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reasons to visit the philippines where is tara povey irish travel blog


Recently I’ve had a lot of people ask me whether or not they should visit the Philippines. Having spent a lot of time there over the past few months, my answer is easy; YES. Everyone should visit. Here’s 25 reasons to visit the Philippines.

1) Calamansi fruit. Basically it looks like a tiny lime. It goes great as a dressing or squeezed into your rum and coke BUT it’s best as a plain calamansi juice. Super refreshing!

2) Jungle disco. Deep in the heart of tropical paradise, Siargao, you will find the local openair nightclub. It’s cheap, fun and always wild.

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Amazing flavours

3) Rum is extremely cheap in the Philippines. There’s Tanduay or Boracay. A large bottle of Boracay will cost you less than £2, and it tastes good too! Tanduay is cheaper than any mixer so it’s guaranteed to be strong if you order it in a bar. I’ve had to request more coke a few times. Definitely one of the best reasons to visit the Philippines.

4) People speak English!! Pretty much everyone speaks some English, no matter how small the town. In fact, a lot of people speak perfect English.  It really does make travelling easier.

5) Beaches. The Philippines has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The book, “The Beach”, was actually inspired by a beach in the Philippines,  not Thailand.

6) If the Pope can visit the Philippines then you can too!

7) Jollibee; The Philippines main fastfood chain. They serve fastfood with a Filipino twist. In fact, they are more popular than McDonalds in the Philippines! Why are you depriving yourself of this delicious convenience food. Get to the Philippines!

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Private island anyone?

8) Islands. The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands. They all look like a postcard perfect tropical paradise. For my birthday I went island hopping in Siargao and had an island to myself for a few hours. In fact, Palawan island has been voted the best island in the world. Surely you have to see that?! As if this wasn’t enough, there’s more reasons to visit the Philippines.

9) Carabao races. Carabao are much like water buffalo. Races are held for entertainment. Anyone who wants to ride, can. The rider is plied with alcohol during the race. It’s wild and fun and like nothing you’ll experience anywhere else. Be prepared for a few falls though!

10) Sea food. I hate seafood, but if you like it you will LOVE the Philippines. Because everything is an island, there’s easy access to excellent sea food and fish everywhere.

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Mango pancakes!!

11) Mangos. I have never had a more ripe and tasty mango than I had in the Philippines. Perfect. Trust me.

12) Choco mucho bars. Local chocolate bar. Extremely cheap. SO GOOD. You must try! I would have stocked up before I left if I trusted myself not to just eat them all.

13) Tricycles are the local form of transport. It’s essentially a motorbike with a large side car for passengers. So much fun. Even more so if you have to sit on the back of the bike while everyone else is in the side car. Also, unbelievably cheap!

14) Jeepneys are another amazing thing you’ll only find in the Philippines! They are old military vehicles that the Americans left to the Filipino people after WW2. They are used as public transport and are often brightly painted. Cheap and easy transport. Another one of the endless reasons to visit the Philippines.

15) You can get a tattoo from the last traditional Kalinga tattoo artist, Whang Od. It’s a long trek up into the mountains but it is something you can only experience in the Philippines and is worth the expedition. Whang Od has been tattooing warriors from her village for over 60 years. If you’re a tattoo collector, this is where you need to go.

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Big Friendly Giant!

16) Swimming with whale sharks is an activity that draws a lot of people to the Philippines and it’s something I can personally recommend. This was one of the best experiences of my life and it’s so inexpensive. Just one of the many reasons to visit the Philippines.

17) Diving in the Philippines is excellent. Apo reef near Coron boasts some of the most beautiful diving in the world. If you like wreck diving you will love the WW2 wrecks around Coron where penetration of the wreck is allowed. In Malapascua you can dive with thresher sharks. In Boracay you can see Manta rays. Diving is more fun in the Philippines. You can also learn to freedive in Cebu too!

18) If you surf then the Philippines is a great place to head. The island of Siargao is well known for it’s break at Cloud 9! Get your board, get on a flight and get in the water!

19) The people of the Philippines are gorgeous. With their dark hair, constant tan, and warm smiles the Filipino people are beautiful. No wonder they’ve managed to win Miss Universe and Miss World and Miss international (several times). If you’re single you’ll probably end up falling in love with everyone you meet.

20) Like other countries in Asia, the Philippines is pretty cheap! You can eat a good meal for less than £1. You can get a double room in a guest house for less than £7 a night, between two. You do not need to budget much for a trip to this beautiful place.

21) Flights to and from or in and around the Philippines can be extremely cheap if you use local airlines such as Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Just last week I booked a flight from Manila to Sydney, Oz for £20. I also managed to book an internal flight from Cebu to Manila for 1peso, which is about 2p. Amazing, right?! As if you needed more reasons to visit the Philippines.

22) One of the best parts about the Philippines is that it is still itself. It has not been destroyed by tourism. In comparison to other parts of Asia it is relatively untouched. It feels more authentic. If the crowds of Thailand or Bali horrify you then this is one of the main reasons to visit the Philippines!

23) No pesky slips of paper to keep in your passport for 30 days. The Philippines offers a visa on arrival which you don’t have to pay for! Unlike most countries in Asia it’s stamp only. No need to worry about a slip of paper falling out of your passport for your entire holiday. Very convenient.

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The Black Pearl!

24) Shopping. Three of the biggest malls in the world are located in Manila! Also, even at markets tourists are not hassled by stall owners as is often the case in other countries. In the Philippines you are free to weave between the stalls and browse in peace. I recommend buying pearls. They are incredibly cheap. That’s right ladies, get booking those flights.

25) It’s pretty much always warm. If it’s rainy season on one island, catch an internal flight to another one and it will be dry season! The average temperature is around 26 degrees C . What more could you want?

There you have it, my 25 reasons to visit the Philippines. Well, if that isn’t enough then I give up!! I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in the Philippines but I was so pleasantly surprised that I had to share with you what I found. I’ve met so many wonderful people there. I cannot wait to go back. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Interested in the Philippines? Then make sure you check out this article by The Crowded Planet about things to do in Bohol.  Also have a read of my guide to Legazpi, including videos of my adventure there .


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38 Responses

  1. Aileen

    You make me miss the Philippines so much Tara -cries-
    Seriously, your list is awesome! Most of which is what I miss back home! And ughhhh, especially the mangoes!!!! I would do anything to get and taste one right now!

    Reply
  2. Hayley

    OK so now I HAVE to go there. I was umming and ahhing over whether to add this to the wishlist for the upcoming trip (starting TODAY! ARGH!) but now there’s just no question. Thanks for the inspiration, Tara! You have a new reader in me 🙂

    Reply
    • Tara

      Hahah. Nice to meet you Hayley! This is such an awesome comment. Glad to have you as a reader 😉 so excited for your trip! You will have the best time! X

      Reply
  3. Nina Travels

    The Philippines are one of my favorite travel destination. I love the people, their kindness… And I could not agree, it is so easy to travel around because most of them speak ery good English. My favorite part of the Philippines was the Banaue rice terraces tour – love the scenery!
    And funny you out calamansi juice on #1 – it was my favorite too 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jaimee

    I’m in the Philippines right now 🙂 I went swimming with whale sharks yesterday too. But in Donsol, not Oslob. Staying in a really nice resort on the beach for 500 pesos a night, stunning sunsets here!

    Reply
  5. Sally Munt

    I am currently in Boracay, I love the Philippines. And now I have learned to spell it… one L, double P! They definitely have the best mangos and beaches in the world!

    Reply
  6. Jess

    After reading this The Philippines are definitely going on my to- do list! It sounds like you had an amazing time

    x

    Reply
    • Tara

      Hi Jess,

      I did indeed have an amazing time 🙂
      So glad it’s on your to do list now. It’s such an awesome place.

      Happy travels!

      Tara xx

      Reply
  7. Lindsay

    Mangoes… MMMMM!
    Over 7100 islands, wow I didn’t know there that many. I’d definitely go for the diving. My dream is to swim with whale sharks <3 how many did you swim with?? You're so lucky, most divers spend their entire lives waiting for that magical moment. 🙂

    Xo

    Reply
    • Tara

      Hi Lindsay!

      There were about 3 or 4 of the whale sharks. They’d come and go as they liked so numbers changed. But there’s always at least one or two there. Such a cool experience! I hope you get to do it soon 🙂

      Tara x

      Reply
      • Lindsay

        Sounds magical. I’ve heard they like making eye contact with you, then and manta rays….
        Do you know if they came to the surface to feed or is it their breeding grounds where you swam with them?
        I’m sure the sheer size of them was just astounding. Any juveniles you could see??

        I’m so jelly but excited you had that cool opportunity. Amazing!!!

        Xo

      • Tara

        Oh they were all at the surface feeding pretty much! The water wasn’t deep.maybe 10m max. They came close to the shore to feed. Snorkelling was perfect. Divers were too far below.
        Yeah, the eye contact thing is true. I was super close and they came straight towards me a lot. I think they were young ones because they weren’t enormous. But they were still pretty big!

        I snorkelled and dived with manta rays in different locations. Diving was in thailand. Snorkelling was in Indonesia. That was amazing. One came straight towards my face that time too. They are magical. Remind me of aliens a bit. Hahaha.

      • Lindsay

        Ahhhh! Sounds really really awesome!! 🙂
        I just love the ocean, it’s so vast and … Magical. I feel so much at peace when I’m in the water 🙂 and the way you wrote your comment right there, I feel like I was there with you.

        Have so much fun and be safe, as always my dear.
        P.s. I think it’s their eyes that make them alien like lol

  8. Dyril

    It’s amazing how you guys love our Philippine mangoes– really impressed with all the comments! Try eating it with “ibus” (sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and stuff…wrapped with coconut leaves), it taste even perfect!

    Also check out beaches and islands in Sipalay and Punta Bulata — you won’t regret.

    Happy travels! Xx

    Reply
    • Tara

      Next time I’m back I definitely will visit those beaches. Thanks for the recommendations. Xx

      Reply
  9. Dimples

    Hi Tara! I am a Filipina and living here in the Philippines. Thank you so much for all those good things you’ve enjoyed most while staying here in our “Island Paradise”. I am a freelancer Travel Consultant and Tour Guide and I know when a tourist really enjoy his/her stay here, and I am happy to know that you are one of those who really enjoyed most. Looking forward that you had the chance to visit again our Island and I’m sure you still have a lots of Islands to explore here, remember we had 7,107 islands!! Mabuhay! Best regards!!

    Reply
  10. JAMES EASTCROFT

    How on earth did you manage to get such cheap flights from Manila to Sydney!?!

    Reply
    • Tara

      Cebu Pacific flash sale!! 🙂 if you follow them on social media they give you a heads up of when they start.

      Reply
      • JAMES EASTCROFT

        Thanks! I’m heading over in May so hopefully there’s some good deals on offer around that time.

  11. Derek

    I was born and raised in Zambales Philippines till I was 23 then I went to UK and now lives in San Diego Ca. Whilst I’ve seen most of Europe, America, and other Asian cities I’d only been as far as Bagiou to the north and Tagaytay to the south. I’ve never been to any other islands except Luzon. I know that was pathetic. You’re article makes me want to take a year off to just travel around the Philippines.

    Reply
    • Tara

      Oh that’s not pathetic. Most people never bother exploring the place they come from originally. People forget to be tourists in their own homes.

      Hopefully you’ll get to explore the Philippines more in the future 🙂

      Reply
  12. Bruce

    The Philippines – a country full of a people friendly beyond compare …the best way to see an archipelago of islands has to be by water … local boats called ‘bancas’ are by far the best way to get around. Best season to travel by water is between Mid November through to mid May – the so called ‘Dry Season’. I have been luck enough to sail 10,000 miles through these Philippine Islands, and this is sailing as good as it gets anywhere on earth! After all for every 1 part of land the Philippines has 7 parts of water – 1,200 miles from N to S and is 700 miles at its widest point. 24 species of whales and dolphins swim through these islands and 2,700 species of fish. The Caribbean Sea has a total of 50 coral species, while the Philippines has more than 550! It is part of the most marine bio-diverse area on our planet – preserve and enjoy it – go travel the Philippine islands ….Mabuhay!

    Reply
  13. rhenskii

    this is so kind of you Tara! thanks for promoting my country. Philippines is indeed beautiful and it has a lot to offer to you guys! enjoy your next visit in our country and please visit Cebu too. 🙂 #itsmorefuninthephilippines

    Reply
  14. ed

    hi tara… on your next visit in the Philippines, try the beautiful white beaches of Guimaras Island

    Reply
  15. Aijika

    Hi Tara!

    I’m from philippines there a many lot to do in our country. not only in food or etc. it’s many more in terms of beautiful places, like viewing places and many of pilipino they treat you in Polite way very friendly . We guaranteed that you’ll enjoy The Beautiful in philippines. 😉

    Reply
  16. Shayne Zalameda

    I had a blast reading this list, especially number 12! That choco bar is under appreciated. But have you tried CHOCNUT? That’s divine. :3

    Reply
  17. Robin

    I love that you visited the Philippines! I was there last September and was surprised that there weren’t more tourists. Budget wise, I spent about $32/day after purchasing a few domestic flights to get between islands.

    I liked calamansi juice also.

    Reply
  18. megantaylor

    nit only 25 reason but also more and many reason to traveling in Philippines

    Reply
  19. megan taylor

    I love Philippines. Think that there are many reason to go to Philippines. manila is my best chioce. Bohol and el nido island is the most attractive place.

    Reply
  20. Cebu Tours

    Thanks for this awesome and interesting article, Tara! Actually, there’s a lot more reasons why you should visit philippines but I couldn’t agree more with your lists of reasons. Thanks and keep on posting things like this!

    Reply

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