Just a little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing a girlfriend getaway to the Philippines with 2 amazing ladies. This is my second time visiting this country of 7107 islands (number depends on if the tide is high or low at any given time) and let me tell you, Philippines is 2 for 2 in my books! I only have 7101 more islands to get to. My first trip was a couple years back with just my husband, to Boracay. This is an island that routinely makes “top 10 beaches of the world” lists, and with good reason. It’s crazy beautiful. As amazing as that holiday was, this recent one to Puerto Princesa, might even top it. There are two big reasons for that. The company and the experiences. Really, really no disrepect to my husband. Boracay together was an incredible, remember forever, time for us. But there’s just something about traveling with girlfriends. First of all, we all want to do the same sorts of things and don’t get impatient with each other if we’re taking too long choosing between items to purchase while shopping for, oh I don’t know…sarongs and such. That’s totally a hypothetical situation, in case you’re wondering. OK, I’m kidding. One of the 3 of us may struggle with decision making, but it didn’t matter! We could joke and laugh about it. And then go shop some more. And then get ice cream. All while giggling and behaving like school girls. As moms it was really fun for us to be reminded, “Oh ya…I do have a personality outside of my roles as mom and wife and it’s really nice to belly laugh repeatedly and feel carefree for a while.”
In case I haven’t sold you on the girlfriend getaway yet, other bonuses include, splitting costs instead of having to pay for an entire family, sleeping in if you so desire, and of course, only being responsible for yourself. I have this new theory that we should only travel to these fun places with groups of friends until the kids are a bit older. I’m all for my husband heading out with the guys. It saves us money and the kids are just as satisfied with hitting up the local beaches and other activities.
So, yes, the company was perfect and the experiences added so much to our trip too, of course. When I was researching for this trip I googled, “Best snorkeling in the Philippines” and it brought up Honda Bay. While snorkeling in Honda Bay is not necessarily the best in the Philippines, or even on the island of Palawan, it was beautiful and enjoyable for us. Our day tour included a tasty lunch with lots of seafood and fresh fruit. And we were on Pandan Island long enough to treat ourselves to a massage on the beach. Another way to check out Honda Bay is by renting a private boat. With a small group of people it would cut costs down a little and give you control of what islands and snorkeling areas you’d like to explore. You won’t get the lunch included that way though, or the entertaining tour guide.
The Underground River was the cherry on top of our Puerto Princesa sundae. I was drawn to Palawan for the snorkeling and found out about this UNESCO World Heritage Site after we had already booked our flights. As of November 11, 2011 it’s also one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. It was really something spectacular to see and experience. I felt some trepidation on our hour and a half van ride to the river, because I was slightly concerned that claustrophobic me would flip out a little. But it was big and spacious and incredible. I even got to sit at the front of the boat and hold the spotlight. (Note: If you do this tour and are asked to hold the spotlight, politely decline. It’s nicer to sit back and enjoy the experience than to be slightly on edge the whole time trying to hear your guide directing you where to aim the light.) There were a crazy amount of bats everywhere and so many incredible limestone formations to take in. It was really a very special experience.
📍Palawan, Philippines. On the same day that my previous photo was from, we got to explore this enthralling place. It’s an underground river that is just over 8 KM in total, with the general tour bringing folks in as far as 1.5 KM. As one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s definitely worth a visit. You’ll see bats galore and plenty of interesting limestone formations. Book early for this, especially if you’re there in high season. There is a limited number of visitors allowed per day and the spots fill up quickly. #PuertoPrincesa #undergroundriver #Palawan #Philippines #itsmorefuninthePhilippines #girlfriendgetaway #limestone #instatravel #instalove #travelphilippines #travelasia
Little did we know when booking our Underground River tour that we’d have the opportunity to zipline over a nice stretch of the South China Sea! Yes, there was an added cost (about $12 USD for a seated ride and $17 USD for superman style) and yes, it was completely worth it! It was breathtaking and exhilarating.
📍Palawan, Philippines. Flying over the ocean, in real life! (I wasn’t dreaming) I laughed my head off the entire way, and then had a little squeal at the abrupt ending! No injuries in sight, of course…just more laughter. Wish I could do this entire trip all over again tomorrow. If ever you have the opportunity, get yourself to the Philippines! #girlfriendgetaway #MomsTrip #PuertoPrincesa #Palawan #itsmorefuninthePhilippines #ziplining #travelphilippines #travelasia #instatravel #instalove #tmom
Microtel was, without a doubt, the perfect place for us to be. It’s one of the few hotels in Puerto Princesa that’s actually on the beach. The atmosphere was laid back and quiet. The music was perfection. No really…perfection!! For us anyway. I mean, they played some “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles. That’s gold. And the music was at the perfect volume to get us feeling a little like dancing every once in a while. This place treated us to unreal sunsets and sunrises and a beautiful beach area. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful and answered all of our questions. (And one of my friends, no names, is a question asker…) They helped us book our tours and made sure we were picked up on time from the airport and driven back to the airport with plenty of time, on our departure day. (As much as we didn’t want to go!)
The buffet brekkie was very tasty and it’s included in the room price. Each day there were a few different hot options and omelettes, made to order. Toast and fresh fruit were all available daily as well. We were all very satisfied with our breakfasts and we all very much enjoyed the free flowing lattes and cappuccinos available 24/7 in the lobby.
Our room was very comfortable, modern and clean. The beds were great. Microtel claims their mattresses are “chiropractor approved” and I don’t doubt it. One friend even went so far as to say that she had the best sleep of her life and I was like, “whoa! Take it easy, you’re getting a little carried away now.” But we really all did sleep very well.
The Wifi was pretty steady and reliable throughout the trip. The food at the restaurant was priced very reasonably and we were happy with all of our meals. This is a good thing because there aren’t really any other restaurants close by. Microtel does offer a free scheduled shuttle into the city though and we enjoyed getting in for a little shopping and supper one night.
My friends and I all came away from this island, this city, this hotel very, very pleased. Maybe because we were on a getaway we could appreciate it all a little more…but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to this very spot with my family. (Once the kids are older…going back to my theory.)
Take a minute to watch my video and see for yourself that it really is more fun in the Philippines!