The Philippine archipelago is known for its amazing beaches and adobo, but there is so much more to the country that makes it worth calling home.

Philippine’s Department of Tourism’s official campaign video for 2015

  1. The people

Filipino people happiness
Image Courtesy of Flickr, ~MVI~

The Filipinos are warm, hospitable, caring, and adaptable. They can give you an easy smile or drop a “hello” or a “good morning.” This is easily the biggest asset the Philippines has to offer – friendly and welcoming Filipinos. No wonder tourists quickly feel at home when they come for a visit, not to mention how many Filipinos speak at least basic English.

But the most amazing thing is that Filipinos are forever optimistic and resilient. They can smile even in the midst of tragedy, while looking for the silver lining in what could be a dreary situation.

  1. World-renowned beaches

El Nido
El Nido, Palawan – Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to its geography composed of 7,107 islands, the Philippines certainly isn’t short on the beach department. In fact, it has some of the most renowned beaches in the world. In fact, Boracay was named the Top Island in the World by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler in 2016, with its “gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets” as well as a “thriving nightlife scene.”

Palawan, ranked second, and Cebu, fifth, also made it to Conde Nast’s Top 20 Best Islands in the World this year.

  1. Delicious food

Famous YouTube channel “People Be Like” features Filipino food

Adobo and balut anyone? Among the best dishes that define the Philippines, according to CNN, are adobo, lechon sisig, crispy pata, chicken inasal, taba ng talangka, pancit palabok, bulalo, arroz caldo, and fish tinola. This wide range of dishes is the result of the archipelagic setup of the country and the mesh of cultures from its colonizers. And of course, seafood is always available.

  1. Low cost of living

Slow Easy English (YouTube channel) talks about the cost of living in the Philippines

The food and accommodation are pretty affordable in the Philippines. A meal for two that would have cost around $50 in the US may cost only a quarter of that amount in the Philippines. A $1,000-one-bedroom apartment in the city center in the US would only cost around $200 in the Philippines.

  1. Breathtaking natural attractions

Banaue Rice Terraces
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Filipinos have a lot to be proud of, starting with the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, which is elected one of the New7Wonders of Nature. You can also explore the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano, Enchanted River, Tubbataha Reef, Coron Island, and so many more travel destinations. In fact, the Philippines ranked 8th in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel in 2015” list.

  1. Colorful festivals

Top 10 Best Festivals in the Philippines, Philippines Travel Experts (YouTube)

The Filipinos go all out in their celebrations, which is evident in their long-running tradition of holding fiestas. Among the most famous festivals in the country are the Sinulog in Cebu City, Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Panagbenga in Baguio, Kadayawan in Davao, Masskara in Bacolod, Moriones in Marinduque, Sandugo in Bohol, Dinagyang in Iloilo, and more. Get your cameras ready to snap colorful moments during these festivals.

  1. The 7,107 islands

Philippines
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Traveling across the Philippines can be a bit challenging, thanks to its 7,107 islands. However, this also makes for an amazing view when you’re up in the air and looking down from a window seat. This is also why the country easily has some of the best beaches in the world, with crystal clear waters and amazing sea creatures.

  1. Beautiful wildlife

tarsier
Image Courtesy of Flickr, The Wandering Angel

The Philippine tarsier in Bohol is one of the smallest known primate in the world and it could not even fill an adult man’s hand. But if you want to go big and brave, you can swim with the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu or Donsol, Sorsogon. You can also go to Apo Island and swim with giant sea turtles and other sea creatures. Wildlife enthusiasts may visit Calauit Island, home to over 100 animals transported from Africa. The Tubbataha Reef was also honored as the First Natural Site in the Philippines by UNESCO to be included in the World Heritage List because it is home to over 300 coral species, among others. Bird lovers should stop by Olango Island, while those who want to explore Philippine flora should head to Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Center.

  1. Active nightlife

nightlife philippines
Full Moon Party 2016, Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Filipinos know how to party and have a good time to just sit back and relax after a long day at work. Nightclubs and bars, where you can enjoy a drink or two, are scattered all over the city center and beach destinations. Yes, you can swim at day and drink with your friends at night.

  1. Easy, affordable transport

Very fun to watch! (Moymoy Palaboy’s take on riding the jeepney in the Philippines)

Hopping from one island to the next in the Philippines can be a travel nightmare, but the availability of airline companies offering relatively affordable transport, especially if you’re a great promo hunter, makes traveling so much easier now. Just subscribe to the pages of airline industries and be alerted to available promos so you can plan your travel locally and internationally.

  1. Affordable services

massage philippines
Massage on the Beach, Image Courtesy of Flickr, The Wandering Angel

You can treat yourself to a massage once or twice a week, get some mani-pedi, or go to a spa and it would not feel as though you are splurging too much on those services. Need a haircut or some highlights? You can just hop from one salon to the next without trouble.

  1. Love for celebrations

philippines celebrations
Dinagyang Festival, Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Filipinos love to find reasons to celebrate, cook up a storm, and sit down with family and friends and the whole extended family to drink. They celebrate birthdays, baptisms, weddings, wedding anniversaries, fiestas, balikbayan homecoming, and more.

  1. Close family ties

Respect in the Filipino Culture, YouTube (TheSinfulProductions)

It is not uncommon to see Filipinos living with their elderly parents or even grandparents in one house. The elderly are well-cared for and are often still actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren.

  1. Adventure spots

The Island Life Dream (Philippines Adventure), YouTube (Wil Dasovich)

Lonely Planet listed down the top island adventures in the Philippines. Trekkers would love camping overnight at Mt. Pulag, trekking in Banaue Rice Terraces, and hiking village to village in Mountain and Kalinga Provinces. Divers would love Apo Reef, Tubbataha Reef, and the wreck diving in Palawan. Cagayan de Oro offers white water rafting on their rapids.

Other extreme activities in the Philippines include mud-karting, spelunking, sandboarding, 4×4 off-roading, canyoneering, skydiving, surfing, and flying a plane.

  1. Colorful culture

filipino culture
Ifugao tribesman, Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Philippines in itself has its inherent culture, evident in the intricate art on woven fabric, jewelry, literature, folk dances, folk costumes, and performing arts.

However, its culture was also influenced by its colonizers. The Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, leaving behind the Catholic religion and the love for fiestas. It was also an American colony, which left behind the education system the Filipinos are now using, the English language, and the friendliness towards anything Western.

How about you? What do you love about the Philippines?