WHY IT’S MORE FUN IN THE P.H.I.L.I.P.P.I.N.E.S.

It’s summertime!  April is the best time to see the Philippines, when rainfall is minimal, the beaches are in party mode, and the guys and gals are on vacation.  There are many reasons to visit this country at this time, and I have summarized it for you to remember – just think of the P.H.I.L.I.P.P.I.N.E.S.

P – People

People make it more fun in the Philippines.    Filipinos are naturally humorous and playful.  Just watch a group of friends or relatives – at whatever age – and see how they jockey for position in wacky photo shoots.  A non-Filipino may find it unusual, but even in the face of calamity, you can see smiles on the faces of Pinoys.  Why?  Because Filipinos are very positive individuals who always see the bright side of things.  There are a lot of beautiful places around the world, but being in a beautiful place with happy people doubles the fun.

H – Health Care

Competence is an important trait, but being a compassionate healer is the so-called “X-Factor” that leads to accelerated healing.  This is why most of our overseas Filipino immigrants to other countries are plenty  because of economic reasons.  But most of them come back to the Philippines from time to time to have a vacation and a medical check-up done by a Filipino physician.  What our hospitals may lack in technology is more than made up for by the empathy of our nurses and caregivers.  And don’t underestimate our facilities.  We now have hospitals that are at par – if not even better equipped – than most hospitals in developed coutries.  Yes, the Philippines is also a good choice for medical tourism, at a much lower cost.

I – Intramuros

Intramuros was the seat of government during the Spanish colonial period.  You can learn so much about Philippine history and culture in this walled city.   Intramuros was built as a fortress, much like the Great Wall of China – in the 16th century.  It was eventually  destroyed at the end of World War II, but it has since been restored.  You must try to have a walk on  parts of the restored walls, which is surrounded by a golf course that you can play in at night. Inside the  walls are many attractions such as Fort Santiago, Rizal’s Shrine, San Agustin  Church and museum, and the Manila Cathedral. Try taking a horse carriage (Kalesa) for a more unique experience.

L – Language

Do you speak English?  If you do, you’ll have no problem going around the Philippines.  Filipinos have a very good command of the English language.  They may not pronounce it correctly, and they may not always be grammatically correct, but it’s surely going to be a conversation – not a monologue – when you speak to a Filipina.

I – Ifugao

The Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao is considered the Eight Wonder of the World.  At about 30 A.D., during the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth, Ifugaos conceptualized and created the rice terraces on the Banaue mountain slopes using only their bare hands. The terraces were carved  to plant rice, the staple food of most Filipinos. The rainforests above the mountain act as a natural irrigation system.  Very creative indeed!

P – Purchasing

Glorietta 5 in Makati

Welcome to the unofficial shopping capital of Asia!  A lot has been said about Hong Kong, but I’d say the Philippines is a better place to shop.  Comparable to Hong Kong’s prices, the fact that there are so many malls in the metropolis gives one the freedom of choice.  From the high-end shops in Makati to the extreme bargains in Divisoria and Greenhills, the options are a multitude.

P – Palawan

Entry point to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is one of the world’s longest underground river. The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to diverse species of plants and animals.  It has recently been declared one of the new 7 wonders of nature.

Aside from the Subterranean River, Palawan has some of the best beaches in the country.  Boracay in Aklan may be the most famous, but if you’d like a little more peace and quiet, try Honda Bay.  It is made up of several white sand beaches, some of the loveliest white sands in the Philippines. Other attractions include numerous islets that are diving sanctuaries. With colorful fishes you can feed and coral reefs you can view by snorkeling, Honda Bay is a water lover’s heaven.

Coron Island is also a great site.  The third largest of the Calamian Group of Islands in Northern Palawan, Coron is known for its beautiful white sand beaches.  Dive sites around Coron include many different reef sites.  Cathedral Cave is also a must see, where at a certain time of the day, the sun throws a beam of light through a hole in the cave ceiling, illuminating the cave’s interior.

I – Island hopping

Puerto Galera

Being an archipelago, the best way to see the country is by island hopping.  While you ride a simple fishing vessel , you can let the sea breeze and the sights wash your blues away.  Two popular island hopping destinations include the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan and Puerto Galera in Mindoro.

N – Nightlife

It was called disco in the 80’s and early 90’s.  Now it’s called bar hopping.  The hippest and trendiest gather in Eastwood City Libis, Bonifacio Global City, or Newport City to party the night away.  It’s the place to see, and to be seen.  With the proliferation of call centers in the metro, you can even find all-night dining sites housed in simple tents, at affordable prices.  Food, fun, and booze are always within reach.

E – Eating

Hungry?  Why not try luxurious but affordable buffets?  For a measly Php 1,000, you can stay for hours near the buffet table to you heart’s desire and savor unlimited international cusine and drinks – including beer!  You don’t have to check in and spend a fortune in a 5-star hotel for this.  For a sampling, check out the daily buffets at the seaside buffet restaurants of Pasay City’s reclamation area.

S – Sulu Sea

In the Sulu Sea, 98 Nautical Miles southeast of Puerto Princesa Palawan, the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park showcases over 1000 species of marine creatures and birds. The Reef is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most popular Philippine diving site for tourists.

Whether you want to shop, take care of your health and well-being, climb a mountain, enjoy nature’s wonders, walk through history, dive, swim, party the night away, eat all you can, or just enjoy talking to people, you’ll find it all in this beautiful country.

Indeed, IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!

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