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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

4 Reasons Why the Philippines Is the Most Underrated Travel Destination in Southeast Asia


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Asia is a big hit with tourists. Every kind of traveler can find something they’d love in this huge continent. Southeast Asia, in particular, has a plethora of beautiful beaches, delicious food, and rich ecosystems filled with unique flora and fauna. It’s certainly an appealing travel destination, with hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

Most first-time travelers in Southeast Asia would choose countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, or Vietnam, but it’s also worth considering the Philippines. This archipelago, composed of more than 7,600 islands, is located in the West Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by water, the country has the world’s fifth longest coastline of 36,289 kilometers (22,549 miles). As such, the Philippines has plenty of gorgeous beaches and island destination, including Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan.

However, the Philippines is more than just about beaches and island hopping. In fact, when you look beyond the sparkling waters, you’ll realize that the country is one of Southeast Asia’s more underrated destinations. If you need some more convincing, here are a few reasons to visit the Philippines.

Cheap but Accessible Hotels

If you’re the kind of traveler who doesn’t need five-star accommodations but needs to be in the center of the action, you’re in luck. There are a lot of clean, comfortable, and affordable hotels in and around Metro Manila, and even in the farther provinces. In fact, if you’re planning to stay in Metro Manila and explore the city, you can find plenty of hotels near NAIA Terminal 2, which is where many international flights land. Filipinos are also arguably the most hospitable people in the world, so no matter how small the hotel, you can expect a warm welcome and good service.

Historical and Natural Wonders

The Philippines has a rich history, being a country of mix of native Philippine, Asian, Spanish, and American heritages. In almost every province, you’ll find historical sites and landmarks that have borne witness to the various events that shaped the Philippines’ current cultural landscape. The Philippines is also home to hundreds of indigenous peoples who have been living in the islands even before the Spanish set foot in 1521. Many of them occupy their original ancestral lands, which, in themselves, have become tourist destinations. Just remember to be respectful of the various traditions and local laws when you visit these places.

The Philippines is also a gem if you’re a nature lover. While its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it prone to typhoons and earthquakes, it’s also the reason why the country has a rich biodiversity and varied and abundant natural resources. Lush forests, marine sanctuaries, mountains and rivers, rock formations and cave networks, you can find almost everything in the Philippines. If you want a slice of paradise, visit Batanes in the northernmost part of the country. Filled with sprawling fields of green, stunning beaches, and awe-inspiring views from the hilltops, Batanes is also home to traditional villages and age-old cultures. It’s quite tricky to get to, but once you’re there, you’ll realize that the effort is truly worth it.

Food, Food, Food
Filipino cuisine is as diverse as the nation’s hundreds of ethnic groups, further flavored by the influences of both Western and Asian spheres. Dish complexity range from very simple (fried salted fish) to the intricate (kare-kare and variations of adobo). Regional specialties are common, as are unique delicacies that might make some weaker stomachs turn (balut, anyone?). Many Filipino foods are also cooked with soups like sinigang and bulalo, or with sauces like menudo or pochero.

Going to the Philippines means experiencing this wide variety of dishes. Go beyond adobo, the unofficial national dish. Take a bite of dinuguan, dinakdakan, pinakbet, laing, various pancits (noodles), chicharron, chicken inasal, lechon, estofado, sambal, and many, many, many more. You also have a wide selection of kakanins (desserts and pastries made from sticky rice) and unique desserts like halo-halo, leche flan, buko salad, and “dirty” ice cream or sorbetes. What’s great is that whenever you visit the Philippines, you’re sure to find yet another version of these dishes and desserts for a whole new experience.

English is Common

If you’re an English-speaker, you don’t have to worry about language barriers. A huge majority of Filipinos speak and understand the language. This might not be a deal-breaker for most, but it can certainly make your life easier. From asking for directions to ordering in restaurants, knowing that you’ll be understood can help take a load off your shoulders and help you enjoy your vacation even more.

Of course, reading all about the destination is a lot different than actually going there. So the next time you get some time off, book a flight to Southeast Asia and visit the Philippines. Once you’ve been there, you’ll probably ask yourself why you haven’t gone before or visited more often.

About ""

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