Gem from Travels With A Hobo brings us this guest post about the Philippines…
They say the Philippines is like a dozen countries rolled into one. It is the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast, the shopaholic, the nature lover, and the foodie.
No matter what kind of adventure you are looking for, my beloved home country, the Philippines, is a must-add to any travel bucket list.
Here are five reasons why you should visit the Philippines:
One of my country’s strongest suits is its stunning beaches. The abundance of shoreline is evident from the very fact the country is made up of 7,107 islands – you’ll never run out of island to explore, I’m telling you!
The archipelago is broken into various islands, where you can experience different kinds of beaches—from pink sand, black, gray, and pearly white sand.
There are coasts hidden behind lush green mountains while others are surrounded by rock formations sculpted decades ago by nature. Palawan’s El Nido is one of the best beach destinations in the country, that’s why I keep coming back to it!
The Philippines can be like Disneyland to any shopaholic as the happiest place on earth. Tourists and locals alike flock to places like Greenhills’ tiangge, which is a year-round market where you can buy clothes or novelty items for as low $1.
You can also visit Manila’s Divisoria (my favorite!) or 168, where you can purchase items like craft and office supplies, clothes, and just about anything at wholesale prices. Other metropolitan areas like Cebu and Davao have also become main retail hubs for the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
When you travel to the Philippines, there may be times where you might find yourself saying “only in the Philippines!” This is because of the country’s public utility vehicles such as a motorcycle with a sidecar called tricycles or a colorful stretched jeep called jeepney.
Also, it is only in the Philippines will you find the world’s largest pair of shoes. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the 5.29 meter-long footwear in Marikina—the country’s shoe capital, as the biggest. The humongous shoe can fit 30 people and took 77 days to make by 10 people.
Source: Jeff Jacinto on Flickr.
Filipinos aren’t only known for the hospitality, but also for our passion for good food. Every celebration, whether big or small, calls for a mountain heap of delicacies. Festivities would not be complete without its guest of honor—the lechon, a succulent roasted pig that enamors your palate with its crispy skin and juicy meat.
Another Filipino favorite is adobo, a staple family dish. Not to mention, something that is uniquely “Pinoy” is the balut, a boiled 17-day-old duck embryo eaten with rock salt or vinegar.
But, it is not just appetizers or main dishes that Filipinos have injected their identity. A popular dessert in the tropical island is halo-halo, a milky sweet treat served with leche flan, gulaman, ube (purple yam), banana, kaong, beans, and garbanzos, and then topped with shaved ice and ice cream.
And, if cool desserts are not enough, local bakes have placed a unique twist on coconuts, turning them into household favorites like buko pie, sherbet, and sugar (Muscovado).
If you’re going to Cebu, make sure to try out some of my recommended affordable but really delicious eats!
If eating, shopping, or sunbathing aren’t your style, the Philippines is also a getaway to all sorts of water sports and outdoor activities. A lot of places in the Philippines offer exciting activities like parasailing, rappelling, rock scrambling, cliff diving, and the like. My favorite is the adrenaline-filled canyoneering activity in Cebu. If you’re into music, we also have music and art festivals in the mountains!
You can go on an underwater snorkel adventure and admire the country’s biodiversity, swim with stingless jellyfishes, or spot dugongs (manatees).
It doesn’t matter what kind of experience you are seeking for because the Philippines has something for everyone to explore. There are absolutely a ton of things you can do in the Philippines that promises you will never be bored. The country prides itself on its culture, history, heritage, food twists, and all sorts of activities that are uniquely Filipino.
But, when you do decide to check-off the Philippines in your travel bucket list, make sure to consider the weather. The Philippines has three seasons, so depending on what type of activities you are into, take into consideration when it is the hottest, coldest, or the rainiest.
What are you waiting for? Add the Philippines to your travel bucket list and get ready to explore a country unlike any other. Not to mention, get the health benefits of spending more time outdoors while having fun.
If you still have not decided about adding the Philippines to your list, here is a cute photo of a dog balancing on a motorcycle.
It is not every day you see a dog riding a bike. As they say, it’s more fun in the Philippines!
Gem is the founder and author of Travels with a Hobo, a budget travel blog inspired by the adventures with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. Follow Gem on Facebook and Instagram!