Foreign tourists and their Philippine experience
Manila and Boracay
My girlfriend is a doctor in the Philippines. She always tells me stories about what it’s like to live and work there. I decided to give her a visit for vacation and experiencing the Philippines for the first time has been amazing. She taught me how to refer to the taxi driver as Kuya while cooling off in the hot weather with my halo-halo. Before I came to the Philippines, I already knew that I loved Pauline. But I left loving her people as well.
We spent a few days in Manila. We were eager to ride public transport instead of boring taxis. Somehow we managed to find information about Jeepneys. It was our first ride to Chinatown in a jeepney and we wondered how to pay as we sat at the extreme corner seats away from driver. We were surprised when new passengers climbed in and gave money to the person sitting very next to him. Money flew from various hands to driver and money returned through same channel. We looked at each other amazed with the process—such honesty!
It was a last-minute insane decision to travel to Marinduque. It was insane because of a three-hour queue for the bus and a horrifying ten-hour moonlit queue for ferry to the island. But the Moriones Festival was worth the pain! Marinduque is a small, 100% crime-free island with such polite and friendly locals. The all participated in an astonishing preparation for Moriones where almost all villagers, young or old, joined in and left us amazed. Participants cheered us to join them, wear their costumes, take photos, and feast together.
I first visited the Philippines in 2004. Since 2007, I’ve taken with me my wife, son and daughter. The Philippines is the closest tropical destination from Korea. It’s a heavy burden for you to move to a touristic destination with your kids after an international flight. So my family always stays at the Sofitel in Manila. We all enjoy beautiful and romantic scenes of Manila Bay from the pool area. Delicious food, charming music, awesome views and your loved ones! What else do you need for a perfect vacation?!
Panglao Island, Bohol
I think I once lived in the Philippines in a past life. If not, I can’t explain the reason why I love the Philippines this much. To me Pinoy beaches and places are where my soul rests. To get to Dumaluan Beach on Panglao Island requires much time and patience. But it’s well worth your effort if you wish to get some quiet, peaceful rest. And I recommend you to participate in a tour program to swim with whale sharks in Oslob. It’s an indescribable experience! It’s way more fun in the Philippines.
Camarines Norte, Tagaytay, Batangas, and more
I worked for six weeks for a travel company in The Philippines, where as a travel manager we led groups to some trips around the country, where the destination is a secret and the activities a surprise! I had the chance of visiting many amazing non-touristy places, sleeping in tents under the clear sky, swimming with turtles in pristine waters and having loads of fun with delicious food around bonfires.... I had an awesome time with the best people ever, so I will definitely come back!
Humid weather in the Philippines gave me a natural glow! If you seek holidays with adventure, Cebu is your playground. It boasts many amazing experiences such as canoeing, waterfalls, rock jumps and the opportunity to swim with whale sharks.
~Chaiun The Great
Having gone twice, El Nido has become my favourite place in the Philippines. It is so rich in nature, both wildlife and underwater. The seawater, in particular, is crystal clear. Although the water is deep, you can see the bottom because of its clarity. It was the first time that I swam with jackfish, sea turtle, and blacktip reef shark. Coral reef and fish are abundant and diverse. It is common to see lizards, snakes, and monkeys. Bird-watching is also famous. Big lagoons and small lagoons are soenchanting that I cannot get enough of the experience!
I went to Bicol region for various reasons. It started with the grandeur Mayon Volcano, almost perfect and cone-shaped. The lava and volcanic rocks also evolved into a black sand beach which you cannot find anywhere else. Daraga Church and Cagsawa ruins are national treasures. Even though whale shark watching is not on my bucket list, I went to Donsol just to experience it. I had only one morning and was fortunate to see at least one whale shark. It was unexpected, but absolutely memorable.
Above all, Bicol food is delicious and HOT!!!
What makes Batanes unique is that being there is like getting lost in another world where time and technology do not matter. Internet connection is rare. It is a cash economy. Life is quiet, peaceful, and slow. The Ivatan tribe that lives there still preserves its culture. People are pure and honest. I forgot my wallet at a tourist attraction and got it back. Scenery is picturesque and breathtaking, whether it be hills or ocean. Local food is heavenly delicious and cheap.
Guiuan, Eastern Samar
I went to Guiuan as a volunteer of an emergency shelter kit distribution team. At that time the town was hugely impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan. People lived in temporary shelters. Electricity was limited. Having water to take a shower was lucky enough. People were excited to see a foreign face and in high spirits even in tough times. Since I do not know the local language, I could not help much. Nonetheless, I hope at least I demonstrated love for humanity without discrimination towards race, religion, or belief.
Upon visiting the Municipality of Orani, I experienced raw and organic life that I had never seen or felt before. I could feel the unadulterated warmth and kindness the people in Orani were made up of. Material and tainted influences were absent. The simplest ways of life are lived here and the people were content with what they have. The Old Port area of Orani left such an immense feeling that I carry with myself each day, waiting inside until I have a chance to revisit this wonderful place.
Manila, Tacloban, Isabella, Bacolod
I fell in love with the Philippines on my very first trip in 2012. Since then all I’ve done is work hard and save so I can keep going back to this wonderful country. The way the Filipino people live with hearts of kindness and resilience are simply inspiring. I love the hospitality of the locals! Just thinking about the amazing adobos and chicken-on-a-stick make my mouth water! I also love the culture, especially the Masskara dances which captivated my soul. I love this country with all my heart!
My first week with PwC ended with doing something memorable for the environment. I had the pleasure of supporting the CSR team on our way to La Union. We created eco-bricks (plastic bottles stuffed with non-biodegradable waste) which were used to construct walls and fences for classrooms and houses. Eco-brick is a solution for today’s plastic challenge. Let’s work together to live in a world that has a lot less plastic and a lot more organic: from trash to treasure, from pollution to solution.
~Kevin Nick Renz
I had a very impressive tour riding the Kalesa last September 2016. It was so nice to see the attractions by sitting in the Kalesa and hearing that “klip klop” sound while the horse was trotting along the streets. The driver and his son were very friendly. The driver was also our knowledgeable tour guide. It was nearly half an hour tour around the historical center of Manila. I even had my first Taho! It was very delicious and I recommend others to try it. The tour ended at the National Museum.
Boracay, Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Puerto Galera, etc.
I first visited the Philippines back in 1994. Since then I have traveled to many places alone or with my wife, son and daughter. Many of my acquaintances ask: “The Philippines again?!” I ask myself why I am addicted to the nation. Because of warm weather that makes me feel good? Lovely palm trees and beaches? Low prices compared to Korea? Or their religious faithfulness? Nope! My No.1 reason is that ordinary Pinoy people smile wholeheartedly to travelers despite many hardships in life!
Anawangin Cove, Zambales
This place has an amazing camping spot where you can set up a tent, cook food, enjoy, and relax with your loved ones. It’s an escape from the world of technology as this place doesn’t have telephone signals and there is no electricity: nevertheless there is a shower place where you can wash off the sands after you dip into the ocean and be bathed by sand. You can then enjoy hiking in the hills and be enchanted by the mesmerizing view from the top. It’s an ideal place for nature lovers.
~Marisha Shrestha, Nepal
I grew up in Germany, spent the last semester in the US, and now ready for my internship with PwC – this is my first time in the Philippines. My arrival was a bit of a culture shock. However, it is the best time – the WARM welcome from the team made me fall in love with the country as it feels like home, the SPICY food (gising-gising and kare-kare), and the warm weather made my stay so enjoyable. The Philippines has so much to offer, that I am considering a permanent move: the move to happiness.
~Kevin Nick Renz