I am travelling to the Philippines in July, landing in Manila on the 12th and then flying down to Cagayan de Oro to start a 2 week volunteer placement there on the 15th. After I'm finished I have until August 22 before I fly out of Manila again. I was thinking about flying either to Bankok and working my way over to Vietnam through Cambodia, or visa versa before flying back to Manila to fly back home to Canada. My concerns are that I may be spending too much time travelling, so I want to really narrow down which places I visit.
Which places/routes would you recommend, keeping in mind that I am a first time traveller and am a 23 year old female travelling alone (hopefully meeting a few travel companions along the way). I am trying to be as budget conscious as possible, and will be backpacking.
Also, if anyone has any advice as to whether I should spend several days in and around Manila before flying down to Cagayan de Oro, or if I should fly down first and spend a few days exploring that area.
#1 elysek has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 9
What are you interested in?
Offhand I'd say the National Museum, Ayala Museum for the dioramas of Philippine History, Intramuros and for the more adventurous, Chinatown.
Those places are fairly close to one another with the exception of the Ayala Museum which is in Makati.
Good question... I am really interested in art and architecture, as well as any type of outdoors activities like kayaking, hiking, and I really want to try surfing if I get the chance! I am very open to whatever suggestions people have as far as which places are worth going to.
#3 elysek has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 9
If you do what you intend, transportation and visa costs are definitely going to cut into your budget as well as your time, because you are compressing a lot of movement into a relatively short amount of time. You could start in Saigon and work your way to Bangkok, but that's going to waste close to a third of your time in movement (unless you travel well at night and use night buses / trains where possible). Since Bangkok is an obvious APOD / APOE you might consider Bangkok, Ayudahya, Kanchanaburi kind of experience.
Get in touch with Carlos Celdran for one of his walking tours.
For architecture, Intramuros has its old buildings; Chinatown has its art deco buildings and its share of hispanic-era churches. Many Filipinos tend overlook the art deco buildings in Manila.
For your outdoor activities, there will be opportunities in Mindanao. I know there is white water rafting in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and the nearby Bukidnon province also has its attractions.
You just might decide stay put and explore the other bits of the Philippines.