On the first “Ask the Nomad‘s” segment we asked travel bloggers from different countries their opinion about “Why Tourists are Hesitant to Travel to the Philippines?“. this time, we asked our Filipino Travel Bloggers the best travel advice that they could give to a first time (foreign) traveller to the Philippines.
Here’s what the guys have to say:
“I’ve toured several foreign friends here in the country and they were surprised of what they found here. My advise? Bring a smile and you’ll be rewarded more than a hundred smiles back! Filipino’s hospitality is unsurpassed and that’s what most foreign visitors here mostly remember. I have a love and hate with the City of Manila but go beyond that and be prepared to be blinded by numerous white sand beaches we have, immerse into the rich culture in the highland of Cordilleras and visit the numerous historical sites and let its walls speak their stories. The Philippines has numerous treasure troves of wonders, you just have to work your way through the islands to find it.”
“Keep an open-mind about everything. Generally speaking, Filipinos are very hospitable to guest when they see that the guest is here to learn the culture and not to look-down on the locals. Although all must go through Manila, the best of the Philippines is in the provinces, off-the-beaten path destinations will surely drive a visitor crazy in love with what the Philippines has to offer. Oh and before I forget, its good to learn some Filipino phrases, “Salamat ng marami” (thank you very much) and “Ang ganda ng lugar/bansa ninyo” (Your place/country is so beautiful) would be a good start.”
“Not to let their first impression of Manila hinder their travel experience in the Philippines, from the old, rustic NAIA terminal, traffic and pollution – try to see the country beyond those smoke screen and when they do, they will see the accommodating nature of the Filipinos, the savory cuisines, the historical sites, the paradise-like beaches and enormous buffet choices of wonderful experiences and adventure will await them. Just be prepared to extend their trip in the Philippines, because I’m betting for any backpacker that wandered from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao a good 90% of them extended their stay for months. Enjoy and have fun under the sun.”
“That question usually comes up to me especially with americans who’ve never ventured to Southeast Asia, more so the Philippines, so I say:
Keep an open mind and be ready to get out of your comfort zone. Not everything you are used to at home may not be available,but this is what makes travel to the Philippines more of a discovery and learning. In the end, the trip becomes more meaningful and rewarding.”
“Don’t treat one town/region/city as the whole Philippines. Whatever you experience in one place may have some similarities with another. But overall, it’s totally different as we have 7107 islands. It would be unfair to stereotype one destination because of one experience alone as we have one of the most diverse cultures in the world.
When you smile at us, we will definitely smile back. We are also a nation known for our generous hospitality so it would be great if that kindness isn’t abused. Don’t worry though, we don’t mind sharing our microphone during karaoke nights! ”
“The Philippines has a wealth of wonders that only the uncompromised and determined are able to experience. An archipelago made up of seven thousand isles, traveling to this side of the world deserves a more extensive vacation than just a week’s trip to Boracay. With infinite number of unspoiled beaches and coves waiting to be discovered, it’s inherent to leave your worries behind, lounge by the hammock, sip your piña colada and just let time pass by. Otherwise, for adventure-hungry nomads, the topography of the nation is a delight to see with cascading slopes and breathtaking views from the top of a three-thousand meter highland. If adrenaline still kicks in, push yourself to the limits, and organize a trek to one or to many of the twenty-two active volcanoes in the country. The sights and sounds of this republic are enough to enthrall you, mesmerize you and take your breath away.
If you’re in search of a megatropolis, a 300 kilometer per hour speeding train or a world-class amenity, you won’t find it here. The Philippines may be blessed with a wealth of natural spectacle but life in the country is sadly, its biggest failure. On the hindsight of things, its people are its biggest asset. Where else can you meet a friendly and charming tribesman who can converse with you in fluent English and chat with you about Hollywood, US presidents and good ‘ol cheap rum? This is the Philippines, South East Asia’s most underrated destination, but a place where it’s just too damn hard to hate and forget.”
“For several years now, the Philippines has been getting unfair share of negative media exposures due to separatist rebels and Abu Sayaff down south, but the fact is, these conflict areas are in the far flung isolated areas. Do not believe everything that you hear, see or read in the news, because generally speaking, the country is still a safe place and the Filipino people are considerably hospitable, friendly and helpful. Just like any other place in the world though, there are some bad elements in some tourist frequented areas, but if you keep your “street smart” with you and have a pocketful of consciousness, everything will be fine. In fact, compared to other Asian countries, the Philippines is easier to navigate because English is widely spoken anywhere.
Our country has a wealth of natural wonders, both inland and underwater. To make the most out of your stay here is to explore its rich and duverse marine life. Go diving or snorkeling in Coron, El Nido, Cebu, Puerto Galera, Bohol, Dumaguete, Davao or Anilao. The Philippines possesses the world’s most diverse coral species and organisms, 488 of the 500 known coral species in the world are found here. We will not be dubbed as the Center of World’s Marine Biodiversity for nothing :)”
“While the Philippines have some of the best beaches in the world, there’s more to this archipelago than sun and sand. If you have the time and energy for an unforgettable Philippine experience, troop over to the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in the province of Ifugao. They aren’t easy to visit. But your efforts will be rewarded with the grandest of views and one of the richest and most meaningful cultural encounters.”
“When locals look and stare at you, that doesn’t mean they want to snatch that camera or make a Sisig con Backpacker. Filipinos are the friendliest bunch. Tracing back the history, the country have been visited by friendly and not so friendly civilizations in the last Millennium, and we kept that fascination to foreigners up to this modern day. That made Filipinos the underrated experts in terms of hospitality. Just be receptive and keep an open mind and you will definitely be welcomed by the best host you could ever imagine.”
Check out the first part: Filipina Travel Bloggers’ Best Travel Advice
Photo Credits: Pics provided by the bloggers.