A South America vibe in Asia
Forget about temples! Forget about tuk-tuks! The Philippines has its authentic, abundance of islands not yet fallen victim to foreign investors. People are Roman Catholic and the local form of transport is a Jeepney.
The Philippines is a former Spanish colony, just like a big part of South America. This gives the Philippines a unique feeling nowhere to be found elsewhere in Asia!
If you want a piece of paradise from a country thats not too over commercialised, where there’s not a western shop on every corner, no concrete jungle, if you are “temple” tired, the Philippines is the perfect place to kick back, relax or go on the biggest adventure of your life!
“YOU TOO WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PHILIPPINES“
1 The people
The Filipinos are like Family they always seem happy and smiling, I’m still in touch with many Filipinos I met during my trips. They love to sing and dance whenever there is an occasion to celebrate. They’re faithful, kind and caring friends. To sum it up, I love them!
2 Beaches and islands
The Philippine islands and beaches are…..
Heaven, stunning paradise. AmAzing! No lie.
White Beach in Borocay is constantly rated as one of the Top 10 beaches of the world. I wouldn’t say it’s the best one, but certainly the most famous one.
If you are beach obsessed like me and always on the hunt for white sandy beaches and turquoise crystal-clear waters, you’re in the right country. Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands (yes more islands than years you have on this planet). It’s not hard to find your dream beach or a pristine island all for yourself….
I’m just sad i’ll never have time to see them all! The Philippines is up there with some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is so blue and makes a beautiful contrast with the white sand. If you’re looking for postcard perfect getaway, just visit the Philippines.
Flying into Manila at night you can see all the big lights covering the giant shopping malls in Manila.
Filipinos are crazy about shopping but it’s also a way of family gathering for them and they’re obsessed with the air conditioning. Shopping in the Philippines can be quite a worthwhile experience. The country is known by many as a great handicraft centre. Manila has fantastic shopping opportunities. There are a lot of places to go and it all depends on what you intend to buy, and how much is your budget. I usually make Manila my last stop before coming home so I can get some pampering done. After island life I tend to look like a castaway –
so getting my hair and nails done gets me ready for the real world. SM City North EDSA, located in Quezon City is the biggest mall in South East Asia, Boutiques, supermarkets, fashion outlets, restaurants of all kinds, coffee shops, movie theatres and 3D cinemas, Internet cafes, Spas, you will find everything there to entertain yourself for a whole day.
We have nothing like this in the UK. If you are looking for something like a flea market, check out Greenhills Shopping Centre in San Juan, loads of stalls with DVDs, antiques, jewellery, pearls and of course cheap fake branded clothes.
4 Nature, Flora and Fauna
If you visit the Philippines you can encounter one of the smallest primates in the world. This little and very cute animal is called a Tarsier. They live on the island of Bohol you will find a Tarsier sanctuary where you can come face to face with this amazing little creature. Look at their eyes…
Philippines is home of a diverse range of birds, plants, animals and sea creatures. There are at least 400 coral species. From the giant Whale Shark (best seen in their nature habitat , North of the Philippines) to the world’s smallest fish (Pandaca pygmea), everything you can dream of is united in the beautiful islands of the Philippines.
Going back to the Whale Sharks that I mentioned before, we choose not to visit Oslob. Oslob is where you are guaranteed to see and swim with the Whale Sharks. Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to be able to experience these majestic animals in their up close and natural habitat. In fact, when we first started planning our Philippines trip, swimming with Whale Sharks was high on our bucket list. We had read and heard from various people that it’s more like a Zoo than an authentic nature exhibition. On a bus ride out of Coron Island we met a beautiful girl named Kiki. Kiki is a Freediving teacher on Camiguin Island. Kiki has a lot of knowledge about the Philippines and has a huge understanding on marine life. Kiki did not recommend visiting Oslob for Wale Sharks.
Picture an area no bigger than a football pitch, about 50 odd meters from the beach and full to the brim with boats and people snorkelling around. Just do a simple search on the net and amongst the amazing whale shark selfies you’ll see pictures of people touching and holding onto the animals.
It’s crowded and you don’t seem to get long in the pit. Tour guides roll you in and out at a rate to keep up with the continual flow of boats arriving, while feeding the animals to keep them attracted. Inexperienced humans panicking whist kicking the Whale Sharks, these are real stories from tourists that took the trip. For me I felt confident I made the right decision, we didn’t want to fund such a place that tolerates this sort of behaviour. I know I will see these beautiful animals at some point in my life, in their natural habitat somewhere in the world.
5 Weather and climate
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6°C. Coming from the UK during the winter time I really noticed how humid it was in the Philippines. The weather in the Philippines does not reach a point of extreme hot or extreme cold temperatures, so you can easily adapt to the tropical weather, so I found. I’ve always travelled to the Philippines during December and January time and found the weather to be good and bad. I’ve read the best time to go is between November and May as there is less chance of Typhoons and less rain fall. But this is a tropical country and the weather is very unpredictable, there often are typhoons that pass through the Philippines as it’s the main route up through to Taiwan. We experienced 3 Typhoons during one month. The good thing is even when it rains it’s still warm. Just remember to pack a good water proof jacket! Plus swimming in the beautiful ocean when the sky is pouring with rain is an experience in itself. Try putting on your mask, lie on your back and watch the rain drops fall onto your mask. The water is 30 degrees and the sun shines through the clouds it’s such a beautiful feeling.
6 Cheap alcohol
Besides being blessed with astonishing natural beauty, the Philippines also have very cheap booze. Whenever you order a Rum with juice, you can be sure to get a good mix as the juice might be more expensive than the Rum. A bottle of local rum will cost you around £1.50 A bottle of the local beer San Miguel won’t cost you more than 50p.
They have a beer called Red Horse, one of the Filipino women I met, Dette (such a beautiful, kind, caring woman) told me about this beer. It’s stronger than normal beer, I think she said it’s around 6.5vol in one bottle. Yes it will blow your mind!
7 Massage, relax and rejuvenate
Philippines is perfect for pampering yourself. I made it my goal to have a full body massage every other day. I achieved my goal, as little as £5 (for an hours’ full body massage) why not! I worked my way down the list of different type of massages and my favourite one was the Swedish oil massage. The body oil used is a mixture of coconut oil with their local eucalyptus and lemongrass.
8 No language barrier
English is the language of the government, and the preference for written communication, be it in school or business. You will never struggle to communicate. I always teach myself a few of the local words before any of my trips as I like to show I’m making an effort. But having around 90% of the population speak English you will be fine.
9 The colourful Jeepneys
It’s so fun! It’s cheap and it’s breezy, no need for AC! The Philippine jeepneys have become a cultural sign of the country. The U.S troops left old military jeeps back in WW2 and the Filipinos opened the back, added two benches, gave them a colourful and unique design. An average jeepney can carry 16 – 20 passengers, two up front next to the driver and 14 – 18 seated in the back facing each other on two benches. Your bags can be stored on the roof so be sure to cover your backpack with a rain cover for times like these. You will be surprised, how much a jeepney can carry and how cheap they are too! To get a sense of the place from the local’s perspective and to see how people interact, Jeepneys are a fantastic way to explore the country. So don’t forget to hop on one whenever you have the chance!
We also took a lot of rides in the tricycles. You will find them everywhere in the Philippines. Very convenient way to get around but very noisy. It’s basically a motorbike with a rusty casing attached where you and few others can sit. I don’t think I ever enjoyed a ride on one but used them literally all the time for pure convenience.
There are lots of beautiful places to explore in the Philippines for freediving. Just as it is for those sea gypsies, the Philippines is an ideal location to learn free diving thanks to its tight clustering of 7,000+ islands that protect and provide calm water and less current and waves.
I’ve put a short video together of my trip for you to enjoy.
Philippines fun Go on give me a Watch……