During our recent trip to Palawan, Ariel and I talked about our past vacations and we identified our “Best” experiences. I thought it would be a good blog post. So here it is.

Our Most Thrilling Wildlife Encounter

Club Paradise in Palawan last year. We spotted a Dugong feeding on the ocean floor. Read about it here.
Swimming with the whalesharks is a close second. While the whalesharks are more formidable, it is only in 2nd spot because it was a planned encounter.
The fruit bats of Club Paradise – thousands of them flying out at night from the island was a sight to behold.

Our Best Accommodation (At the time of our stay)

Nami Private Villas – It may not be the best in Boracay now, but when we stayed there in 2004, it was among the best. We prefer individual cottages/villas over hotel type accommodations as the former is more quiet and private. Our deluxe villa in Nami was very spacious and had an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the ocean.

Our Most Delicious Resort Food 

El Nido definitely! The buffet spread was amazing. Fresh seafoods (there were lobsters!), a good mix of Filipino and International dishes, mouthwatering desserts. We haven’t seen a better selection since.

Our Best Meal

Our anniversary dinner in Donsol was the best, so far. We had it in a quaint place called Barracuda. We cleaned up our plate from appetizer to the main course and drinks. You can read about it here – just scroll down to April 18, Day 4. Gracious host and tasty meal at an affordable price. What more can we ask for?

The Best Sandy Beach

Ok, Boracay is still the best overall. However, it gets too crowded, and I don’t like crowds.
Club Paradise is a close second. Powdery white sand in a private island. Quiet walks in the beach. 
Bantayan Island is a very close third. Wide stretch of white sand beach – it’s like Boracay minus the crowd.

Our Best Snorkeling Experience

El Nido was our best so far. Rich marine life right in front of our cottage, huge school of jacks within waist deep water. 

The Friendliest and Most Helpful Resort Staff

Antulang Resort in Dumaguete – The entire experience was amazing from booking to checking out. The staff did a great job making us feel welcome and comfortable throughout our stay. They helped me plan a surprise sunset cruise for our anniversary and we pulled it off without a glitch. 

Our Best Overall Island Experience
It’s tough to pick one so here’s our top three:

El Nido
Puerto Princesa (Sabang, to be precise)

Yup, in that order, and all in Palawan.

Our Most Adventurous Vacation

Batanes, no doubt! Specifically, our Itbayat experience. We flew in a 6-seater plane. We had no agenda, no idea where to go or what to do. We took the ambulance from the air strip (which happens to be a short stretch of dirt in the middle of nowhere) to the town, and stayed in a spare room of our ambulance driver’s home. We met a backpacking couple and decided to stay an extra night in Itbayat. We crashed a wedding. We trekked around the island all day, sometimes walking in ankle deep mud and encountering snakes along the way. Our return flight was cancelled and we had to take a 4-hour trip on board a fallowa across the treacherous seas. Yup, definitely our best adventure yet. Details here – just scroll down to Day 4 onwards.

Most Jaw-dropping Natural Attraction
Again, difficult to choose one so here are some:

Underground River in Sabang, Puerto Princesa – The experience is “otherworldly” (is that even a word?).
The big and small lagoon in El Nido
Fireflies along the riverbanks in Donsol, Sorsogon
The waterfalls in Ticao Island, Masbate
Chocolate Hills in Bohol

The Best Man-made Attraction We’ve Seen

Ankor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia 
The castles of the UK

Our Best Guided Tour

Our 3-Day Isle of Skye Tour in Scotland

It was fun to reminisce and talk about our vacations. We are so blessed!

I’ll update this list once in a while. So far, these are the things that we remember. Safe travels everyone!

Written by Alby Laran

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