Ahhhh, I cannot believe that I have been home for a whopping FIVE DAYS! The jet lag has been real! I’ve been going to sleep around 9pm every night and waking up between 5:30-6am! I mean, Im not complaining but who am I? We will see how long we can keep this going for the night owl in me. But besides all of the useless bit of information above, I cannot believe that I went to Asia alone. I’ve been to Europe alone many times and while that is exhilarating on its own, Europe is very similar in a sense, to the states. So needless to say, I was a bit intimidated to be heading to Asia all by my lonesome.
A little back story… back in August I came across the flight of a lifetime – a round trip ticket from DC to Manila for $583! You read that right, a round trip ticket to the other side of the world for less than $600! Naturally, I was very excited and booked it without even thinking! I had a friend who was going to tag along with me but due to some family issues, they had to back out about 3 days after we booked the flight. I wasn’t turning away that easily. This entire past month was supposed to be spent in the Philippines, but with my friend having to drop off of the game plan, I switched things up a bit. I mean, how often are you on the opposite side of the planet? So I scratched an entire 3 weeks in the Philippines and added on Bali and Siem Reap! I was really trying to fit in Vietnam but that will happen next time… and yes, there WILL be a next time!
So fast forward from August 2017 to February 2018, I had just gotten home from shooting a beautiful wedding in Key West and had to pack things up again and make my way to Dulles for my 14.5 hour flight from DC to Narita, Japan! I was FREAKING out. Im still not sure why. The night before I experienced a panic attack for the first time and I am still shocked I didn’t throw up. I was at my friends apartment and I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of being on a plane for THAT long all by myself. I was even thinking of NOT going. I mean this crap was bad! My friend was able to throw me some of her meds to help calm my nerves and to take before I got on the plane to help with the crazy anxiety I was having. I think it was the idea of being on a plane for 14.5 hours alone…. and I couldn’t stop this weird feeling I was having that the plane was going to go down. Im not sure why it happened or where those feelings came from but man, I was wrecked you guys.
Now that we are past the part of me almost chickening out, I hopped on the plane and hunkered down in my glorious aisle seat for the journey to the other side of the earth – shout out to ANA airlines for being super accommodating and having the best movies to get a girl by. I’ve flown for this long before, so I knew it was going to be rough, but manageable. We landed in Narita airport in Japan and had the quickest layover before I hopped onto ANOTHER plane for a much quicker, 4.5 hour flight from Narita to Manila. I wanted to immediately jump into the islands. It was REALLY hard to choose which island I wanted to visit as there are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines. So I got things down to what is closest to Manila and would take the least amount of time. I knew I wanted to see something incredibly beautiful, while also being able to soak my body in that glorious ocean! The obvious choice is usually always El Nido, and while I will DEFINITELY be going back to the Philippines and will certainly be heading to El Nido – the fastest way to get to El Nido is by flying to Puerto Princesa and taking a 5 hour long van ride to El Nido. So getting to El Nido would take quite a bit of time. So I opted for another island within the Palawan Islands, Coron!
Coron city is where I stayed (really the main point on the island) for 5 glorious days! I arrived to my hotel at 11am and was not able to check into my room until 1pm, and after spending an entire day on an airplane, the only thing I had on my mind was food and sleep. So I sat around until my room was ready, showered and went out on the prowl for some food before hitting the bed early! I had a fun and exciting day planned the next day anyway! The next morning I was off with one of the tour companies on the island. First, let me tell you something about Coron and El Nido, all the tour companies offer the same exact tours so just go with the company with the best reviews and call it a day. OR just spend a little extra money and hire your own private boat. I opted for tours because I was alone and wanted to meet people. Plus I couldn’t find anyone who was able to throw in on a private boat. Im super thankful for these tours because I met some incredible people along the way and ended up going out to dinner with a few of them! I should also note that, I spent an entire day in my hotel room doing nothing because I deserved it! I also had taken myself to get a deep tissue massage – ouch by the way – and layed in bed watching the one channel in english and it was everything! Also, there was a terrible earthquake in Taiwan and because of that, the tour I wanted to take this day was cancelled due to rough waters. Better safe than sorry!
A little break down of the things I did and saw and then I will leave you guys with all the pretty pictures from my time in the Philippines. I did a whole lot of snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, walking, droning, eating and drinking while in the Philippines and the day I left was one of the saddest days during my trip. I knew that an entire journey through the Philippines is in order and Im just wondering who all wants to come with me? Its ok if you don’t want too, Im ok exploring heaven by myself. 😉 But on another note – I had no idea of what lied ahead! Part II is coming at you guys tomorrow! Enjoy the Philippines through my eyes!