What do I LOVE about the Philippines?

World Citizen, Ninja

The World Citizen family has been to the Philippines recently, and it turned out to be one of the best destinations I’ve ever been to! We have travelled with a friend. She is from the Philippines, so we have decided to tag along while she is visiting her family. She was our host, our guide, she knows the local language, and we were not travelling alone, we had a friend with us! Let me tell you what I love about the Philippines!

What I love about the Philippines is the super friendly people

We have been to many places, but the level of helpfulness, friendliness is unparalleled! People in shops, restaurants, coffees, taxi drivers, people of the street, they all want to help! Even if it does not bring them financial benefit, they all want to make sure you are OK, you found what you were looking for! People are generally happy and smiling, even if they could have better circumstances, they see the good in life!

What I love about the Philippines is hotels cook from the food you bring!

While we were staying in our hotel, One El Nido Suit, I’ve noticed the hotel does not have a restaurant, yet people are having a feast in the lobby with proper cutlery, food is in porcelain serving dishes, and they have all kinds: crabs, fish, rice, cooked and fried vegetables. I have started to talk to them, asking where they got the food from, and it turns out they bought all the ingredients on the local wet market and had the hotel cook it for them! Yes, it involves a small service charge if you were wondering, but still, it blew my mind! Of course, we had to try this, so the next day we did some haggling on the market ourselves, bought a few exotic sea creatures, and enjoyed the same feast ourselves!

Philippines El Nido dinner cooked in Hotel Love about the Philippines

Philippines wet fish market

Philippines El Nido dinner cooked in Hotel Crab Love about the Philippines

What I love about the Philippines is the untouched Nature

After a few days in Manila, we took a domestic flight to the picturesque El Nido, on a western outlying island of Palawan. It was clear from the plane already this is paradise, we have seen nothing but blue lagoons, white sandy beaches and lush forests. During our time in El Nido, we have visited many different beaches, sometimes only a handful of people on each!
While you are in rural areas, I would absolutely recommend island hopping! You rent a traditional boat with a small crew, and they take you for a whole day, visiting lagoons you can only get to with a boat! Uninhabited islands, kayaking in hidden valleys, jumping from rocks in hidden beaches, it was all I dreamed of!

Love about the Philippines El Nido beach palm trees blue lagoon ocean sandy beach  El Nido beach palm trees paradise food island hopping Love about the PhilippinesEl Nido beach paradise island hopping boat Love about the PhilippinesLove about the Philippines El Nido Flight plane aerial shot ocean lagoon

What I love about the Philippines is the Sinulog festival!

It was pure chance, but we had no idea, it was the week of the yearly Sinulog festival! People from all around of the Philippines gather in Cebu to take part in this cultural and religious festival! It’s about celebrating the arrival of Magellan, bringing Christianity to the Philippines. Magellan planted a Cross on the shores of Cebu, claiming the territory for Spain, baptizing as many natives he could. Unfortunately for him, he was soon killed by chieftain Lapu-Lapu during battle, but somehow Christianity and Spain prevailed! As I imagine, the Spanish army left no choice to natives: Christianity or death, but that’s only my realistic approach:) The point is the Philippines makes a huge celebration about this every year, with major street parties, marches, attracting a few million people from around the country! Meanwhile, they hold many beauty pageants as well (also this is something they LOVE in the Philippines. Side story, about 50% of the maids in Hong Kong are women from the Philippines. They organize beauty pageants for themselves in Hong Kong too, as a form of entertainment on Sundays. Every week there is one, and I almost got in to the jury, though my wife would have not approved 🙂 ) So back to Sinulog, even though it’s a religious event, and they do have a big mass in Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, they managed to make it a super fun event with dancing on street parties, lots of food, loud music, fun t-shirts, flowers and have I mentioned endless parties? 🙂

sinulog sinulug beauty pageant mall Love about the Philippinessinulog sinulug beauty pageant mall Love about the Philippines

Some more fun facts I loved and smiled on:

Philippinos make the most selfies per capita!

They do love to take loads of selfies. Our group went to the Masungi Georeserve trail, which is effectively a gorgeous hiking trail with ropes and cliffs, steps, bridges made of rope, etc. We were about 10 people in the group and we had to stop at every tree and take a group selfie, just because it’s fun! You don’t ask anymore, just smile and wave!

Love about the Philippines Masungi georeserve group selfie picture

Group photo selfie Masungi georeserve

What I love about the Philippines is the Jeepney!

Originally surplus Jeeps left over from World War II, Philippinos re-purposed them to mass transit vehicles. It became so popular that now they produce parts, and they live forever. They decorate them with colourful paintings, ornaments, and loads of chrome parts, so they are now part of pop culture. Space inside is incredibly tight, it’s a challenge to get in if you are above 160cm! Though please try, it’s an experience to travel in these Jeepneys!

Jeepney jeep philippines manila public transport Love about the Philippines

Foodie fun fact

95% of restaurants, homes simply do not have knives. You eat with a spoon and a fork!

What I love about the Philippines is their love of Malls!

We have spent five days in Cebu, a city just short of 1 million people. They built at least 4-5 mega malls with hundreds of shops inside! OK, Manila is huge, they have an infinite number of mega malls. Any random mall in Manila city can come second after The Dubai Mall, said to be the largest in the world! The one next to our hotel in Cebu even had a roller coaster INSIDE the mall. A proper one, not something for kids!

CEBU SM City Mall roller coaster arcade Love about the Philippines

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