Five Reasons Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

Five Reasons Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

It's a country like no other, if you're looking for islands and hospitality, this is the spot.
October 25, 2014 by Danny Cote

Last Spring, I had the chance to visit the beautiful archipelago of the Philippines, which I was told from several travelers and friends how great it was. A short time after getting those repeated advices, I chose to fly to the Philippines when starting my trip in Southeast Asia. It’s a decision I’ll never regret; I actually wish I had spent more time, as I totally fell in love with the place. I traveled in many countries in the past, but very few of them came close to the remarkable impression the Philippines left me. So here are five reasons why I consider the Philippines as a definite must-see destination:

1 -  The people

Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

Credit: Danny Cote

There’s nothing like the smile of Filipinos. From your very first step on the country’s soil, you can feel the warmth and happiness shared by its inhabitants. They’re always willing to help you, guide you and learn about you. Their simplicity is recomforting, you never feel like a disturbance when approaching Filipinos, they’ll welcome you with a large smile and their heart wide open. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the country’s important catholic influence, which brought a set of positive values such as family, devotion, mutual love and respect. It’s that feeling when you get somewhere and it seems like no matter what kind of problems and hardship the people are going through on a daily basis, they still appreciate the simple and valuable things of life, and they share that inner feeling with you. I felt like I landed on an unspoiled territory, full of humanity and honesty.

2 - The culture

Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

Credit: Danny Cote

The Filipino culture is definitely interesting, in fact, it’s very unique in its own way. For the traveler coming from a Western country, it’s very likely that you’ll feel more at home than almost any other destination in Asia. Since the Philippines encountered both the settlement of Spanish conquistadors as well as a short but pacific American establishment, the two predecessors’ heritage remain embedded to this day. So you end up with a nation full of colors and traditions just as you would find in most of Latin America, along with a strong American ideology of empowerment, pride, and of course the whole lifestyle associated with American entertainment, such as cinemas, bars, shopping malls, bowling alleys, billiard saloons and the list goes on. During my stay there, I felt exactly as if I was wandering on a remote island left out somehow by the US in the distant past, but without the exaggerated consumerism and individualism one would expect. Call it Hawai 2.0. You walk the streets and see colorful houses everywhere, and every now and then you’ll find catholic churches, fast-food restaurants and local shops. It’s beautiful, it’s lively, it’s the Philippines.

3 - The language

Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

If I said the Filipino culture is a unique blend of multicultural heritage, so does the oral tradition. Generally combining Tagalog with bits of Spanish grammar and a significant use of English vocabulary, the common dialogues are fascinating. During my visit, I noticed that numbers seem to be spoken in English, possibly all the time. Maybe a Pinoy could clear this one out for me. Anyways, it sounds exotic, playful and rhythmic, without being too difficult to grasp. I may be wrong but it left me with the impression that an outsider could easily learn the language’s basic structure in a matter of months, in opposition to much harder and contrasting Asian languages such as Mandarin (obviously saying this from a Westerner standpoint). I’m not promoting the use of English, but from a traveler’s perspective, it’s a definite plus when you don’t need to harass hundreds of locals before knowing if you have to turn right or left. Besides, since English is widely accepted and spoken by many of the nation’s inhabitants, there is absolutely no shame or embarrassment to hide when speaking it. It just makes everything easier and more accessible.

4 - The islands

Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

Credit: Danny Cote

Who doesn’t love a white-sanded beach stretching over miles with blue and green pristine waters, without being invaded with flocks of tourists occupying every inch square available? Well, here’s another reason to hit the Philippines. Located between the Pacific ocean and the South China Sea, the archipelago comprises no less than 7,000 islands of various sizes and beauty, offering a unique range of possibilities for the beach-goers. It’s not just about the choice though, but also the wilderness of its landscapes and settings. Unless you go for the tourist-packed island of Boracay or a few other exceptions on the list, most of the country’s scattered islands are yet to be enjoyed. During my trip in the Philippines, I chose to explore the increasingly popular town of El Nido, located on the island of Palawan. If there’s heaven on Earth, this is it. The place is so beautiful, friendly and perfect for snorkelling and island hopping. You can also enjoy an extensive range of outdoor activities, such as zip-lining over the dream beach of Las Cabanas. But hurry up, the demand is rising rapidly, it may very well lose its special appeal in a couple of years while additional infrastructures and amenities are being developed as we speak.

5 - The fun

Why the Philippines Is an Amazing Country

Credit: Danny Cote

Nothing could be as true as the nation’s new slogan : « It’s more fun in the Philippines. » For some reason, it seems that everywhere you go in the Philippines, there’s always something to fill you with joy and excitement, whether you’re more into bars, pubs, outdoor activities, diving, shopping, eating, or simply just chatting with locals. There’s just so much you can do that you’ll never have time to enjoy it all. After visiting the Philippines, you’ll probably feel just like me and wait for the day you’ll book a flight back to this extraordinary country!

Author: Danny Côté