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Monday, October 16, 2017

Best Destinations in the Philippines for Hosting Your Foreigner Friends



When we have our friends from overseas visiting us in the Philippines, we always try to be as hospitable as possible, that's a part of our mentality right? That also includes showing them around and giving them traveling advice. But by doing so, one can easily forget that "our" priorities and taste can be a little different than those of an outside visitor. On these instances we should really be careful and not let our hospitality push aside our guests' desires.

Let's face it, we travel our country differently than we travel abroad, and usually have two things in mind. The first is that we want it to be cost efficient – if it's going to cost as much as traveling overseas we'll just do that. It means that many times we'll prefer skipping the most popular places for cutting the costs. Though there are places that share some traits with many of the famous spots, the atmosphere and amenities, and the transportation to them, are just not as good and don't meet the international standard.

The second thing is that we're not very time wary, and willing to spend some time on the road, to get to a really good place. There are great places that everyone including foreigners will absolutely love, but it makes no sense for them to spend so much of their time commuting. By doing so they'll have to give up on other attractions on their vacation.

They'll want to get familiar with the local culture

We take it for granted, and sometimes even shy away from it, but let us make two things certain. The first is that we have nothing to be ashamed of our culture, we should be proud of it. The second is, that it's very interesting to outsiders, and extremely meaningful for them when visiting a new country. Therefore this is something to put an emphasis on when hosting international guest.

Intramuros is a must, and even Binondo can be a very interesting and educational, but when done alone can be very hectic and confusing. Even for us, who are aware of our history and cultural diversity, an unguided tour to these places can mean nothing to us as it is unorganized and lacking the proper infrastructure. Therefore booking a guided tour is a very good idea, and even you'll enjoy it if you have the time to join your friends.

For a wholesome perspective of a visit to Banaue is also one of the essentials of a trip to the country, and even us aren't taking it for granted. It is just worth the trip, as our culture, or let's call it cultural diversity, has more than meets the eye. Our indigenous cultures are fascinating to outsiders too, and the Banaue Rice Terraces gained a lot of reputation with international tourists.

Two more spots that are a perfect example of places we as local cherish, but are a hassle for international tourists are Vigan, and Batanes. As much as they are beautiful and culturally rich, they are just out of the way. But if your guests are on a long vacation in the Philippines, or it's not their second time, don't rule out these destinations. In any case, because of the difficulty of getting to all places in this section, unless you have a car, it's best to book a package from a travel agency to ensure the quality and convenience of the trip.

They would love to go to the best beaches possible

This is why most people come to the Philippines for, the beautiful beaches. Yes, Batangas has beautiful beaches, Zambales too, and also Pagudpud. Bicol has really good beaches also, and some of the best beaches are in Mindanao, and in other countless locations in the country. But many of these beaches are just very difficult to get to. And even after you get there, the infrastructure is just not enough.

It's true that some foreign tourists look for these kind of places that you just kick back, and enjoy the simplicity. When it comes to local tourism, most people don't look for many attractions, and usually travel in a group, which is also our entertainment. But for most people who travel from abroad, it's just not enough, and external forms of entertainment are very important.

Most foreigners automatically go to Boracay and El Nido. Both are highly touristy, and have everything a beach tourist can wish for. Restaurants and bars, diving and island hopping, and the most stunning beaches in the Philippines. Boracay is known for its wild parties and island lifestyle, and El Nido for its serenity and unmatched beauty. Both are easily accessible, especially in El Nido's case, that there was no direct flight there until recently. Hands down, those are really the best.

Where to dive?

In our opinion, both El Nido and Boracay mentioned above are great for diving. They both have good sites, and many dive clubs, but they aren't the best. Firstly because they are too crowded and secondly because there are just better places. So if your guests are really into diving, and it does make sense to send them to some places other than El Nido and Boracay, and there are many notable options.

Panglao is a really good choice: it's easy to get too, beautiful, very accommodating with a wide range of resorts and hotels, great beaches and relaxed nightlife. And it's also one of the better spots to dive in the country, as there are many dive sites, bountiful marine life, and highly professional and veteran dive shops.

If your guests are on a business trip, and can't really get away for a long time, some places around Manila are just perfect for short diving weekends. Puerto Galera is the best one, as it has all of what Bohol has on a little smaller scale. Well, the old readers can remember that before Boracay became the hottest place in the Philippines, it was Puerto Galera.

And if it is still too far, Anilao in Batangas will be great for a short diving trip, but tell your friends not to expect anything too grand as far on land activities are concerned. If it's a family, Subic is a very good place to visit, because it has the best wreck dives in the country, and family friendly attractions like Zoobic Safari, Inflatable Island and Ocean Adventure. And it is really close to Manila too.

Secret spots for long term adventurers

Sometimes you have friends from overseas who come to the Philippines for a long vacation. Actually, you're just an excuse for them to show up, they really want to travel. Well, even if you can't travel with them doesn’t mean you can give them a good advice. Especially if they are adventurous, there are some really good places they can try out.

Coron is one of those, with amazing wreck diving, and secret spots in Palawan, like Barracuda Lake with a mixture of fresh and salt water, and Twin Lagoons, and extremely beautiful beaches. There are many island hopping trips to choose from, and the town has some nice restaurants. It is also very easy to get to, just a flight from Manila (or Cebu). Coron is amazing for divers and should be included in your recommendation for your diver friends.

Malapascua is another spot for divers. We wouldn’t tell anyone who's not a diver to go there, if he isn’t local that is. Many of us love this island because it's beautiful and relaxed, and relatively accessible. It has nice places to stay and eat, good island hopping and it's cheap. Nothing that you can't get anywhere else mentioned in this post, but there is one thing that's special in Malapascua: Thresher Shark diving, available all year round. This is a diving spot prized by divers worldwide.

Last for this post is no other with the upcoming new most popular in the Philippines, Siargao. It still don't have the capacity to host as many tourists, and doesn't have the same level of resorts and amenities as Boracay and Bohol, but it's becoming very popular with foreigners, mainly backpackers. But if that's the style of your friends, you'll send them to a place that's wild, fun and young, with many attractions. The most prominent one is surfing obviously, but with virgin beaches, and countryside adventures, they'll have plenty to do regardless.

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