Captivating, enchanting, and magical, the Philippines is a country unlike any of its neighboring Southeast Asian destinations. From picturesque views to sensational beaches, this is a country you’ll find yourself thinking about time and time again.
I visited the Philippines on a whim without any expectations, and was completely blown away by its beauty when I arrived. Over the course of several weeks, I visited Boracay, Palawan Island, Cebu Island, and Manila. I partied with the locals, took a bamboo boat to secluded islands, kayaked through hidden, emerald green lagoons, swam with whale sharks, canyoneered through the spectacular Kawasan Falls, paddle boarded on glasslike water at sunrise, and visited isolated waterfalls.
Not only is the Philippines one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia, but it’s extremely affordable as well. For $25 a day, you can splurge on meals, take adventures, rent a motorbike, and experience everything the Philippines has to offer. Flights between islands are extremely cheap, and if you keep an eye out, you can fly from one island to another for as little as $10.
If I haven’t convinced you to visit the Philippines yet, then here are the 22 reasons why I love the Philippines.
The Friendly Locals
The locals in the Philippines will go out of their way to accommodate you to make sure you’re comfortable and feel like you’re at home. One of the nicest locals I met was my tour guide who took me canyoneering. We spent hours jumping from waterfalls and swimming in the river while sharing stories. Additionally, I’ve never had as many conversations with tuk-tuk and taxi drivers than I have in the Philippines.
The Secluded Waterfalls
While I was in Cebu, I rented a motorbike for the day. The local I rented the motorbike from suggested I visit Inambakan Falls, and I’m so glad I did. The drive to the waterfall was on a dirt road through the jungle, and I was the only person there when I arrived. I was able to savor the experience without other tourists running around taking selfies. This is only one of thousands of hidden waterfalls in the Philippines. Talk to the locals for suggestions, they know where you should go!
The White Sand Beaches
Almost every single beach in the Philippines looks pristine and untouched. From beaches in Boracay, Malapascua Island (north of Cebu), Coron Island (off of Palawan), to tons of beaches near El Nido, every single one will render you speechless… and that’s barely scratching the surface.
The Hidden Lagoons
Visit El Nido and take one of the daily boat trips (I recommend boat trip AB) through hidden lagoons and private beaches. You’ll have the chance to kayak through Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon, while the cliffs tower over you and the emerald green water reflects the sunlight and surrounding moss.
I highly recommend staying at Outpost Hostel in El Nido! It’s one of my favorite hostels I’ve ever stayed at.
The Cheap Beer
Red Horse beer is going to become a staple. One of my friend’s even got a Red Horse tattoo!
The Promise of Adventure
Have you ever dreamed of snorkeling with whale sharks? Or jumping off of waterfalls into bright blue water? How about scuba diving with sharks and vibrant coral? The promise of adventure in the Philippines never ends. There’s a level of adventure for everyone in this country.
If you’re in the right spot, catching the perfect sunrise will happen every single day in the Philippines…
… and so will catching the picture perfect sunset.
Taking Cheap Flights from Island to Island
One of the best parts about traveling in the Philippines is the ability to take cheap flights everywhere. While it’s a gamble between finding these cheap flights, you can find flights as cheap as $10 from island to island (especially in low season). If you end up waiting, you may end up paying quite a bit for a flight, but a lot of the time, it’s inexpensive.
I loved flying in the Philippines. When I flew from Boracay to El Nido with AirSwift, the attendant gave everyone a free Starbucks Iced Tea and Chocolate Cinnamon roll while we were waiting at the gate.
Island Hopping by Bamboo Boat
Taking bamboo boats in the Philippines is one of the best ways to experience life as a local and to get around from island to island. Revel in the moment as the boat rocks side to side and warm water splashes into the boat with giggly locals all around you.
Boracay is known as the backpacker party island. Mad Monkey Hostel hosts booze cruises twice a week as well as Sunday and Thursday sessions. You may find yourself at a club on one of the Philippine’s many islands, drinking Red Horse beer and fist pumping to main stream music with the locals.
How Affordable it is
You can easily budget yourself on $25/day in the Philippines. Depending on when you’re there, hostels will cost anywhere from $5-10 a night. Food will cost around $2, and beer around $1-3. You can rent a motorbike for as little as $4 a day. Local transportation can cost as little as 25 cents. If you spend your days relaxing on the beach, you’ll spend even less money!
The Ease of Communication
I found the locals in the Philippines to speak English fluently, especially when compared to other countries in Asia. After speaking to one of the locals at the airport, I learned that it’s because English is a mandatory class while they’re growing up, which is why they’re English speaking skills are superb.
The Weather and Constant Sunshine
Warm, sunny, clear days, most days of the year. Even if you visit during rainy season, you’ll still get beautiful weather most days of the week.
The $5 Massages
A one hour massage for $5? Don’t mind if I do.
The Crystal Clear Water
While island hopping just off of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, I went swimming in water that was so clear I didn’t even need my snorkeling gear. This is common all throughout the Philippines.
Swimming with the Plankton
If you’re lucky to catch a night where the moon is partially covered by clouds, you’ll get to see the plankton in the ocean light up. I swam with the plankton while staying at Noordzee Hostel in Cebu. The entire ocean lights up exactly where you’re swimming. It’s beautiful.
The Mix of Western and Local Food
Craving a western styled pizza? Or how about some vegetable curry and spring rolls? You’ll get your mix of both western and local food in the Philippines, all of which are delicious.
The Ease of Renting and Motorbike to Explore any Island
As I’ve mentioned above, for as little as $4, you can rent a motorbike and explore the island on your own time.
The Warm, Cheek to Cheek Smiles from the Locals
Catch the eye of any local and I guarantee you they’ll give you the warmest, happiest smile you’ve ever seen.
Riding in the Trikes/ Jeepneys
Acquaint yourself with the locals in a jam-packed jeepney, or pile into a trike with your friends to get from one destination to another. It will barely cost you pennies!
That it Really is More Fun in the Philippines
The motto of this beautiful country is “It Really is More Fun in the Philippines,” which holds an incredible amount of truth to it. So get up and get exploring!
Interested in taking a tour?
If you’d rather take a tour to the Philippines, Experience Philippines offers group tours for an amazing price! Be sure to check out their tourism package section of their website for their upcoming tours.
Have you ever been to the Philippines? Comment below!
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