The Philippines is endowed with out-of-this-world sceneries, beaches, and the tastiest foods one could ever try – the reason why it is one of the best destinations to include in your travel bucket list.
The majority of the country’s visitors are returnees wanting to experience the familiarity of the country’s diverse culture.
But really, what are the things that make these outsiders engaged with the Philippines? Is it because of a low-cost but, ironically, quality travel experience, or the fact that most of the world’s happiest people on earth can make you feel at home even away from home?
Food, food, and more food
Suppose you would like to taste the world’s best vegetable soup, Sinigang, challenge yourself with Balut (fertilized duck egg), or feast on all of the Philippines’ delicacies. In that case, you won’t be disappointed with the number of dishes and desserts to try at a low price.
The Philippines has 7 107 islands with unique dishes that won’t cost you that much. You can go to street markets and find authentic Filipino cuisine without spending more than $2. If you are distracted about choosing from the menu, locals can help you decide what to order.
Your experience will be more memorable if you try viands like Lechon, Kare-Kare, and Adobo with rice. Do also include on your list visiting the oldest Chinatown in the world, which is in Binondo, Manila, to try Filipino-Chinese dishes. The Spaniards built this Chinatown in the 1500s. Now, it is a colorful street of restaurants and stalls of fresh produce.
The choices are endless in the Philippines. The Philippines is known for its scenic beaches, but you can also explore its rainforests, towering mountains, underground rivers, and hot springs.
One of the world’s seven wonders is in the Philippines, the Banaue Rice Terraces – a rice field built in the mountains by the bare hands of Ifugaos, a Filipino ethnic group. Banaue Rice Terraces is estimated to be 2000 years old, still standing as the pride of Filipinos.
If you’re looking for the cleanest beaches, Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao are the perfect landing place. In 2018, Boracay Island beach made it to the top of being the “Best Island in the World.” Now, other beaches are being discovered and will potentially make it to the best list.
Festivals and Happy Locals
You might have seen a picture of people in all smiles in a flooded community or children happily playing with a typhoon-destructed background. Those people in photos, no wonder, are Filipinos. Dubbed as one of the happiest and most hospitable people globally, locals can make you feel at home.
The Philippines regularly experiences calamities since its situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Still, it is guaranteed that what you will meet when you visit are people with all smiles. Most Filipinos can also speak and understand the English language. So, if you are lost in the busy streets of Manila, approach the locals, and they will guide you no matter in a hurry they are.
There are about 42,000 major and minor festivals celebrated in the Philippines. Since it is an archipelago, each island has its own culture and celebration to commemorate.
Among the most prominent festivals are Ati-atihan in Aklan, Sinulog in Cebu, and Masskara in Bacolod.
Most celebrations last for several days with colorful parades, endless dancing, eating, and religious gatherings. Filipinos also celebrate the most extended Christmas season, which starts in September and ends in January.
Street markets and Shopping Centers
The Philippines’ tiny archipelago houses the largest fish, snake, and bird in the world and two of the largest malls worldwide. You can spend a day shopping for relatively less expensive items in SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
Most of the street markets are in its capital which is Manila. Items are cheaper in street markets, and you’ll have the opportunity to bargain for a lower price with vendors. Street markets are a good start to discover Filipino culture and end your travel with lots of souvenirs.