Manila vs Cebu


This is my view and my opinion based on my own experiences. By no means do I intend to offend anyone, needless to say as a tourist you may have a completely different experience to mine.


I am sorry to say that my time in Manila was less than magical. Although the city is a main hub for the whole country and its home to an international business district; the place itself for me was undesirable.

I got an unsafe vibe from this city from the moment I set foot there, resulting in me not really wanting to leave my hotel.

It’s so hard to explain and I can’t put my finger on it.

Maybe it was the way people stared and laughed at us as we walked down the street? Now I’m no stranger to locals staring us at us questionably, I had travelled Asia for over 3 months after all. This time it just felt very different. It was more judgemental than inquisitive.

Continue reading “Manila vs Cebu”

Manila Tours 

Manilla Tours: Lake Taal, Rice terraces, Mount Pinatubo
We unfortunately missed all these tours north of Manila because of lack of organisation. The day tour to these places are ridiculously expensive, around £80-100 per person which is way beyond our backpacker budget.
I found reviews about a company called TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures online that are more backpacker friendly, but unfortunately when I emailed them they said they need 48 hours notice and we only had one day left in Manila. 

After researching online further, I’ve found out that there are DIY bus routes that you can get to these places and it works out much cheaper.

You can haggle with drivers/boat guys to decrease your expenses too. 
Click on the pictures below to be directed to posts that explain how to get to the places..

Lake Taal and all the info you need on itinerary and expenses:  


Pinatubo is explained very simply by a reviewer: 

For info on the Rice Terraces: 


LwL X 

Bussin’ it: Manila – Legazpi – Donsol

Manila to Legazpi is approximately a 10 hour journey. Possibly the worst and bumpiest ride I’ve ever been on. It gets you from A to B but don’t expect any sort of sleep. 

For the last 4 hours of the journey there is a stop to let people off every 30 minutes or so. All the lights are switched on so if you do fall asleep, you will be woke up. This is where an eye mask comes in super handy.

We used a company called ‘Philtranco’. Their buses leave everyday from their terminal at 5.30pm and 7.45pm. Just get a taxi (well in advance as traffic is terrible) to the bus terminal, and but your ticket on arrival. It’s actually a very easy process but unfortunately very hard to learn about on the Internet.

Legazpi on to Donsol is easy. At the bus terminal, just walk through to the other side and there are UV express services that go to different cities, including Donsol for a mere 75 pesos each. The journey takes 1.5-2 hours depending on how fast your driver is. You are dropped into the town and will have to get a tricycle over to the West to where the Tourist Information Centre/Whale Shark sightseeing tour is. 

Philippines pedicabs are ridiculously cheap in lots of places. We have never paid more than £1 for any journey.