5 Reasons Why the Philippines Should Be On Your Bucket List

beach in the Philippines

Travelers are flocking to the Philippines, where the government recently had to restrict access to the island of Boracay due to over-tourism. For six months in 2018, the government closed Boracay to visitors for “repair and restoration” after more than 2 million visitors swarmed the tiny island in 2017. 

The secret is out: the Philippines is one of the best places to visit in the world and has skyrocketed in popularity among travelers in recent years. There are dozens of good reasons to add the Philippines to your bucket list. From stunning white sand beaches to a year-round schedule of festivals and celebration, here are just a handful of reasons why the Philippines should be at the top of your travel wishlist. 

The islands are stunning. 

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands – and each one has something to offer. Boracay still remains one of the more popular islands for partying backpackers, but go off the beaten path and you’ll find true beauty. Try camping on the Caramoan Islands, go island-hopping in the Calaguas Islands, or skydiving in Cebu City on Bantayan Island. Palawan is a true slice of paradise with its Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Surfers are drawn to the island of Siargao, while Siquijor is infamous for legends and lore of witchcraft and the supernatural. You’ll soon find that the majority of your travel bucket list will just be destinations within the Philippines. 

The people are friendly. 

As we’ve previously noted, Filipinos are some of the friendliest people in the world. Their family values, positivity, and openness make the Philippines one of the most welcoming countries on the planet. Filipinos have a fantastic sense of humor and a reputation for hospitality: work with an OFW, or Overseas Filipino Worker, and you’ll surely be asked for a meal or drink after work. It’s part of the culture to be friendly, upbeat, empathetic and helpful. 

There’s always something to celebrate.

If there’s one thing that can compete with Filipinos’ love of family, it’s how much they enjoy celebrating. Sinulog Festival, Ati-Atihan, Panagbenga, Moriones – Filipino festivals go on all year round. Festivals in the Philippines are a joyful expression of community, family, religion, and tradition. And, of course, Christmas is one of the biggest events of the year. Filipinos start celebrating Christmas as early as August and keep the festive spirit up through the first or second week of January. 

The wildlife is out of this world. 

There are very cool creatures to meet that are native to the Philippines. Perhaps the most famous is the tarsier, one of the cutest animals in the world. These nocturnal mammals are the world’s smallest primates, clocking in at less than six inches high. If the world under the ocean’s surface is more your cup of tea, suit up for some of the world’s best scuba diving. Tubbataha Reefs National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site full of lagoons, coral islands, and a 100m perpendicular wall perfect for viewing some colorful fish and corals. Head to Donsol to see if you can spot a whale shark or dive in Malapascua island for the chance to see a thresher shark. 

You’ll never go hungry. 

Food is a big part of the culture of the Philippines. Traditional dishes are the epitome of fusion food, combining flavors from Southeast Asia, China, Spain, Japan, and India. Expect rice to be served at every meal, as well as lots of dipping sauces. Pork dishes like lechon are some of the nation’s specialties, but there’s also a ton of delicious seafood and stews to choose from. Try adobo, stewed chicken or port in soy sauce, vinegar, and peppercorns. Or, dig into some kare kare, a stew with oxtail, lots of vegetables, and ground roasted peanuts. Just make sure you leave room for Filipinos’ favorite dessert, halo-halo, sweet and delicious shaved ice.  

What are you waiting for? The Philippines is one of the best places on Earth – move it to the top of your bucket list and see what this amazing country has to offer.