The experience of a 5-day visit to Philippines was nothing short of magnificent. We were given the opportunity to explore everything there was to know about the country, together with two other social media influencers from Indonesia and Singapore. Organized by Halaltrip and Tourism Philippines, this journey was definitely an awaited one as I’ve been dying to visit the wonderful country that is the Phillipines.
To summarize our first day, we visited the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. We were given thorough explanation on how the country was first built during our tour to Intramuros. The visit pretty much gave us an insight on the history of Philippines.
We were also given the opportunity to visit a mosque, located in an Islamic community vicinity there. Furthermore, the hotel where we stayed in, Dusit Thani Makati was practically a Muslim-friendly hotel as it provides a complete facility needed by Muslim tourists.
And if we go into the topic of food, for breakfast and lunch, we were able to enjoy the savoury taste of local food specially served by the hosts at Dusit Thani. For dinner, we were privileged to drop by at Shangri-La to enjoy the wide spread buffet. Most importantly, everything is made Halal!
We started our second day tour by visiting Ayana Museum. There, we managed to feast our eyes a whole range of extraordinary art collections related to the Philippines. We, then had to rush off as we were about to have lunch at the oldest hotel in the Philippines, Manila Hotel. Apparently it was built around 1909. How interesting is that?
After that, we were already on a plane heading to Bohol. And as we arrived at the Tagbilaran Airport, we were greeted by a few attendants just waiting to bring us to the Bohol Beach Club.
No words could express how breathtaking the view was. The white sandy beaches actually left us speechless. And to make things better than it already is, our Halal food served by the Bohol Beach Club was nothing short of exquisite!
Today is the day we went around the Bohol Island. Our first stop was the Philippines Tarsier Foundation where we were introduced to a cute animal called Tarsier. This primate, who was an inspiration to the character of Yoda from the Star Wars, is extremely rare in other parts of the world.
Next, we dropped by to Chocolate Hills. Even when we had to climb 214 stairs, it was all worth it when we saw what was in store for us. A scenic view of the mountain was simply an awe. And while we were there, we walked to the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park to challenge ourselves with various extreme games made available there.
Then we headed to the Loboc River Cruise to experience having lunch on a moving boat crossing the Loboc River. It was definitely an experience you will never forget!
Finally, we went back to our residence in the Bohol Beach Club and took a breather at the picturesque beach. Obviously our night wouldn’t have been complete without our Halal food for the night, so we headed to South Palm Resort Panglao, located beside Bohol Beach Club to enjoy another range of mouthwatering dinner.
Today, we proceeded on with our next tour to another location: Cebu! It took us two hours to arrive using the Oceanjet boat. The second we arrived in Cebu, we immediately headed to the Persian Kebab Tandoori Restaurant to enjoy our lunch. Interesting enough, this particular Halal restaurant actually serves Malaysian food, such as the Chicken Fried Rice!
After lunch, we made a move to the Alkhairiah Mosque to perform our prayers. Once done, we were heading to Profood Cebu’s Mango Factory Tour. While we were there, we managed to learn and see for ourselves how the famous dried mangoes of Philippines were processed.
Our accomodation for the night was Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan. We were fascinated with the beautiful and coziness decor of our living area as each of us were given a whole villa equipped with a private swimming pool. And lucky for Muslims, they do not forget the most essential items needed for us as the Al-Quran, Qiblah pointer and sajadah was provided for us.
Our appetizing Halal dinner was served while we bask in the panoramic view of dawn. It was simply spectacular.
Unfortunately, this is the last day for us in the Philippines. As we had just finished our breakfast, we were given the chance to tour around the resort where we visited their 5-star spa.
Before heading off to the Cebu Airport, we first feasted on lunch, and then transited in Manila before heading off to our respective countries.
Unfortunately, our flight to Manila was delayed for two hours. We were scheduled to have dinner at Marriot Hotel Manila before heading home, but sadly it didn’t go according to plan. But thankfully, our hotel took the initiative to pack our foods and we managed to devour them at the Manila airport together, while sitting down on the floor, as though we were having our very own picnic! We were happy enough for our stomaches that we were ready to head home.
But I guess, lighting does strike twice, as our flight from Manila to Malaysia was delayed for two hours... Again! But we tried to look at things on the positive side, as the experience we had earned for the past 5 days in the Philippines was priceless; and that made us smile throughout the whole way.
Thank you Halaltrip and Tourism Philippines for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity. Before ending my story, I’d like to list down five captivating things about the Philippines:
They are really friendly and gives the best service to the tourists who visit their country. Although we were constantly mistaken for locals, the hospitality that we’ve received has been extremely great.
Don’t worry about having language barrier in communicating with the locals. Almost everyone that we meet in the country can speak fluent English, making it easy for tourists to communicate.
The business of dried mangoes in the Philippines is well-known worldwide and should not be underestimated as it is also made Halal for Muslims. If opportunity arises, do take the time to visit its factory in Cebu. Could you imagine, the dried mangoes I bought as souveniers were finished in less than a day! People were giving feedbacks on how tasty Philippine Dried Mangoes are.
Words couldn’t express how beautiful the beaches are in the Philippines. Though we only managed to spend time at Bohol Beach Club, Panglao, there is no doubt that other islands in the Philippines such as Davao, Palawan and Boracay isn’t that far off when it comes to its beauty.
If there are some of you that are worried and sceptical about the Halal status in food served in Philippines due to its high population of Christianity, fret not. We had no trouble at all getting Halal food for the whole five days we were there.
To make your trips easier, just download the HalalTrip App in your smartphones. Not only do they provide information on which places serve Halal food, it also provides various facilities for Muslims who are travelling abroad.