Philippines is not so known among travellers and backpackers as its neighbour countries Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia or Vietnam, but numbers of visitors is growing rapidly. Beaches and places that used to be quiet and unique are now turning into something completely else, so don’t trust anything what your few years old travel magazine is telling about certain destination: the place has probably changed quite a bit. Specially those “Top 10 hidden beaches around the world” type of articles are completely out of date and many tranquil beaches have turned into a tout hell.
I traveled to Philippines first time in 2010 and retuned here now six years later (where does the time go!?). The country has so many places to visit, wildlife to observe, reefs to explore, cities for shopping. Philippines is one of those dive dream destination to all scuba divers and offers numerous secret diving destinations and great chill out places around the 7000 islands.
Food in the Philippines is not as famous as in the other South East Asia and definitely not as exciting and tasty, but there’s some great delicacies in traditional Philippine kitchen too. Local eateries serve wide selection of meat and fish, but for us vegans and vegetarians it can be sometimes quite tricky. It’s getting better though and obviously growing number of tourists bring varieties of restaurants around the world and these days in the tourist destinations you can find food from Mongolia, Korea, Greece and even Sweden. But I’m not complaining!
Mangos in the Philippines are THE best in the world – hands down. All other fruits like watermelon, pineapple, soursop, mangosteen and avocados are delicious and smoothies belong to every traveler’s daily routines. San Miguel Beer is super cheap and served ice cold everywhere. Huge variety of cocktails available for those who like life sweeter and local Tanduay rum is cheaper than water and rum-cokes are cheaper more rum you want in it! Dangerous, I have to say.
Accommodation is relatively cheap – although more expensive than Indonesia and Thailand. Great variety of guesthouses and home stays all the way to boutique bungalows and 5-star hotel complexes. Eating in the restaurants very cheap or at least affordable – depending on the location, drinking even cheaper. Day trips, massages and other services still cheap but make sure before booking anything what the price you paid actually includes, many travellers are complaining about hidden costs.
We are just now settling in to Alona beach in Panglao, little island attached to Bohol. So far the island has been exactly what we have been wanting after being years in the tiny paradise island in Indonesia in the middle of nowhere. We’re currently teaching at Sierra Madre Divers, if you want to learn to dive with us or continue your PADI scuba education, contact us: divedreamers (at) gmail.com
MORE stories from Philippines coming soon!