THE PHILIPPINES ~ WITH MIA TANINAKA
We’ve long followed the career of artist Mia Taninaka and her adventures with her man Jasson Salisbury and their son Ziggy. The trio visited the Philippines before the birth of their second little boy, Taro, for one last holiday as a family of three. The family spent their time chilling in hammocks, watching the sunset, canoeing, swimming until dark, laughing, eating plenty of mangoes, drinking coconuts and exploring all of the natural beauty the Philippines has to offer. Mia shares her experience with The Travelling Tribe.
You recently visited the Philippines with your man Jasson and son Ziggy. Can you tell us a little bit about where you went?
We were in Bali when we spontaneously decided to have a little babymoon in the Philippines. It turned out our good friends were also headed there so we planned to meet up. We flew from Bali to Singapore to Cebu and finally into Siargao [Island] and spent most of our time relaxing and exploring General Luna, a sleepy little surf town.
After that we took a [very slow] longboat over to the Sorocco Islands for some serious island vibes and maximum relaxation.
Did you have your accommodation booked or did you just wing it?
Usually we’re fond of the ‘wing it and see what happens’, however this time, our friends had been there multiple times so they booked everything and we just came along for the ride. Both places were found on Airbnb, so they felt very homely and were fully self-contained which is a must when travelling with kids! In General Luna, we stayed in a beautiful, large house by the water and then in Sorocco, we lucked into the most amazing private bungalow resort, which had it’s own blue lagoon.
Nice! What was the absolute highlight of the trip for you?
Watching Ziggy. He was full of excitement and wonder. It was so lovely to watch him grow into a little boy, so in awe of his dad. They would go off on little adventures while I [30 weeks pregnant) lay around in the hammock, and Ziggy would come back each time with a new story about what he’d done, what he’d seen, heard or tasted. It was great to see him so inspired, and I know the travel seed has been deeply planted in him and he'll have a lifetime of amazing adventures ahead.
Were there any challenges while travelling through the Philippines with Ziggy?
Ziggy is an amazing traveller. He’s been doing it regularly since he was two months old so we never have many issues with him. My main challenge, which comes up a lot depending on what country we’re in, is always the food. In this case, we found it really hard to get good quality vegetarian meals. Luckily fresh fruit was in constant supply, so he happily ate a mainly fruit and rice diet for a couple of weeks!
Was it easy to get around and did you have a car or motorbike for the family?
It was fairly easy to get around, but pretty expensive. For larger journeys, we would hire a driver for the day, but for getting around town we hired a ‘family wagon’ motorbike. Basically it was a motorbike with a cart on the side so we managed to fit four adults and two kids pretty comfortably.
Any tips you can share for families travelling through the Philippines with kids in tow?
I think travelling anywhere with kids is mental [laughs] but a lot of fun. Preparation is key - snacks, water, crayons, more snacks, a small toy, spare clothes and a sarong or blanket. As long as they’re comfy, can entertain themselves and are well fed then they should be a dream however, always expect the worst then you will always feel like it went well!
We did a lot of transiting [planes, airports, buses, boats, vans] and I found that as long as the kids were comfortable and well fed, they were happy to go along for the ride and enjoy the adventure.
What is a must-do when visiting the Philippines with your tribe?
Explore all of the beautiful beaches; the water is the clearest, bluest water I’ve seen. There are caves, lagoons and rock pools so there's endless exploring for the little ones. I’m so keen to go back there soon and see more of the Philippines.
Did you cook your food or eat out? Any recommendations?
We did both. Eating out was never amazing, especially after coming from Bali! However this could be due to the lack of vegetarian/vegan options. But thanks to a friend who lives there, we were able to find some gems. In General Luna, definitely check out Shaka Café as they make delicious smoothie bowls, perfect pre or post-surf meals. The pizzas at Froggys were also delicious.
After GL, we stayed at a beautiful low-key private resort, which had a great outdoor kitchen so every couple of days, the staff would head to the local market by boat and pick up various fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. They would collect and grate fresh coconuts every morning so we could make milk for our mango smoothies and barbecue fresh fish over hot coals. Those meals were easily my favourites. Homemade is always best, I think.