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Include Philippines in your itinerary?

Travel Forums Asia Include Philippines in your itinerary?

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11. Posted by Marsh (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

I have been there twice in 10 x years for an aggregate of 3 x months.
Seen Manila, Luzon Province, Cebu City and Nthn Cebu only, but this country doesnt suit a lot of Western females, so therefore will not attract couples.
They don't like the random violence, corruption, dark thoughts of a drunk Filipino, often tasteless food, a lack of fresh spicy dishes, and generally a macho society based on the American wild west 150 odd years ago.

BUT, for a tourist it has does have beautiful beaches and scenery in parts, their transport infrastructure is reliable enough, and it can be as cheap as Thailand/Laos if you go remote.
Its not for everyone, but I went twice, so there's my vote.

12. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 8y

This is quite a long post!

Ok, based on my boyfriend and myself's experience...we have spent a total of 7 months in the Philippines over the last 17 months and I thought I'd chip in with our experiences of the Philippines as we have found it. We have travelled through Luzon, Mindoro, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Leyte, so we think we have seen a lot of the Philippines to be able to give an honest opinionof why we think travellers don't include Philippines on their itineraries.

We have travelled extensively through SE Asia (Myanmar is the only country we have not visited so far) and we feel that we have a good comparison to the Philippines. People are right in saying that PI is a lot more difficult to get to than other countries, it isn't a simple land border crossing like Malaysia or Cambodia is. This is a big factor why travellers don't add it into their itinerary, they simply don't have time or money to take a 3-4 hours flight.

Philippines does get a lot of bad press in the media in the West about kidnappings, ferry sinkings etc. Some of this is scaremongering, as to how much we aren't sure. It was very unsettling for us being from the UK, to see the security guards on shopping centres frisking people, searching bags and these same security men carrying guns. This is something that puts a lot of people off a country.

Accommodation wise, Philippines is expensive compared to the rest of SE Asia. In most tourist resorts a room will cost $10, sometimes even more in a place like Boracay or Alona beach. Also, in some of the beach resorts you will find that there is limited electricity, like 4-6 hours a day - for example the whole of Palawan and on some islands around Cebu. In comparison to other places in SE Asia, paying $10 for a fan room with a cold shower with limited electricity is expensive...most of the time you would get air con and breakfast included in another country for that price. Limited electricity is also something a lot of people aren't willing to put up with!

Food wise, Philippines is bad...sorry to all the Filipinos who read this but the food is not as good quality or as cheap as other parts of Asia. The meat we have been served in dishes has not been meat but bones, fat and hairy skin. I have turned vegetarian since visiting the Philippines, it has put me off meat! We really do struggle to find good, cheap food here. There is a lack of fruit and vegetables for some reason, eventhough most of the fruit in Asia is grown in the Philippines!

Transportation is slightly more difficult as to 'do' a comprehensive itinerary of the Philippines it's a mammoth bus-boat-bus-trike experience, we have had very few journeys in Philippines which have been under 12 hours (unless you take internal flights but then you have to pay airport taxes, taxi/trike fares to the airport etc). Travelling in this way is very tiring and because the Philippines is an archipelago (spelling?!) it is more difficult to travel around. The majority of journeys again are by non air con bus, in other parts of Asia air con is a standard on buses. We don't mind this but other people may find travelling on a non air con bus in Asia's heat unbearable. ;)

Yes, the Philippines has some amazing sights that have been pointed out in previous posts. But a casing point is that my parents were choosing between Thailand or the Philippines for a holiday to come and visit us. After reading our blogs and talking to us about both places they decided to go to Thailand, as it was 'easier' (their words). They felt that to travel around the Philippines and cope with even just a little of what I have outlined above would be too difficult for them. A lot of holiday makers and even backpacker/travellers agree...most people want a little relaxation even when doing a mammoth RTW!

We have often been asked the same thing by other Filipinos we have met throughout the country and have told them exactly what we have written here. I hope you appreciate an honest opinion of the Philippines vs 'the rest of SE Asia' from two 'outsiders' points of view.

Donna

13. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1593 posts) 8y

Quoting pau_p1

well.. the government is now pushing on cleaning up the place as we strive to put our country in the tourism map...

"about the airport.. Manila already has a newly built world-class airport.. but sadly it was caught in a legal debate on the legality of its contract..."

I would like to see the transportation from the airport to be more like what you have in Bangkok. I would like to see a dedicated (cheap) airport bus leaving from a well marked kiosk curbside. Also, I would like a better method of accessing a meter taxi cab other than going down the hill and taking your chance late at night or catching one at the departure level.

But I have seen some good changes in Manila. Besides the streets being a little cleaner and the better lighting it is nice to see a lot of the construction finally finished in the Ermita area. Carreido street looks better too. Roxas Blvd. looks pretty good and much safer now than a few years ago too!

Now, do they really need so many armed guards outside Seven Eleven stores and supermarkets? I will say that after a while you do get used to someone checking your bag and feeling you up!

[ Edit: Fixed quote ]

14. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 8y

Well i (in a selfish way) hope all the backpackers do stay away as that means it is better for me when I travel there!!!!! No tourists, beaches all to myself and my girlfriend, perfect.

Although I do find it quite disconcerting that this is a travellers website but most people seem to think that travelling is too much hassle in the Philippines!! I suppose most people on here prefer the 2 weeks in Benidorm on a package tour type of holiday.

The Philippines is all about 'travelling', not 'being a tourist'. Anyone can go to Thailand (done it myself) and it is a beautiful country, but it is just basically there for tourists...go to Koh San Road, See the Sights (which by sights I mean other tourists drinking beer in western style bars), then go Koh Samui, get pissed at Full Moon Party then go home and tell all everyone you have been travelling!

Sorry for ranting a bit but I thought more people on here were a bit more 'savvy' when it came to travelling. I love the Philippines and I will always stand up for it. And as for the Philippines being expensive!!!! WHAT?????? I spend £5 ($10) a night for a hut right on the beach for 2 people with your own bathroom and shower, then I go to a bar and spend 30p ($0.60) on a cold beer and have a meal for under £1 ($2). Much cheaper than anywhere in Thailand today. Thailand used to be very cheap indeed but not so much anymore.

Oh, and as for the suggestion that you cant visit other countries while you are there as there is no border, what a load of nonsense!!! there are over 7000 islands in the Philippines, so why would you want to go to another country while you are there? Just to say you have been to more places? The Philippines is an incredibly diverse country, it is like 7000 different countries as each island is different to the next.

I have probably said enough for now, but I could go on hehe

15. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 8y

Quoting bwiiian

Although I do find it quite disconcerting that this is a travellers website but most people seem to think that travelling is too much hassle in the Philippines!! I suppose most people on here prefer the 2 weeks in Benidorm on a package tour type of holiday.

bwiian, I think you misread this thread. Most people who responded have in fact been to the Philippines. The question was "why don't so many people consider the Philippines". We're just trying to think of reasons why other people wouldn't visit.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 7, 2008, at 4:58 AM by Peter ]

16. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 8y

Quoting Peter

Quoting bwiiian

Although I do find it quite disconcerting that this is a travellers website but most people seem to think that travelling is too much hassle in the Philippines!! I suppose most people on here prefer the 2 weeks in Benidorm on a package tour type of holiday.

bwiian, I think you misread this thread. Most people who responded have in fact been to the Philippines. The question was "why don't so many people consider the Philippines". We're just trying to think of reasons why other people wouldn't visit.

Yes I see your point, but even the people on here who have visited the Philippines seem to think they would rather next time stick to the safe options while visiting SE Asia. I have nothing against other parts of SE Asia, in fact I love the whole region, but I have always found it strange why other people don't go more often to the Phils. I know it is much harder to travel around because it is an arpichelago (?) but that just makes it more of a challenge and far more rewarding than following the well troden tourist trail of other parts of SE Asia.

In fact I am sure it will pick up in terms of tourism, and I am even thinking of buying somewhere there before it does. Anyone up for buying a house for £3000?

Anyway, this time next week I will be in Hong Kong waiting for my flight to Cebu in the Phils. I cant wait!!!!

17. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 8y

Well, everyone enjoys travelling for different reasons. Some like the adventure and the more remote the better, whereas others prefer convenience and just want to relax a little. Particularly those unlucky souls who can only afford to take a couple of weeks off will more likely be interested in going somewhere where they can skip all the hassle and go straight to the relaxing part.

Personally, I quite like "difficult" travel, but I also don't think any less of those who just want to lie on the beach!

18. Posted by opospa (Travel Guru 1836 posts) 8y

Never thought of The Philippines.... But maybe after I run out of destinations,...I will consider The Philippines;)

19. Posted by jonnydonny (Budding Member 23 posts) 8y

bwiiian i agree with everything u said about the philippines, i love the country and thats why im just building a house in Boracay. On thing it has over alot of asia is that most people u talk to can speak English, even when u are somewhere remote. One more thing i love is that even though Boracay is quite touristy most other places u go they havent seen a tourist, better than say thailand where every where u go is made for tourist.

20. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member 214 posts) 8y

@loubylou..

I feel sorry if you have had bad experience while visiting the Philippines... I agree that we had bad publicity back in early 2000 on kidnappings and terrorism.... but I'd like to clarify that these cases were very remote in a small island in the south of the Philippines... and so.. all the islands of the Philippines north of Mindanao is very safe.. actually a big part of Mindanao is safe for tourists...

as for the security guards on shopping malls.. the locals don't even bother having them... since this is just an extra security measure by these establishments... it was just precautionary... people just subject themselves to these inspections since they know they don't have anything to hide...

as for the food... I'd say that Filipino food has an acquired taste... it's unique and that we have different varieties of food that some of them has Spanish and American influence... we have a lot of exotic food as well that may include the intestines or other internal organs... it's a matter of choice of food I'd say.. some American friends of mine had even loved the local tamarind soup.. or the sisig made of pork ears..

@karazyal... yeah.. we wanted our main airport services to improve as well.. but for a country that has international debts of billions of dollars... infrastructures and servicees is very hard to maintain... but I believe the government is trying to make ammends...

@marsh... for spicy food... visit the Bicol region...