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It’s more fun in the Philippines!

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Lauren Anderson – The Travel Guru

Working in the travel industry, there are always places I am adding to my bucket list, and when Boracay became an up and coming destination, I had to add it to the growing list albeit it wasn’t my first choice.

There are no direct flights to Boracay, so we had to go via Manila. We arrived mid-evening, and I was immediately overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of this city. I stayed in Makati, which was in a great location for shopping, dining and sightseeing.

We were picked the next morning and taken on a city tour where we saw everything from the American Cemetery and Memorial to the old walled city called Intramuros, finishing up at the Ayala Museum. We learnt a lot about the history and people of the Philippines from our amazing tour guide Eric who loved answering all our questions. It was so interesting to learn that this nation had gone through so much political turmoil and has bounced back to emerge as a tourism powerhouse. We also spent an afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia which is the third largest shopping mall in SE Asia. The mall is massive and even has a huge ice skating rink inside! Shoppers’ tip: stock up on cheap big named cosmetics from the department stores, and have a look at the ridiculously cheap beauty treatments.

The next part of our adventure had us fly from Manila to Caticlan and on to our ultimate destination, Boracay! I had googled so many pictures of this amazing place and was so excited to finally see one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the world. We arrived at the Caticlan Jetty and our dedicated private check-in area, and were ferried across at dusk to our breathtaking hotel. I have never seen anything as impressive as the open air check-in at this hotel and could not believe how gorgeous the rooms were. Knowing that there was a day spa here, I knew I was going to have an amazing stay and booked in for a spa treatment straight away.

The hotel we stayed at was about fifteen minutes away from the main stretch of beach that Boracay is famous for. It’s a fun ride on one of the motorbike/buggy inventions they use for transport but can be a bit scary going uphill after a few of the cocktail shakers. We spent the next few days checking out the markets, partying at the various beach bar, getting out and about on ATV’s around the island, and of course enjoying the beach. The highlight of my trip was dinner on the beach. On the last night, we ate seafood that we had hand-picked and was barbequed for us to our liking. Such a beautiful place and beautiful warm hearted people, I was so sad to say goodbye!

The Philippines wasn’t my first choice for a holiday, but I have been to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and can honestly say that this destination blew my mind. Everyone should visit this amazing nation and experience their beautiful sights and vibrant culture. Definitely one of my favourite trips so far!


Lauren Anderson

Lauren is an Aussie expat who has been in Hong Kong for 3 years working in the travel industry. Apart from travelling the world, Lauren enjoys keeping fit and active and exploring Hong Kongs outdoors, cooking, reading and bad reality TV.