It’s More Masaya in the Philippines

They say that everything is more fun—masaya—in the Philippines. Known for having some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world, along with white sand beaches, waterfalls, and majestic bright green mountains, the Philippines should be on everyone’s travel list. Even getting around can be fun. Instead of taxis, you’ll find jeepneys (WWII jeeps converted into bus-like transportation) and tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars for passengers). While you’re in the ’Pines, try fresh, sweet mangoes; sour soup called sinigang; and if you’re feeling brave, balut: boiled fertilized duck egg. If you’re looking for adventure and a whole lot of fun, the Philippines is the place to be. Here are four travel destinations to plan your vacation around: Honda Bay, Palawan The island of Palawan beat out Bali and Maui to be named the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine and Condé Nast Traveler readers. Getting to Palawan is easy—a short flight from Manila lands you in the capital city of Puerto Princesa. Don’t leave Palawan without visiting Honda Bay, about 30 minutes outside of the city. To get there, you can take a tricycle for a day trip and then come back to Puerto Princesa at night. Honda Bay is just a short boat ride to several other islands, where you can snorkel in a coral reef, cliff jump, or kayak. You may even end up the only one on an island and get to spend the day exploring the white sand beaches and turquoise ocean. Puerto Princesa While on Palawan, you really shouldn’t skip the region of Puerto Princesa. Its name means “princess...
Hoodoo You Do?

Hoodoo You Do?

In the area of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, there is a cluster of national parks. Among these lies Bryce Canyon National Park, which is actually many natural amphitheaters rather than a canyon; it is known for its beautiful scenery, red sandstone, and hoodoos—rock columns created by erosion. A geological wonder, more than 1.5 million people visit Bryce Canyon each year to hike, camp, and just look at the views. So how do you navigate this natural masterpiece amidst so many other visitors? Luckily, the National Park Service has an informative and succinct website that can answer many questions as you plan your stay. I wanted to plan a camping trip, so I tailored my searches to camping grounds and hiking; however, there are many options available if you want to stay in a hotel at the park or in a city nearby. My itinerary spans from a Friday afternoon to a Sunday morning. On a Friday, my group will arrive at Bryce Canyon, getting in by paying a $30 vehicle permit fee. Also available is a $35 annual pass to Bryce Canyon, which covers the vehicle permit fee and is valid for one year, unlike the vehicle permit, which is only valid for one week. There are two campgrounds: North Campground and Sunset Campground. Each costs $20 per night. North Campground, where we will be staying, is year-round, and has paved roads, toilets, and drinking water available for campers. Saturday will be devoted to hiking. The best viewpoint for Bryce Amphitheater (the main amphitheater in the park) comes from the Rim Trail, an 11-mile roundtrip hike. Despite its...
Forts and Fudge

Forts and Fudge

Experience Mackinac Island’s tasty treats, vibrant small town, and biking roads.   Nestled between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, Mackinac (pronounced MACK-i-naw) Island lies untouched by recent decades. Victorian-era houses line the downtown streets, and the only highway around the island is teeming with tourists on bicycles. More than a dozen fudge shops inhabit the island, which make for good stops after exploring caves and old army forts. This quaint island, measuring only 3.8 square miles, is a popular summer getaway and an unforgettable weekend destination. Despite its size, Mackinac Island is home to an impressive number of attractions. The ferry to Mackinac departs from both the north and south sides of Mackinac Bridge (which, contrary to the name, is not connected to Mackinac Island itself). The only way to travel on the island is by foot, bike, or horse. Almost all vehicles have been banned from the island since the end of the nineteenth century, and since then, there has been only one auto accident, in which the island’s police car rear-ended the ambulance. Downtown When heading to the island, the most pronounced view is of the Grand Hotel along the coast. Erected in 1887, it is most known for its appearance in the 1980 film Somewhere in Time. The historic and photogenic hotel is open for business and hosts a variety of events and celebrations. It resides close to the legion of fudge shops that line the main street. There are at least 15 of these decadent fudge shops, each with marble slabs as big as dinner tables that are used to craft the treats....
New York

New York

From musicals to cuisine to the most popular tourist attractions, experience the best New York City has to offer in a week.  The Big Apple.” “The greatest city in the world.” “The city so nice they named it twice.” Whatever you call it, New York City is bursting at the seams with life and culture. Even so, it’s not impossible to explore it in a week—if you have a solid plan. Getting Around You can find most of the iconic NYC activities in Manhattan, and you can get just about anywhere in Manhattan with a MetroCard and a good pair of walking shoes. Your first stop once you get into town should be at the nearest Metro station, where you can buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass for $32. You’ll get your money’s worth on day one, and by day two you’ll be a Metro pro. Broadway on a Budget Let’s be real: you haven’t experienced NYC until you’ve seen a Broadway show. And if you think you can’t afford it, think again. If there’s a popular show that you’re dying to see, check whether that show offers a lottery for tickets. These tickets are often heavily discounted—tickets to Dear Evan Hansen, which often start at $119, cost only $42 through the lottery. Hamilton—a show that’s notoriously hard to get into at all, let alone for a reasonable price—awards lottery winners $10 tickets. The TKTS booth on Times Square (47th Street and Broadway) is a more reliable option. TKTS sells discounted same-day Broadway tickets for the more established, less trendy productions—you won’t find tickets to Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen...
Hooked on Alaska

Hooked on Alaska

An Alaskan fishing trip is a vacation that both avid anglers and novices can enjoy. The view out my window on Alaskan Airlines flight 71saturated my eyes with more green than they had probably absorbed in their prior 22 years put together. My uneasy anticipation for a week at a remote Alaskan fishing lodge quickly evolved into kid-at-Christmastime excitement. I was venturing off with two professors and six other students to Pybus Point Lodge on Admiralty Island, a spot off the coast of Alaska that is home to more bears than people. We were on our way there to catch fish for our research. I had no idea what to expect, but with the unbelievable scenery I was already catching glimpses of, I was elated to be there no matter what I’d be doing. My travel companions and I spent the night in Juneau, and early the next morning, a float plane carried us low over an endless intermingling of forest and ocean. We spent the hour with foreheads glued to glass, trying to commit each wave and branch and wing to memory and eagerlyscanning grassy clearings for the russet fur of a brown bear. At the end of our journey, the plane landed in secluded Pybus Bay with the grace of a dandelion seed. We puttered over to the dock, where the dockhands swarmed to help us off the plane and replace us with the previous week’s travelers. The door flipped open, my Keds hit the weathered dock, and I was in love. The ocean’s signature cool, briny aroma rushed into my nose and mouth and wide-open eyes, reminding me...
Ode to a Grecian Yearn

Ode to a Grecian Yearn

While living in the American Rockies for a few years as a visiting professor, Loula missed Greece. It wasn’t just that no one in her new town shared her Orthodox upbringing or that the only version of her native language taught at the local university wasn’t even modern Greek. She missed her native land’s cuisine, its rich age, its sun-kissed hills and whitewashed seaside adobe homes. But now that Loula is back and comfortable in her Grecian home, she’s ready to advise about how to spend a few weeks in the land she loves. If you begin your trip in Athens—which you ought to do—prepare to get around. Flights within Greece and to other parts of Europe are relatively inexpensive, but don’t default to them. Check out ferry schedules if you plan to jump from island to island. You could rent a car, but the slender streets and endless views may lend themselves better to motorized scooter travel. Once you’re settled in at one of the many bed and breakfasts within the city or resort hotels just without, Loula would recommend going to the theater. Look no farther than the narrow street of Broadway to confirm that theatrical culture thrives in the United States, but its prevalence in quotidian life pales in comparison to that on the stages of Greece. Theatre was born in Athens centuries ago. Visit the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, where up to 17,000 people watched festivals to the pagan god over two millennia ago. When you’ve had your fill of the relics of ancient theatre, relax in the 1800s-vintage National Theatre of Greece, where...