If the Philippines is not on your travel list, you should add it now! With unspoiled tropical islands, exotic marine life, diverse landscapes and a party at every corner, there is much more to see and do in the Philippines than you ever knew. Here are top 10 reasons to visit the Philippines now…

You Experience Spanish Culture in Asia

The Philippines is an interesting country which has a mix of cultures. In fact, the Philippines was ruled by the Spanish for over 300 years. The Philippines is one of only two nations in Asia with Roman Catholicism as the predominant religion, and is the third largest Catholic country in the world. Spanish-era baroque churches and cathedrals found all over the country are considered one of the national treasures and listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The People Are Super Friendly

More than 90% of the country speaks English, along with other local languages, with Spanish words mixed in. Without any language barriers, it is easy to have a conversation with people even in the remotest parts of the country. Most of the people also have a great sense of humor and are always smiling, singing and having fun. Did you know “how are you” in Filipino means “have you eaten yet?”

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

There’s a Party Every Day

Filipinos are not just hospitable; they love to party. There is a fiesta happening every day of the year and everyone is invited! Entire villages prepare for days, decorating the streets, roasting whole pigs, cooking elaborate meals, and dancing on the streets. Most fiestas are dedicated to a patron saint, though some are for rice, flowers, masks and other entities. On the days of the fiesta, homes are left open and everyone, including strangers, are invited to eat, followed by karaoke and bailando (dancing).

You Can Get Close to Exotic Animals

There are over 200 kinds of mammals, 600 types of birds, 300 varieties of reptiles and 400 coral species in the Philippines. Tarsier, one of the smallest primates in the world, can be found on the island of Bohol in the Philippines, and visitors can walk right up to it. Nearby is a butterfly conservation center, holding some of the highest concentration of butterflies in the world. Endangered animals such as the Philippine eagle, flying lemur, bamboo bat and mouse deer are also found here.

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

The Colorful Landscapes

Flying over any of the seven thousand islands is a magnificent sight in itself. From rolling hills covered with coconut trees, translucent turquoise waters brushing against sandy beaches, majestic rice terraces, to steaming volcanoes and limestone mountains, the Philippines has it all. Beaches in the Philippines are all kinds of different colors – made of black, gray, pink and white sand. The White Beach in Boracay is rated among top ten beaches in the world. In Bohol, visit a spectacular phenomenon known as Chocolate Hills, a cluster of 1260 hills located within 50 kilometers that appear like giant Hershey’s kisses dropped on the ground.

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

It’s a Diver’s Paradise

The Philippines has some of the best diving spots in the world — Coron, Apo reef and Monad Shoal to name a few. Find yourself swimming with 5-meter long Thresher Sharks around Malapascua Island, discover the underwater marine life at Tubbataha Reefs National Park, or see the black corals at Black Forest dive site off Panglao Island. Snorkelers can explore 400 out of the 500 coral species found in the world, in the Philippines.

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

Cloud 9 on the island of Siargao hosts the International Surfing Competition each year where surfers and spectators from all over the world come to ride the waves. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is the world’s longest underground river running through a cave system and known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Food Is Sooooo Good!

Filipino cuisine has elements of Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Malay and Japanese. The Philippines is the largest producer of coconuts in the world, so there’s no surprise that one can find fresh coconut water, coconut bread, and even coconut wine everywhere. It is also known for producing the best mangoes and pineapples, that grow year-round. Fresh fruits and juices are abundant and cheap, so is seafood. Most restaurants would display lobsters, crabs, shrimp and fish alive or on ice, and patrons can choose their dinner before it is cooked.

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

Cities like Manila and Cebu also have a vibrant street food scene. Popular dishes include pancit (stir-fried noodles), BBQ (skewers of practically all parts of chicken, beef or pork), and lechon (whole roasted pig). Don’t miss the local ice cream sundae, Halo-Halo, exploding with flavors of purple yam ice cream, shaved ice, condensed milk, diced fruit, kidney beans, corn and much more!

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

Spas Are Everywhere!!

What’s better than hanging out at the beach all day, eating seafood and drinking rum? Getting a massage! Spas in in the Philippines are super cheap and all around. Most hotels will charge $20 per hour for a Swedish full-body massage, though independent spas cost as little as $8 per hour. Therapists are generally very well-trained and at those prices, you could try a different spot each day!

Your Dollar Can Go a Loooonnnngggg Way

The Philippines is also a safe and affordable destination. Food, transportation, and lodging are very cheap, especially if you do it like the locals. Travel by quirky Jeepney, old American WWII jeeps converted into mini buses, for only $1 a ride, or take a Habal Habal, motorcycle taxi that can carry up to 5 passengers.  A bottle of rum costs only $0.50 and a nice seafood dinner sets you back just $5.

Pic by Amanda-Villa Lobos/ goeatgive.com

Image via Amanda-Villa Lobos, goeatgive.com

The Wide Range of Choices

The Philippines offers so many options when it comes to scenery, lodging and dining. There is the all-inclusive Shangri-La resort in Mactan that caters to Western families, the chic Mandarin Oriental in Makati for luxury clients, as well as family-run boutique hotels with modern amenities, and thousands of home-stays. In the Philippines, you could be shopping at one of the biggest malls in the world one day, and be in the middle of the jungle the next. You could be stuck in a sea of people during rush hour in Manila, or swimming with hundreds of marine animals in the sea.

No matter what kind of traveler you are, there is something out there for you in the Philippines!

The author of this post has received in-kind compensation from the service providers highlighted in the above text. 

We want to hear from you! Have you traveled to the Philippines before — what was your favorite part?

About The Author

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer who has traveled to 70+ countries and is on a mission to see the entire world. She is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Go Eat Give, which promotes cultural awareness through food, travel and volunteering. Sucheta is the author of a series of children's books on travel, "Beato Goes To" that teach kids about different countries and cultures.

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