I’ve just booked a holiday to the Philippines!
It’s not for a couple of months, but I’m already counting down the days and spending more time than I should Googling fun things to do and see on this trip.
So mostly for my own satisfaction, I’m going to ramble on about what inspired these holiday plans and what I’ve sorted out so far…
Why the Philippines?
Firstly, I was inspired by a friend who visited the Philippines last year and absolutely raved about the place on her blog – I mean just look at her Instagram above!
Secondly and more importantly, the diving looks incredible.
I recently got PADI qualified in Auckland, after my boyfriend convinced me that diving was just like flying (but underwater) and something I needed to do. That’s probably not how I’d describe the sensation, but I get what he means – it’s an almost unreal feeling. Anyway, now that I’ve endured Auckland’s (cold) waters and have my PADI Open Water Card, I’m keen to head somewhere a little warmer to see some new and exciting sea life.
With 7000+ island, it’s no wonder the Philippines offers an abundance of diving sites. Along with tropical fish and coral reefs you can see sunken warships and planes, and swim with turtles, whale sharks and get close up and personal with a sardine run. Wow.
Along with diving our holiday plans also include hiking, kayaking, lots of swimming and of course just blobbing out on the beach drinking cocktails.
We could have got return flights to Manila for about $680 with Air Asia…. But cheap isn’t always better.
We would have had to add on another $120 each for our check-in luggage and paid more for in-flight food + entertainment. The ‘cheap‘ flights also had 2x layovers and a travel time of nearly 35 hours – nearly 3x as longer than other airlines… no thanks.
So instead we’ve chosen to fly with Cathay Pacific. Our flights cost about $1000 and include a three-day stopover in Hong Kong on the way over. I’ve never flown with Cathay Pacific before but they have a great reputation and fly direct from Auckland to HK each night, so hopefully we can sleep all the way over.
Hong Kong Stopover
I’m really excited to check out Hong Kong, it’s been on my Bucket List for ages! Despite having never been there before, I seriously considered a move there after my time in Spain, as it seemed like a place with a great expat community and a lot of swanky career opportunities…
Obviously, nothing ever came of this, though I’m still intrigued to get there and check out all that Hong Kong has to offer!
So far the only thing we’ve booked is a Tai Po Market Foodie Tour with Hong Kong Foodie tours and because I love food so much, I’ve started a list of some other food stops to make in Hong Kong including a Bunny Café called Rabbit Land (cute!)
If you have any other Hong Kong tips (food related or not) let me know!
We’ve also already booked travel insurance.
*TIP* always book your travel insurance at the same time as your flights because then you’re covered right from day dot, so if you need to cancel or change your flights for some unexpected reason, you’re covered!
Lucky for us, Worldcare has gifted us a GoComprehensive policy, which is super cost-effective for an extensive cover and worth mentioning because it covers us for diving as we’re both PADI qualified … and diving is our main reason for the trip!
We’re also covered for accidents arising from snorkelling and parasailing, the excess on our rental car hire and missed and delayed flight connections beyond our control.
Later in the year we’re travelling to Melbourne for a wedding and will probably just go with GoBudget policy I feel like there’s less room for error with Aussie, but for this trip, a more extensive policy just seems like a no-brainer, especially with all the activities we want to do.
I recently got a GoPro which I’m slowly getting better at using, but I’ve decided I’d also like to get a drone, so I can some awesome camera footage from high up in the sky. I love the perspective that a drone gives.
I haven’t bought one yet, as even the ‘entry level’ drones are pretty expensive, but I think I’ll kick myself if I don’t get one before I get to the Philippines as some of the landscapes there look so dramatic and deserving of aerial shots.
I’m also looking at getting my own snorkel so I don’t have to worry about hiring an old one.
So that’s the plan so far!
There’s still plenty to organise. We haven’t booked all our accommodation yet, and other than the food tour in Hong Kong we haven’t secured any activities. In the Philippines we need to narrow down which islands and dive sites we want to visit – I’ve heard about an underwater cemetery which sounds both cool and creepy, but something I need to track down!
If you’ve been to Hong Kong or the Philippines before and can recommend any great places to stay or visit – please let me know!
Bonus: Travel Insurance Discount!
If you’re planning a trip (anywhere) take advantage of this great travel insurance discount offer from Worldcare Travel Insurance:
Get 10% off* Worldcare travel insurance policies when using the promo code: PASSPORT10
*Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider the policy wording. 10% discount offer is valid for online purchases only and expires on July 1 2017. 10% discount applies to Worldcare standard pricing and any additional premium for pre-existing medical cover but does not apply to any additional premium for specified items or other discounted offers.