People often ask me why I chose The Philippines as one of my favorite travel destinations. My response is usually different each time, as there are many reasons why I love this country so much.
Why Is The Philippines One Of My Favorite Travel Destinations?
The Philippines has thousands of beautiful Islands with world-class beaches to explore, fantastic diving sites, some of the world’s natural wonders, excellent food, and everything is affordable for a budget backpacker. Also, it has tons of modern shopping malls, cheap airfare, lot’s of cafes and coffee shops, English is spoken everywhere, and my favorite is the friendly people!
The Philippines Is One Of The Friendliest Countries That I Have Ever Visited.
I was very fortunate to spend six weeks in The Philippines a few years ago. I was amazed at how friendly the people were. It didn’t matter where I was people would always come up to talk with me. The people made me feel very welcomed. Locals would ask me where I was from and if I liked their country.
Although I was traveling alone, It rarely ever felt that way. I recall going on an excursion in Palawan, and because I was alone, the organizers grouped me in a boat with a family. Within minutes they made me feel like I was part of their gang. We shared a lot of laughs and told a lot of stories while exploring The Underground River.
On another occasion, I was in Davao City searching for a coffee shop that had an expresso machine. When I finally did find one, it was closed. The owner was inside the shop and invited me to come back later in the evening for free coffee and to meet his church group. It was great, I got to have coffee and meet some great locals. I still keep in contact with some of them today.
I had several experiences like this. It didn’t matter where in the country I went I would make new friends every day.
Affordable For Budget Backpackers
The Philippines is very affordable for budget travelers. A hostel in Manilla will cost around $8USD/night, and a budget hotel will cost around $20USD/night. There are a lot of different affordable options for food. And if you are not a fan of the local cuisine there are a lot of choices for Western-style foods.
Taxis and buses are inexpensive as well. If you decide to take a public bus or a Jeepney, then make sure you mind your belongings! This form of transportation is often overcrowded and a perfect place for pickpockets! (See 10 Safety Tips For Travelers). The passenger part of a Jeepney is not enclosed so it’s possible somebody could pick your pocket, purse, or backpack from outside the vehicle. Please stay alerted at traffic lights or when the Jeepney is in slow traffic. (If you are in Manilla traffic will always be at a crawl).
The easiest and sometimes the cheapest way to explore the Philippines is by flying. There are a few budget airlines Philippine Airlines, AirAsia Zest, Cebu Pacific Air.(Click the links for prices) One-way tickets range from $50-$150USD and sometimes cheaper if you book a few weeks in advance.
The first time I went to The Philippines I arrived in Manilla at 4 a.m., and I had been awake for almost 24hours. The last thing I wanted to do was venture out into a massive overcrowded and unfamiliar city. So I found a safe corner in the airport and slept a few hours.
At around 7:00 a.m. I went to the Cebu Pacific ticket office and asked the sales clerk if there were any affordable last minute tickets to Bohol, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan, or Legaspi. She told me that a flight to Bohol was only $110 USD. I quickly handed her my credit card, she booked the ticket, printed and told me to run fast to the gate! Before noon I was able to start my Philippines experience on a beautiful, and relaxing Island instead of a fast-paced city for only an extra $110. Try booking a last minute flight like that in North America and see what happens!
The Philippines is home to some of the world’s best diving sites. I have only gone diving in El Nino Palawan. The visibility was clear, and a one tank dive was fairly inexpensive, around $40USD. Some other famous places to dive in The Philippines are Subic Bay, Moalboal(South of Cebu), and the Island of Coron has a lot of famous shipwreck dives. There are so many great places to go diving in The Philippines.
The Philippines has over 7 thousand Islands. Of all those islands the most famous beaches seem to be on the Island of Boracay, Aklan. I meet a lot of Filipinos when I’m at home in Canada. If I tell them that I have visited The Philippines, they will usually ask me if I have visited their most loved White Beach on Boracay. Fortunately, I can tell them yes, and that I agree it’s a beautiful place.
If you want to visit this Filipino gem, you can book a cheap flight with any of the airline carriers that I mentioned in the budget airline section. Budget hostels can be a bit costly especially in the high season, but fortunately, there are some hostels there at reasonable prices. Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com or Hostelbookers.com.
The Philippines has several of the world’s natural wonders. In the north, there is The Mayon Volcano in Legaspi, The Hundred Islands near Alaminos City, and The Taal Volcano Crater. In the South part, there is the Island of Palawan which has the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River and the Islands of El Nido. The Southern Island of Bohol has the famous Chocolate Hills.
There are also a lot of human-made wonders including The Rice Terraces in Banaue, and The Hanging Coffins of Sagada. You can rest assure if you visit The Philippines there will be no shortage of sites to see.
If you like seafood, you are bound to love the Filipino cuisine. Aside from rice as being one of the main staple foods, seafood seems to be a big part of most Filipino food dishes. But if you are like me and do not like seafood don’t worry. The Philippines has so many Western restaurants and great coffee houses that sometimes I feel as if I’m still home in Canada.
If you’re homesick or just need a break from seeing all the amazing tourist attractions in the country, you can go to one of many modern shopping malls. Both Manila and Cebu seem to have Airconditioned shopping malls everywhere.
I ended a five-month trip around South East Asia in Cebu, and I found it an excellent transition to be able to visit a mall before I went home. I tend to feel a bit homesick after four months of traveling and find it refreshing to eat some western food and catch a few movies at a fraction of the price I would pay in Canada.
After this six week visit, I could understand why Filipino people are known for being some of the friendliest on earth. I’m looking forward to going back to The Philippines soon.
If you have any questions about The Philippines or traveling, in general, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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