Three weeks in the Philippines without a plan

Traveling to the Philippines has been a dream of mine for a long time. Social media teased me endlessly with pictures and reels of pristine beaches. A week before I left I still had no plan on where to go and what to do. Finally I settled on Legazpi on Bicol to start with. Bicol is not an island in itself, but rather the southern part of Luzon, where Manila lies. So part of the main island. I don’t really know why I chose it, but it sounded good to start with. Think less beach and more volcano.

Legazpi city @Philippines

Since I had three weeks I figured I would have enough time to amble around and get my bearings while there. That was maybe not such a great idea. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my trip to the Philippines! But without a plan you need more time, because I “wasted” days with not doing much. I ended up seeing only the eastern part of the Philippines and not even all of that. The slow going though made for a great relaxation and I came back home totally invigorated.

watching the local youth working out some dance moves @Legazpi

So depending on what you want out of your vacation, either plan your trip in detail or do it on the fly. In hindsight the non planning worked out perfectly. With no agenda I was flexible and changed plans according to my mood. After Legazpi I headed to Sorsogon, also on the main island and also not a touristic hot spot. While there I felt unsure if I really made the right call to come here. Staying in this area though gave me an insight into the real life of the Philippines. Bicol region and Sorsogon are as far away from tourism as it can get.

tourism office @Sorsogon

I left Sorsogon for Cebu city on Cebu, but then decided that I would first explore Bolhol, another island. The ferry was right around the corner and the chocolate hills called to me. Have you ever heard of a more delectable name for a landscape?

Pollybert with new friends @Bolhol

On Bohol I also saw the first white beach, but it was a far cry from what the internet let me expect. Going back to Cebu by ferry I crossed the island to Moalboal to swim with the sardines, which left quite a lasting impression. And not in a good way.

sunset during low tide @Moalboal

After all this excitement and organizing everything on the go, I spent the last five days on Siargao learning how to surf (and failing miserably at it). Once I burnt my behind to crisp, I decided to give myself a break. My trip to the Philippines was a vacation after all.

where the surfers go @Siargao

So do I recommend the Philippines without a plan? Definitely, if you are spontaneous and can’t make up your mind where to go. But if you have a list of places you want to scratch off, then you need to plan ahead. Take into account that travel days are slow and it takes about a day to move from one island to the next. In the end though, even without a plan, I saw beautiful places in the Philippines that make me want to go back there again. It’s such a fascinating country, if you give yourself the time to discover it.

a beauty spot @Sohoton

The Philippines are so much more than just the beaches. Also, it’s a great place to unwind. It’s not only the heat, everything just takes a while. So what better thing to do than accept it and just go with the flow. Yours, Pollybert

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