Island-hopping tours across aquamarine waters, relaxing weekends on beaches, delicious food, unparalleled nature, beautiful cultures and fun fiestas thrown by hospitable locals – these are but some of the simple joys you can experience while travelling to one of the Philippines’ 7,107 islands. We've taken the liberty of collecting comments about the Philippines from some of the world's top travel bloggers:
"Their tourist board proclaims: “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” and you’ll quickly discover that they’re not kidding. Filipinos have a vivacious sense of humour and their easy-going demeanour helps to make visiting this beautiful country a happy experience."
Steve Lunt, The Telegraph
"Visiting the Philippines is big fun. Perfect beaches. Friendly locals. Beautiful nature. Plus, it's a cheap country to travel, you'll get a great value for your money."
Sabrina Iovino, JustOneWayTicket.com
"Choosing to travel to the Philippines is an epic decision. I fell in love with this place. I've repeatedly mentioned that I'm annoyed I didn't venture to the Philippines sooner. It's a much overlooked destination in comparison to other South East Asian countries."
Chris, Backpacker Banter
"There's an incredible chain of tropical islands in the Pacific that is sprinkled with pink, white and black sand beaches, ultra-relaxing luxury resorts, charming countrysides and villages, exotic foods and an enticing nightlife. You know it exists, but you've probably never thought of planning a trip there. And that's a shame, because, as the saying goes: It's more fun in the Philippines."
Carla Herreria, Huffington Post
"The Philippines was never very high on my travel bucket list. Finally, I got the chance to visit. What I discovered was a country inhabited by the friendliest people on Earth, littered with unimaginable beaches and an infectious family-like culture that made you never want to leave. Safe, cheap, beautiful; I ended up staying for 6 months. It's my new favourite spot in Asia."
With over 7,000 islands and a coastline twice the length of that of the United States, the Philippines can claim to be Asia's Beach Capital. Enjoy the warm crystal blue waters of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. There are award-winning white beaches in Boracay Island and Palawan, secluded black beaches in Albay and pristine pink beaches in Zamboanga. Some are surrounded by lush green mountains, others by tall cliffs. There are some world-class surf and diving spots too.
When you walk down the street in the Philippines, there's no doubt you'll be greeted with plenty of smiles and waves. Filipinos are hospitable, modest, humble and widely praised for their friendly nature. English is also an official language in the Philippines, which means there isn't a language barrier. The New York tribune describes it perfectly:
"In my experience, from all the Asians I have met, Filipinos are the most kind and friendly people…always seem happy and smiling, and they love to sing and to dance whenever there is an occasion to celebrate!"
Sabrina Iovino, JustOneWayTicket.com
"...I also love the Philippines because it’s full of Filipinos, who are some of the friendliest, most generous people I’ve been lucky enough to encounter on my travels."
Matt Gibson, Xpat Matt
"Honestly, from all my travels, Filipinos have been the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever come across. It’s impossible not to fall in love with a country when the people are this kind and smiley."
Three centuries under Spanish rule followed by 50 years of American influence has made the Philippines an Asian country unlike any other. Through a thick layer of Spain and America, you can glimpse the Filipino soul trying to express its unique, cultural identity through creativity.
Through music and dance...
Their love of sosyalan (socializing), dancing and music, culminate in the province-wide street party and town talent show – the fiesta (festival). Usually a celebration of the earth’s bounty, be ready to dance in the streets to tribal drum rhythms (listen for the Latin influence). Or simply marvel at elaborate floats blooming with the season’s harvest and the town folk’s crafty work. From masquerades to mud fests, pilgrim processions to pageant parties, their island-style parties are open to everyone.
Naturally artistic, you’ll see their penchant for color and craftsmanship even outside museums and galleries. Pay attention. It can be seen in their handicraft, design, fashion. Spot it in their churches or their parks. It can be loud like their jeepneys or as clean as their embroidery, as brash as their tribal tattoos or as delicate as Lang Dulay’s weaving.
Their distinct cuisine came from the comfort food that reminds Filipinos of family, home, and simple joys. Its many-layered flavors are expressed differently from kitchen to kitchen. So try to get invited as often as you can! Take the national dish, adobo (pork stewed in garlic, soy sauce and vinegar). It has as many recipes as we have islands. But we all share it.
With islands so diverse, Philippine culture is a buffet or fun and festivity. Take your pick. Wherever you go, you’ll be welcomed by people as warm as summer. As Lonely Planet once stated, it’s worth a trip here just to see the famous Filipino smile.
Brand names to collect at year-round sales in malls. Cheerful staff who greet you at every turn. In this country, shops are open from morning till late at night, and especially on weekends. Many of the industrial areas of big cities like Manila have back-to-back bars and restaurants lining the streets, to draw in a buzzing crowd of young professionals after working hours.
Overnight tourists will find the quirkier side of fun in places like Quezon City, while urban dwellers and business travelers have time to relax in the posh hotels that fill Makati. It’s a quick walk across the street for great-value shopping in the ever-busy Greenbelt mall stretch.
Standouts include the stunning deals in the eastern Pearl Market of Market! Market! at Taguig City, vintage hunts in the many ukay-ukays (thrift stores) of Baguio, and local designer finds in style-savvy Cebu. After your shopping spree, relax at the theater or recharge at the spa. Some pampering will make you forget the crowds.
Feeling fancy? Move on over to Resorts World in Pasay City, with its flashy casino lanes, six-star hotels, theater musicals, and big-name outlets. Just make sure you’ve brought your shiniest shoes and lucky charms.
From the thrift shopper to the splurger, the Philippines has something for everyone.
Hundreds of volcanoes with sizzling peaks dot the land. Steal a view from the top, soaring by private plane over the smoking mouth, or ascend these fiery mountains by foot, through lava-rock trails. You can visit volcanic Camiguin, or mystical Siquijor and experience the contrast of sandy shores and deserted coastlines, private islands, isolated coves, and quiet bays.
If defying the laws of nature isn’t your idea of fun, there’s sure to be something else to kick up your adrenaline.
Maybe you’d prefer scaling the World Heritage Site of the Banawe Rice Terraces, a natural wonder better seen up close. Or ziplining over seven stunning waterfalls in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Looking for deluxe delights? Go glamping (glamorous camping) in one of Bohol’s top resorts, where activities include getting to know a tiny Tarsier.
Craving cooler climates? Drive up for the low temperatures of the highlands. Check out Baguio City and the place that time forgot — Sagada.
Watersports abound! Sailing in Subic Bay and Batangas; white-water rafting down Chico River; even the more extreme kitesurfing is growing more popular by the day in Bicol, Boracay, Coron, Cuyo, and windswept Pagudpud Peninsula — the country’s northernmost tip.
You’ve probably heard about the friendly butanding (whale sharks) of Donsol, and Palawan’s fascinating underground river. Travel down south for eco-adventures in Cagayan de Oro, and join the colorful regattas of Zamboanga.
There’s a reason this country was the setting of choice for several Survivor and Amazing Raceescapades. From top to bottom, the easiest challenge to the most extreme, these great, green outdoors are an explorer’s dream.
The eclectic cuisine of Australia’s third largest Asian immigrant group - Filipinos - has long been hugely under-represented in the dining mainstream. A quiet achiever, Filipino food is hidden away from the limelight but appreciated in droves across homes and scattered outlets. With more than 7,000 islands and a colorful history, this archipelago has some delicious dishes of its own. Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than people think.
Filipino cuisine has a variety of foreign influences. The impact of China is evidenced in their use of noodles (pancit), fried rice (sinangang) and spring rolls (lumpia), as well as the soy sauce and fish sauce found in many other dishes. Indonesian and Malaysian influence can be seen in the use of coconut milk and rice, particularly in desserts, as well as the use of chilis (though most Filipino food isn’t very spice-heavy).The Spanish were responsible for bringing bay leaves, tomatoes and garlic, as well as the technique of sautéing with olive oil. Longanisa is a sweet pork sausage (similar to the Spanish longaniza) which can be found in Filipino dishes. Other Spanish dishes often found on Filipino menus are flan, paella, and adobo, a method of braising meat in garlic, vinegar, peppercorns, and soy sauce.