I am going to be visiting the Philippines in 10 days for 2 weeks and am looking for general ideas of what to do. I've looked up touristy things on various websites and so far think I will visit The Banaue Rice Terraces, go diving and to the beaches in Palawan, and possibly seeing the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. Some questions:
Should I even bother with Manila?
Any other places of interest?
Will I get by speaking English?
Good places to stay?
Any other advice?
IMHO Manila is not worth it unless you are into decadent shitholes (I actually am into shitty megalopolis so I kinda enjoyed it) then Cordillera (banaue, batad and sagada) and Palawan are musts. I didn't enjoy Bohol and I think in two weeks you should focus on the other two areas. Only if it matches your itinerary you can visit the things in Bohol but they might disappoint you
For diving the visayas are way better then palawan. Bohol has amazing diving in the south. In the north of cebu island there is a island called malapascua island. It's hard to reach but the thresher sharks are definitely worth it.
I went snorkling at Boracay about 11 years ago. pretty fucking neat. It was really good when I went there. The beaches were not as crowded as the recent stories my flip friends tell me. the night life was a bit lowkey and the hotel i was saying was really cheap. i've also been to the upper north of the country like Baguio city and the mountain clans and shit and I must say that those are really good places. everyone speaks broken english but you'll get a general sense of what they're saying.
other than that, from what I've heard, avoid the greater manila area like the plague if you don't want to get robbed (both from some goons robbing you at gunpoint and the fuck-all expensive prices). my friend went there last november and she was talking about how shit like fastfood chains were as, if not, more expensive than some cheesecake factory type of restaurant, but with half the average size of an American serving. you'll be bleeding out all your money in about a week unless you have somewhere to stay and eat at there or if you brought like $30,000+.