Philippines, Pilippines, or Filippines: Part 3 Boracay and Tibiao


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Boracay at night
Boracay at night

Mix together a 1/2 cup of Miami, 2/3 cup of Cancun (without the teenagers), and about a 1/3 cup of Jamaica and you have Boracay. Boracay is a beautiful and fun island in the Philippines with long stretches of beach with sand at the door steps of the hotels, mini clubs, restaurants, stores and bars; bamboo structures and farm animals (roosters and goats) sprinkled throughout the island just behind the beach; crystal clear water with tropical fish and boats floating about.

Boracay is a vibrant, energetic, island. There are tons of water sports to do there – we didn’t do any of them but they did look like fun. At night there are tons of restaurants to choose from and there are amazing fire shows given by lady boys and boy dancers all over the place. They really do provide a spectacular show. There are tents set up in front of the main buildings with food, drinks, and music as well. On Friday nights most of the restaurants will have buffets on the beach with a dinner show. The cover band at the restaurant we ate at had an amazing cover band. The lead singer even sang a Whitney Houston song pretty good and the crew (chefs and waiters) danced to Gangman Style.

Pump Boat in Boracay

Getting to Boracay via Kalibo

Getting to Boracay from Kalibo Airport is something that you can do on your own. A lot of tour companies and airlines sell tickets for the service of someone walking you through this process this is completely unnecessary. When you land at Kalibo Airport you will be greeted by a host of van, bus, and car companies that will offer you transportation to Catlican to take a ferry to Boracay. You then take about a 2 hour ride (unless the bus company you choose stops for 20 minutes at their rest stop store) to the Catlican ferry terminal. When you arrive there you will have to pay a terminal fee and an environmental fee although you purchased your ferry ticket through the land transportation provider that you just used. The ferry that everyone calls a ferry is actually a pump boat (there is one ferry there but I’ve never seen or heard of anyone using it). You get on the next available pump-boat and take a 15 minute ride to Boracay. Once you arrive you hire a tricycle to take you to your hotel and that’s it. It sounds like a lot of steps but it is honestly a very simple herd following process.


Tibiao Waterfall
Tibiao Waterfall

While looking for activities in Boracay I found out about Tibiao, a place that most people including Filipinos have never heard of. Tibiao is full of options for those with adventure in their hearts. I booked a local guide in advance with Katahum Tours a locally owned and operated company. Using them I had to book my own transportation from Boracay but that provided a huge savings. The options we chose to do were: Waterfalls, Butong River swimming and diving, Kawa Hot Bath, Pottery and Brick Making, and Kayaking.

Bugtong-Bato Waterfall

Once we got to Tibiao Fish Spa we were picked up on motorcycles and headed to Bugtong-Bato a small village where you will pick up a local guide to trek the waterfalls (we did stop to pick up lunch once we arrived but there were just a few options so pack a lunch). So we were riding on the street and then there’s a turn and we are riding a motorcycle up a mountain on an unpaved road WHOA. Nothing happened we are ok but WHOA. After that we went kayaking and had an amazing time – keep rowing! After kayaking we were cooked in the Kawa Hot Bath, which pretty much is just a photo shot; it takes a long time to heat up and you’re sitting in smoke, once it heats up and the tub is cooled down it’s a cool 5-10 minute experience. Since it rained the previous day we were only able to climb the waterfalls, take a Kawa Hot Bath, and go Kayaking. The extra water did make the white water kayaking a bit more fun!

Getting to Tibiao

  1. Take first (5 am) Ferry to Catlican
  2. Take Ceres bus (5:30 am) going to Iloilo via San Jose, Antique (3 hours)
  3. Ask driver to let us off at Tibiao Fish Spa

Getting to Know the People 1.0- Rico Ruiz, The Philippines

I’m starting a new series simply titled “Getting to Know the People,” where I will ask a few questions to some of the friends I gain while traveling about their country.


Kage and Rico on the Jeepny in Sagada
Kage and Rico on the Jeepny in Sagada

I met Rico and his group of friends while traveling to Sagada in the The Philippines.  They  took Matthew and I in as part of their crew.  He’s a funny guy that loves to travel.


Where is your hometown, what is it like?

Pasig City, we have a river running through it..

Where is your favorite place in the Philippines?
HEHE, home is still where it’s at.

Beef oxtail in peanut sauce.
Beef oxtail in peanut sauce. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your favorite traditional Filipino food?
Kare Kare: Ox tripe and tail in peanut sauce mixed with shrimp paste.. Yum

Where is your favorite place to visit to escape the city?

Anilao, Batangas.. Dive spot.. It’s near the city but not crowded..

What do you like to do for fun?

What is your favorite Filipino holiday and what do you do to celebrate it?
Noche Buena: The midnight dinner to welcome in Christmas day.. Families gather to celebrate this

Palawan Pumpboat
Palawan Pumpboat (Photo credit: Joseph A Ferris III)

If someone were visiting the Philippines what are a few of the places they must go to?

Boracay, Sagada, Palawan (im here now.. Hehe)

I’m super jealous he’s in Palawan that is another place I wanted to check out while I was there.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?
Would like to see the glaciers before they melt

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen in the Philippines?
Wow, this is a hard one..

What should people know about Filipinos?

HEHE THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE!!! MORE POWER TO YOUR BLOG!!!! And tell Matt to steer clear of Monkey Brains.. Hehehe.. SEE YAH!!!!

Philippines, Pilippines, or Filippines: Part 2 Manila

Christmas tree at People's Palace, a Thai restaurant in Greenbelt in Makati
Designer Christmas tree at People’s Palace, a Thai restaurant in Greenbelt in Makati
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Sagada was a great experience. Matthew and I  jumped back on the bus and this time we knew what to expect in the torturous ride so it wasn’t as bad. I found a somewhat comfortable position and since it wasn’t too late I stayed awake by playing a few games and reading a book I previously downloaded on my i-pad; although I wish I had wi-fi access so I could play an online game or something on a site like to distract myself from the 10 hours of remaining boredom. We reached Manila by 2am, saw a few cabs lined up and tried to get in one of them to hear Joseph our tour operator then say “I reserved taxis for the people who requested me too”.  Apparently that wasn’t a group discussion and he didn’t think that the only two non-Filipino  people that were with him might need a taxi. But it all worked out, Matthew was able to grab us a taxi off the street within a few minutes. We got back to the apartment to finally get some real sleep. We were in Makati from December 30th – January 2nd. While we were there, Cynthia, Daniel and their baby Noa arrived so we went to a few of Cynthia and Daniel’s favorite restaurants.  We also decided to check out a few places that Cynthia’s friend Margaux recommended.

Legazpi Market

Legazpi Market market that is open in Makati on Sundays mornings and closes around 2pm.  It’s a small market; however, it does have quite a variety of international food options, local artist, clothing, and crafts. We decided to try a Filipino “healthy” pork dish at Diana’s Special Bibingka in Legazpi Market. It was pretty tasty.


Chinatown aka Binondo, is said to be the oldest Chinatown in the world. Everyone there was preparing for New Year’s Eve. Apparently there is a tradition of putting a pineapple with limes circled around it on your door for good luck. People were selling these, some type of root, and fireworks everywhere. I tried to ask about the pineapple charm but the most information I could out of anyone is that it was for good luck (FYI the majority of Filipinos speak fluent English, especially in Makati). We also ran into a pretty nice dragon =)



Intramuros is a colonial fort/city built in Manila when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. It is a nice walk once you find the wall, which you can walk on top of.  I call it “The Great Wall of Manila”.



The spirit of Christmas was still in the air when we arrived back to Manila, so there were still tons of angels, trees, and Christmas lights all around. There are tons of Malls in Manila, quite a few of them are interconnected so you never have to step outside. We got a chance to visit quite a few of them including: Greenbelt 1 -5, Greenhills, SM Mall Makati, SM Mall of Asia (one of the largest malls in the world with one of the worlds largest 3D IMAX theater screens), Gloreita, The Fort (Bonifacio High Street), Market-Market, and Rockwell. My favorite was Greenbelt 1-5 for walking around, people watching and restaurants.  SM Mall was the most crowded mall I have ever been too, it was pretty much overwhelming on New Year’s Day.

Makati City’s New Year’s Eve Countdown

I’ve never been to a city street countdown, I am glad that I had the opportunity to join the Pinoy’s of Makati for theirs. Their firework display  was the most amazing one that I’ve ever seen. I’ve usually watched fireworks from a distance, these fireworks were just a few feet above us compared to other shows that I’ve seen.  Here’s a video that I found on YouTube of the show we saw from the same view-point  After that we headed to Rocket Room,  where Daniel’s friend Edge was DJing to celebrate.

A few restaurant recommendations:

Manila Maki - nilasing na hipon with mango and kani salad in garlic sushi rice topped with fresh tuna and a special mango dressing. This is another brilliant creation and equally good as the other Fil-Japanese creations.Photo and caption via-
Manila Maki – nilasing na hipon with mango and kani salad in garlic sushi rice topped with fresh tuna and a special mango dressing.
Photo and caption via-

Manila is filled with an array of international food options. While there make sure you try some of the Filipino dishes such as adobo (which comes in a variety of styles based on regional flavors), sigsig (fried pig face), halo halo (dessert), and beef tips.

  • Bizu Patisserie- A lovely European cafe with a delectable brunch in Greenbelt
  • Kitchen- A Filipino fine dining experience in Greenbelt
  • Manila Maki- Filipino Japanese fusion restaurant with Sushi and meat eater options in Makati’s Salcedo Village district.
  • People’s Palace – A great Thai restaurant in Greenbelt

Cheers and Happy New Year!

To be continued – Part 3 Boracay ….