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Island Hopping in the Philippines

Posted: 9th June 2015 10:32

The Philippines is a vast and exotic chain of over 7,000 islands, and for this reason is best experienced on an island hopping adventure.  Not only do these islands boast pristine stretches of golden sand, colossal mountains, dense exotic jungles, vibrant street carnivals and intriguing museums, but each has its own personality, and with it, a unique culture and history.

Panay Island

Panay Island is the perfect place to begin your adventure, boasting both a major airport in Kalibo, and the Ati-Atihan Festival, the largest and most raucous street festival in the Philippines.  Held every January, the fiesta celebrates the life of Santo Niño (infant Jesus) and is an explosion of colour and sound. Kalibo is also the perfect place to get your fill of Filipino cuisine and local beer, or you can head to the island’s undeveloped west coast for an eco adventure before heading east to catch the ferry to Negros Island.

Negros Island

Your first stop is Bacolod, the City of Smiles, home of the MassKara festival. This Mardi Gras style fiesta pulsates with traditional Filipino music and dancing and is famous for its meats and desserts. The island is also home to rugged mountain scenery, amazing diving locations and Dumaguete, a chic university town with a distinctly fashionable and cosmopolitan vibe to it, known for its beachfront life and upmarket bars, and it is from here that you will take the cheap flight to Cebu Island.

Cebu Island

Cebu City is an urbanised Filipino city with a rich history and culture which truly comes alive at night.  The city has a rich array of museums such as the Casa Gorordo Museum; a living relic of the colonial era, preserved in all its beauty.  The Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary is also a great day out and its colourful occupants are best observed in the morning when they are most energetic.  Accommodation in Cebu City includes a series of budget hotels and hostels in the lively downtown area next to the University of San Carlos.

Bohol Island

Your journey will end at the magnificent Bohol, just a short ferry ride from Cebu. The island’s greatest attraction is the Chocolate Hills, a collection of over 1,000 hills that rise out of the ground, reaching 50ft tall. Legend has it that the Chocolate Hills are the tears of a giant who fell in love with a mortal only to lose her tragically. The island’s jungle interior is the perfect place to see tarsiers and the world class diving on Panglao Island is just a stones throw (or a quick taxi ride) away.