Suggested Itinerary: 4 days in Siargao, Philippines

Siargao is just one of the 7,000 islands in the Philippines, but it is quite well-known around the world for one thing: surfing.

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Siargao has now become synonymous to surfing, attracting an international crowd of surfers during surfing season to experience the island’s acclaimed large, smooth and hollow-tubed waves. Siargao is best known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, and the 9th Best Surfing Spot in the World (CNN).

Don’t surf? It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the island! If you want to learn surfing, the island offers the best spots with beginner waves. If you’re not into the surfing scene at all, there’s tons of activities you can do aside from the main event. Read my guide on Siargao for Non-Surfers and Best Spots to Eat in Siargao.

The 4-day itinerary I drafted is pretty lax, but what’s there to hurry? This is the island life! If you want more activities, you can always pump up your days with more surf lessons, and some.

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First of all–When to go and How to get there?

When is the best time to go? There are big waves in Siargao all year round, but on months August through November marks the surfing season when the international surfing competitions are held. The island can get pretty busy during these times with surfers from around the world coming in to experience Siargao’s famous 7 ft. waves.

There are two ways to get to Siargao: by air or by sea. Cebu Pacific offers once-daily flights to Siargao from Cebu. Be wary though, as I have heard that a lot of these flights get cancelled because of the unpredictable weather. You can also get to Siargao via bangka (small boat) from Surigao.

Day 1: Relax, Explore the Island

Take it easy on the first day if you will.

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Relax! Tomorrow is another day in paradise.

Hire a motorbike or bicycle and explore the island itself. I read that tarsiers are also present here, and unlike Bohol, these small primates still roam free in Siargao forests.There’s so much more to discover–General Luna is just one municipality! In Del Carmen, Siargao is home to the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, where saltwater crocodiles thrive.

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Day 2: Surf, Boardwalk, Cloud 9

Let’s get down to business–let’s learn to surf! Where are good places to surf?

Once again, Siargao is one of the best places to learn to surf. gThere are around a dozen other surf breaks in the island, accommodating to all difficulty levels. The most famous one, of course is Cloud 9. The site of international surfing competitions, but for advanced skill surfers only. Right beside Cloud 9 is Quicksilver, with easier wave rides but can often get too crowded.

Other surfing areas include: Cemetery is located in an actual cemetery–I hear it is a bit of a journey to get there, but when you do, there won’t be any crowds at all. Daku has pretty strong waves and popular among intermediate surfers. One ride can get you around 200m closer to shore–so the current is strong and paddling back can take a bit of effort. You can get there by renting a small boat.

If you want to surf, please be mindful of ‘surf etiquette’–who gets to ride the waves first, etc., or you’re likely to get enemies in the ocean!

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If you don’t surf, you can just watch and admire the art form at the Boardwalk. You can also just chill, have coffee or drinks by the sea. We love taking a seat and just relax here–I could definitely be lazy here forever!

Oh–another fixture here is the very friendly Oscar the dog! If you see him, please give him a big hug for me!

Day 3: Island Hopping: Naked Island, Guyam Island, Daku Island

Go island hopping and check out Siargao’s three nearby islands: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. Depending on your negotiation skills, you can rent a boat to visit the three islands from P1,000 to P1,500.

Don’t get disappointed–Naked Island isn’t a spot for people to go nude sunbathing. Naked Island is called such because you would not find any trees or vegetation, just a stretch of fine white sand. Daku Island is, ‘dako’ or big, in terms of the other islands we visited. Daku even has its own barangay. (The ancestors didn’t seem to try being creative with naming their locale) We had our lunch in Daku Island before we went to our last stop, Guyam Island.

Day 4: Magpupungko Tidal Pool, Caving

From General Luna, it’s a 40 minute car ride to Magpupungko. Entrance is 50 per person.Magpupungko is named such from a unique rock formation in the area. The large boulder looks like it’s sitting on top of another flat rock. The beautiful pool only unveils itself during low tide.

There’s also a beach right next to the pool with massive waves that will wipeout any entity who dared swim in it! We saw a small boat get overturned when we were here–luckily, no one was hurt!

From General Luna, it’s a 40 minute car ride to Magpupungko. Entrance is 50 per person.

Optional: Sohoton Cave

If you have more time to waste in paradise, make a day to see Sohoton Cave.Sohoton is famous for its jellyfish sanctuary and enchanting caves. Sohoton is three hours away from Siargao though and is closer to Surigao del Norte, so we decided to reserve Sohoton for another future trip. Unfortunately I don’t have firsthand experience but I hear from friends this place is majestic.

It takes 2.5 hours to get to Sohoton from GL. It’s more expensive to get there, but you can get a boat rental for around Php4,000, depending again on how well you can negotiate.

Suggested Itinerary: 5 days in Paris, France

Ahh, Paris.

Some people hate it; some people love it.

On one spectrum people describe the city as overrated, dangerous and touristy. On another side it’s described as romantic, mysterious and timeless. Paris is a Gemini, and will reveal to you a side of her according to her moods. She is never boring and never the same.

I’ve been to Paris thrice already but it’s always new and magic to me every time I step into the city. If it’s your first time in Paris, I’ve crafted a suggested itinerary for 5 days in the world’s most romantic city to help you through.

By the way, Philippine passport holders need a Schengen visa to enter Paris, France. Read about it on my blog post How to Apply for Schengen visa (France) for more information.

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This isn’t a comprehensive guide though listing ALL the tourist attractions of Paris. There’s just too many, you can’t see possibly all of the city’s tourist attractions and 153 museums in a matter of days! This blog post, however, will cover my personal must-see’s, especially for a first timer in the city.

Walking is your main mode of transport in the city. Paris subway system is known as the ‘Metro’, which is old, noisy and clunky, but full of character— like your spunky arthritic grandmother with a motor mouth. You can save money by purchasing a carnet, which is a book of 10 individual tickets for €14.10.

Day 1: Louvre, Eiffel Tower

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Let’s start with the world’s most famous art museum: Louvre. Louvre is notorious for its long queues by the Louvre Pyramid, but do you know that there are actually many secret entrances that can get you inside without the maddening crowd?

Louvre houses over a million works of art–they say that if you spend 5 seconds looking at every piece of art in Louvre, it will take you 3 months (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to see everything!

Louvre is like Disneyland for an art enthusiast like me. I could lose hours there getting lost in awe with all the great works of art surrounding me. In a few hours you will get overwhelmed. The museum is massive, so allot 5 hours there to see what you need to see. I recommend: Mona Lisa (of course!), Venus de Milo, and Napoleon’s apartments.

If you’re going to Louvre, I don’t recommend you to see other museums after that. Even a great art lover such as I can get ‘art fatigue’. Not advisable to dump yourself with too much art in one day.

After Louvre, you can take lunch nearby. One of my favorite things about Europe is the luxury of enjoying a scenic view for free. Sometimes I just buy croissant and salad in the local store and take my food to the nearest park. I don’t need to buy drinking water, either–drinking fountains are aplenty. This saved me tons of money!

Every first-time visitor in France will want to see Eiffel Tower the first day. The iconic tower is beautiful during the day and at night, so make sure to catch a glimpse of it on both times of the day.

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I tend not to cramp too many activities on the first day, because we’re all still slightly jet-lagged on that day. Relax and take it easy, maybe do some people-watching while sitting in a Parisian cafe.

Day 2: Notre Dame Cathedral, Tuileries Garden, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe

notre dame cathedral parisNotre Dame Cathedral is the most famous Gothic cathedral in the world, most famously immortalized by the famous Victor Hugo novel.

The church is a magnificent symbol of Gothic art and architecture, with all the classic elements in place: highly ornamental portal, flying buttresses, stained glass windows and of course, the glorious gargoyles.

Shakespeare & Company is a beautiful bookshop on the left bank, very near the Notre Dame. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ and Linklater’s ‘Before Sunset’, you’re probably familiar with it already. Famous historical figures and intellectuals have frequented the place, including F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. Make a quick stop to appreciate this darling little place to have a feel of what it’s like to be in a century-old bookshop. (Don’t forget to pet the white cat for me please!)

After Shakespeare & Co., you can wander around the picturesque city’s small streets to find cute shops and cafés. After this, I walked to the Tuileries Garden to relax and unwind. The Tuileries Garden dated way back in 1560 as part of the Tuileries Palace for Catherine de Medici. It became a public park following the French Revolution. It’s a massive garden surrounded by beautiful nature and art, such as the sculptures of Rodin.

In the west end of the park is the Orangerie Museum where you can find a collection of Impressionist paintings from the French masters themselves. Claude Monet’s famous ‘Water Lilies’ series is a fixture here. I am a big fan of Monet, and the paintings were way bigger than imagined!

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In the late afternoon, one can go shopping to the world famous Champs-Élysees, known as the world’s most beautiful avenue. Champs-Élysees stretches from the Obelisk of Luxor in the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe in Place Charles de Gaulle. Here you will find plenty of well-known, mainstream brands such as Hugo Boss, Banana Republic and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Day 3: Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a royal chateau and the seat of political power in France during the Ancien Régim, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital following the French Revolution. and the center the perfect manifestation of pre-French Revolution opulence and austerity.

Chateau de Versailles is not located in the capital, but is located some 20km from Paris. It is easily reachable via the Metro.

Everything in Versailles is grand–when the chateau was completed, it was 67,000 sq. m. in area size. They stationed 14,000 servants and soldiers to cater to the palace alone!

The palace employs the High Baroque architectural style and classic elements rococo interior design: gold leaf, pastel colors, highly ornamental and dainty flowers. Below are photos of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom.

The gardens at the back are just as impressive. It is a fine example of a French garden, with perfectly manicured lawns, with beautiful flora, sculptures and fountains. In the center of it all sits an immense manmade lake where one can go on a rowboat if the weather permits. You can also rent bikes or go on a picnic during the summer!

Day 4: Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Latin Quarters

Paris is home to 153 museums and you would be crazy to go to every single one of them in one trip. But if there were art museums you can go apart from Louvre, I’d recommend Musee d’Orsay, mostly because I have a preference of post-impressionist art compared to postmodern art. If you prefer the latter I would advise Centre Pompidou.

Musee d’Orsay is an absolutely beautiful museum in its own right. The museum used to be a railway station–but when the station’s platforms later proved to become too short to accommodate the new and longer trains, they decided to turn it into a museum instead of demolishing it. The museum was addressed to accommodate the gap between the art between the Louvre (too ancient!) and the Centre Pompidou (too new!).

At Orsay Museum you will find works from Post-impressionist masters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, to name a few.

eiffel at night itinerary

It’s worth seeing Eiffel again in the evening. Watch Eiffel sparkle–this happens on the evening every hour for five minutes. It’s magical, you will never grow tired of it!

Afterwards a night stroll around the city of lights provide me with instant therapy. If you’re a fan of the movie Amelié, you can take a self-tour at night and maybe experience Parisian nightlife.

On one occasion, I had a date with a local, and he took me around the Latin Quarters where we walked and retraced all the film’s locations–which made the night quite unique and lovely. You can be creative and do this too, or maybe other films of your choice: Before Sunset is next on my list!

Day 5:  Sacre-Couer, Moulin Rouge, Paris Catacombs, Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Start your day at Sacre-Couer Basilica. It is located at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. You can then make your way down from there.

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The basilica is a sight to behold, and provides a breathtaking view of the city.

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Make your way down to the infamous Moulin Rouge. If you have the time, you can also check out the Erotica Museum nearby to know more about–well, all things erotica–sex, prostitution, and more.

The last two attractions are an interesting attractions: as they revolve around death. Head to the Catacombs of Paris first to see the remains of some 6 million people. The Catacombs is basically an underground ossuary built in 1774 to solve the problem of overflowing cemeteries in the city. It is known as the ‘world’s largest grave’ due to the number of dead buried.

The winding tunnel stretches for miles and miles with thousands of skulls and bones. It’s a pretty morbid tourist attraction, but it’s also very interesting to see, especially if you’re into that kind of thing.

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Catacombs of Paris

You can finish the day at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which is a beautiful cemetery featuring the graves of famous historical figures such as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Camille Pissarro, Honore de Balzac and more.

Suggested Itinerary: 5 days in London, UK

I’ve always dreamed of visiting London since I first saw that Lindsay Lohan movie ‘The Parent Trap’. It was my first recollection of hearing a British accent and I was sold into the British dream. Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, the Royal Family–these are just some things London is most known for. There’s so much to see and do in London!
By the way, Philippine passport holders need a UK visa to visit United Kingdom. For more information, refer to my blog post on how to apply for a UK visa.

Here’s my suggested itinerary for 5 days in London, England for first time visitors.

Day 1: Hop-on Hop-off, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus

Take a Hop On Hop Off London bus tour to go around the city and enjoy the scenic view.
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Spend the morning at the Tower of London, the heritage site of the famed Crowned Jewels. The historic castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. The Tower of London has served as a fortress, royal residence, prison cell, menagerie, treasury, and now a museum.
While in the Tower of London, don’t miss the Beefeater tour, the Yeoman Warders or standing guards in the Tower.

Other places you can see via Hop On Hop Off is the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, London Zoo, London Eye, Imperial War Museum, Madame Tussaud’s and Piccadilly Circus, depending on the 3 routes you choose.

Day 2: Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum

Save Day 2 for Museum Day! I love all kinds of museums–whether it be about art, history, science or weird, random things. Let’s be realistic though–one can’t visit all museums in one go. Choose 2 or 3 museums to cover towards your trip, depending on your interest.
First of all, start your day at Trafalgar Square. It’s the center of west end London and can get to anywhere from there.
If there was only one art museum you had to go to, I would suggest you to go to the National Gallery in Traflagar Square. The National Gallery is home to works of the masters such as Monet, Delacroix, Cezanne, Van Gogh and more. Best of all–it’s free!
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If you’re more into postmodern art, you will enjoy Tate Modern. Tate Modern houses modern and contemporary art from 1900 to present.


The Natural History Museum houses scientific specimens and historical artifacts to wow museophiles. I was instantly sold when I was told there were dinosaurs! Admission is also free.
The British Museum is dedicated to art, historical artifacts and culture from Ancient Britain and other lost worlds.

Day 3: Road Trip to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath

By the third day you’re probably already tired of the city, so why not take a road trip and see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. I would recommend getting a tour to see the three iconic attractions to save you time as the three are located in different places.
Windsor Castle is the oldest & largest inhabited castle in the world, the official residence of the Queen. It has been the family home of British royalty for almost 1,000 years.
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Stonehenge is the most famous neolithic structure in the world, which sits literally in the middle of nowhere. Sure it is now just a ruin but the 5,000-year-old monument served as an important religious site back in the day. You can learn more about Stonehenge and the prehistoric people who built it in their visitor centre. You can read about my Stonehenge experience here.


After lunch, head to another world heritage site, Bath, Avon. Bath is an ancient Roman spa town with magnificent Georgian heritage and architecture. Bath is among Britain’s oldest tourist attractions and is the only place in Britain where you can bat in hot natural springs. It is 48km south of Stonehenge by the River Avon.
The Roman Baths is the most famous tourist attraction in Bath. You can’t bathe in the original Roman baths but can do so at Thermae Bath Spa, just a block over the ancient baths. They also offer massages, steam baths, and an outdoor pool.

 

 

Day 4: Buckingham Palace, House of Parliament, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, The Shard

In the morning, go to Buckingham Palace to witness the changing of the guards at 11:15AM (worth checking schedules). The Buckingham Palace was as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837. Today it serves as the sovereign administrative headquarters.
The House of Parliament is a 20-minute walk from the Buckingham Palace. House of Parliament or Palace of Westminster is the ‘heart of British politics’, the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It was built in the Middle Ages. You can’t miss the quintessential Big Ben.


As you walk to the Tower Bridge, you can stop over HMS Belfast to learn more about WWII history. The former Royal Navy ship is permanently moored in the River Thames and now serves as a ship museum.
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Of course, your London trip isn’t complete without seeing the recognizable Tower Bridge, which is truly the symbol of London. 


The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper and is currently the tallest building in London. It is a short 10-minute walk from the Tower Bridge. One of my favorite places in London to have a drink is Aqua Shard, which provides a striking 360-degree view of London. Whether you plan a romantic evening or just want a swanky nightcap, Aqua is worth seeing and spending on.

Day 5: Relax, Shop, Watch a Show

By the last day of your vacation, you’ll probably be busy packing up and preparing yourself to come back home to your normal lives. Keep your last day chill and simple. For me, I like to treat myself to shopping–every girl deserves some form of retail therapy.
Every Filipino’s trip is never complete without some pasalubong shopping. Spend the day shopping for gifts and souvenirs at some of London’s most famous shopping streets: Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, all located in the West end of London.


Regent Street is most famous for its Christmas illuminations. It is home to popular stores such as Hamley’s, Liberty, Hollister, Superdry and more. If you’re shopping for kids, Hamley’s is London’s most famous toy store. It is located right down Regent Street.
Harrod’s is probably the most famous store in the world, located in Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. It is a 5-acre site with 330 departments and 1 million square feet. Aside from the shopping, it is well worth visiting Harrod’s for its historical value–it is almost 200 years old.


In the evening, complete the London experience by watching a West end show. As a Disney baby, I decided to watch Lion King in Lyceum Theatre.

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Magical and unforgettable experience!

Other popular shows include The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and The Book of Mormon. If you’re feeling a bit braver, you can check out the avant-garde immersive theatre ‘Sleep No More’ or ‘The Drowned Man’ by Punchdrunk.