After hearing mixed reviews about the Philippines, we were a little apprehensive about coming here. After three weeks exploring just a fraction of these beautiful islands though we were hooked and fell in love with the spectacular mountains, rice terraces and beaches. When Typhoon Hiayan hit and devastated the islands a few months after we visited, we decided to return and volunteer on Leyte with All Hands to help clear the rubble so locals could re-build. It was one of the most humbling experiences we’ve ever had.  Check out all our travel stories from the Philippines to find out why we fell in love with this incredible country.

We’ve seen some spectacular beauty so far on our travels; in New Zealand we encountered towering volcanoes and sparkling emerald pools on the Tongariro Crossing; vast shimmering lakes surrounded by cloud-capped mountains in Queenstown and patchwork fields studded by lush rolling hills in Golden Bay. In Indonesia we were again awed by huge fiery volcanoes when we visited Mount Batur and Bromo and hit paradise when we washed up on the golden beaches of the Gili Islands. None of these sights, however, prepared us for the extreme beauty we discovered when we travelled through the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of the Philippines.

On arriving in the Philippines we headed straight for the beautiful island of Bohol in search of chocolate hills and tiny primates – here’s how we spent our whirlwind week on Bohol.

Ever since we left the Philippines it has been haunting us; we just can’t shake the nagging feeling that we have unfinished business there - that we simply left too soon.  We may have only spent three short weeks there but the wildness and the beauty of this incredible country, the challenges it presented us with and the adventures we had there have stuck with us in a big way. Of all the countries we’ve visited so far, I find the urge to return to the Philippines is the strongest – but why?