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American Samoa need Department of Tourism overhaul!

American Samoa Tourism needs a major overhaul and the problem is within the island, not outside. The reality is that the government is just not that serious about tourism and do not see a future in having people come to the island on vacation. This is sad at best. Read more

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Sadie’s by the Sea in Pago Pago, American Samoa Review

I stayed for a night at Sadie’s by the Sea in Pago Pago. It was a nice place that I would call a three star hotel. It is not really a resort but it is pretty nice by American Samoan standards. It is also worth noting stating that I did not sleep there. My experience is limited to the restaurant and bar. More the restaurant really; I do not drink. Read more

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Finding Tacos in American Samoa

I came across an article about a DIY Taco Crawl in Florida so what would be the tacos crawl of American Samoa? Let’s take a look.

If you like Mexican food and you happen to be in American Samoa, your options will be somewhat limited to tacos. However, there are some options that I know of.

If you are looking for real Mexican food and you are on island, you will be sad to know that only tacos are your option. This could be subject to change as American Samoans move home from time to time and open restaurants. Something could have popped up since I left the island. It is worth asking someone living on island for the latest. Read more


Milagrosa Ferry from Iloilo to Palawan

Are you looking to go from Boracay to Palawan via Iloilo. The good news is that you can do it with Milagrosa Shipping. The bad news is you will be in a very long ferry trip. It is really two trips on the same boat with a day trip to Cuyo, Palawan.

With the challenges of flying (via Manila), you might be just as well off to look at the ferry. It is a adventure but that is why backpackers are in the Philippines. This is no Hawaii, after all. (Note: there is a flight from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa on Cebu Pacific now.) 

Why I recommend the Milagrosa Shipping trip over a flight

I could give you a few reasons but these two are the main ones that would interest most people.

  • A free day trip to Cuyo Island
  • Two free nights of a place to sleep

Think of this way: you are paying P500 a night for a place to stay normally. If you save P1000 there alone; your trip is only between P100 and P500 to start with. That is very cheap. It you add in a side trip to Cuyo on top of that and you are really getting a great deal in my opinion.

As far as prices goes, (I know that interest everyone) the lowest class starts at around P850 then each class goes up P150 until P1400. I normally get the “tourist class” for P1,215. It is nicer and fully air conditioned.

The only real downside to the ferry is you leave at eight in the evening and arrive at Cuyo at nine the next morning. You continue on to Puerto Princesa at three in the afternoon and arrive in Palawan at around nine the next morning. As I said, it is a long trip.

How to get the Milagrosa Shipping ferry to Palawan

If you are coming from Boracay (most people would be), you will grab a Cere Liner to Iloilo. The bus will stop at the new Cere Liner terminal in Jaro. From there, grab a jeepney going downtown. After you are there on the main road, get a jeepney to Lapaz area and tell them Milagrosa or “Palawan ferry.” They know it.

Note: If you are coming for Bacolod City in Negros, the new ferry terminal is just around the corner from them. It is maybe 100 meters or so. It is not far at all.

Once you get to the terminal, just go over to the office and wait for one of the boys working to come in to sell you a ticket. Just fill out the form, pay the fare and wait until it is time to board. Simple as that.

Check out my article on CNN’s iReport on Palawan. 

Some basic tips for the Ferry from Iloilo to Palawan

As I said, it is a long trip so I would stop at Robinson’s Place in downtown Iloilo and pick up some food for the trip at the Supermarket. They have most things and you can get some good snacks for the long trip. Something getting stuff in Cuyo will be a challenge.

Another thing I would do (and do each time) is load up on stuff to read or movies to watch. The tourist class does have electricity in it so you can catch if you need to. I normally read a book on my Kindle along the trip. Killing two birds with one stone.

The last thing I would suggest is bring some medicines if you get seasick as this is a very long trip. It is better to be prepared than not. Remember the Boy Scout’s motto!

What about this Cuyo Island?

Cuyo PalawanCuyo is honestly one of my favorite places in the Philippines and it is coming along quite nicely. It is what it is: a small and remote island chain in the Sulu Sea. This is why it is a charm…. it is hard to get to. There is not the demand for air traffic so only the committed traveler even make here beside people passing through on the Milagrosa Shipping ferry.

My suggestion is walk down the beachfront to Nikki’s Pension. They have a little restaurant that is full of meals for less than a dollar and it is a great place to chill. They even have wifi or did the last time I was there. I think they can even rent you a motorbike to run around the island.

The other thing you might want to do is get online at the internet cafe. You can walk to the next block and use the cafe at Feroland Hotel. It seems to be the one with the strongest connection!

Lastly, if you forgot something at Iloilo, there is a small general store (they call it the supermarket) that you can find basic options for the rest of the trip.

All in all, Cuyo is a nice place to break the overly long sailing experience up. I love to wonder around with my camera and take pictures.

Update as of March 2016: the internet in Cuyo is very bad and there is nothing PLDT wants to do to fix it. Wifi was worse than dailup.

Have you made this trip recently?

If you have taken the ferry from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa, Palawan (or the way back); let me know any new details. I would also love to hear your experiences as well. It is a long trip but in my opinion, it is worth it to stay around from the airport in Manila. No one comes to the Philippines to see the airports.

Also, if you have questions, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

I recently took the trip again and here is a Vlog from that trip! Thank you, Milagrosa Shipping.

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Cost U Less in American Samoa is a life saver!

There is no Wal-Mart, Target, or K-Mart in American Samoa. In fact, there is only a Costco type store in the territory known as Cost U Less. (There is also one in Fiji). It is nothing special and many American Samoans feel it is Cost U More due to their pricing structure. However, without an ID to use the military PX, options are very limited in American Samoa. Read more


Post Office in American Samoa is amazing!

I do not know about you but I love the US Post Office in American Samoa. The reason is because one thing that is very hard to do is get packages when you live in a remote island. I just love having the US economy at my fingertips. If you need to know, Wal-Mart does deliver to American Samoa for free! Read more


American Samoa Immigration is different.

American Samoa is part of the United States but American Samoa Immigration is not. They operate outside the of the national system to a degree (as well as American Samoa customs). For most people, this does not matter as the basic laws apply in American Samoa. Read more


BlueSky American Samoa has wifi on island!

If you are needing to get online while in American Samoa, your best bet would be to use the wifi cards offered by BlueSky American Samoa. They have developed it over the last few years. It is not the fastest in the world but it does work and it is unlimited. That is not common in the South Pacific. Read more


Taking the public bus in American Samoa

If you do not own a car or rent one, you will need to use the public bus in American Samoa. This is doable but there are some serious limitations that you will need to know about. I used the buses many times and if you know where you are going and what time of the day it is, it works out pretty well. Read more