Traveling to the Philippines has been making trends on the internet lately, and the statistics don’t lie. An article by Business Mirror reports that in the span of 8 months, visitor arrivals to the country increased by 14.08% or approximately 5.55 million tourists. With quite a number of tourist destinations in the country, that number of tourists isn’t too much of a surprise. If you’re interested in traveling the country but have your personal hesitations, here’s a list debunking common misconceptions about traveling in the Philippines.
The Philippines is an unsafe place for tourists.
Although world news might make it seem like the Philippines is filled with terrorist attacks and bombings, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año assured people wanting to travel to the country that the threats are confined to specific, isolated areas in the Mindanao region. These areas are incredibly far from the places most tourists visit.With the tourism industry booming in the country, the Philippine government is also taking extra effort to heighten security in locations where there are plenty of foreign tourists. The Department of Tourism started implementing their program for Tourism-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOP COP) in collaboration with the Philippine National Police. The TOP-COPS program deploys police personnel to patrol public events, shopping malls, and, most importantly, tourist sites, and make the country a safe haven for international and local tourists.
The Mindanao region is a dangerous place to travel to.
Although it may seem like all the news reports about Mindanao are about civil conflicts, Mindanao has plenty of spots to visit that tourists would hate to miss out on. The region is home to serene beaches and views with lush ecosystems, all resplendent with the beauty of untouched nature. Davao City in Mindanao, one of the biggest cities in the country, was also given the rank of second overall in the list of Top 10 Safest Cities in Southeast Asia.
The country is just like other nearby countries in Asia.
The Philippines has a wide variety of places to see and experience. Whether you prefer the nightlife by the beachfront, a surfer’s dream destination, an idyllic, peaceful island, a lush rainforest trek, or an out-of-this-world view while hiking a mountain, the country has plenty of areas that are goldmines for adventure seekers and casual vacationers alike. There are tons of places where you can do multiple activities in just one destination. If you’re looking for a list of popular destinations to visit, check out ‘The Most Popular Tourist Destinations in the Philippines’ on our blog.
The Philippines is poor and rural, with little to no urbanized locations.
The Philippines is diverse so there are a variety of busy cities you can visit, as well as quiet provinces that are more tranquil. Wi-fi is usually provided at resorts and hotels, so it shouldn’t be a problem even if you do find yourself in a remote vacation destination. The Philippines also continues to provide more WiFi hotspots in public sites in the country, with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Honasan reporting a total of 3,000 sites as of October 2019. In urban areas, transportation is also quite easy, with superpowered mobile app Grab providing cab rides, food delivery services, and cashless money transactions.
There aren’t many luxury hotels or resorts.
There’s no lack of choices for you if you’re looking for luxurious accommodations, especially in more popular vacation spots in the Philippines like Boracay or Cebu. There are actually tons of higher-end resorts around these areas in the Philippines that offer villas or luxury suites. CNN has a list of resorts you might want to take a look at, all of which have breathtaking views, posh deluxe suites, and plenty of unique amenities.
There is not much to do in the metropolitan areas.
If you find yourself staying in Metro Manila instead of the other vacation destinations in the Philippines, don’t fret — there’s still a ton of fun things for you to do. Metro Manila is home to plenty of historical landmarks and museums to visit. Culture Trip gives a good rundown of unique spots to see whether it’s your first time in the city or not. The nightlife in plenty of areas in Metro Manila is also something to look forward to. If you’re looking to meet other people and chat in a chill environment, you can check out our blogpost ‘Speakeasies in Metro Manila’ for a comprehensive list of places you could visit.
The language barrier is hard to get through.
The Philippines is actually one of the few countries in Asia with a large percentage of fluent English speakers. Although English isn’t the national language, English is primarily used for communication inside the workplace, making a wide majority of locals able to understand and speak the language well.
Filipino food is bizarre and unpalatable.
According to an article by Pepper.ph, many of the misconceptions about Filipino food come from the fact that staple ingredients in Filipino cuisine are quite hard to come by overseas. Filipino food traditions are also widely varied per region, so it can be quite hard to encapsulate what makes authentic Filipino food. Although it does have its fair share of adventurous eats, there are also more common varieties of stews, meats, and the like that are closer to the palates of people around the world. Our blogpost ’10 Local Foods to Try When Visiting the Philippines’ also gives you a quick rundown of famous Filipino food staples that are easily available in any restaurant or diner in the country.
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.