I sometimes think about why I travel? The answer is easy. I do not want to miss out on what this beautiful planet of ours has to offer!
In one word, WOW! This country, consisting of more than 7000 islands, is just something special. I thought to myself after being to The Philippines twice in 2018 that it would actually take me more than 20 years to see all of this county if I visited one island every day! To me that’s the reason I went back to paradise. You can easily travel to new places but also to really remote places where you get away from the hordes of tourists that are flocking to popular tourists’ destinations in Asia. There is always a new island to explore in The Philippines!
This time my boyfriend and I started our journey in Busuanga, Palawan. The perfect way to explore Busuanga/Coron is by going island hopping. Beautiful islands and lagoons with the crystal-clear waters are everywhere.
On our first day we went to Twin Lagoon which has two hidden lagoons circled by limestone mountains which are really beautiful. We also visited Kayangan Lake, the clearest lake in Asia, on Coron Island. When going to those two places I would really recommend to make it your first stop on your day tour. If you have the chance, be there at 08:00 am, because at 09:30 it will be packed by hordes of orange lifejackets. Then you get to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and take a swim almost by yourself in the super clear water. Later in the day you can relax at Smith’s beach while the crew prepares your lunch.
Two other islands which you should see are Pass Island and Malcapuya Island. If you are dreaming of crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches this is the place to go! Malcapuya Island is really special, with a crazy beautiful beach, good snorkeling opportunities and a relaxing beach vibe. Make sure to check the weather in advance when going to Malcapuya, it’s an open sea crossing and the small boats are not always able to go there due to heavy wind and waves.
One thing you should keep in mind when booking your day trip is if you want a private tour or a group tour. The group tours are usually with up to 20 other people and have a lot of islands on their schedule, which is totally fine if you are in a hurry and want to see as much as possible.
On the other hand, my personal experience was kind of stressful with the group tour, due to limited time on each island. This was also the reason why we only booked private tours after the experience with the group tour. The privilege with the private tours is many. First you get to decide which islands to explore, at what time you like to leave in the morning and you can stay as long as you want on each place.
After enjoying the beautiful islands of Coron for a couple of days we packed our bags and went for an adventure on a sail boat from Coron to El Nido with a company called Tao Philippines.
I heard of this expedition the first time in the summer of 2017 from some friends who had been, it sounded and looked so amazing that we went home and booked our trip the same night. This trip is the perfect thing for people looking for an amazing adventure off the beaten path. Be aware that you need to be able to enjoy the luxury of simplicity and leave your inner princess at home.
Ah, well, where to begin! Tao in Philipino means human, which is exactly what the organization focuses on. Kind, warm and generous people who welcomes you into their home and show you their way of island living. Tao Philippines is a sailing expedition in Palawan where you get to explore remote islands, and have them all to yourself, with no other tourists. Just you and your expedition crew on countless untouched paradise islands. Who wouldn’t want that?
The boat is a wooden Paraw named Balatik, which is a traditional Philipino sailboat. It’s the only one of its kind and one of their goals is to keep life in the traditional way of living, sailing and fishing in the islands. It’s stunningly beautiful and will leave all other boats you meet staring in disbelief from the time you enter their horizon until you leave. The crew is made up of locals from the different islands of Palawan. They are skillful, funny and extremely happy! They also have a ship dog named Amo which it is impossible not to fall in love with.
The expedition sail from either Coron to El Nido or El Nido to Coron. It’s a four nights and five days sailing experience and basically the perfect way to explore the islands of Palawan! You spend the night in different basecamps on different islands where they teach the locals sustainable living. You get a unique insight into the island people’s life. Each night we slept in bamboo huts located on the beach, with our mosquito net and blanket.
One of the best things about this trip is meeting your fellow adventurers. It’s around 16 people going on each expedition and because this is an off the beaten path, non-luxury adventure it attracts a certain kind of people that are a joy to be around. Travelers from all around the world become a close family quickly when sailing in paradise
The crew cooks up the most delicious traditional Philipino dishes all day long. This is seriously the best food we had in the Philippines! You won’t even need to bring any snacks.
Tao is DEFINITELY going to be the highlight of any trip to Palawan… This trip is the most unique and amazing thing I have ever experienced and ever since my boyfriend and I have been looking for similar adventures to go to. It’s so good that we went back 6 months later to do the same expedition over again. They have a large number of different basecamps so every expedition is different. The second time was just as good, if not better.
If you are not convinced by now then this obviously is not for you. If you are – I’m not going to spoil more of your next big adventure. Check out https://www.taophilippines.com/ for your bookings. Maybe we’ll meet you there for our next expedition!
By Iselin from @iselinbratberg