Philippines scorecard

Overall Score : B
Dates visited: Nov 12-28, 2013
Places visited: Manila, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Banaue (Batad, Banga-an, Hapao)
Notable places we did NOT visit: Sagada, Boracay, Coron

Batad village

Batad village

Food: C (average). We were not blown away. The diet has a ton of meat (primarily pork, chicken, and seafood), which I thought I would love, but I found myself craving veggies pretty early into the trip. I didn’t think it was possible to ever have enough pork fat, but I found my limit here.

People: A. Great hospitality, friendly, curious , welcoming, happy, short (I was in the top half of height on my women’s team for Manila Spirits!)

Touts: A (non-aggressive) in El Nido and Manila. C in Banaue (aggressive scammers)

Ultimate: A. Manila and beyond has a thriving ultimate community.

Weather: B. I hated the heat in Manila and El Nido. It’s much cooler up north in Banaue (~60-70 degrees Fahrenheit), though it consistently rained up there. It was the first time in the entire Philippines that I needed to sleep under a sheet.

Infrastructure: A in Manila, C elsewhere. Manila is a massive metropolitan Asian city, so there’s plenty of infrastructure but tons of traffic and smog to go with it, along with the usual amenities of any major city.  There were no ATMs in El Nido or Banaue.  There was only power in El Nido from 2p-6am daily, and even during those periods, blackouts were common. It is very obvious that the government is heavily investing in tourism, and many of these towns will soon be built-up destinations. I recommend visiting them before they are established and more expensive.

English: A. In Manila, everyone speaks perfect English. In the other areas we visited, people understood enough English for us to easily get by on.

Cost of living: A (low). We had several days where we spent less than $20 USD.

Safety: A. Personally, we didn’t have any issues while we were in the Philippines, and I never felt unsafe. But we did meet a girl who was befriended, drugged, and then robbed in Manila. Be wary!

- snorkel!
- saw the Milky Way!
- ate balut (an fertilized egg where the embryo is partially formed). I had 2 drunk and loved them, 1 sober and then I thought it was gross.
- saw water buffaloes
- ate crocodile (just tasted the sauce)
- Was bitten by a leech

Would you visit again: already possible; we may come back for Boracay beach tourney in March! I recommend visiting the Philippines if you enjoy trekking (rice terraces) or nice, uncrowded beaches and a laid-back town (El Nido)

view from treehouse seats at The Alternative in El Nido

view from treehouse seats at The Alternative in El Nido

Summary: warm, welcoming, hospitable, generous, happy, friendly people. Beautiful scenery & beaches. Don’t need to spend a day in Manila – get out of the city (unless playing ultimate) and explore the rest of the country. We probably couldn’t have chosen a better place to start our journey — the Philippines was a great way to ease into a year of travel since they speak English and are super friendly and laid back!

Other random tidbits:
- They might celebrate Christmas more than we do back home. It is a Catholic country, and they take Christmas very seriously — decorations were already up when we arrived on November 12th. There were even more by the time we left.
- We used cash only while in the Philippines. We never saw anyone pay with credit card or anything else.

Salamat, Philippines. On to Vietnam!

About lisa

28-year-old Asian-American hailing from Denver, Colorado, USA. Traveler. Adventurer. Ultimate frisbee player. Snowboarder. Photographer. Giffer. Blogger. Sarcastic / snarky / sassy comment-maker. Fond of eating, sleeping, and wandering.

2 thoughts on “Philippines scorecard

  1. Hope to see you in boracay open :) Hands down, the best place for ultimate parties. You wont need jc to carry you cause you could just pass out by the beach hahaha! :p

  2. Love you!! Happy T’Giving…
    Missing you and LOVING your Blog!!!
    Your video and pictures are AMAZING!
    (Hey Lisa, can’t wait to meet you!) oxo

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