Reasons Why Not to Visit the Philippines

written by local expert Tom Rogers

Tom is the co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years, living in 5 different continents. His advice on travel gear, adventure travel, and business have been featured in Foundr, Business Insider, CNN and more.

For most backpackers and travelers, the Philippines isn’t part of the regular banana pancake (Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-Thailand) trail. In fact, a lot of people skip it all together since it isn’t connected by land to the rest of the Asian countries. So if you are traveling through Asia, this one is for you. I mean really, should you visit the Philippines?

Don’t Visit the Philippines if You Don’t like Happy People

Someone once told me that Filipinos are one of the happiest and friendliest people in the world. After traveling most of Asia, I didn’t think much of this because to me, everyone was pretty friendly. Boy, was I wrong. Here in the Philippines, everybody likes to smile. They also really like talking to you. I take my usual walk to work in the mornings, and without fail, I am greeted with “Good morning, sir” or “Hi sir”, accompanied with a friendly, warm smile. The fact that everyone speaks English is also a big plus as there are no language barriers.

No matter how well you know the person or what time of the day it is, majority of the time, if you come across someone who is eating, you will hear the words, “kain tayo!” which means “let’s eat”. I couldn’t understand this as first because as a foreigner who is used to people minding their own business and usually keeping their heads down, this was a strange world to walk into, for some at least. People take pride in their work here, and be it a guard, a receptionist, or a janitor, everyone is always so happy!

Honestly speaking, what sets the Philippines apart from the rest of the other Asian countries is the people. In fact, one of the reasons why I’m here is because of my lovely Filipina girlfriend who I met while traveling. She used to rave about the Philippines, convincing everyone that she met to come. Now that I am here, I completely understand why. So, if you would rather not smile, greet people you have never met before, and not share your food (ok, I do admit, the sharing of food part is tough when you’re a foodie like me!) then don’t come to the Philippines. However, if you want to meet some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world, please come on over and see for yourself!

Related: The Complete Guide to Traveling around the Philippines A group of local children posing

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Definitely Don’t Visit the Philippines if You Hate Beaches

Some people dislike the feeling of sand in between their toes. They hate the sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves as you lay on a little swinging hammock. It is well known fact that this country has world class beaches and I’m not just talking about the ones everyone knows about like Boracay or Palawan. Although these places are all stunning, I am talking about the hidden gems that are still unspoilt by commercialism. Quiet and serene places tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. And believe me, there are a lot of those here! After all, you have 7,107 islands to choose from!

So, if you don’t want to spend your day camping on a secluded island, eating (cheap) fresh seafood all day long (anyone fancy a ₤3 crab and scallop meal?), while you mingle with locals who always seem keen to give you a shot (tagay!), then don’t come to the Philippines. However, if you want to sail around unspoilt beaches with the clearest water that you can ever imagine, please, do come!

Related: 15 Photos that Prove Palawan is Paradise on EarthBoats moored on the beach

Don’t Visit the Philippines if You Don’t like Things Hot

Being from the UK, I am used to a week or maybe two (if we’re lucky) of summer heat. In the Philippines, that one or two weeks of sunshine, lasts pretty much all year round. Yes, you heard me, ALL YEAR ROUND! Although they also have a monsoon season, a little rain here and there is a good change to a climate that I could only describe as, the perfect beach weather.

Sadly, due to its geographical location, some storms that hit the Philippines can be pretty brutal. The environmental organization, German Watch, released the Global Climate Risk Index for 2015, which named the Philippines as one of the top countries affected by Climate change. However, even during these times of natural disaster, this country amazes me each time. Their resiliency is something that the Filipino people should be proud of. As they commonly say here, “The Filipino Spirit is Waterproof”. So if you hate having warm 30°C weather, then don’t come to the Philippines. However, if you enjoy the sunshine and prefer to spend your days basking in the sun rather than freezing your butt off, please, do come!  women on a beach

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Don’t Visit the Philippines if You Dislike Options

Another reason why not to come to the Philippines is if options confuse you, because quite frankly, here, they have it all. They have everything from world class beaches, to stunning mountains to hike, awesome waves to surf, along with caves and rice terraces to explore. Who wouldn’t love diving in crystal clear waters full of sea life? How about a built up city skyline for those of you who will always be city people at heart?

There is honestly, too much to choose from! Sometimes, I often catch myself thinking, “Do I go surfing or should I go hiking and finish off the day chilling by some waterfalls? Actually, I want to just chill in a local music bar and have a few cheap (₤1) cold beers?” It’s a hard life when you have lots to choose from. I mean, really, who wants a hard life?

So if having options complicate things for you, then don’t come to the Philippines. However, if you prefer having a wide variety of activities, from destinations to food, then please, do come. Did I mention you can get massages by the beach for ₤5? (Please tell me that by now you are already looking for flights!)View of mountain peaks

Don’t Visit the Philippines if You Want to Keep Your Expectations Low

I am merely being honest here, but in my opinion, after you visit and explore the Philippines your expectations for everything else in the future will be very high. In a way, it may ruin things for you as the beauty of this country is remarkable.So after coming to the Philippines, from now on…

If you think of a beach you will picture this. Two palm trees on the beach

If you watch a sunset you will compare it to this. Boats silhouettes at sunset

If you go diving after diving in the Philippines you will expect to see this.  Fish and the coral reef

Despite having lived in the country for almost a year, there is still so much about the Philippines that I want to learn more about. From the people, the islands, the food, and the culture, the Philippines has left me wanting more. Not yet convinced? Watch this awesome video from the Department of Tourism.

Check out our guides on the best places to stay around the Philippines

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Here are reasons why not to visit the Philippines, as if you needed any more!

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58 thoughts on “Reasons Why Not to Visit the Philippines”

  1. of course it does not show the beggars the rubbish on the beaches, the unhealthy water, the failing electrical supply , poor water supply, the shootings in the street, the horrendous traffic. the people living on the street, the poverty the corruption the roads that turn into dirt tracks as money has gone, the constant earthquakes and hurricanes, The constant demands for money, the differential pricing to foreigners. the garbled English, the appalling customer service, the planting of bullets to extort money at airports. the long queues at the airport, the lack of any public transport. the jeepneys fit only for hobbits.
    The lack of safe wiring, the fact that 1/3 of Filipinos go to bed hungry, the belief that foreigners are a cash coow, the constant noise from Loud karaoke machines at all times of day except in Davao. he list gees on.
    there are plenty of places in Asia that are far better and where the people are genuine in their friendliness.

  2. ohh.. i loved this article… by the way i was scarching for what things to do before going to philippines and i somehow ended up here in this article…i really like it… now m more excited to go there.. .thanx for everything. 🙂

      • i hv been wanting to ask u something… actually i hv a frnd in philippines, manila actually and thats the main reason m going to philippines. .so could u suggest me on which time of the year i should visit philippines so that we could enjoy the max beauty of the philippines….
        thanx for the link tho..

  3. base on your alias, you must had a terrible filipina companion. because being played for a fool will definitely alter the general output of any vacation. the truth is you can have a blast and awesome time in almost any vacation place as long as you’re with the right companion.

    because online dating allow people to meet online and the true intention will not be reviled until its too late you already on a foreign land, stuck with strange people.

    here’s a tip.

    you will know if you are with the right crowd, if they don’t ask you out for a meal and they will bring their whole family including their extended family so you can pay for their food.
    nice filipinoes will cook for you and we filinoes are proud of home cook meal “Lutong bahay”

    if you are are going out they will normally say “libre kita” i will treat you. or they will say KKB kanya knyang bayad. meaning pay for your own meal, unless you insist and bad companion will make you feel bad about not treating them.

    I normally take my friends from other country when they come to visit to Tingloy a small fishing island community. its not a commercial spot, so you wont see any peddlers asking you to buy friendship bracelet, massage, tour etc… this is so when they visit a tourist spot they will know the difference hehehe. anyways. good luck sir.

  4. Well, that s just Bullshit. Most happiest people on earth??haha. Most
    jealous, lying and racist people is the better explanation. There are
    some nice beaches though but it s very expensive and recently very
    dangerous in this country plus the pictures which are posted here are missing all the garbage and bad smell which is probably right next to that places. You better go to the neighbour countries
    unless you are looking for easy going girls. That s actually i think the
    main reason why people go there. Girls and not the so called nice
    beaches and the happy nice local people there (stay longer than for a
    week and you will find out). But find out by yourself…just always be
    aware cause it s really dangerous there

  5. I agree with Mrs K.
    Also I’d like to add, it doesn’t hurt being a fairly well off-wealthy not so bad looking white guy,with a British accent (you know, the accent everyone likes). Yeah Filipinos and virtually every other person,of Asian descent,seem to LOVE YOU! It wouldn’t matter where in the world you’re traveling to. If there are Asians, and you’re white, OF COURSE they’re going to be nice to you. This article is very one-sided. I’m a Latino man. How do you think I’d like it there? Would they extend to me that same warmness and hospitality ,they showed you ? It’s dubious.

    • Hey @hectortexidor:disqus I have personally traveled the Philippines with many of my foreign friends and have met many other backpackers of other racial descents who all agree that the Philippines has some of the friendliest locals. I’ve even met backpackers from South America who LOVED their time here. Don’t be so dubious man, instead, just come over to see it for yourself. 🙂

      P.S. It’s not all about looks, or accents. People will generally like you if you are a positive, nice, and genuine person!

  6. Ok… You got me! 😀 I was curious to see why I should NOT visit the Philippines while everyone around me tells me to go. And your article confirm everything I heard about this beautiful small country 🙂

  7. Oh, that video. The problem is languange barrier, people living in there are mostly uneducated or did not finish schooling. They know very little English/basic English, and if they can’t express their point to someone, they tend to do body language. If they see big people, they say fat -let’s admit it, the lady from the video is suffering obesity. (For the record, if you are a plus size you really need to pay double, just like in Airlines.) That’s why she finds it rude.
    Anyway, I’m happy you are living in heaven now, a perfect and peaceful place with no negativity. All is bliss. Perfect Paradise! (Okay, that’s rude of me. I just want to tell you there’s no perfect place. Even Europe, US etc. have those kind of areas. Lol.)
    What’s so nice here in Ayala? Really? City landscapes? It’s boring here. Rather than car racing or shooting range, I would always prefer Nature.
    And for the record, since you are also a Filipino, the lady in the video disgust you as well. No exemptions. The fault of one is everyones burden. Doesn’t make you any superior, no matter where you are now. Funny, isn’t? Lol.

  8. This is one of the most rediculous articles I’ve ever read. The title is accurate but the article is false. First of all, happy people? Nope, Filipinos are rude and only nice if they consider you a meal ticket. Beautiful beaches? Maybe in a few high priced tourist spots, otherwise the beaches are dirty and poluted. Often they smell of raw sewage. Don’t visit if you keep your expectations low? Laughable to say the least. Basically if you plan to visit the Philippines after reading this article, lower your expectations A LOT. Want to go someplace actually worthwhile and clean, with the amenities, niceties and medical care of a first world country, stay away from the Philippines. If you enjoy polution, raw sewage, traffic, thieves, crooks, peddlers, no personal space, 1 star accommodations, diarrhea and rude people, by all means, enjoy the Philippines.

    • I’m sorry you feel this way. I am from the Philippines and yes, just like every other country it has its bad sides but none the less, the Philippines is still a beautiful country. I would rather disagree with your comment on the beaches. Have you been to places like Siargao? Palawan? Dumaguete? Siquijor? There are LOADS of different islands and beaches in the Philippines that stunning.

      The Philippines has never claimed to have medi care compared to a first world country and if you have traveled anywhere in Asia, you would know that the same goes for the other countries within the region. How ironic that you hate the Philippines so much to an extent that you had to create a profile claiming it. Anyways, to each his own.

    • And the reasons for all your negative feedbacks? I pity you. You probably lived in Metro Manila or QC, etc. where all the bad things you share about is centered there. You’ve probably been bullied all your life that you keep reiterating that they are rude. I pity you because you keep SO MUCH hatred in your heart you are BLINDED by it. But I am happy that you no longer live in the country who gives you so much trouble in life. But don’t be too hard, you talk like an uneducated/immature individual. Learn to find forgiveness in your heart.
      I say for others, just stay away from the Capital of the Philippines, Metro Manila. Go to Cebu, Davao, Batanes (Best Place for Relaxation, Zero Crime Rate), Palawan, Ilocos, etc. You’ll experience the best from the country. Warning: Philippines is a country meant for Adventurers and not for City lovers or people who love to slack off.

      • 1) You shouldn’t pity me. You should pity the poor and impoverished people of the Philippines.
        2) I did not live in any metro area, I actually lived in a resort area.
        3) I actually found parts of Manila, like the Ayala area delightful and the tourist areas are often nice but that just sort of proves my point. The only places that are “nice” both aesthetically and in regards to people’s attitudes are places that consider others as meal tickets.
        4) In regards to being bullied and that causing me to find people rude. Rude people bully. You’re making my point for me once again.
        5) sadly, I have to visit often, which probably makes it seem much worse to me than if I never left. Leaving and coming back helped me realise how bad it is.
        6) If calling me and defining uneducated/immature as not having “forgiveness in my heart” helps you sleep better at night, then so be it. Glad to help but for me, you just went into the funny fanatic range.
        7) Adventure is the perfect word to use. Bravo. Again, here’s a recent link about a tourists recent holiday to one of the “paradise” vacation areas. sounds like she had a great adventure in Palawan. Great recommendation you gave.

  9. You forgot to add “Don’t come here if you want safe, clean ferries” and “Don’t come here if you want enjoy your vacation and not be asked if you’re married by every person you meet!” and “Don’t come here if you want to meet any other travelers” and “Don’t come here without a set plan, because you WILL get stuck on an island where there is literally nothing to do”. I can think of a million reasons not to go to the Philippines.

  10. For me i live in Europe but i born in the Philippines, all what i wanted to say here is that every place in the world has the lack of safety everywhere.
    Negative things have everywhere, either in Asia or Europe either in America. but all i wanted to say is that my country i consider it paradise as we are rich of nature and living things. compare to any other place in Europe or America they are rich of technology and whatever illusion existed of this world. they all have that while in the Philippines we almost have everything to survive like fresh food and fresh natural water nice forest nice mountain and beaches and so on. so guys i think Philippines is you can’t compare to any other places in world if you been around though. Philippines is 1 million better than other places not because I born there in i am filipina but because i compare it to any other place i been in Europe or in America. corrupted Government you say? well i just wanted to tell you guys watch Europe now and United state and tell me? even we had such an corrupted government tell me if we are not eating fresh food? while in Europe you eat all shit frozen things and all food with chemicals, well anyway, I love this person who advertised the Philippines, and i really agree that Philippines is more better than other, well of course being foreigner live there must be pay in ass because its too complicated but also being in Europe is even complicated as we are not Eu will think about that guys before saying negative things to the country that you never been, almost all the foreigner i know they all fall in love in our country and they all live there. if you ever never been there, and if you don’t want to come there better shut your mouth and don’t say anything as you can never imagine how beautiful that place are. and i truly admit except the center which called Manila is terrible even me i don’t like it there, but going to every island is wonderful that you must experience.

  11. Hello please can you let me know from were it would be best to travel to Philippines. From. Vietnam / Cambodia or Thailand. Thanks

    • Hi @juliabusuttil:disqus there are cheap flights from Thailand and Cambodia. Best to check Cebu Pacific as they often have promo flights. We hope you do make it out here! Let us know if you need tips on where to go! 🙂

  12. You need time on your hands to really enjoy these 7000 islands – I would recommend travelling around by water …the only real way to truly see islands. The local banca boats are ideal and link you up with the remoter islands. I have travelled to 50 countries and my favourite is the Philippines – as you say, full of a people friendly beyond compare. Over 200 volcanoes make for spectacular scenery … but to travel around takes time and patience. Palawan has 1/4 of all the islands in the country and has only 1% of the population.

  13. Philippines definitely is a MUst visit destination at least once in a lifetime, please don’t miss it, every country has its good and bad but nature has blessed the ever happy Filipinos, look at all the good and feel blessed yourselves,

  14. The Filipino people are warm and very friendly, I, myself lived for 7 years long in Siquijor- Island , one of the most beautiful Islands in the PH and in other Places in the PH. if you RESPEKT the Filipinos and their Lifestyle and do not so many criticism, you will have a great Vacation !!!

  15. i would like to travel a lot in the my country Philippines……. many peope around the world like my country… hope u enjoy travel here in the Philippines…

  16. Hmmm…nice article but its all from a tourist perspective. Living in PH and visiting PH is two totally different things. Its a hard life in PH and as someone mentioned below the corrupt government and the system is terrible among many other things that you would only know once you live here permanently. Nice as tourist destination though when you know you can get on a plane after a while and escape all the annoyances.

    • Precisely. Just come back in February from a 2-month stay but boy oh boy, I dread going there BUT for my family. Yes we have BEAUTIFUL beaches and so VARIED places to go to, but one must prepare himself for very COMMON annoyances and of course the LACK of safety.

    • We agree to a certain sense. Both of us actually live here for now, and yes, as in every country, it has its good and bad points. We wrote this article from a perspective meant to promote tourism, and hopefully somehow help the Philippine economy by capitalising on something that it is rich on..its natural resources! 🙂 Thanks for giving it a read though.

          • Strangely and as is usually the case here with Canadian news-reporting: it was only mentioned twice in one day on the news and seemed to be dropped after this? Fact is: Canadian Government institutions are typically very ‘slack’ here in following up and taking action, whenever their citizens are in distress and in dire need of help somewhere ‘overseas’! The Aljazeera news-reporters with Canadian citizenship, who where innocent, but held in Egypt for a couple of years on stupid and unfounded terrorist charges and where just pardoned last week, without their efforts, where a typical example of that! Anyway, are staying there permanently? If so, maybe you can get me some more info?

          • Yeah come visit and see families living on the sides of the road and men peeing wherever and small children filthy and running around naked in public. Also please enjoy the noxious odors and sweltering heat/humidity.

    • It’s an article for tourists, ma’am. I know how you feel about our country, but isn’t it nice that foreigners still love our country despite what the media is showing them? I loved the article; it showcases not only tourist spots, but also our culture.

  17. thank you for promoting the Ph. yes you can expect great things from the ph, but i warn you ph is not a perfect country. the govt here and their system sucks. so be patience and be careful when dealing with govt offices.

  18. Thanks for promoting our country…but I want to correct the name of the falls in the picture.. It is Tumalog Falls Cebu… Hehe… They might ask this in the future… We are really one of the best country when it comes to people and nature…

  19. Okay guys you’ve convinced me, haha. Great insight to somewhere which many rave about.

    Bizarrely I’ve never quite made it to The Philippines, yet! I was nearly there in 2000 however due to a spate of kidnappings going on we changed plans and went to Langkawi instead.

    I have met numerous Filippino people and it is true that they always seem happy to see you.

    I hope to make it there sometime soon. Enjoy.


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