Swimming with Whale Sharks

Oslob, Philippines.

By our third attempt to see sharks in the Philippines, I was more than doubtful. What with our failure of a trip in Donsol and our cancellation of our diving in Malapascua, I was starting to wonder if our chance to see these big giant fish under water just wasn’t meant to be!

We set off from our hotel in Lagunde (near Oslob) at 8.20am after rushing through our breakfast. The food at our hotel took a long time to come which made us a bit late for our pre planned tricycle. To be fair though the pancakes were worth the wait

We decided to stay at Lagunde Beach Resort the night before, instead of arriving straight from Cebu by bus as we had a couple of days to play with. 

After stopping on the way to run a few errands, we arrived at the Whale Shark watching spot around 9.15am.
Sign in, watch the orientation, pay 1000 PHP each etc. We knew the drill by now! 

We stood anxiously on the beach waiting for a boat to call ’41’..
While we wait, one of the tour guides told us that it’s best to visit Oslob on a weekday as it’s much less busy. Unfortunately it just worked out that we was there on a Saturday. 

I see her point. There were ques among ques of people, which meant more people and more boats in the water; creating underwater human traffic. 

‘Number 41’ a man called.

With masks and snorkels fitted, we set off in a small row boat and stopped not far from shore. 
I jumped in frantically and looking around, aware that we only had 30 minutes in the water. 

Immediately I was faced with a giant bluey grey spotted body and an open mouth the size of a 15 inch TV. 

    
I couldn’t believe it. I thought that I’d be scared but I wasn’t. This giant whale shark was approx. 6 metres long!

Underwater in their natural habitats these creatures look big, harmless and cuddly. Well almost. You definitely wouldn’t want to be slapped with the force of their tail, it would probably knock you out.

  And the fact that they had no teeth stopped me from choking on my snorkel in fear. 

We swam by them freely, struggling to keep up with them of course, taking a selfie or two.

  
Liam and I watched in awe as one of them hoovered up the water sucking in everything in the vicinity. 

  At one point Liam almost got sucked in himself! 

  By the time our 30 minutes was up we had seen 2 maybe 3 whales sharks. (It gets confusing as they leave and come back as sometimes your not sure if it’s the same or a different one ha.)

  
This experience was the highlight of the trip to the Philippines for me and it was everything that I thought it would be. I’m ecstatic that I finally got to experience this especially as I had almost lost all hope by then. 

  
I can now say I have officially swam next to the biggest fish in the ocean!
LwL x  

Eliminating dark circles: Final verdict

Hi guys,

It has now been 4 weeks since I started the Coconut oil remedy for bags under the eyes. Hasn’t it gone quick? 
Here’s a recap of the 4 weeks and the final verdict…
After 2 weeks the puffiness under the yes decreased slightly but there were still dark circles
After 3 weeks the dark circles had lightened slightly but we’re still evident
Week 4.. 
Here is the final comparison from week 1 to week 4. 
For a remedy that has cost me £3 that’s a huge improvement!

There are still some evident lines but Im pretty sure that’s due to a very poor diet, lack of water and all the restless sleep in the heat and all the travelling.
My verdict:
Cost of the product – 9/10

Time it takes to use/apply – 9/10

Improvement from day 1 – 7.5/10 

Final result: 8.5/10

The Oscars 2016: Best Dressed

So the time has been and gone again, where the most sought after stars in showbiz step out in their glamorous gowns to battle it out for the title of the ‘Red Carpets best dressed.’

 The Oscars 2016 will undoubtedly go down in history as the day Leonardo Di Caprio was finally recognised for his talent. 

But more importantly, let’s talk about the glitz & glamour that was out in full force last night and let’s see who topped my Academy Awards best dressed list!

Don’t forget to have your say and comment your opinions below. 

— Sexy —


Charlize Theron wowed as the lady in red in a simplistic yet striking gown. 

 The plunging neck line and open back cut showed off her stunning figure, while the glamorous train at the back added class to this sexy look. 

— Stunning —


Cate Blanchett donned in an Armani teal coloured number that complimented her naturally pale skin tone.  The clusters of petals and feathers of this piece add a 3D texture to the simplistic design, while the crystals and metallic overlay creates a mermaid feel; bringing back happy childhood memories of watching The Little Mermaid. 

— Sultry —


Jennifer Lawrence proves that black can be anything but boring in this fiery number that fits perfectly on her envious physique.

 While the daringly exposed upper lace bodice doesn’t leave much to the imagination, the feathery, floor length bottom adds an element of fairytale glamour with its black swan design. 

The contrasting textures of the dress compliment each other perfectly while raising obvious questions on how Jennifer wants her choice of fashion to be perceived. 

— Sophisticated —


Lady Gaga is famed for her unique fashion decisions and the Oscars 2016 is no exception. 

Why choose between a suit and a gown when you can have the best of both worlds right Gaga?

 This fresh white strapless jumpsuit/gown ensemble adds a 21st century twist to dressing for success. While the colour adds innocence and angelic physiologies, the design proves that women can in fact sport the famous power suit without losing their femininity.

Who was on your best dressed list for the Oscars 2016?

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. 

LwL X 

A valentines at the Killing Fields

So most couples start Valentine’s Day with a romantic breakfast in bed. They spend the day watching lovey movies or go out for a posh lunch, we however, decided to go to the Killing Fields and S21 prison. What a valentines to remember. 

Another educational and deeply shocking experience. (There seems to be a lot of these in S.E Asia) 

We educated ourselves on the Khmer Regime. On the 4 tragic years of the 1970’s where psychopath Pol Potts ordered the killings of millions of innocent Cambodians.

The communist party led by Potts attempted ‘agriculture reform’. If you were educated, if you could be influential, if you disagreed or even just if you looked in the wrong direction, off with your head. 

Killing Fields

Never have I been to a place that conveys such reality of one mans inhumanity more than Choeng Ek Killing Fields.

The sight of the “Magic tree” that Khmer soldiers used as a tool to smash the heads of babies will be forever lodged in my mind.

 

This place was just 1 amongst 20,000 mass grave sites in Cambodia where victims were murdered and buried in secret between 1975-1979.

Somehow today it’s a very peaceful place. Thousands of tourists and locals come here to educate themselves and to mourn the dead.

Choeng Ek has multiple mass grave sites where hundred of victims were executed; including one specifically for women and small children. 

  
When you dig up the grass, you must remove even the roots” 

The Khmer Rouge slogan used to justify the murder of the whole family of each victim, including their children and babies.

Remains of bones and clothes of victims that have been found over the years are showcased around the site. 

Remains of the victims found in the field

Bones are still being discovered to this day, over 35 years on!  

I will never forget the way this place made me feel. Scared, sickened and deeply saddened at the thought of what a human can be capable of. 

S21 prison
A school shut down and converted into a secret prison; to torture victims until they confessed to crimes that they never committed. 

 It was here that thousands were whipped and beaten until they signed confessions that validified the Khmer Regimes ‘reason to kill’. The victim would then be taken to the Killing Fields to be massacred.

  

The prison has lots of information on this dark period in history. 

There are some very interesting exhibitions on 4 of the survivors of s21. Great men who today use their tragic experienc to promote the importance of education to young people. 

See, all 4 men were spared their life at the prison because they were useful to the communist party. They had previously obtained skills like art and mechanics and Pol Potts needed them for their abilities.

These survivors are sit at the grounds of s21 each day for tourists to ask them questions. Real first hand information.

Survivor Mr Mong was an artist ordered to draw a portrait of Pol Potts.

  He was warned that if it wasn’t good enough, he would be killed. Luckily for him, he was a very good artist. 

It’s estimated that the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7-2.5 million of a population of 8 million in 1975. A quarter of the population. As a result of this, 70% of the Cambodian population today are under 35 years old! Crazy eh? 

So not the most standard of valentines for us but definitely a memorable one. Thankfully in 1979, upon realisation of what was happening, other countries got involved and put a stop to Pol Potts and his sadistic ideology. 

I dread to think what would’ve happened to the history and people of Cambodia if this regime continued. 

LwL x 

Disappoinment in Donsol

Donsol, Philippines.

Donsol left us disappointed i’m afraid. There were no whale sharks to be seen on the day we embarked on our 3 hour sight seeing journey. Or for the few days before that for that matter. 

They had been spotted previously at Manta Bowl so you’re more likely to see them if you dive. Manta bowl has White Tip Sharks AND whale sharks?? Mayne they were having a shark party. 

The trouble with wild animals are, well, they’re wild, so there is never any guarantee that you’ll see them. It’s such a shame as the only reason we headed to Donsol was for the Whale Sharks. It’s became a tourist hotspot in the last few years because of this but is yet to develop in terms of entertainment. There is literally nothing else to do there other than the sightseeing tour.  

  

There are just 3 resorts to stay by the beach, we stayed in Danclunan (or something like that). Next to the Sightseeing office. Our restaurant stopped serving at 8.30pm and it seems that the whole place is lights out by 9pm. There is no night life, apart from a disco they hold on a Saturday. 

If your looking to chill in a hammock and do absolutely nothing then Donsol is the perfect place for you. 

  
And the beach has a lovely sunset!

  

We had a pleasurable 2 nights there, very relaxed, but I don’t think we could’ve stayed much longer. We recharged our batteries and made use of our portable DVD player. Was the hideous overnight bus drive worth it? I’m yet to decide. I just wish we stopped for a day in Legazpi city to tour the Volcano via ATV! (something I’ve just found out you can do from our new German friends who have experienced this). I have serious FOMO. Make sure you stop by Legazpi for a day if you’re heading to Donsol to check it out. 

  
I’m very behind with my posts, having too much fun! Ha. The good news is today we swam with Whale Sharks in Cebu so expect a post in this soon 

LwL X 

Eliminating dark circles: Test 2 

Ok so I have officially reached the 21st day of the blitz the bags trial. 

Just to remind you, the DIY remedy I am putting to the test is coconut oil.

  

 I’ve been applying this 1-3 times a day (depending on how often u remember) for 3 weeks now. 

Test one showed some improvement in puffiness after 14 days but not much improvement on the darkness under the eyes. 
Here is my original shot at day one and test 2’s results.. 
  Can you see a difference?

The indents in my eyes are noticeably smaller and I can see that some of the purple has lightened. 
There seems to be a difference from the original and also slightly better than last week! Though I don’t yet think its enough to change someone’s life. 

One more week to see if we can get these any better as I’m still not completely satisfied! 

Keep an eye out for the final post

LwL X 

Backpacking the Philippines

I’m not sure if it’s because the Philippines is not considered a popular backpacking spot, or if it’s just because not many people who blog have been here, but info on the Philippines, especially for backpackers is really hard to come by on the Internet! 
If your going somewhere in Thailand or Vietnam, you’re guaranteed hundreds of posts on where to stay, what to do, how to get there etc but the Philippines? You get vague posts, if you can find them through scrolling, tours advertised that are ridiculously expensive and online transport information that is completely incorrect! It’s so hard to try and plan a route on a time schedule too. 
I have to say, I’m enjoying this country but trying to get organised beforehand is bloody hard work.
This is why I’m going to make it my mission to post as much info on this country as I can. In the hope that anyone looking to backpack here is not put off by the fact that you will have to fly places (like we thought) or need a gazillion days to get somewhere.

Travelling around here isn’t that bad if you know what you’re doing! 

So keep an eye out for all things Philippines at LwithL 

LwL X 

Sihanoukville: Sessions boat party

You’ll find regular English speaking holiday reps come round on the beach each day to promote their bars and other events. 
We met a lovely rep called Steph who told us about their new weekly Wednesday boat party ‘Sundance’. 

Here’s the impressive $10 package:

  • A boat party from 2-7pm
  • A free bucket on arrival of strong Whiskey and mixer
  • A free Sessions Tshirt 
  • A plate of BBQ food on your return 

Not bad for £7 eh? 

  
This party was actually one of our favourite days in Sihanoukville we had so much fun! 

The music varied in genre. There was some old Skool garage, house and the odd splash of R’n’B. A mix that I really loved.

Drinks on board weren’t too expensive either, you could grab a bucket for $5..as you can see, me and Simona took full advantage of this..

  
  There were lots of drinking games on board to keep everyone occupied. As 2 couples we didn’t partake in them. Think Ibiza/Malia/Magaluf style fun on a boat.

   

 Though it was thoroughly enjoyable to witness. 

Half way through, the boat stopped at Otres Beach for an hour. 

   

 We jumped out and grabbed ourselves some food and cocktails from Ibiza bar. Then we all got involved in a game of ultimate tug of war. Europe vs. the rest of the world! 

If you fancy chilling there you can just simply enjoy the scenery. Otres beach is lovely and a lot nicer than Serendipity.

After returning to the boat, we watched the lovely sunset over the horizon and then partied the afternoon away. 

    
Making new friends along the way..  

Docking around 7pm, we headed back to Sessions bar where we were each greeted with a big plate of BBQ Chicken and rice. Yum! 
It was a really enjoyable day out and one I would recommend to anyone for the price. 
Be warned though, If you’re looking for a relaxing sunset boat cruise, please do not book on this one. 

LwL x 

My Full Thailand Itinerary

Hi guys,

I’ve had a lot of emails/messages lately from bloggers/travellers asking how long I think they would need to travel different places in Asia. This was one of my main questions too when trying to work out how to fit it all in in under 4 months.

So im going to post my itinerary of each country in the hope that it helps some of you.

Here is the first 45days of my travels in Thailand and my opinions/feedback.  

 1-4th December: 3 nights in Bangkok (way too long. I weren’t a fan of Bangkok. 1 night here is enough, 2 at max as you’ll be returning here to travel North) 

4-7th: 3 nights in Kanchanaburi (we did a tour here that included elephants trekking, Tigers and other activities so the timing was perfect)

7-8th: overnight train to Phuket

8-12th: 4 nights in Phuket (This town reminded me a bit of Ibiza. It’s very touristy and there’s a really long bar strip. 3 nights here would’ve been enough for me)

12-15th: 3 nights in Koh Phi Phi (my favourite place. Beautiful beach and the Sunset day tour was epic: even know I was eaten alive by mosquitos)

15th – 18th 3 nights in Ko Lanta (super chill days. The only thing to do here is relax and spend a day island hopping) 

18th – 21st 3 nights in Krabi (you can get a day trip to Railay and many other islands and the bar strip is long)

21st-24th 3 nights in Koh samui (unfortunately it rained here for us so there weren’t much to do)

24th-27th 3 nights in Ko Panghan (only the left part of the island is utilised. Make sure you attend a full moon party!)

27th- 4th: 8 nights in Koh Tao (we spent extra long here because we did our scuba diving course over New Years so we were delayed. The ferry was also fully booked on the day we wanted to leave! I think 5-6 nights here would be perfect)

4-5th: overnight bus to Bangkok from Chumphon; after a 2 hour boat from Koh Tao

5th-6th: 1 night in Bangkok (the overnight bus arrive at 5am so we needed this night to sleep before heading to Chaing Mai by train)

6th-9th 3 nights in Chiang Mai (perfect amount of time: ethical, elephant sanctuary, ethical tiger sanctuary, night bazaar)

9th – 13th 4 nights in Pai (too long but I got food poisoning. 2 nights would be perfect)

13th-14th: Chiang Mai (had to come back here while we waited for our Visa Approval letter for Vietnam then flew to Bangkok 

14th-15th stayed overnight in Bangkok airport and departed for Vietnam at 6.30am

This is all of course, based on my opinion of each place. Taking away all the extra nights I spent in places that I don’t feel is necessary, i personally think you could do the whole of Thailand properly in 35 nights.

I will also be posting my budget and spendings in each country in future posts when I get a bit of spare time. 

If you would like further advice on your travels, where to miss/where is best for certain things, feel free to drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to help!

LwL x