Picture traveling to a country of more than 7,000 tourist-worthy islands with less than 20 days to explore and but a backpack to carry your belongings. It usually causes preoccupation—the short period of time, the cramped space of your bag, the general brevity of things amid the possibilities of a massive life experience unfolding.
But for brothers Ihab Itawi and Bahaa El Itaoui, casual voyagers who came all the way from the Arabian Peninsula to spend 16 days in the Philippines, the story was different. Their trip wasn’t to be marked by restriction. The limitations were present, but they weren’t there to limit them.
Backpacking from Dubai, the brothers went on a succession of sojourns in Manila, Palawan (Puerto Princesa and El Nido), Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor, and Boracay, where they maximized minutes trekking, snorkeling, and leaping off cliffs and waterfalls for big air and even bigger splashes. The only thing we didn’t like about their trip was the part where they visited Oslob. We continue to discourage everyone from seeing the whale sharks in Oslob until they switch to sustainable tourism practices.
The briefness of their two-week expedition allowed for nothing but the essentials: their presence, the adventures, and a handy Sony action camera to chronicle everything.
Ihab’s four-minute video paints the Philippines, with its divine beaches and landforms, not just as a traditional region of natural beauty but—thanks to his shots taken at the local night pub—also as a modern jungle where party animals can get down when the music is turned up.
Philadelphia is said to be the City of Brotherly Love, but it was in a different “Philly” Ihab and Bahaa discovered a revitalized sense of brotherhood (not just of blood but also of spirit, the adventurous kind). This renewed bond of brothers now resonates with a sound promise the two are bent to keep: “Because it’s more fun in the Philippines, we will be back again.”