Where are the Pinoy Backpackers?

I was browsing the net hoping to find some Pinoy backpacker/blogger or anything related to Filipino backpackers when I came across Lindsay’s article (Pinoy Backpackers,Where Art Thou?).

As mentioned in her articles, there are thousands of backpackers around the world mostly from the western countries with the exception of Japan and Singapore but where are the Filipino backpackers?

Pinoy Backpackers

I’ve traveled a couple of times, backpacking style (the only way I could afford it) and I have never met any Filipino travelers. I did meet some Filipino working in those places though. I met some Filipina prostitutes in Nepal, teachers in China and Thailand, domestic helpers in Hong Kong, entertainers in Japan and Phuket, architects and engineers in Singapore and the list goes on.

In my observation, we’re travelers by the virtue of need not by pleasure. We need to travel overseas to work and send money to our families back here in our country. According to a report from DOLE, OFW remittances from more than 190 host countries worldwide reached more than US$1.265 billion in January 2009. Most of us travel outside so we can bring food back to our families’ tables. The first reason is definitely due to our current economic condition.

Another reason that I have observed is that most of us can’t afford to live afar from our families. We have this strong bond to the point of having extended families all living under one roof. They provide us the comfort which I think is good but at the same time got us stuck in that comfort zone. A couple of years ago, I invited some friends to travel with me but most of the responses include, “I’d love to but I’m not sure if my parents would allow me.” The answer was insanely odd considering that we’re done with our universities and part of the working community already. The second reason is cultural.

Our strongest advantage is also our weakest point. We’re inclined to stay in our comfort zone.

Most of us won’t also give up a job just to travel, even if they’ve been dreaming of traveling ever since they were born. We fear the repercussion of what perceived as just a leisure activity. Traveling was not seen as part of our continuous education. We try to hang on to the usual measure of success, family, nice car, kids, a nice house with the white picket fence, and probably a dog. We’re conformist. Again, it’s cultural and psychological. I don’t know if it’s directly related with the fact that we’ve been colonized a lot of times and got used to following what other people tell us to do.

However lately, I met some fellow Filipinos that are planning of hitting the road. I’m so excited for them and proud with their decision of living their dream. A dream that no one else could ever understand except for the dreamer himself.


  1. nice blog man, my situation is a bit opposite, cos no matter where i go there are always travellers from the netherlands…always..

  2. Up until recently, traveling is equated to luxury — something that the average Filipino cannot afford. However, as budget travel and backpacking becomes more popular, Pinoys are now realizing that you can travel without spending so much money.

    We're still outnumbered in most places, but it's great to know more Filipinos have now started traveling, not just within the Philippines but around Southeast Asia as well 😀

  3. @rob: thanks for visiting my blog bro! i just started with this blog a couple of weeks ago… about dutch travelers, yeah there's alot, and dutch coffee shops too… did you find the one in thamel? i forgot to ask you when we were still there…

    @nina: yeah, i hope more pinoy (especially the young ones) travel soon. it's not only fun but highly educational. thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  4. This is a very interesting topic! I experienced the same thing on my trips – I never meet fellow Filipino travelers on the road, and I think there are two main reasons why this is so.

    The first one is precisely what Nina mentioned. Perhaps most Filipinos still think that travel = a luxury. Fortunately, I think that perception is already slowly getting debunked.

    The other reason is a certain fear of traveling, especially when one is traveling in a country that’s not Hong Kong or the US, etc. I went backpacking with two friends for two weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam, and prior to the trip, when we would tell our other friends and our families about our plans, they would be mortified and scared for us, perhaps because we were three girls traveling on our own in a country not known to be a tourist destination in the Philippines. I have to say though that we were never in danger throughout our trip – considering that at 2 am on our first day in Vietnam, right after our flight from Manila, we had no hotel to sleep in so we instead stayed for four hours until dawn on a makeshift eatery on the sidewalk, along a street in Ho Chi Minh City’s backpacking district. Not to say that there isn’t a possibility of danger or accidents on a trip, but I suppose if one is vigilant, careful and alert, the chances of something really horrendous happening are rather slim. Besides, TRAVELING IS FUN. And enlightening. And in some cases, even life-changing. So I’m all for it. I do hope to run into more Filipino travelers in my trips in the future. 🙂

  5. i agree with you daene, it's fun and enlightening… i really hope that more filipinos travel in the future… it will help us acquire new knowledge from other culture that we can apply back home…

    i totally agree when you mentioned the importance of vigilance… i havent lost anything yet during my travels except for one incident…

    i lost one of my bags…

    i lost it sa airport sa manila… maybe because i let my guard down thinking that im home anyway… things can happen anywhere…

  6. ron (fliptravels.com) says:

    we're here!!!

    we should work hand in hand to start this culture!
    LET'S GO!


  7. hahaha
    Let's Go

  8. pinoy boy journals says:

    i guess filipinos want comfort over adventure. or something like that. around south east asia, i haven't met any filipino backpacker, actually when foreign backpackers talk to me, they don't think i'm filipino. why? they thought filipinos live in the mountains. sounds funny but true, they have no idea where filipinos are and where they live. so that's what i have been doing, telling them yes filipinos travel the world.

  9. thanks jerik for dropping by… i visited your blog by the way… nice one!

    and you're right…

    "they have no idea where filipinos are"

    weird but i also met a lot who're not familiar to our race… hehehe

  10. I have the same question in mind, esp when i backpacked china.

  11. thanks for droppibg by RJ, maybe in a year or two there will be more and more Filipino backpackers that will travel all over Asia. 🙂

  12. pinaysolobackpacker says:

    Pinay solo backpacker here! yes, hopefully, more Pinoys and Pinays will be bitten by the travel bug! thnx for dropping by my site flipnomad! I hope to see you in one of my travels! Keep safe! =)

  13. thanks for dropping by pinaysolobackpacker

    wishing you more travels this 2010

  14. i do want to go to turkey but i couldnt find any filipinos who want to travel…like its expensive..the thing is..were working enough for the family why not give ourselves a break…

    im in uae..and hoping to have friends to go to turkey..anyone???


  15. Hi Azil,

    Thank you very much for sropping by. You're right, we're working hard for the family and we should give ourselves a break. I would love to go to Turkey but I couldnt as of now.

    I suggest you sign up to couchsurfing.com or travbuddy.com and look for travel buddies to go with you to Turkey.

    P.S. Take a lot of pictures, will ya?

  16. JODYxBUFFY says:

    After more than 20 years of backpacking in almost 200 countries, I finally encountered my first fellow Pinoy backpacker in Guatemala. Both of us traveled briefly together to Belize, where we went our separate ways. I shall inculcate my young niece in the backpacker lifestyle soon…

  17. Anonymous says:

    nice read.

  18. The SoleSisters says:

    Sole Sisters represent! The Filipino backpacker is a rare breed indeed but i'd have to agree with Deane and Nina. Travelling is now easy with the advent of budget airlines and accommodations. I see more and more people being bitten by the travel bug. Let's help them find their inner backpackers through all our blogs!

  19. definitely… that's one of my goal… to entice people to travel and learn other cultures 🙂

  20. alesandra18 says:

    hello, yes, As I've traveled alone from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia I never encountered any dangers while on the road though there is some difficulties as a woman traveling solo, but all in all I survived my journeys..as you've mention I never met any filipinos who backpack and travel, they are working as an English Teachers and skilled workers.
    I hope next time I travel i will me

  21. @alesandra: definitely in the near future… the pinoy backpackers will roam the earth hehehe

  22. malaysia luxury hotes says:

    mm about pinoy backpackers, I am really likes it about all traveller, nice to meet u all

  23. As mentioned in another article, there are a lot of challenges for filipino backpackers compared with those with different nationalities.

    But when you want something so bad, you figure something out to make it a reality. i always travel on a shoestring; staying in hostels or couch surfing if possible, hitchhiking to save on fare, eating local food sold on the street, and people watching as my favorite activity.

    The last time i was in Saigon, I stayed in a mixed dorm and my roommates were all guys from Prague, Sydney, and Amsterdam. They were so surprised to meet a Filipina solo traveler like me. Because they thought that Filipinas don't travel, but work as DH or prostitutes abroad. I felt offended, but realized that there is truth to it..a sad truth. I explained to them why it's the matter because of social and economic conditions back home.

    ANd I agree that most of the Filipinos i meet while on the road are OFWs, they are always happy to meet Filipino travelers, as one OFW in Brunei told me: i was the only Filipina she's able to serve in that food joint.

    Backpacking became a part of my life: never a day passes that I ddnt check airlines sites for cheap fares, I always post on my blog and FB my travel photos, budget, and experiences.I'm also proud to say that my greatest travel achievement was when i volunteered to an orphanage in CAmbodia, it's just very heart-warming to be around kids and be able to teach and care for them, which gave me a No-BOrders attitude. Because of that, A lot of my friends were encouraged to travel to local or intl destinations. Budget airlines are helpful in making us able to travel and making us the TRAVEL-GEN.

    I hope to see you guyz on the road. Keep travelling 🙂

  24. @tinlee: "backpacking became a part of my life" very well said… i feel the same… hopefully more Filipinos travel next year either internationally or just within the Philippines…

  25. Let's hit the road…

  26. rachat credit says:

    Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

    – Robson

  27. information technology says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  28. nice post! i’ll go to my first backpacking to malaysia this march and i’m scared and excited at the same time!!! it’s really inspiring to read all the pinoy travel blogs and read all your travel stories. 🙂

  29. Hi, it was nice to read your blog. Planning to go on a trip this coming may or june, i’ll be backpacking alone so don’t really have any clue what i’d be doing there

    • wow… it’ll be exciting… hope you document your experience so we could all read it… thanks for dropping by…

  30. You are right about Filipinos not wanting to go backpacking outside the country. Sure it is easy to go around here but most are scared to travel outside the country. In my brother and I’s experience of backpacking SEA (Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand) we rarely see fellow countrymen cross boarders overland or ride trains or public buses going around. I am just glad that our father approves of such travel and yes, he went with us one time hahaha! Pretty cool if you ask me.:) Money and time should not be an issue since a 6-day travel sandwich between the Holyweek or Christmas vacay for two countries is a very workable thing to do on a $250 dollar/person budget and this is already a “luxury” travel.

    As long as my body will permit, I will travel backpacking style outside the Philippines and here as well. Most Filipinos think it is scary to backpack but it’s not. Advice: start with SOUTHEAST ASIA, most countries look exactly like ours, sometimes safer. Finding a place to stay is an adventure in itself to begin with. It brings less hassle go around because you can do it on your own time, way, way cheaper and you get to experience the culture of the place. And you learn things as you travel. Who would have thought that at plastic drinking straw can act as a temporary lock for your bag for check in? My brother devised that in KL hahaha!:)

    There is no better way to travel than just you, a map and a backpack.

  31. Filipino friends traveling to Nepal just remember me, if you need any help. i just back from Philippine
    had great time, friendly, homely atmosphere during the stay.

  32. Lyndsay/ Discount Travel Blogger says:

    Hey there,

    Thanks for linking me on your post…(oh well, that’s my fashion blog talking about travelling). Unfortunately, the plans of putting up a travel agency hasn’t been fulfilled due to my itchy feet I can’t resist. I’m starting it really slow… and my travel blog is what makes me busy these days and a great job offer (travel related job, how can i resist it?), but at least, it’s moving… I mean from the post you linked I have put up a travel blog and now busy with work and flashpacking(can’t afford to backpack again , work means not much time to travel and play yeah?lol). So how are you now? I need to catch up on your blog hey…

  33. Hello there,

    I am one of “YOU”. It’s true that it is very ironic that when you travel abroad specially alone “backpacking” , WHITES and Westerners WONDER if you say you are a Filipino.

    Back in their minds they still think Filipinos are in other countries working for a living for their families back home.

    Traveling is really expensive but if you will just know how to budget and setting a limit it can be a lot of fun- filled experience of culture, food and camaraderie.

    I just started blogging about 3 months ago as I was inspired to share my experiences and connect fellow travelers as well. The best way to travel is by learning from fellow travelers.


    • flipnomad says:

      thanks for dropping by Jay and for sharing your blog as well

      • Flipnomad,

        I am so much inspired seeing Filipinos travelling and I’ve been one, I started doing bagpacking when was working In other country I started to explore other South East Asia Country Like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, It was easy for me since I have my work pass and OFW certificate to go in and out of our country, now I want to start it again doing bagpacking and visiting other country, but I am quite hesitate when it comes to our Immigration, could you advise me about immigration here in Philippines, I am no longer an oversea Employee but still wanna do bagpacking just the issue on approaching and encountering with Immigration here in Phil., could u share some experiences how to reason out as simply a bagpacker …??

        • flipnomad says:

          when i left, i just told the immigration officer in Terminal 2 that i will do backpacking and he didnt ask any other questions… maybe you should just prepare some supporting documents or your trips like bank savings etc.. i sure they’ll let you pass as long as you can prove that you’ll travel and not work… goodluck on your travels


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