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!
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!
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!
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!)
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.
If you watch a sunset you will compare it to this.
If you go diving after diving in the Philippines you will expect to see this.
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
- The Best Places to Stay in Palawan |Hotels and Hostels
- The Best Places to Stay in Boracay |Hotels & Hostels
- The Best Places to Stay in Cebu |Hotels & Hostels
- The Best Places to Stay in Manila | Hotels & Hostels
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