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The Philippines in Black and White

The Philippines, also known as the P.I., has over 7,000 islands and is known to have some of the most exotic beaches in the world (Google: El Nido). My mom is from Manila, and I am so grateful to have family there because there is so much to see in the P.I. between island hopping, wandering cathedrals, and diving deep into their intertwined history with America

We had 10 days, we barely saw the tip of the iceberg.

Some photos…


Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral is the first cathedral built in the Philippines, and is known as the mother of all churches in the Philippines. It became elevated (motu proporio – officially declaring a church as a part of the Roman Catholic Church) in rank when Pope John Paul II visited in 1981.

[Source: Cathedral website]

Manila Cathedral in the Philippines

Dr. Jose Rizal’s Golden Footsteps

Dr. Jose Rizal is a national hero. He sparked a revolution with the power of his words. He was known as the “Man of Letters” and was an inspirational leader in that he promoted a nonviolent philippine revolution. This national hero’s life ends in a public execution by a firing squad in Manila. His footsteps to the execution place can be traced in bronze footsteps through Fort Santiago.

[Source: Jose Rizal |Biography| Britannica]


Intramuros and the Casa Manila Museum

Intramuros is a national monument to the Philippine’s Hispanic period featuring architecture from 16th to 19th century. The Casa Manila Museum within Intramuros depicts how affluent families lived under Spanish control. Walking through the mansion, you will see ornamental furniture, art and decor. Within the courtyard, you can rent bicycles, enjoy tea and pastries, peruse their gift shop, and purchase tickets to the self guided museum. Guided tours are also available.

[Source: Intramuros Administration & Expedia Travel Guides]


Party in BCG

My cousins took us to Bonifacio Global City otherwise referred to as BCG.

BCG is the commercial hub of Metro Manila featuring upscale restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping. We stopped off here for dinner (wish I could remember the name) at a place that had delicious pasta, and mouth watering pastries.

After dinner, we headed to the Palace Pool Club which features an outdoor dance floor and swimming pool; all in a courtyard surrounded by different clubs featuring different types of music. It was lit! It was so much fun. I felt like I was in Miami.


A Quick Flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

In the middle of our 10 days, we took a short flight to the island of Palawan. Here we stayed at Blessie’s Bed and Breakfast, a small little greenhouse hotel, a true gem on the island.

With our stay, they offered a free scooter to explore the island at our leisure, and they helped us schedule our own personal tricycle driver for the day.

It’s a very small island town, much hotter and more humid than Manila. We stumbled upon two great open mic nights where we were blown away by everyone’s talent.

Almost everyone in the P.I. speaks english, so we found it easy to get around, and ask for help.

Island Hopping Honda Bay

I wish I could tell you the name of the company we booked for the Island Hopping tour but our Bed and Breakfast took care of everything, we just showed up and enjoyed our $1 Red Horse beers 😉 . We got door to door service and enjoyed a boat ride along the bay stopping off at 5 different islands, ending with a lunch buffet and free time to enjoy the beach.


We requested a private tricycle driver the next day through our bed and breakfast concierge. Our driver was super cool and EXTREMELY polite, he gave us so many fun facts about Palawan and told us about his budding business as a private tricycle driver. He was quite the entrepreneur! It was cool seeing the island from within the tricycle sidecar and it was nice to have a little break from the small stressors of trying to navigate a new country.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation (Crocodile Farm)

Here you learn about some of the local animals on the island, my favorite was the Binturong aka Bear Cat. This facility breeds crocodiles which you can see on a walking tour, and at the end you get to take a photo with one! A baby one, that is. 😉


We Met Prisoners at the Palawan Prison

Yes, it’s true. You can visit the Palawan Prison where it’s more like a gated farmland where prisoners live out their sentence. Once you enter through the guard gates (pictured below) you drive on a long road through an open field before you reach a smaller gate. Within the second gate lay a few structures that accomodate living quarters, a community hall, and a dining hall. Visitors are permitted entry into the community hall where we found a dance team (of prisoners) performing a choreographed routine to the Backstreet Boys.

Although noted to be individuals with some pretty long sentences to some serious crimes, you really didn’t feel like you were in a prison hanging out with prisoners. Adding to the scene were other inmates along the perimeter of the hall selling their handmade crafts. We really didn’t know what to expect when we were told by our concierge that this was a tourist attraction, but it definitely ranks in my top 3 of most unique places I’ve visited.

Read what other visitors are saying about their experience on Trip Advisor.


In total, our itinerary looked like this:

Days 1 – 3: Stay with family – Metro Manila & Tagaytay

Days 4 – 7: Palawan – Island hopping, Palawan Prison, Crocodile Farm

Days 8-10: Malate Manila Capsule Hostel, Museums, & Party in BCG.

The Philippines has so much to discover. We can’t wait to go back.

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5 comments on “The Philippines in Black and White

  1. Thanks for sharing these terrific photos, and a real insider’s look at a country that doesn’t get much positive coverage…bravo!

  2. I really enjoyed your post. It has been a long time since I have been back to the Philippines. I was born and raised there. Great post!

  3. Great photos there, loved the Red Horse toast! And great choice, visiting Palawan.

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