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James Frazer-Mann, South East Asia Blog

James Frazer-Mann

Hi, as you can tell from the website titles my name is James Frazermann. I enjoy travelling, seeing different cultures, scenery and wildlife. Opposites side of the worlds Alaska and Philippines have been the two stand out places I have visited. Alaska for its nature, and Philippines or its kind people, food and incredible beaches.

In this blog I will primarily cover the Philippines; favourite places to see, eat and visit.

Starting off with Oslob, famed for its whale sharks. My wife and I did swim with them, and its a once in a lifetime experience, they really are gentle giants. However the downside It was overly crowded with tourists, the locals are very much into preserving the nature and there are strict rules about getting too close when in the water (i.e touching them).

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There really isn’t a lot else to do in Oslob to be honest. So one day is all you need.

Next stop is Kasawan falls. Something straight out of the jungle book. Lots of nature, jungle, and the bluest water I have ever seen.

Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls on the jungle island of Cebu in the Philippines is considered to be one the highlights of the country. It’s definitely the top reason that tourists visit Cebu, and we wanted to share a little insight about the falls for those who are interested in visiting there.

The trip to the falls is by trails up the mountain. You can take a taxi to get to the bottom of the trails, but these aren’t meant to be accessible by motorcar. You will have to take a motorbike (which can be rented in the village nearby) or walk up the mountain along the trails. Along the way, you’ll see some simple dwellings, cross a few bridges and experience the Kawasan River as you pass over it multiple times.

Once at the falls proper, you might be greeted with a different sight than what the idyllic tourist snapshots picture. Yes, the falls are majestic and beautiful, but they are also a major tourist hotspot. That means that the falls are likely to be surrounded by other tourists as well as panhandlers, restaurants and people trying to sell you tours, life vests or trinkets.

During the weekends and holidays, many of the locals will be enjoying the falls as well. That means that there are going to be lots of additional people at the falls, along with their barbecue setups and radios blaring loud music. It’s certainly not all bad, though. There is a lot to enjoy about the falls, but the atmosphere there is often bad enough to wreck your mood and your enjoyment of the natural beauty on display.

There are actually three waterfalls to see along the Kawasan River. The first two are the easiest to access, which means that they will have the most tourists, merchants and locals around them. The third is higher up the mountain and harder to get to, especially after it rains and the trail is covered in mud, but it can be worth it for those who want to get away from the noise and crowds and still see a great waterfall. It is a smaller waterfall than the other two, but it’s still a pleasant sight.

Near the falls along the river, are a few lagoons. Many of these are off the beaten path a little bit, but easily accessible to those who don’t mind a slight challenge in getting to their swimming holes. These quiet lagoons may be the best option for those who want to enjoy Kawasan River away from the crowds.

It’s best to visit this area of Cebu outside the main tourism periods. You will still have some peddlers, tour guides and panhandlers to deal with, but not so many that it will ruin your experience. There’s plenty to enjoy along the river if you’re up for the hike.

My other travel blog also talks about some of the best beaches he found in Thailand and what places he recommends staying at, as well as how to avoid some hassles during a visit there

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Top 5 Attractions in the Philippines

We’ve sorted through the most popular attractions in the Philippines to give you the very best. Here are our top five picks for must-see attractions in the area.

Mestizo District

This Chinese-populated area contains numerous ancestral structures that have been preserved for generations. Their unique architectural design combines Chinese and Spanish influences to create something you won’t find anywhere else. The district is populated with mansions, many of which contain two floors- the first for living and the upper floor for work. Several of the homes have been converted into bread and breakfast establishments, and the owners allow visitors to tour these buildings and take in the architecture.

Timbac Caves

The Timbac Caves serve as a religious memorial to those who have passed on. The mummified remains have been set into the foetal position and are perfectly preserved, creating an unsettling experience for those who are brave enough to visit them. You won’t be able to enter the caves on your own, nor should you attempt to, as it would be seen a culturally insensitive. Instead, a guide will take you from the nearby village on a hike that can last for up to six hours through the rice terraces and unlock the caves for you to view the mummies.

Fort Pilar Museum

This historic fort has been converted into a museum, which is regularly updated and renovated to showcase more exhibits. Right now, the marine exhibit is one of the new highlights. It offers an extensive look at the fishing lifestyle and history of the area. Also of note is the gallery of prints that date back to the 18th and 19th century. The fort itself has an amazing and complex history, as it was fought over for hundreds of years by various countries, including the Dutch, Japanese and the British.

Malumpati River

There is some disagreement over whether this waterway is a spring or a river. It has the clarity of a spring, but its incredible water volume is far more akin to a river. It is speculated that there is an underground river that is feeding it, but it appears almost out of nowhere and runs near the national road. There are plenty of things to do along the river, including ziplining, diving and taking a break at the resort spa. While you’re visiting, you will probably want to take a bamboo raft down the river- an experience you can share with four other people at once.

White Beach

Once most people come to White Beach, they don’t really want to see anything else of the Philippines. The beautiful white sand and clear waters make for an inviting getaway. You will find numerous resorts dotting the beach, with accommodations fit for any budget. There are large stretches of beach where motor vehicles are prohibited and you can enjoy the natural beauty unhindered.  This massive beach stretches along much of Borocay and is the perfect vacation spot for people from all over the world.