10 Reasons To Backpack The Philippines

in Asia,Philippines

The Philippines are often overlooked by travelers, including backpackers, because it is surrounded by several tourism giants. There are plenty of reasons that this nation of islands can appeal to visitors, and here are 10 of them (in no particular order):

1. If you’re from the United States, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, you won’t need a visa for a stay of 21 days or less. If you and your trip fit this criteria, these requirements will make planning your trip easier without the hassle of arranging a visa. If not, you’ll have a little more work to do, but it’s worth it!

2. Apprehensive about your Tagalog language skills? You’ll have little to worry about in the Philippines because English is widely spoken due to heavy westernization. It is advisable to buy a phrasebook before visiting though, in case you find yourself hitting a language barrier.

3. Traveling within and between cities is cheap and easy. There are various modes of local transportation, including tricycle (similar to the tuk-tuk), jeepney, bus, and taxi. You also have a few options if you’re island hopping. There are ferries and flights, and while the ferries can take anywhere from hours to days, flights are faster, but also more expensive.

4. Filipino food is diverse and has the power to please. Various foreign influences and a rich culture are reflected in its food. Backpacking the Philippines brings with it a unique culinary experience, with dishes including “balut” (duck egg) and other street food that will be kind to your mouth and your wallet.

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5. There are over 5,000 Philippine islands, and most of them are accessible by plane from Manila. That being said, each island offers different terrain and unique scenic ocean views that will appeal to all of your senses. 4,000 islands means you will always have somewhere new to go and something new to experience…all while in the same country.

6. The weather in the Philippines is warm and humid year round, meaning you will never have to pack those heavy winter clothes when coming here. Keep in mind that along with the tropical climate though, comes the rainy season, and in the Philippines that starts in May and ends anywhere between September and November every year.

7. The Philippines are one of the best places to scuba dive. The clear waters with their diverse underwater world make some Philippine islands a popular destination for scuba divers. Don’t know how to scuba dive yet? You can learn when you get there.

8. The town of Banaue is home to 2,000 year old rice terraces that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Created by the indigenous population, many of the rice terraces are still in use today and tours of the UNESCO site are frequent and quite popular.

9. Finding affordable accommodations is not difficult as the Philippines are welcoming to budget travelers. Hostels and other budget hotels are relatively easy to find and can be booked online, prior to your trip.  Depending on where and when you go prices can vary, so visiting in early May will give you the best room rates.

10. You have the rare opportunity to swim and interact with whale sharks in Donsol, which gather there from November until June each year, where they are protected under Philippine law. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, spanning up to 12 meters in length.

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