Unless you plan to live several hundred years I think it will be very difficult to visit all 7,107 islands. I have compiled a quick reference list which would give the traveler a good cross sample of the Philippine Islands. In compiling this short list I have omitted some glitzy touristy areas and included some more remote and exotic islands to show some of the diversity in landscapes and areas of interest for seasoned travelers of all ages as well as families and first time travelers.
The question might be what is a bucket list? In the United States it became a saying that when you die you kicked the bucket. Recently they made a great hollywood movie entitled: “The Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, as they raced to do exotic travel things before they kicked the bucket.
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS TRAVEL BUCKET LIST:
BANTAYAN ISLAND: Known for its sugary white beaches and swaying palm trees. Santa Fe is blessed with many resorts and restaurants and has an active International x-pat community. Holy Week in Bantayan Town, is a spectacular not to be missed. Visit the historical church at town square, meander through the wet and dry fish market, plus travel to Kota Park in Madridejos for photos. Points of interest include Ogtong Cave, Bantayan Island Nature Park & Resort, Virgin Island snorkel trip. Things to do: rent a motorcycle and tour the island, swim on the many beaches of Santa Fe or simply relax and do nothing. Five hours from Cebu, three hours by bus from north terminal, one and half hour ferry from Hagnaya.
MALAPASCUA ISLAND: Known as a divers destination. A small scenic island that has world-class diving instructors and diving trips. The thresher shark can be seen along with a myriad of colorful fishes. The dive resorts are fully equipped with friendly staff and good restaurants. Points of interest: take your camera and walk around the island taking interesting shots of the local native fisherman and find a restaurant directly on the water on the opposite side of the island from the mainstream diving resorts. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and go exploring, go swimming and snorkeling off its many beaches or just hang out. Can take a bus from Cebu city approximately four hours to Maya wharf… then journey by boat thirty minutes across a channel to Malapascua.
BOHOL ISLAND: Known for the Chocolate Hills a must see natural wonder. Visit the Tarsier Visitors Center and see the Tarsi smallest monkey in the world, cruise up the Loboc river on a riverboat and eat all you can lunch or dinner … complete with guitar player and visits to native tribes. Visit the state of the art Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park and take an exhilarating ride on their Zip Line. Travel thirty minutes from the capital Tagbilaran and arrive on Panglao Island. Head directly to Alona Beach and witness white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. Alona beach has many excellent tourist facilities including: good restaurants, hotels, and boat trips. Located one and half hours by fast craft from Cebu to Bohol.
CAMOTES ISLAND: Known for its freshwater natural lake… where you can kayak and witness exotic birds, or walk completely around the island about six kilometers. Camotes is also known for its excellent resorts. We stayed at the Santiago Bay Garden & Beach Resort located directly on white beach with local restaurants serving fresh fish of the day. The island is scenic and unspoiled and a real gem for the traveler. You can swim, scuba dive or snorkel with fish at the new resort named: Flying Fish Resort operated by an Australian and his Pinoy wife, stay at My Little Hotel on the hill with a great outdoor swimming pool or simply go on cruise control. Several ways to go to the Camotes from Cebu, quickest is to take a fast craft directly from Cebu to Camotes approximately two to three hours or leave via public ferry boat from Danao Port.
CAMIGUEN ISLAND: Known for its exotic landscapes, volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, cold springs, and soda springs. You can rent a motorcycle and traverse the island in less than a day… stopping by to see the Sunken Cemetery, the White Sands Beach, The Stations of the Cross and take the zipline over Fishpen Restaurant and Resort where you can catch or choose your own fish and witness magnificent sunsets. Divers can arrange for offshore diving at many of the resorts. You can take the night ferry on Friday evening from Cebu, which takes 13 hours or you can take fast craft to Bohol from Cebu, take a van to Jagna Port and take another fast craft to Camiguen Island.
PALAWAN ISLAND: Known for its world-famous Underground River and exotic destinations. Maybe Jaque Cousteau said it best when he stated: “Palawan was the most beautiful place on earth. ” When we took the pumpboat from El Nido to offshore beaches and islands, my partner Perla cried because it was so beautiful. It looked like a scene from National Geographic as the rocks spiraled from the turquoise waters straight up into the blue skies. Great opportunity to kayak and swim between hidden islands with fish swimming in every direction, arrange a snorkel or diving trip or just hang loose. Port Barton is a good spot to stay a few days and then go by pumpboat to Sabang, which is the jumping off point for the Underground River. Fly from Cebu directly to Puerto Princesca or come in by ferry boat.
DAVAO CITY AREA: Known as the bread basket for its exotic fruits and home of the famous Durian… that smells like rotten feet, but tastes like a luxurious fruit. Bon Appétit! From Davao you can head directly into the Mount Apo mountains where you can experience the wildlife and bird show complete with sit down dinner to die for… with all of the exotic fruits displayed in baskets at Malagos Garden Resort. You can visit the Philippine Eagle Research and Nature Center, and explore Eden Nature Park where you can catch your own fish and have it grilled and served in your own private setting. Fly from Cebu to Davao International Airport.
In conclusion seven diverse islands have been chosen for you to sample. If you are still keeping score you only have seven thousand one hundred more islands to choose from as you continue on your journey.
QUOTE: I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”…- Rosalia de Castro
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The Philippines, officially called the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelago of 7,107 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Located in Southeast Asia, this archipelagic nation is surrounded by neighboring countries, such as, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau and the Republic of China. The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country that shares no land borders with its neighbors. Manila serves as its administrative capital. Once, it used be the colony of Spain and Spaniards ruled over it for about three centuries.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Islands….they are sinking faster than you can say Jack Rabbit!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Try island hopping Grasshopper…it should be easy for you with your long legs!
From here to Infinity and Beyond is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on. Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free