Choosing to travel to the Philippines is an epic decision. I fell in love with this place when I first landed there in late 2014 – and in the 6 months after that I came back twice more to explore even more of what it has to offer.

I’ve repeatedly mentioned that I’m annoyed I didn’t venture to The Philippines sooner too – it’s a much overlooked destination in comparison to it’s fellow South East Asia cousins like Thailand and Indonesia.

So what makes it such a great place to travel and why should you load up your backpack and head there asap?!

Well I’ve put together 10 reasons that you should add it to your bucket list and start planning…

 

10 Epic Reasons Why You Should Travel To The Philippines

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Island Bliss

Islands, Islands And More Islands

If you love island hopping (and who doesn’t?!) The Philippines will leave you spoilt for choice! There’s over 7,000 islands to chose from (7,107 if you want to be exact) so its not hard to find your down slice of tropical paradise, grab a hammock and kick back on island time whilst your worries drift away amongst the sound of waves lapping on the shore.

Total. Bliss.

And if you need help decided where to go here are the best places to visit in the Philippines as recommended by some amazing travel bloggers!

 

The Philippines Has Something For Everyone

And with that abundance of islands comes a variety of locations, activities and styles to suit every type of traveller. Whether you fancy some flashpacking luxury complete with an infinity pool, want a simple beach hut nestled amongst the palm trees, a thriving city metropolis, explore nature or an uninhabited island – you’ll find it in The Philippines.

Top spots I recommend to check out include Palawan (2015 island of the year!), Boracay, El Nido, Coron, Bohol and Siargao. There are some great Philippines tours to get your trip started and show you around some of the highlights…making it even easier to explore this amazing country!

 

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Stoked As!

The Philippines Has Epic Surfing 

Probably the number one thing I look for in a travel destination is the abundance of waves and The Philippines is home to some world class surf breaks!

My top tip is to head to the island of Siargao in the south of the country where barrelling breaks like Cloud 9 are set against a back drop of tropical beauty straight out of a surf movie.

So if you’re already a competent surf or want to learn to surf there’s plenty of spots to choose from and surf camps like Kermit Siargao offer a range of packages for all levels of surfer

 

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Freediving A WW2 Shipwreck!

..And World Class Scuba Diving

As a keen scuba diver and freediver The Philippines also left me spoilt for choice under the waves too! Whether its swimming alongside whale sharks in Oslob or diving amongst the World War 2 shipwrecks that litter the sea floor around Coron there’s some epic diving to be had.

 

Friendly Locals

One of my favourite things about this country though are the locals – it’s one of the friendliest places I’ve ever visited.

I felt safe, invited and welcomed by everyone I met – from Jeepney drivers to the guy who owns the corner shop, everyone had a beaming smile on their face!

 

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Smiles All Round!

Everyone Speaks English!

It might sound a bit “un-backpacker” but the fact pretty much everyone speaks English is a huge bonus when travelling in The Philippines! Unlike most of it’s neighbouring countries you can be in the middle of nowhere and still easily ask for directions, advice and read the menu.

For many first time travellers this will immediately flag The Philippines up as a great place to start in South East Asia and a welcome change of pace from the language barrier in many other destinations.

 

 

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Island Luxury Without The Price Tag!

The Philippines Is Cheap!

The on the ground costs, like the rest of South East Asia, are definitely on the lower end of the travel budget.

Ok I admit if you bounce around a lot of different spots the internal flights can pump up the costs but if you’re kicking back and exploring a couple of places in depth you’ll love how budget friendly The Philippines can be!

Take drinking for example – it’s around £1 for a full bottle of local rum! On Kermit Resort on Siargao it’s cheaper to order a double (or a triple!) than it is a single…since the booze is cheaper to import than the mixer!

Epic!

 

Good Eating

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So. Full!

If you’re a foodie then it won’t disappoint either – with some of the best seafood on the planet!

Local dishes like Adobo (a Filipino staple), Lechon (whole roasted pig) and Kare-Kare (an oxtail stew with  crushed roasted rice and peanuts sauce) are amongst the local delicacies you can get stuck into

…and if you fancy something a bit more adventurous try Balut – a boiled egg containing a 17 day old duck embryo.

Not for those with a weak stomach!

And of course with a growing international community it isn’t hard to grab some Western food too if you ever get peckish for a burger, pizza or curry!

 

Surprisingly Easy (And Cheap) To Get To

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Not An Expensive De Tour

One of the reasons I put off visiting The Philippines for so long was the fact it looked quite out of the way. In hindsight this was a pretty stupid reason as it’s actually pretty easy – and more importantly cheap – to get to The Philippines.

You can grab a flight for as little as £75 one way from Bangkok with Cebu Pacific or fly internationally with Philippines Airlines from all over the world so it’s easy to fit in as a single destination or as part of your trip around the rest of Asia.

One routing I would suggest would be Bangkok – Manila – Bali which is how I finished off 2014 and it was an epic mixture of Asian fun!

 

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Wish You Were Here?

Sunshine, Heaps of Sunshine!

The Philippines is also packed full of sunshine and warmth too – with an average year round temperature of over 26 degrees! Lets face it that’s the reason most of us travel!

Just make sure you’re aware of the dry and wet seasons when planning where to explore though as it’s difficult to combine both the East and West into a single trip without experiencing some bad weather.

On the plus side though this give you the perfect excuse to come back to The Philippines more than once!

 

And there you have it – 10 epic reasons why you should start planning a trip to The Philippines! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I have, although I have no doubt you will!

 

 

Have you visited The Philippines?

Any more reasons you’d add to the list of why people should travel there?

 

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17 Responses

    • Chris

      What an epic addition…holiday mode works wonders for realising how trivial things can be hey?!

      Reply
  1. Kenny

    Just got back from a 10 day trip, all the vacation I had for now, wishing I would have just stayed on some of the smaller islands the whole time. So relaxing. Was the cheapest place I could get to from Seoul at the time I purchased the ticket but it was always on my radar for the connection to Spanish history being from a former colony and having lived in the mother land for 3 years. I’m terribly out of surfing shape and nearly drowned while in Peru two years ago but the waves look so fun.

    As long as you’re a heads up traveler, and are not too naive its quite a blast.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Stoked you enjoyed it Kenny…guessing you’re already planning your return?! Where did you head?

      Reply
  2. Ed Brooke

    Wow, look at that water! Super jealous!
    Would love to take a trip to the philippines, looks like a big difference from the cold water here in the UK :(

    Reply
    • Chris

      It aint too bad hey Ed?!
      Awwww you cant complain too much, Bude is a heaps fun surf spot!

      Reply
  3. Dhakk

    I am sold to go to the Philippines! Your comparison between Coron & El Nido helped me a lot! I guess I won’t be staying at El Nido! Loved the reggae backpacker place that you recommended.

    After that, I’ll head to Siargao to learn surfing and relax! Gotta love how under-rated the Philippines is.

    Reply
  4. Kathleen

    I love this article about the Philippines! My mother was born and raised in Makati and I’ve been to the beautiful country 5 or 6 times and I too love the beaches, exotic food, and extremely friendly culture! It’s a shame more people don’t consider traveling there. You really hit this one on the nail, it’s everything that I love about the Philippines too :)

    Reply
    • Chris

      Stoked you love it too Kathleen – part of me doesn’t want to convince heaps of people to go there so I can enjoy it being quiet for longer but it seems a shame not to tell everyone how epic it is!haha!

      Reply
  5. Rich

    Hi, Chris. I’m a Filipina and thank you for this wonderful feature!

    I just came back from my first SEA backpacking trip. It was a wonderful experience! It was amazing to meet so many excited and inspiring travelers like you, amazing to explore the wonders of nature, and amazing to experience the rich cultures of these countries. During my trip, I was able to talk to several backpackers, but I got quite upset to find that the Philippines is not included in their itinerary. How I wish more people like you get to experience this lovely country. The Philippines has more than 7,000 awesome reasons to visit. :-)

    Reply
    • Chris

      Indeed PH is often overlooked hey? I’ve only recently gone there too despite spending a lot of the over the last 4 years in Asia and I’m annoyed I didn’t head there sooner! Hopefully we can help change that!

      Reply
  6. Hannah

    Hi Chris, I’m heading to the Philippines for two weeks in October by myself. After reading your blog, i’m thinking Coron & Siargao, do you have any recommendation of which one to go to first? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Hey Hannah….happy days you’ll love PH!
      Hmmmm I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference which order you visit in, although personally I’d finish up in Siargao with some chilled island vibes!

      Reply
  7. Baron Travel

    This is the most detailed and colorful guide about my beloved country the Philippines. You covered literally everything there is when travelling in the country. Best post ever! I’m so jealous of your travels around the country. You enjoyed all the best the Philippines can offer. I hope that I could explore my country as much as you did.

    Reply

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