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