The Philippines is slowly gaining popularity in the international tourism stage. Its location in the Far East being separated from the Asian mainland makes it elusive. Thankfully, with better international connections, tourists from all over the globe are now starting to discover the real hidden gem in Southeast Asia.
With over 7200 islands (more and more islands keep popping up), the Philippines offers diversity that even the most travelled tourist would still be awestruck with finding new sights, doing new things and discovering new species. As an island nation, this country has one of the longest coastlines in the world making it a wonderful beach destination. In fact, just recently, the Philippines was awarded as “Asia’s Leading Beach Destination for 2018” at the World Travel Awards besting Thailand – a tourism giant in the region.
You’ve seen the pictures and if that is not enough to convince you to travel to the Pearl of the Orient Seas, here are 5 more reasons why you should.
The Philippines is cheap. A bottle of nice rum or gin is less than $2. A good local beer (big one at 1 liter locally called Mucho or Grande) is only 85 pesos or $1.50. Food is very affordable even in good restaurants. One full meal can cost between 4-10 dollars in most places. If you go to a local market, you’ll be amazed at how cheap seafood is. One kilo of scallops is less than a dollar, one big tuna is at $3.50 per kilo. Lobster, crabs and shrimps are typically more expensive but still way less in the Philippines than in many countries especially if you buy them fresh from the local market. A kilo of shrimp is usually at 250 pesos or $5 while crabs can be dirt cheap at $2 for the whole basket (probably 2 kilos or more).
Fruits and veggies are also dirt cheap in the Philippines. When it comes to flights and accommodations, there are really good deals out there if you know where to look. Chain hotels and resorts can be expensive but independent holiday home owners are everywhere and you can really find 5-star quality home for a cheap price. Overall, if you visit the Philippines, you are more likely to save more money than when you go to places like the Maldives without really compromising on quality.
The Philippines is beautiful and that is an understatement. The country is rich in natural resources so it is easy to stumble upon something nice even if you are not looking for it. In fact, more beautiful places are away from the touristy areas. Yes, the tourist spots are beautiful but there is always somewhere more beautiful, more exotic, more serene and pristine than where most people flock to. If you are brave enough to explore on your own further from the crowd, you will find your own beach paradise.
But it is not all about the beach in the Philippines. There are other beautiful places to see other than the coastlines. There are countless waterfalls, lakes, rivers, caves, valleys, hills and mountains to discover. The rugged landscapes offer different kinds of beauty all around and it gives something for every kind of tourists. Variety and diversity makes it more fun in the Philippines because it gives you a lot of options on what to do, where to go, and what to see. Whether you love the beach, a mountain or waterfalls, the country will bombard you with a lot of options to choose from.
If you love off-the-beaten path adventures, you will fall in love with the Philippines. Filipinos are fun-loving people and fun could mean cliff-jumping, extreme sports and activities, canyoneering, white water rafting, bungee jumping or zip lining. If you love to go and chase waterfalls or hike mountains, the Philippines will be your favourite playground. If you dare to go where most people won’t, the Philippines will reward you tremendously.
Staying in the most popular destinations like Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu are awesome but it also comes with the usual stress of overcrowding, high prices, and tourist traps (although it is not so bad compared to Thailand and other mainstream destinations). The country has more than 7200 islands, most of which are unexplored and uninhabited. There’s just too many other places to go to like the Mountain Provinces, Bicol region, Camiguin, Siquijor or Negros Oriental as recommended by travel websites such as Philippines Travel Package. The secret is, the more remote a place is, the more beautiful and exotic it is…
You may say that the Philippines is not so interesting because the western culture is prevalent everywhere but it is what actually makes it different from the rest of the region. In reality, the country is a melting pot of different cultures and races and that makes it more interesting because you just don’t know what to expect around the corner.
There are numerous churches and temples to visit, including the largest cathedral in Asia (Basilica of St. Martin de Tours in Taal). If you come closer and observe the locals, you will discover that the Filipino culture is still intact and widely practiced. Filipinos believe in a lot of superstitions. Their culture is a mix of the East and the West and you can see that in their cuisines. People speak numerous different languages/dialects but most are able to converse in English. The culture is what makes Filipinos tolerant and friendly.
Perhaps the very thing that will convince you to visit the Philippines either for the first time or many times over is the People. Filipinos are hospitable and they are the best hosts in the world. If you have a Filipino friend, you will certainly know this. Filipinos are one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Their fun-loving nature makes them good companions and you will never ever have shortage of food when you are traveling with a Filipino. When Filipinos throw a party, it is a festivity.
But what really makes Filipino people stand out is perhaps their resiliency. They still find tons of reasons to smile amidst adversities. They are not easily broken and this makes them capable of giving themselves to others even when they have nothing. If you visit a simple household, you will be offered the best meal they can afford and you will sleep in the best and most comfortable room in the house. The warmth of Filipino hospitality is just extraordinary.