Are you looking for a memorable vacation filled with fun and extraordinary travel experience? Look no more! We have the perfect vacation getaway that is also right for your budget â€“ the Philippines.
If youâ€™ve visited Philippines before, you might already know why it is an amazing country that you should include in your bucket list. If you havenâ€™t seen the Philippines yet, then youâ€™re missing out on your best vacation ever.
Let me give you 15 reasons why you should travel to the Philippines:
1.Â Â Â Filipinos are hospitable people
The Philippines is renowned as the most hospitable country in the world. The people here would welcome tourists and foreigners with warm smiles and friendly gestures. They are naturally-sociable people who are ready to mingle and befriend visitors.Most tourists are amused by the localâ€™s cheerful singing and dancing whenever there are occasions or parties. Apart from their cordiality, they also value respect towards foreigners. This is why some foreigners have developed longer-standing friendship with their Filipino friends than any other locals around the globe.
2.Â Â Â Paradise beaches and islands
The Philippines is rich in breathtaking beaches because the country is made up of 7,107 islands surrounded by vast bodies of seawater. Like seriously, there are always clear cerulean beaches wherever part you may go in the Philippines.
The most popular beach in the Philippines is the famous white sand beach in Boracay where it is always filled with foreign tourists and even local tourists alike. Aside from its white find sand and crystal-clear water, Boracay is also loaded with first-class hotels, fine restaurants and souvenir shops which make it a complete vacation haven.
Boracay may be the most popular beach in the Philippines but it doesnâ€™t necessarily mean it is the most beautiful beach in the country. There are even more beautiful beaches found in Palawan and Northern Luzon. Like Boracay, beaches in these places are draped with pearl-white sand and clear blue waters. But unlike Boracay, these beaches are not overly-crowded with tourists and shops. You can experience serenity and peace that you cannot get from the jam-packed Boracay.
3.Â Â Â Shopping haven
If you love shopping, then youâ€™ll love the Philippines.
Landing on its capital city, youâ€™ll see lots of colossal shopping malls scattered all over Manila. This goes to show how Filipinos love shopping. Not only that, but these magnificent shopping malls also serve as favorite hangouts of the people. Whether they go there to shop or just to cool down from the hot weather (all malls are fully air-conditioned), shopping malls have become a way of life for the Filipinos.
Philippines is home to the biggest mall in South East Asia, the SM City North Edsa. However, the most famous shopping mall in the Philippines is SM Mall of Asia which is located in Pasay. This is the 4th largest shopping mall in the world.
You can find almost everything in these shopping malls â€“ supermarkets, restaurants, fashion outlets, boutiques, cinemas, spas, internet cafes,and even spacious concert halls and sports center.
If you are looking for flea markets, try out Greenhills Shopping Center where you can find cheap clothes, jewelries, antiques, fake branded shoes, DVDs, and more.
4.Â Â Â Diverse wildlife
There are almost 200 mammal species found in the Philippines. You can findmore than 300 species of amphibians and reptiles, 600 species of birds, and 400 species of corals. Here also lives the smallest species of monkeyin the world known as the Philippine Tarsier and the smallest fish in the world known as Pandacapygmea.
5.Â Â Â Food
Filipino cuisine isnâ€™t all about â€œadoboâ€ and â€œbalutâ€, there are more mouth-watering Filipino foods worth trying if you donâ€™t have the guts to eat the horrendous balut (boiled duck egg with an embryo inside, and yes you have to eat the whole embryo).
During summer, halo-halo becomes a staple dessertin every Filipino meal. Halo, which literally means â€˜mixâ€™, is a mixture of fruits, sweet beans, tapioca, nata de coco, leche flan, and cassava put together in a large cup or bowl topped with shaved ice, milk and ice cream.
Philippines is the main exporter of banana in Southeast Asia. They have loads of it that they came up with a ketchup made from banana. The texture is similar to that of the tomato ketchup but banana ketchup is much sweeter which has become a favorite dipping sauce among children.
The most favorite citrus fruit is the calamansi which tastes exactly like lime. Calamansi are round, small and green, they are mostly used as condiments for cooking and sauces. Most tourists also enjoy calamansi juice made from calamansi juice extract, usually added with sugar and ice.
Filipinos also has their own version of soup called sinigang. This is a sour soup made from tamarind, pork or seafoods, and vegetables.
You might also dare to eat â€˜isawâ€™ (grilled chicken intestines in barbecue sticks) and â€˜adidasâ€™ (grilled chicken feet in barbecue sticks).
If youâ€™re really not into Filipino foods, you can find plenty of restaurantsfor all kinds of foods â€“ sushi, curry, burger, pasta, pizza, pancakes, and more.
6.Â Â Â Booze is cheap
San Miguel beer is one of Asiaâ€™s most favorite beers, and it is made in the Philippines.This country is a favorite destination for beer-lovers because of its flavorful beersand cheap rhums.
For half a dollar, you can have a taste of their Red Horse beer which tastes stronger than normal beer. Philippinesâ€™ most preferred brand of rhum, Tanduay only costs one dollar.
7.Â Â Â Spas are everywhere
Philippines may not have â€˜onsensâ€™ that you can experience in Japan, but it is laden with spas everywhere where you can have a relaxing massage after a long trip or a good swim on a beach. Most spas can be found in most cities and along most beach resorts. For just $8, you can have an hour of full body massage.
8.Â Â Â Language is not a problem
You can converse with almost anyone in the Philippines because majority of them can speak English. This is due to the fact that English Language and Grammar is included in their school curriculum. This is why even children can fluently speak English.
Second to their native language, English is the most widely-used language and has been the standard language for written communication in schools, government, and businesses.
The absence of language barrier is a big advantage for both tourists and locals. It builds better communication and develops better friendship between them. If you plan of visiting the Philippines, cut the hassle of downloading translator apps or buying translator handbooks, you wonâ€™t need them.
9.Â Â Â Ride a jeepney
When youâ€™re in the Philippines, donâ€™t forget to travel like the locals do: by riding a jeepney.
Jeepneys are colorful passenger vehicles used as major means of local transportation. They were based from the military jeeps left behind by the US troops during World War II. Filipinos redesigned the military jeeps by opening the back, adding interior benches, painting colorful exterior designs, putting decorative ornaments, and placing more multicolored lights. And voila! Jeepneys were born!
A jeepney can accommodate 15-20 passengers on the side benches. But donâ€™t be surprised to see some passengers sitting on the roof, they usually do that. Jeepneys are sturdy enough to handle as many as that.
Riding a jeepney will give you a taste of how locals travel from place to place. Youâ€™ll find out how strangers get to interact while facing each other inside the jeep. Locals would definitely answer all your queries with delight. You get to ride a jeep and socialize with other people at the same time.
10. Filipinos have good sense of humor
The Filipino slogan â€œItâ€™s more fun in the Philippines!â€ is actually spot on. Upon getting on a Philippine air flight (Cebu Pacific, to be specific), the crews allow passengers to participate in games and quizzes during the flight. Youâ€™d enjoy flying with them that youâ€™d hardly notice that youâ€™ve already arrived in the Philippines.
Foreign tourists are often amused when they converse with Filipinos. They are naturally cheerful and their good sense of humor reflects on the way they talk. And they can talk about almost anything, from politics to showbiz, they would even open up about their personal funny experiences.
11. The heritage sites are picture-perfect
The PhilippinesÂ has a rich history, from being occupied by Spain for hundreds of years to Japanese invasion and American colonization until it attained independence, the country itself has bear witness to tragedies and triumphs of native heroes who fought for its freedom. That is why Filipinos are so protective of these legacies which serve as mirrors to their deep history.
In Banaue, you can still find the rice terraces which have been withstanding for more than 2000 years.
Vigan City has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its old stone constructions perfectly preserved to illustrate how life was during the Spanish regime. You can explore around the heritage site riding a calesa driven by a horse galloping on a brick road and experience as time travels for centuries back.
12. You can hike volcanoes
Philippines is one of the countries lying within the Pacific Ring of Fire. This explains why there are several volcanoes in this country. But donâ€™t worry, these volcanoes are inactive and hikeable, and they are waiting to be explored.
There are 37 volcanoes that you can climb. Thereâ€™s Mount Mayon, Mount Pinatubo, and the smallest volcano in the world known as Mount Taal. You are surely to enjoy trekking up to the summit of volcanoes as you get to see magnificent caves and fantastic lakes along the way. But youâ€™ll get at the climax when you reach the peak of the volcano. Most tourists have described the volcanoâ€™s summit as a mystifying paradise. You just have to go there to see for yourself.
13. Famous landscapes
Aside from its spectacular beaches and volcanoes, Philippines is also prosperous with fantastic landscapes that have fascinated visitors from around the world. Thereâ€™s the Chocolate Hills in Bohol where you can find more than 1,000 hills. These hills are actually covered in green grass and they are green most of the time. However during dry season, the grass withers and the hills become brown (the color of soil) which make them appear like big droplets of chocolates.
You can also go island-hopping in the Hundred Islands located in Pangasinan. Small islets are scattered all over the shore and tourists can ride motorboats to get to these islands.
Philippines also take pride of its Underground Riverin Palawan where a clear river stretches 8km under the ground. This amazing landscape made it to the list of the new 7 Wonders of Nature and named it as the longest underground river ever known.
14. Merriment of festivals
Filipinos are very fond of festivals or fiestas. Festivals are celebrated almost every day in different parts of the country. Traditional festivals showcase majestic parades of vibrant costumes and flowers with lively dancing and singing. Everyone can participate in the parade, as long as you have the colorful costumes to match the theme with. The most popular of these Filipino festivals is the Panagbenga at Baguio City which is held every February of the year. Baguio City produces the most exquisite flowers in the country. This is why people anticipate the Panagbenga to have a glimpse of the colorful floats filled with Baguioâ€™s stunning flowers.
One of the biggest advantages of going to the Philippines is that anyone can afford it. Local foods can be enjoyed for less than $5, you can relax on a beach-front bungalow for as low as $30, you can rent a motorbike for a day for only $8. In the Philippines, your $50 goes a long way.
Though they may not ask for it, itâ€™s always a generous gesture to give tips to waiters, hotel crews, tour guides, and drivers for their good service. Youâ€™ll find out that they would be very thankful and happy with what you give them, regardless of how much.
You might be wondering what this â€˜optionalâ€™ reason is all about but Iâ€™ll include it anyway. If you love singing, then one of the reasons why you should go to the Philippines is that you can sing your heart out in karaoke everywhere. Filipinos love to sing and they will sing whenever and wherever they get hold of a mic. Donâ€™t be surprised to see karaoke bars scattered around the place. Even local restaurants and beerhouses have karaoke to let customers sing for all they want. Their passion for singing can be a delightful thing but can also be annoying for those who donâ€™t like singing. When Filipinos get into the groove of singing, they can turn painfully loud. If you want a quiet and peaceful night, stay away from places with karaoke. But if you want to belt it all out in singing, karaoke bars can be easily found anywhere.