Picture Perfect Palawan

Day 1: Island Hopping

We finally made it to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. One of my maternal grandmothers live there with her husband andย their young children – so we were very lucky, as we had a very knowledgeable local to show us around ๐Ÿ™‚

In front of lola's grotto

In front of lola’s grotto

They take eco-tourism very seriously in Palawan, so there are lots of bicycles and pedicab bikes available for hire. This is at the Baywalk. ย It’s a bit like an Ai Wei Wei installation… ๐Ÿ™‚

At the Baywalk in Puerto Princesa

At the Baywalk in Puerto Princesa

Island hopping - on the way to Cowrie Island

Island hopping – on the way to Pambato Reef and Cowrie Island

Almost there... :)

Almost there… ๐Ÿ™‚

Lola brought some snacks - Boiled Camote & Saba Bananas

Lola brought some snacks – Boiled Camote & Saba Bananas

Relaxing under Coconut Trees

Relaxing under Coconut Trees

Eat all you can seafood buffet for $A 5

Eat all you can seafood buffet for $A 5.00

Young Coconut

Young Coconut

Happy Suki

Happy Suki

Manila Manila – Postcard from Vienna

We’re only here 4 days but what can we say, Manila is full on. Here is the view from our balcony from WakWak inย Greenhills. Not many hills and only a little green…

 

The view from our balcony in WakWak

The view from our balcony in WakWak

Except for the exclusive golf course to the rightย for the lucky few. Everywhere else, as far as the eye can see, areย built-up.

Wack Wack Greenhills in Manila. Thank you to Dominic Hing & Maan Ngo for looking after us.

Wack Wack Greenhills in Manila. Thank you to Dominic Hing & Maan Ngo-Hing for looking after us.

Craig (my partner) wanted to see something historical and somehow came across a walking tour online called “Walk this Way“. It was being run by an artist called Carlos Celdran at Fort Santiago in Old Manila. ย I didn’t really know what to expect, as I didn’t know the artist (only what Craig and Iย read together online); nor much about Fort Santiago- despite the fact that my father’s family used to live in ย and had businesses (which all had fallen into disrepair and sold over the decades) inย a nearby place called Ermita (some 2 kms away). So being the clueless Filipino coupled to the even more clueless foreigner, I tagged along.

Itย was a very powerful show, despite the simple production values (oneย man with a few props) ย and we learnt something about Philippine history too. I’d say this tour is definitely a betterย way to see Manila, and worth the effort to go to, even if you are short on time. It gave humanity and context to what seemed like a chaotic city on steroids.

The Crowd at Walk this Way

The crowd at Walk this Way

Walk this Way Walking Tour by artist Carlos Celdran

Walk this Way Walking Tour by artist Carlos Celdran

 

 

Signage at Fort Santiago, Old Manila

Signage at Fort Santiago, Old Manila

Part of the show was a ride on a Kalesa (a horse drawn carriage) through Old Manila, with the Kalesa driver (in costume) acting as a guide as well. It was a really fun way ย to get around – to be out in the fresh air, with the feint scent of the horses and hearing the musical clip-clopping of their shoes. I’m not really sure if I’ve ridden in one before or not. My mom told me in passing once, that my maternal great great grand-father composed a song about Kalesas before I was bornย (I never had a chance to meet him). Soย I’ve always had a soft spot forย one because of that.ย Also I was born in the Year of the Horse ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Behind Our Kalesa Driver

Behind Our Kalesa Driver

Clip-Clop Clip-Clop....

Clip-Clop Clip-Clop….

Happy horsies

Happy horsies

Sylvia La Torre, a famous Filipino singer, singing “Kalesa”

Underneath the Jose Rizal monument, the Philippine's national hero.

Underneath the Jose Rizal monument. Jose Rizal is the Philippine’s national hero.

 

Not much of a holiday yet, but very stimulating all the same.

Thank you Manila! x Vienna

Suki packing for the Philippines

So we are flying to the Philippines in several hours and staying for 3 weeks! ย A cousin of our Creative Director is getting married and we thought we’d throw some island hopping in, while we were at it ๐Ÿ™‚ The Philippines is an amazing holiday destination, what with over 7000 beautiful islands to explore and go to. Some of the places we areย thinking of, aside from Manila and Cebu (where the wedding will be) are Bohol and Palawan.

Palawan is getting cult status these days forย being one of the most beautiful islands in the world (Conde Nast, Huffington Post etc) so we areย quite excited. Packing luggage on the other hand, is another thing all together…

Suki

Looking over all the packing that still needs to be done

 

Nope not impressed

Nope not impressed…

 

Hopefully it’s a good flight. See you in the Philippines! Woof! x Suki

*For reviews of Palawan go to:ย Conde Nast Travellers Readers Choice Award 2014ย & this ย Write-up by Huffington Post