Having fallen in love with South East Asia many years ago I was super excited to be invited on a blogging trip to the Philippines, as this was a country Iâ€™d not yet explored. Our first full day was spent in Palawan, where we had the most amazing introduction to this tropical paradise.
Palawan is made up of its namesake, Palawan Island, which is surrounded by a number of equality beautiful satellite islands. After landing at Puerto Princesa Airport we headed straight to the coast for a day of island hopping. Donning our swimwear, we boarded a traditional bangka (a Filipino outrigger) and took to the sea.
With the sun shining down on me and the sea air tussling my hair, I got my first taste of Palawanâ€™s natural beauty as the coastline sped by and I spotted a sea eagle diving for its dinner. I was already smitten.
Leaving the boat and stepping onto the golden white sands you truly feel like youâ€™ve walked into a fantasy world as these islands are exactly how youâ€™d picture a tropical paradise â€“ I had to pinch myself several times!
Our first stop was Starfish Island, which unsurprisingly is home to the largest number of starfish in Palawan. Here you have to watch your feet as the shore can literally be covered in the little guys. Youâ€™ll find youâ€™re constantly staring at the floor â€“ but even then the view is beautiful!
When I found a safe spot to stand I got a bit trigger-happy with my camera â€“ the scenery of the lush green hills in the distance and the sand, sea and palm trees was just too much to miss.
After a dip in the sea and a wander along the beach we stopped off for a spot of lunch. Our picnic was made up of fresh seafood, rice and vegetables and was absolutely delicious. Beats a limp ham sandwich and a wilted salad any day!
Snorkelling on Pandan Island
Our next stop was Pandan Island. Here a first attempt at snorkelling left me breathless â€“ not from a failure of mastering the gear, but rather from my excitement at being surrounded by a school of tropical fish! A complete beginner, I didnâ€™t venture far from the shore, and I was far from elegant in my swimming, but even so I was able to get a wonderful glimpse into this amazing underwater world. I loved it so much that Iâ€™ve now vowed to improve my swimming skills and return!
Our third and final hop took us to Cowrie Island. Tired out from our aquatic adventures and the bracing sea air (and of course full from our tasty lunch) we took the time to chill, sipping on cocktails in one of the many thatch-roofed cabanas scattered across the beach and embraced the chilled out vibe of the islands.
Island hopping in the Philippines
A perfect start to an amazing trip, thereâ€™s no better way to be introduced to the beauty of the Philippines, and I truly cannot wait to return and explore even more of the countryâ€™s 7,000+ islands!
Flown over by Philippine Airlines, my trip was arranged by the Philippines Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board. As ever all views are my own.