Jackie from italktravel Maitland
Being a travel consultant has been a great part of my life for almost 15 years now. My first overseas trip was to Vanuatu with my bestie back in 1994, we loved it.
My bucket list is long, but does include Japan, Maldives, Russia and back to Africa. I do love Asia, the food is just amazing, it is easy to get around, the locals are characters and it is always warm with the beers & cocktails cold!
Philippines - Manilla and Cebu
Flew with Philippine airlines from Sydney to Manila then after a stopover we flew onto Cebu.
Our hotel in Manila was the 5* Dusit Thani, which was in the perfect location, with many restaurants and shops close by. Very easy to walk around here with many tourists and expats around. The service at Dusit Thani was excellent and the food options very extensive.
In Cebu I stayed at the Plantation Bay Resort, which was beautiful. The resort was perfect for those who want to relax and recharge. The many pools and lagoons give you lots of options to escape from the crowds & they are varied in their depth, giving families peace of mind with their children.
Plenty of activities for the active families, right up to the 20 somethings with a nightclub onsite that is open until late. This resort is located away from the main town area, but any excursions can easily be arranged through the tour desk.
The accommodation is very spacious with a variety of room options ranging from hotel style rooms, to full houses with large balconies that hover over the lagoon edge. As you would expect from a resort, there are several dining options to cater for everyone's needs.
Breakfast has the option of ether buffet of al la carte. I also completed an inspection at the JPark Hotel in Cebu. This hotel was enormous and almost a town in itself. The perfect resort for families with older children as there was a waterslide area with 5 different slides.
Also various family activities and endless restaurants and food venues. Swimming with the whale sharks was a very special experience. I thought that 30mins wouldn't be long enough, but I was ready to come back to the shore.
These sea animals are so gently and relaxed, you feel like you are in a totally different world watching them cruise by. The 3 hour drive turned into 4 on the way to the swimming area, and then 5 hours on the way back, but it is all worth it and great to see some of the local areas.
What I loved
The history of Manila and the Spanish influences on their architecture. Swimming with the whale sharks in Cebu was a bucket list tick for me!
What was awful
The traffic was extreme, I would avoid arriving around 5-7pm into Manila during the week, as everyone is leaving the city. We were in Cebu over a long weekend and this made the traffic once again very busy.
Tell us about your favourite meal, what, where, when & why
As you would expect, the seafood options in the Philippines is every extensive and very reasonably priced.
Top tip for someone doing this trip
Be patient, especially with the traffic. Definitely include an overnight stay in Manila to see the architecture and learn about their history. Also spend some time shopping here.
Anything you would do differently next time
Avoid arriving over a long weekend!
Would you go back?
Yes definitely, would love to explore more of the islands.
Have you got another trip planned and where to?
After three trips in November, I will be happy to stay grounded, but this will only last for a month or two, then I will check over the bucket list.
How can I find out more?
Call italktravel on (02) 4934 2155
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