Is the Philippines really the best country to backpack in Asia?
What I discovered upon my recent visit is that this incredible country is highly underrated and regularly flies under the radar as not just one of the best countries to backpack in Asia, but in the entire world.
How could that be though when on my first impression the only words I could describe it was “this place blows!”
Maybe that was because I first flew into Manila, where I stayed for a few days, before moving onto Japan for the snow season there.Manilia really is the worst city I have ever visited.
Although, from the Google images of the Philippines I drooled over, I had been spell bound into regular day dreaming over this tropical paradise had to offer. My mind had been set in a total different paradigm of what this country really is like outside of the Manila filth.
With a crew of travel buddies whilst island hopping in Coron
Anyways, my second chance card was drawn, as I continued to backpack in Asia my next flight was to Manila from Hong Kong. With of course a connecting flight, right out of Manila to Bicol, Donsol. It was then from here, where I was to started my incredible month of backpacking the Philippines, that I fell head over heels for this spectacular country.
You see, to me, what makes a country so awesome is not just one amazing thing such as beautiful beaches, scenic mountains or possibly the food or the people. It’s everything. You need to tick every box, to claim a place or a country to be worthy enough for everyone to visit. And this is what the Philippines does, it ticks all the right boxes, and also boxes that I never even knew existed before I visited this place.
One of the many out of awe-striking sunsets I experienced
However, I do admit what initially hooked me was the vast amount of quality adventures (keyword quality) you can have. From world renowned scuba diving off more than a handful of islands, famous free diving and snorkeling spots, to world class waves for surfing. You see this country is made up of islands, 7,100 + to be exact, which means you can partake in just about any watersports you could think of, with or without a boat. And yes that means parasailing, skiing and kite boarding.
But then, bringing the adventures out of the water and onto land you have hiking for any range of experience from 1-2 hour hikes to multi day treks up picturesque mountains and volcanoes. Or if this is not your thing you have, caving, climbing, and flying foxes or wildlife and bush walks, to fuel your adventurousness.
And as I was saying before, just because this country is phenomenal for its fun adventures, doesn’t mean you should visit the Philippines solely for that. What’s even more attractive about this beautiful country is its scenery.
I mean everywhere you look is a tropical paradise and if you are into your photography, you are walking right into heaven by visiting this place. As you can tell by the images, stunning sunsets will not go un-seen and a beautiful beach will not go un-swam.
Swimming with the whale sharks
Not only is this country visually beautiful, even more so the people are too. Being a nomad for years (not to toot my own horn, but simply to prove a point), the generosity and kind heartedness of the people in the Philippines left such and indent in my heart, more than any race or culture I have been privileged to meet and become friends with upon all my years on the road.
For instance, I was out to dinner in a little local (very infancy) restaurant with 2 travel buddies and as we walked home, about 500m past the restaurant. The waiter came running up behind us waving a 500 PHP note (US $12) which my mate had dropped out of his wallet at the restaurant. Not only could the waiter have kept this and we would never have known, but that amount of money is equal to a weeks wage if not more for most people in the Philippines. And this is just one instance where I was shocked at the generosity and kind-heartedness of how genuine the Filippinos really are.
Plenty of fun wildlife to hand out with in the Philippines
Oh yea I almost forgot, travelling the Philippines is super cheap! Generally $20-$30 per day is more than enough for food, accommodation and adventures. So if you are still second-guessing where to backpack in Asia, don’t look past this country or you will be disappointed.
This country is very affordable, it’s beautiful, as are the people, their culture and the adventures are once in a lifetime opportunities. To let those lapse would be a real shame, go visit the Philippines today, because as they say #itsmorefuninthephilippines
Want to backpack the Philippines on a budget? Check out how i did it here
Welcome to my paradise – the Philippines