November 9, 2016

7 Compelling Reasons to Visit the Philippines

Long stretches of white sand beaches, hidden nature getaways, and lush greenery – are just some of what you’ll find in the Philippines. The archipelago has 7,107 islands, just waiting to be explored.

There’s so much to see and do in this gorgeous Southeast Asian country that you can visit for months at a time and still have lots of things left unchecked in your list of must-sees. The Philippines is an amazing place to visit, and here are 7 reasons why it should be your next travel destination.

1. The Filipino brand of hospitality

The Philippines is one of the friendliest countries in the world. Its people, the Filipinos, are warm, accommodating, and helpful, not to mention always ready with a toothy smile. No matter where you find yourself in the Philippines, be it in the islands of Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao, the locals are always ready to converse with you or help out the best they can. If you’re lucky, you just might get invited for lunch or dinner at a local’s home during your travels. Or better yet, be able to celebrate with the townsfolk during their town’s fiesta!

2. Long stretches of white sand beaches

You might have heard about the powdery white sand beaches of Boracay, but did you know that the Philippines has a long list of lesser-known yet equally unforgettable beach destinations? There’s Samal Island in Davao del Norte, Panglao Island in Bohol, Palaui Island in Cagayan Valley, the Camotes Islands in Cebu, the Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur, Siargao Island in Surigao, and so much more.

El Nido in Palawan

And, of course, you should never miss making the trip to Palawan to visit El Nido and Coron Island. El Nido, with its karst-studded beaches and enchanting lagoons, is like a piece of heaven on earth, and might just be the perfect travel destination for you. Coron Island, on the other hand, is considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.

3. The lively and colorful festivals

Masskara Festival

The Philippines is a country that boasts of a rich culture and heritage. So many festivals are celebrated around the country annually that you can probably go to one every week if you wanted to. But if you have to choose a few, you should witness Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival, Cebu’s Sinulog Festival, Davao’s Kadayawan Festival, Bacolod’s Masskara Festival, Tacloban’s Pintados Festival, Lucban’s Pahiyas Festival, Marinduque’s Moriones Festival, Baguio’s Panagbenga Festival, and the Ati-Atihan Festival, the Philippines’ version of the Mardi Gras, in Kalibo.

Regardless of which festivals you choose, you will surely have a grand time, because they are all festive, exciting, colorful, lively, and insanely fun.

4. The exotic flora and fauna

With a string of protected wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves, reefs, and natural parks, it is no wonder that the Philippines has a huge inventory of exotic flora and fauna.

Philippine Tarsier

In Bohol, you can visit the Philippine tarsier (tarsius syrichta), one of the world’s smallest primates, at the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in Corella. The nocturnal creature, popular for its very small size and enormous eyes, is a protected species.

The town of Donsol in Sorsogon and Oslob in Cebu are two destinations highly popular for whale shark watching. Tours offering whale shark interaction are offered in these towns.

The Philippine is also home to the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in the province of Davao Oriental, the wildlife sanctuary has been declared as a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Mount Hamiguitan Range has hundreds of plants and animal species, a good number of them are either endangered or very rare. The 8,834-hectare park also features a protected high-altitude dwarf forest.

5. Breathtaking views, dreamy landscapes, and awe-inspiring natural attractions

Banaue Rice Terraces

The Philippines is truly a wonderful mix of breathtaking views, dreamy landscapes, and natural attractions. For the best mountain views, take the trip up north to Banaue in Ifugao and Sagada in Mountain Province. Perhaps you might have heard of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the 2000-year-old terraced rice paddies of the mountains of Ifugao, a national cultural treasure. These hand-carved rice terraces are even said to be more beautiful than the terraces in Ubud in Indonesia and Sapa in Vietnam. Sagada, on the other hand, is a sleepy town perched high up in the Cordillera Mountains. A well-loved summer getaway, Sagada is popular for its hanging coffins, caves, waterfalls, natural pools, nature trails, interesting culture, and of course, the perennially cool weather.

A must-visit natural attraction is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The park features a 8.2-kilometre long river amidst a backdrop of karst hills, like the ones in Coron and El Nido. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1999, the Puerto Princesa Underground River is also considered as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.

Another can’t-miss Philippine destination, away from the usual tourist trail is Batanes, a province on the northernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago that’s approximately 190 kilometres from Taiwan. Batanes is a destination that captivates. With its rolling hills, spectacular landcapes, unspoiled seascapes, and a local culture that puts a premium on honesty, integrity, perseverance and simplicity, Batanes is every traveller’s dream destination.

6. Great food at affordable prices

Adobo

While not as popular as Vietnamese, Malay, or Thai cuisine, the Filipino cuisine boasts of some delicious dishes of its own. Must-trys during your Philippine vacation are meat-based dishes like adobo, kare-kare, sisig, bulalo, dinuguan, sinigang, and inihaw na tuna, lechon, and bagnet. For dessert, you should try puto maya, leche flan, halo-halo, bibingka, turon, taho, and biko.

The Philippines is arguably the chicken barbeque and roast chicken capital of the world, and you would literally find a vendor or food stall selling both at just about every corner. And these Filipino favourites are cheap, too. A moderately-sized chicken barbecue with rice costs less than 3 USD while you can buy a roasted whole chicken (localy known as lechon manok) for $4 or even cheaper.

7. Insanely cheap, great-tasting beer

Beer is also very affordable in the Philippines. Two of the most popular brands, Red Horse and San Miguel, cost anywhere between 50 cents to 1 USD per bottle. Definitely lower than what you’d normally pay for in other Asian countries. But don’t be fooled by the ridiculously low prices, because they taste really good and promise a moderate to strong alcohol kick.

Ready to explore the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia? Check out Travezl.com for the best attractions to visit.

By: Brendelyn Balaga

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