Its been a slow week here in Auckland. I arrived back from the Philippines six days ago and have spent the week recovering from jet lag and settling back into the real world and, even worse, work!

After two weeks spent sunbathing on white sand beaches it was a bit of a shock to arrive back and find that autumn has well and truly arrived in this part of the world. Although you wouldn’t have thought that today – New Zealand appears unable to make up its mind and has slipped briefly back into summer.

My two weeks in the Philippines passed in a whirlwind, no doubt partly attributed to the vast amount of travel we had to do. Being a country made up of 7000 islands meant that some travel was unavoidable. During our two weeks there we took five internal flights, two ferries, two boat taxis, three minivan journeys (one of which was 6.5 hours long) and countless taxi and tricycle rides. But was it all worth it? Absolutely!

I ticked off two items from my bucket list – swimming with whale sharks in Donsol and seeing the tarsiers in Bohol (tiny little primates about the size of my hand). We went on boat trips, snorkeled in beautiful blue sea and discovered some of the most amazing cocktails I have ever tasted (the dacquiri at La Plage on Corong Corong Beach was to die for). We ate good food, went on a scooter trip around the jungle paradise of Bohol and saw some of the most incredible sunsets we have ever witnessed.

That’s not to say it was completely disaster free. Any trip that me and Sally take together rarely is. We got such bad sunburn on our first day that our entire backs blistered and peeled, had a scooter accident and accumulated various injuries including cuts, bruises, coral grazes and even a broken toe. It seems that the Philippines isn’t for the faint hearted.

Here are just a few of my favourite photos from my two weeks of travel:

Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol, Philippines

Okay so its not the best photo – my underwater camera chose this day of all days to become non-waterproof. But you can at least make out the sheer size of the whale shark swimming alongside my friend. One of the best things I have ever done!

Sunset in Donsol, Philippines

A Donsol sunset

Tricycle, Philippines

Getting around on these tricycles was often a near-death experience

Jeepneys in El Nido, Palawan

The Philippines’ infamous jeepneys

Jungle paradise in Bohol, Philippines

River views in Loboc, Bohol

Jungle paradise in Bohol, Philippines

In the distance you can just about make out one of Loboc’s infamous floating restaurants making its way down the river. These cruises last about one hour, taking in the beautiful scenery along the side of the river, whilst performers belt out cheesy 90s pop tunes. Definitely an experience!

Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

How cute are these little tarsiers!?

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

The Chocolate Hills in Bohol

Clear seas in El Nido, Palawan

Crystal clear seas in El Nido, Palawan

Snorkelling in El Nido, Palawan

Snorkelling in El Nido, Palawan

Snorkelling in El Nido, Palawan

Starfish in El Nido, Palawan

La Plage on Corong Corong Beach, El Nido

La Plage on Corong Corong Beach in El Nido – home to some of the best cocktails I have ever tasted!

El Nido, Palawan

Sunset in El Nido, Palawan

Sunset in El Nido, Palawan

Whilst I am not enjoying my return to real life, I have returned from my holiday with a renewed energy and focus for my blog and am planning exciting things to come. I have the remaining Southeast Asia blog posts to wade through and two detailed road trip series planned covering my ten day road trip around Sabah in Borneo and my two week road trip around New Zealand’s South Island. AND there will be a complete website redesign coming at some point (although you may have to wait a little longer for that).

Articles of the week (a few of my favourite articles from around the web)

I actually first read this blog post by Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads weeks ago but re-read it again this week. This beautifully written post on Jodi’s 10 day meditation retreat is a must-read for anyone currently battling with anxiety: http://www.legalnomads.com/2016/03/vipassana-meditation.html/

I absolutely loved this photo essay of New York’s underground by Joao Unzer (as featured by Abduzeedo): http://abduzeedo.com/nyc-under-ground/

This blog post by Just Globetrotting features gorgeous photos of the glaciers in Patagonia (and lots of handy tips): http://justglobetrotting.com/the-glaciers-of-patagonia-argentina/

Instagram Inspiration of the Week

This week I discovered Liam Wong’s stunning Instagram feed and was completely captivated by his beautiful, neon-flooded images of Tokyo at night.

Summer Houses in Port Barton, Palawan

Thanks for reading! Come back soon!