Here Claire and I review The Philippines. We have traveled to this nation twice and plan on going back for some more!
5 Stars: Incredible
4 Stars: Very Good
3 Stars: Average
2 Stars: Not Good
1 Star: Very Bad
Most areas of the Philippines are safe for most travelers. Sections of Manila should be avoided however, and the Southern island of Mindanao has terrorism issues that involve the kidnapping of foreigners. When avoiding these areas, the Philippines is a very safe and rewarding place to visit. Traffic safety is also a point for concern and gun crimes are also an issue in the nation’s cities.
Philippine cuisine is very hard to pinpoint as it takes on so many other cultural influences. Two big influences come from the Spanish who controlled the islands for hundreds of years and the United States, the Philippines most recent past occupier. Chinese food is abundant and local traditional foods are a must try. Fresh fruit is available daily and the mangoes are to die for. Fresh seafood is also always on the menu. Although meals in the Philippines are great and affordable, the cuisine won’t blow your mind away.
Above water, the Philippines offers some average sights to see from old Spanish forts to the bustling metropolises of Manila and Cebu. The best sights in the Philippines require you to go underwater. Being the site of many WWII battles, divers come in droves to check out the old sunken battle ships and also to explore for old treasures found in the ships of traders that sunk long ago. (with wrecks alone, this would be 5 stars. However, due to limited accessibility, we weighed above water sights heavier)
The culture of the Philippines, like it’s cuisine, has taken pieces of many different cultures and made it its own. The two most noticeable influences are religion (Catholicism from the Spanish) and language (English from the USA). Music is a part of life in the Philippines and you will run into a cover band no matter where you go. Being a nation made up of islands, life slows down in the Philippines and everyone seems to focus on the things that make them happy here. It is quite a relaxing experience after coming from a culture that is always in a hurry.
The Philippines offers some of the worlds most stunningly beautiful scenery. Volcanoes can be spotted from most horizons, and beaches are certainly not in short supply. The crystal clear waters of the Philippines is teaming with life and offers some of the best diving in the world. Every island offers new and exciting things to do and see. Above the water, white sand beaches are standard with some of the most stunning to be found around El Nido. Rain forests are waiting to be explored further into the interior of many of the islands. Warning: Traveling in the Philippines will most likely ruin beaches and diving in most other parts of the world for you.
The Philippines is very affordable, providing cheap budget accommodation and reasonable prices for food. Diving prices are a bargain considering the sights you are seeing as most dives will cost you around $30 USD (including a dive master and gear). Beachfront accommodation is also very affordable as beach views can be yours for anywhere between $15-$60 for budget accommodation.
Most people in the Philippines are very friendly, and are always willing to help you when you need it. In the big cities, watch out for scammers and pick pockets. Sometimes it’s a pain to get a cab as most drivers refuse to use the meter with foreigners. Expect warm smiles and friendly faces most places you travel to on these islands.
When you come to the Philippines, you are coming for the white sand beaches and underwater views. While there are enough sights to keep land creatures occupied throughout their stay, island hopping and diving are king here. People are usually friendly and expect more smiles than frowns. Slow down your life a little bit and enjoy having fresh seafood at every meal if you wish. The best part about all of this is that it will not put a huge dent in your wallet to enjoy all that the Philippines has to offer. Claire and I can’t wait for our 3rd visit… and 4th…. and 5th…. and… ok… you get it…. Claire and I have fallen in love with these Islands and look forward to our future travels here!