Southeast Asia is having a moment as one of the premier travel destinations in the world, and the Philippines remains unrivalled as one of best countries to visit. While you’ve probably heard of friends jetting off to Thailand or Vietnam (or perhaps you’ve been there yourself), the Philippines’ 7,107 islands means that there’s so much to explore. If you’re waiting for a sign to plan your next vacation, here are 10 reasons to visit the Philippines:
It’s easy to get to
It’s a straight flight from the Philippines to Australia, with flights averaging at about five hours. This makes the Philippines one of the closest destinations to fly to, with minimal jet lag involved. In terms of time, the Philippines is only three hours behind Australia.
There’s never a shortage of things to discover
The Philippines is divided into three major parts: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Each part is distinct and is comprised of other little provinces, so you can imagine how many different and unique experiences you can have with each visit. In fact, the Philippines is so large that even many Filipinos have yet to make their way around the country!
Eat tons of food, glorious food
Filipino food is slowly taking over the world; food magazine Eater notes that thousands of NYC foodies trek to Jeepney to try some adobo and boodle-style feasts. A visit to the Philippines takes you to the very heart of this thriving food culture, where you’re guaranteed to always have a happy tummy.
Get ready, surf’s up
Australians love their waves, so it’s no surprise that many of them end up in the Philippines. Daydreaming in Paradise emphasises that the country’s surf scene is more than just Siargao. In fact, Manila residents often head up to nearby La Union or Zambales for a quick weekend surf break.
Experience a true mix of cultures
The phrase ‘melting pot of cultures’ comes to life in the Philippines, which was colonised by the Spaniards and later on by the Americans. The famous walled city of Intramurous is like an urban time capsule where visitors can still see vestiges of Manila’s Spanish past.
Don’t worry about the language barrier
Most of the locals speak English, and if they’re not fluent they’re still more than willing to help out. This makes navigating the city a breeze, as you never have to worry about getting lost. The same holds true even if you go to the outer provinces and away from Metro Manila.
The country’s beaches are still worth visiting even for those who aren’t into surfing. If you enjoyed strolling along the Kona coast during your Hawaii visit, imagine how you’ll feel walking along the soft white sands of Boracay. The gorgeous islands of Palawan are fast becoming a tourist hotspot as well, so you should take the opportunity to visit it before it gets too crowded.
Prep your hiking boots
Surfing is what put the Philippines on many people’s radars, but hiking is what keeps them coming back. Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak, and there are many beginner-friendly hikes along the area if you’re still not ready to hike to the top. Osmeñas Peak, located in Cebu, requires only a 30 minute hike to reach the summit.
Immerse yourself in local arts
Local creatives are taking over Manila’s night-scene, with local galleries and music collectives having exhibits almost every weekend. Those who want to learn about Philippines’ tribal art may want to head up to the legendary Whang Od and her apprentices, who are known for their ethnic Kalinga tattoos.
Belt your lungs out
Walking around Manila at night means you’ll probably hear at least one or two strains of karaoke signers belting at the top of their lungs. Filipinos love to sing wherever and whenever, even at the clubs. This is the perfect place to fulfil your secret pop idol dreams.
This list doesn’t even come close to outlining all the things you can do in the Philippines. Fair warning — if you plan on visiting, be prepared to want to come back again (and again and again)!