Welcome to the Land of Smiles – Philippines
So, you have traveled around the world and found some of the best wine regions in the world – Italy!
The best food regions of the world – France!
The best golf courses – tough to beat with what we have in North America!
I always think that the South’s Warmest Welcome in the USA is from the people of Mississippi!
Want to meet the nicest people in the world? You will need to visit the Philippines!
Having just returned from two weeks where I visited the powdery white beaches of Boracay Island, I may have discovered the best beaches in the world! We also spent a few days in the bustling city of Manila then a golf excursion three hours from Manila to Clark and Angeles City. Manila and Angeles City will be covered in upcoming issues, for now it’s on to Fairways and Bluewater on the Newcoast of Boracay.
Getting to the Philippines from North America is a bit of a hike – just over 20 hours from the East Coast. It’s well worth it, but it also maybe one of the least expensive destinations once on the ground.
Knowing that the Philippines is made up of some 7,000 islands, if you want to explore the destination you are going to fly and boat here and there. Boracay is a small island about an hour from Manila. A couple of hundred bucks gets you a return ticket on Philippine Airlines and there are numerous flights daily and multiple airlines to choose from.
Boracay was awarded as the 2012 best island in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine and in 2014, the resort island was at the top of the Best Islands in the World list published by Condé Nast Traveler.
We got in and out of Boracay just before the Philippine Government closed the island for a six month period to upgrade the infrastructure with a main focus on the sewage system and roads. Tourists have overwhelmed the island and although drastic, it will be a benefit to the future of Boracay. From our time on the beach we saw no evidence of sewage issues.
On to Fairways and Bluewater resort we go! Getting there too, is half the fun. I highly recommend the private transfer. Pick up at Caticlan Airport, at short ride to resort check in but you are not even close to being there! Your private jet boat takes you on about a 15 minute ride to the island and then another 45 minutes to the resort on NewCoast.
Once there relax, if you like, they have their own private Paradise Cove Beach on the Sibuyan Sea. The resort takes up approximately 15% of the island and there is plenty to keep you occupied. Six pools, if the beach is not your style, 11 bars and restaurants and, after all the eating and drinking, maybe a visit to the fitness center or one of the two spas is in order. There are lots of family style activities at the resort including zip lining which just happens to cross right over the first green on the golf course.
It’s not hard to guess where I went…of course, the golf course. Aussie Graham Marsh designed this little gem. A little on the short side by today’s standards, rolling out to only 6,500 yards from the tips. It is really fun to play, a great collection of par 5’s that allow for a little risk reward. A couple of memorable par 3’s include the signature 16th, only 143 yards but with some significant elevation change to a green below. If you are ever here keep an eye out for special guests around the course. A favorite place of Ernie Els and often frequented by Jesper Parnevik we’ve been told.
I played two rounds here, one with my buddy and occasional contributor to the Traveling Golfer Peter Ellegard from the UK, who also makes a good videographer and knows how to handle a pen and camera too boot.
Round two was a little different as I was playing with Head Pro, Mangloy – not knowing that my caddy was his sister and the pretty lady starter was his wife. I guess it does not happen often but when my drive landed where his tee ball finished both ladies screamed out “You out drove the Pro, you out drove the Pro!!!” Match on, but it did not last long, even though I managed to keep my round in the 70’s I was no match for Mangloy’s 3 under par. He is also the course record holder with a 62.
With the round over, and of course being a little thirsty, I had to have a San Miguel – the beer of choice in the Philippines – and I can tell you that I had my fair share of those! We had one fantastic dinner at the resort, roof top on the Skydeck bar overlooking the pool and the Ocean.
Where it is happening on Boracay is White Beach, a stretch of beach maybe 4-5 kilometres long filled with bars, restaurants and all kinds of shopping. You have all the water activities you can handle or you can just kick back and relax. A bustling nightlife awaits and the dining options extend onto the beach as we called it “Bordeaux on the Beach.” We landed at the Pariso Bar & Grill Lobster House – lured by a boardwalk temptation of pick your surf to go along with your turf! An amazing dinner and yes a nice French Bordeaux was the wine for the evening!
Our favourite lunch spot was Nigi Nigi Nu Nous beach cabana style sports bar where time will slip away if you let it …or maybe want it too! A little insider information from a close friend who once lived on the island lead us here! My associates fell for the burgers but I was sticking to the seafood theme – jumbo scampi, margaritas and San Miguel chasers! Can you feel time slipping away?!?
One thing you will not want to miss on this quaint little island is the sunset – spectacular to say the least! Take a look at the little video and you will see for yourself. You will also get a glimpse of the very interesting mode of transportation – The Trik – basically a scooter with a cage on it. Get into the cage, give the driver a couple of bucks and you can get to almost anywhere you need to!
It is a place you will never forget and unlikely that you can only go once!
Put the Philippines on your bucket list – you will not be disappointed.
Regent Travel Corporation based in the Philippines can handle all of your inbound needs.
Other helpful links:
Fairways and Bluewater Newcoast Boracay
Philippine Department of Tourism