Finding common ground in the Philippines: Why I keep coming back

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Intramuros, Manila

I’ve traveled throughout the Philippines on four separate trips now and to this day I still recommend the Philippines as an excellent travel destination in southeast Asia. Why? Because Filipinos are warm and embracing people.Food is cheap and delicious. You can never run out of destinations to visit. The Philippines offer cooler environs outside of sticky Manila such as Baguio and Sagada.

Okay, so maybe I have a boyfriend who is from there but there must be a reason why I keep coming back and making travel arrangements near and far. My first trip there was to the island of Bohol and it was this trip that I traveled there alone back in 2013 with one intention in mind: to see for myself Chocolate Hills. More on that later.

Compared to many other southeast Asia destinations the Philippines offers cheap travel around the country through ferries and buses,exotic and tasty food, and beyond affordable accommodation throughout the country.Think cheap massages, exotic meals (very inexpensive), beaches never too far away, many English speakers, and sincerely kind people.

Just a short list of my reasoning alone makes me want to come back as a vacation destination because there is always something new to learn about Filipino culture, new places to explore, and unlimited foods to try. It is the Philippines as a travel destination that I highly recommend to anyone who is thinking about jet setting to southeast Asia.

Culturally speaking the list of what you can experience in the Philippines is endless. From the delicious cuisine with exotic fruits to yummy street foods such as lumpia, loads of smiles from the locals (especially upon walking into a store) fried bananas, and buko (coconut) juice. The landscapes of the Philippines drastically change as you travel from the overpopulated capital of Manila to the province, and to the islands. The Philippines consists of  7,107 islands! With these many islands you are never bound to get bored or run out of places to see. What truly has highlighted my experience of traveling the Philippines from caving Sagada and walking through Echo Valley to witness the Hanging Coffins up on the mountain  to quiet Alona Beach in Bohol .  Filipino people have truly made each trip to the Philippines very special to me.

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Enjoying a birthday celebration in Bohol

It’s very easy to hear the negative side of traveling to the Philippines from foreigners such as getting scammed, robbed, or getting a bad first impression of Manila upon arrival (the traffic, air pollution, and the overwhelming poverty). I can admit that yes I have been scammed by taxis and tricycle drivers before but that has not deferred me from wanting to keep coming back to the Philippines to see what else is out there.With that said, I’m here to shed the light on what the Philippines really has to offer as a travel destination. There are all good people in the world near and far. I have met all different kinds of people throughout the world and all throughout southeast Asia, however I haven’t met such smily and accommodating people in all my life since discovering it in the Philippines. The people of the Philippines has stuck with me as my main reason for what sets this destination apart from other places.

In July of 2013 I set off to Bohol because I was dying to see the beautiful mounds of Chocolate Hills and the tarzier creatures with the big bug eyes. Nothing and not a single soul was going to get in the way of my plans to reach Carmen in Bohol to view these chocolate hills. After a short flight from Manila, Bohol greeted me with the dreaminess of Alona beach and all of the beautiful people, surroundings, and foods on what they call “White Beach” similar to Borocay. I fell in love with it at first sight.

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The beloved, Chocolate Hills in Bohol

With every destination you visit of course there is always the good and bad parts. For example someone can love the cuisine in India but hate the traffic and pollution in the cities. I loved cycling around Kyoto on my own and stopping at my leisure to take in what it had to offer however I felt very frustrated by my two trips there when I really couldn’t find my way around Kyoto because there really weren’t many English speakers to guide me or answer my questions. In Manila the traffic, overpopulation, poverty, and smog that fill the capital is such a pity and downer to me but I still love the people. The Philippines truly has to much to offer in terms of sightseeing, landscapes, diversity, languages, and cuisine. It’s been four trips now and I am starting to think when I will be back. As much as I have been offered the chance to live there it is much better for me to visit. The Philippines will always be a place that I can visit and I have many reasons why I can keep coming back.

For more information about travel and life in the Philippines check out my vlogs on Youtube here.

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