island to island, eating food fresh from the sea and cooked right on the boat. The fish was sooooo good and the seaweed so tasty. It cannot get any more authentic than that!
Now, bias aside, I would definitely recommend a trip around the Philippines as a must-do. Filipinos are naturally so welcoming and hospitable, everything is so cheap, the food is mouth watering and there are so many naturally beautiful and undiscovered little pockets in the Philippines to see and experience. As the ad goes, it’s more fun in the Philippines.