The Philippines was nothing but a pleasure to travel around. It was the first country since India where I really felt like I was properly back in the swing of being on the road a lot – and I absolutely loved it. The scenery, the snorkelling, the energy, the people, it has so much to offer as a country.
Here are my top ten things I learnt whilst travelling in The Philippines.
Filipinos love a karaoke
Even if it’s 8am there is sure to be a local belting out their favourite Aqua hit (true story) on the karaoke in their living room. The Philippines is covered in karaoke bars and seems to be everyone’s favourite activity to pass some time.
Getting around the Philippines ent easy (or cheap)
Due to The Philippines being a spread out cluster of over 7,000 islands, getting around isn’t quick. Even if you’re travelling within one island by bus (e.g. Cebu) it is still likely to take you up to a day of travelling on multiple buses.
Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer great deals on flights however, this is only if you book in advance.
It has some fabulous lagoons
I’m sure you’ve all seen at least one photo of the lagoons in El Nido or Coron in Palawan on Instagram. Encompassed by imposing jagged limestone rocks, hidden in secret rocky cubby holes or found floating amidst the inky blue sea, The Philippines has some of the brightest and purest lagoons you’ll ever see.
And outstanding, magical, breathtaking snorkelling and diving
From the historic WWII Japanese shipwrecks in Coron to the pristine coral reef just off of Moalboal’s coastline, The Philippines has some of the best diving and snorkelling sights in the world.
If you haven’t seen a chicken or a cockerel in a box on one of your journeys, you’re very lucky!
Dead or alive, it’s a regular occurrence to have a chicken or a cockerel wedged up against you on a bus.
Getting around on a moped is the best way to explore…
I’m absolutely petrified of riding mopeds. However, if I meet someone who is a confident driver, I will jump at the chance to be their passenger.
Driving around The Philippines on a moped is the best (and cheapest) way to uncover off-the-beaten-track corners of each island and explore untouched beaches and waterfalls.
Pots of cheap food will be your new best friend
Lining the streets of The Philippines you’ll find food stalls stocked with silver pots full of curries, veggies and seafood. These are a saving grace for budget backpackers. Pick a few items and a plate of rice and you can expect to pay no more than £1. Bargain.
And for pudding…
Bakeries are everywhere in The Philippines and are so so cheap. Bread rolls of every shape and size, vibrant cake slices (they love food colouring) and pastries are just a few of the goodies on offer. However, expect everything to be sweet – cheese rolls will still be coated in sugar…
Jeepneys are the bomb
Wherever you want to go in the cities, check whether there is a jeepney heading in the same direction before getting in a taxi or tricycle. Jeepneys are pimped out old jeeps, which were left over in the country after the war and act similarly to buses – they are way cooler than a taxi and cost ten times less than most other forms of transport.
Filipinos are some of the friendliest and kindest people I’ve ever met
Filipinos don’t look at tourists any differently to everyone else. If you hop on a local form of transport, you won’t get funny looks like you may in other countries, everyone smiles, waves and says hello to you and if you’re lost or have a question, they will all go above and beyond to help you.