Saturday, November 27, 2010

Philippines 101: for the first-time (budget) traveler!

In many parts of the world, less is known about the country where I come from. No! People here don't swing on trees. Neither do terrorist bombs go off every other minute.

Team Manila tourism poster lifted from here >>>

Here, in the country where I come from, travel comes dirt cheap even if you don't see it like the locals do. Food, lodging, beer and what-not are cheap. It's a third world country, alright. Where there is poverty, there is also high crime rate. The moment you step out of the airport in Manila, never leave your common sense, secure your important belongings, and brace yourself for the worst. Taxi drivers waiting outside are crooks, many would say. But I'm sure your guidebook has told you about that already. Don't expect an efficient transport system like HK or Bangkok. The traffic:  monstrous, the pollution: heavy, side streets: ghastly and jeepney drivers do not drive but they fly jeepneys!

photo lifted from here >>>
Another thing peculiar about my country is the exotic food that borders between gross and raunchy--balut. For the uninitiated Western tourist, he/she would rather jump in Manila Bay than eat an egg with the duck embryo complete with beak, feathers and all showing up. But more than that, the other street food actually leaves much to be desired.  

But what my country lacks in first-world convenience and familiarity, it so well compensates in her natural beauty, rich history and friendly people whose smiles are as warm as the tropical sun.

The marine life and wildlife here are among the most diverse in the world. My region, for one, boasts of a unique primate--the tarsier. Dive sites like Apo and Balicasag Islands and beaches like Boracay consistently rank as one of the best in the world!

front row seat to the best beach in the world--Boracay!

If you'd like to go on a gastronomic adventure, head to Pampanga or to the region of my all-time personal favorite cuisine--Bicol Region!

For the history buff:
   "Even our history comes in many chapters, each one with the different theme. Our colors come in infinite forms and our melting pot of cultures contain more than the usual ingredients, so you can expect more than the usual festivals every year.

 We’re oriental, and were western too! That’s why no matter where you're from, the Philippines will feel like home."

And one of the reasons why those who came as tourists decided to settle here: the warm Filipino hospitality and the radiant smiles! We are naturally happy to a fault.

All smiles after the storm! The indomitable Filipino spirit. photo lifted from here

I actually have to travel overseas to appreciate that my country is indeed like no other else in the world!

"And if we like to over do things here in the Philippines just imagine what it’s like, to be our guest!"


  1. You're right. And it would be nice to travel the Philippines first. It's a beautiful country. =)

  2. tsina, the Philippines is one treasure trove waiting to be "rediscovered" by the world. happy travels~

  3. Philippines is a real treasure that combines the differences of the orient from the west. We are the mediators that allows changes and can adopt in many problems because we are the Filipinos. :)

    We might be poor in financial matters but we are rich in history, culture and hospitality.


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