Where's James

Philippines: Cebu and Bohol

I landed in Cebu with just a week left on my visa so I started a quick tour of a few places I wanted to see before leaving. I only stopped in the city for one night before heading to the ferry terminal the following morning. I took a short two hour ferry over to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol island. The town isn’t anything special but it’s small enough to walk around (compared to taking taxis in Cebu) and is an easy starting point.

Philippines: Palawan

From Manila I took a one hour turboprop flight to the small island of Coron in the Palawan province of the Philippines. The province is home to great beaches, islands and good diving spots and tourism has been booming for the past few years. Infrastructure is lacking in places although major roads are being resurfaced and ferry services between islands have increased dramatically. The road from the airport - we had to stop a few times and beep to move the cows

Philippines: North Luzon

From Manila I headed for the mountain town of Banaue, famous for its rice terraces. There’s a 12-hour overnight bus but I prefer to avoid those and see the scenery instead, so I first took a five-hour bus to Baguio after battling the packed MRT at rush hour. The scenery on the way to Baguio was pretty good but it was outstanding the following day on the six-hour minibus to Banaue, which made up for the really uncomfortable ride.

Philippines: Metro Manila

From Taipei I took a Philippine Airlines flight to the country’s chaotic capital, Manila. Being at least a two hour flight from the rest of Southeast Asia the Philippines gets far fewer backpackers than other countries in the region (though there are many other factors at work too), and Manila is often seen as an entry point rather than a must-see destination. Metro Manila is a metropolitan area made up of several different cities one of which is, quite confusingly, called Manila.