Am I in South America or in Asia? That was the question while visiting the Philippines. This country is so different than it’s fellow countries in South East Asia. In this article I will give you 10 reasons why you should visit the Philippines and book an airplane ticket to this amazing country as soon as possible!
10 Reasons Why you Should Visit the Philippines
I must admit, the Philippines wasn’t on my “to visit” list originally. One day I was spotting Orangutans, Elephants and a lot of other animals in the jungle of Malaysian Borneo. I had no access to the Internet for a few days. When I was connected again, I surfed to the website of Air Asia to search for my next destination. One of the first things that popped up was an offer to visit the Philippines for a very cheap price. One of the greatest things of traveling solo is your ability to be very flexible in your travel plans. So I decided to visit the Philippines, a country I knew very little of!
Visiting the Philippines? Get your Lonely Planet Guide Book Till the day of today I am so happy that the offer popped up and I decided to visit the Philippines. This is definitely my favorite country in South East Asia. Here are my 10 reasons why the Philippines should be your next destination:
1. The people!
I traveled everywhere in South East Asia. People in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are really nice and extremely friendly. But the people in the Philippines are just simply amazing. Every time I thought people couldn’t get any friendlier they would exceed my expectations.
I was invited in to people’s houses for dinner; I did all night long karaoke sessions with locals (the national hobby in the Philippines) and I was playing with little kids on the beach for hours. This all with a never ending genuine smile!
2. A South America feeling in Asia
Forget about temples and Buddhism! Forget about tuk-tuks! The Philippines is fully packed with churches, people are Roman Catholic and the local form of transport is a Jeepney.
The Philippines is a former Spanish colony, just like a big part of South America. This gives the Philippines a unique feeling nowhere to be found elsewhere in Asia! If you are “temple” tired, the Philippines is the perfect place to catch a fresh breath of air!
3. The Tarsier
If you visit the Philippines you can encounter one of the smallest primates in the world. This little animal is called a Tarsier and it is one of the cutest animals I’ve ever seen in my life. On the island of Bohol you will find a Tarsier sanctuary where you can come face to face with this amazing little creature. It takes a lot of effort not to melt when you look in to its eyes.
Traveling to Asia? Get your Lonely Planet Guide to the Philippines
4. Malapascua Island
South East Asia has a lot of beautiful islands. The most amazing one, in my opinion, is Malapascua Island. The island has some of the best beaches and diving spots in the Philippines.
The best feature of this island however is the local population. The local people on this island are so friendly. Just walk around, talk to the kids and practice your karaoke skills when locals invite you in to their houses.
Check out – 12 Awesome Things to do in South Africa
5. The Chocolate Hills
This is one of the weirdest landscapes you will ever see. A landscape dotted with little green hills with hardly any vegetation growing on them. A local told me the legend of the two fighting giants. A long, long time ago there were two giants arguing about a girl. After a while they started fighting and throwing big rocks at each other. They didn’t bother to clean up after so the landscape was dotted with numerous rocks.
You are probably wondering why they are called Chocolate Hills! In the dry season, the grass on the hills will turn brown and they will look like hills made of chocolate.
6. The diving
Most people who travel to South East Asia get their diving license at one point. I did mine, like many others, at the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. If you are into diving then the Philippines is the place to be. The country has some of the best diving spots in the world.
Very famous spots are Coron, Apo reef and Monad Shoal. The last one is the famous Thresher Shark dive. I did this dive on Malapascua Island and it’s absolutely stunning. It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling when numerous 4-5 meter long sharks surround you.
7. The beaches
Coming from Thailand and Malaysia I thought beaches couldn’t get any whiter. Well, I was so wrong. The Philippines has some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is so blue and makes a beautiful contrast with the white beaches. If you’re looking for postcard perfect places, just visit the Philippines.
8. El Nido
El Nido is a little town on the island of Palawan. It is a must visit! The town is a bumpy 5 to 6 hour ride from the islands capital Puerto Princessa. It takes you through an amazing untouched landscape. El Nido is surrounded by limestone mountains and the coastal area is dotted with numerous inhabited tropical islands. I recommend you to book a trip to visit some of the islands and spend the night at one of them. Be sure not to forget your snorkel gear! Just hop in the water, put your head under water and you’ll feel like you’re swimming in a tropical aquarium.
9. Cheap Liquor
Besides being blessed with an astonishing natural beauty, the Philippines also have very cheap liquor. A bottle of the local beer San Miguel won’t cost you more then 50 cents and a bottle of local rum will cost you around 1.5 dollar.
Scams…. Who doesn’t hate them! If you traveled in South East Asia you can probably remember the many scams in Thailand or Vietnam. Sometimes I felt like everybody wanted to scam me. The good news is: I didn’t encounter any touts that wanted to scam me in the Philippines. They seem to be non-existent and it is a great feeling not be harassed constantly.
Items you may need when you Visit the Philippines
As you can see there are many reasons to visit the Philippines. It is a little bit of the beaten track but I can assure you there is no way you will regret visiting the Philippines. It is my favorite country in South-East Asia!
Did you ever visit the Philippines or do you want to visit the Philippines? What would be your reason to visit this beautiful country? You can leave a comment down below!
This article is a guest post by Bastiaan Blikman. He is a Dutch travel writer and blogger and the founder of the travel blog Want2discover.com.A website with travel stories, travel tips, inspiration, music & more! He has been traveling around the world for over 2 years. At the moment he lives in Perth (Western Australia). He is preparing his new travel plans to visit New Zealand and South Africa. If you want to read more of his stories you can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. You can also subscribe on his website to receive new articles!
Read next – 12 Awesome Things to do in South Africa