Jun 27, 2018

My honeymoon vacation in the Philippines

If you moved to a country far away from your own, then you probably know the feeling of wanting to go back to your home country even just for a day. You crave for this particular food that can only be found in your home town. You long for that tropical beach with blue sky and powdery white sand you dreamed to visit again. You miss your family, friends and pets, despite the fact that they can be annoying sometimes. And yes, as strange as it may sound, even the noise and traffic jam are in the list of the things you miss. Well, you're not alone. I know exactly how it feels.

discovery primea, makati
Taking a morning dip at Discovery Primea Hotel in Makati

After almost a year in Norway, finally my husband and I had the chance for a 3-week vacation in the Philippines. It's also our honeymoon trip so I made sure we get the time to meet the whole family and relax all to ourselves.

Planning vacation and honeymoon at the same time was frustrating, especially when you're like me, picky, detailed and very practical. I always want to make sure that the price won't compromise the quality and comfort. And I think this time I did it pretty well, of course with my husband's help.


First things first: Meet the family


In filipino setting, family always comes first. So the first thing we did when we arrived was to meet mom and pop's families, who were very excited to meet us as well.

Filipino families are typically big and known for having close family ties, meaning we keep a relationship not only to our nuclear family but also to our extended families, which include our relatives from first to third degree.

Try to imagine attending a feast, that's exactly how a typical filipino set up looks like. The loud voices of aunties and uncles laughing about their stories, the overflowing food and drinks on the table, cousins enjoying movies together and that annoying karaoke, which sometimes becomes the most fun part of all. To sum it up, I'd say fun, loud and lively. 

For my husband, it was definitely whole new experience and he managed it pretty good. For me it's something I missed and will surely miss constantly.

Shout out to my families for all the gifts and time you gave us. Love y'all! 


Next: Honeymoon 


For our honeymoon, we booked a residence in Anda Bohol, a place known for cave pools and unspoiled white beaches. Anda is considered way less touristy than Panglao. I guess because of its location, which is 2 hours away from the airport. If you're looking for a real romantic getaway, this part of Bohol is perfect!

j&r residence, anda, bohol
 Infinity pool at J&R Residence in Bohol

My husband and I stayed at J&R Residence, a resort owned by a filipino-german couple named Jilo and Ralf, who personally welcomed us on our arrival.

The first thing I noticed, aside from the hospitality, was that the entire place looked better than we expected. Our room had the perfect vista, with balcony over looking the ocean and palm trees framing the view. My husband, who is very critical, even described it as spectacular. Plus the whole place is situated right on the beach which to me was perfect. There's infinity pool and restaurant just couple of meters away. They have a souvenir shop within the residence. And not to mention the owners' nice and funny dogs. It was truly a total dream vacation for us and so far one of the best places I stayed in Asia.

j&r residence, anda, bohol
The view from our room at J&R Residence

During our one week honeymoon, we made sure to keep our schedule as relax as possible. Of course we did some water activities like kayaking and snorkelling. We also toured around Bohol from Chocolate Hills to Tarsier Sanctuary, Hinagdanan Cave and more. And in between; massage, walk on the beach, eat, sleep, swim, talk and lots of de-stressing.

After some days of being like tourists, days turned pretty slow for us. No TV to waste time on. We almost had nothing to do. We even bought playing cards just to fill in the time. We got so so bored we even had time to watch birds, frogs and insects from our balcony. And for us, it's totally okay. I once read that being bored is sometimes the best state to be in.

j&r residence, anda, bohol

The only downside we noticed at J&R, which wasn't a big deal, was the lack of options of places to eat, since the area is quite secluded. We tried some nearby hotels with restaurants mostly accessible by tricycle. But we tried to avoid it as much as possible because of the exhausting ride due to rough road. Anyway J&R has plenty of options available. You can even tell them your request, like we did, and they'll try their best to serve it.

On our last day in Anda, I realised it's almost time to go back to Norway and 3 weeks was pretty short.


Lastly, meet friends and shop pasalubongs


Our vacation won't be complete without meeting friends. Oh yes, filipinos can be so friendly. I personally have friends count of more than my fingers and toes combined, and I love them. Unfortunately, I couldn't meet them all.

friends


That's my bff Earleen, her husband Michael, me (with my animated face) and my sister. It was the first time for my friends to meet my husband, and finally a time to get to know (interrogate) him. 😜
Friends are like my extended siblings, they can both be lovely and annoying.
My husband, you may ask, wasn't in the photo because he walked quite fast together with papa.

With regards to shopping, luckily our last hotel before we flew back to Norway was located close to the shopping malls in Makati, so we were able to find some things and souvenirs to bring home.
Tip: Take note of your baggage limit when going for shopping so you don't over buy stuff.

Things to remember for (interracial) honeymooners:

  1. Take things light and easy. Honeymoon doesn't need to be grand. 
  2. Book hotels where you can both enjoy and chill, depending on your budget and preference. I normally book through Booking.com, Hotels.com, Airbnb and Agoda.
  3. Don't fill your schedule with so much activities. 
  4. Always consider your partner and be sensitive to their needs. 
  5. Arguments are inevitable. A little patience goes a long way. 
  6. Let your partner experience how things are done in your country, such as commuting and eating exotic food. 
  7. Make new memories. 

So that'd be all for now, if you have any suggestions and tips, let me know in the comment below. 

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