Travelling the Philippines – A different Southeast Asia

One of the first countries I visited on my world trip were the Philippines. And I totally loved it. Coming from Thailand and Vietnam before, it was a very different experience in Southeast Asia and I will tell you why in the following.

What makes the Philippines so special?

So as I said, I visited Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong before I came to the Philippines and to be honest I expected something similar to Thailand or Indonesia. And in some way it is and in some way absolutely not.

The first thing you will recognize are the people. They are so unbelievable kind, smile and laugh all the time and are happy to have you in their country. As I arrived I was walking alone through the streets, expected the worst, but all the locals I’ve met on the way to the hostel were super friendly and smiled big times when they saw the tall, blonde german tourist. And another surprise. Most of the Philippinos are pretty good in English and it’s very easy to communicate with them. I was impressed.

Also the Philippines are not as touristic as all the other asian countries I’ve been to. You will see some tourists here and there, but most of the times it’s never crowded and you always get a place to stay or are even alone at some spots.

Another point is, that the Philippines are a island state, so the country consists out of a lot of different island ( 7641, to be exact). Thanks to that you have a lot of different landscapes, natures and countrysides and a lot to explore. It’s impossible to visit every island (some of them are also very remote), but you can visit some and find your favorite one.

The nature in the Philippines is incredible. You have lush palmtree forest, long lonely beaches, turquoise ocean, waterfalls and crazy mountains. And like I said the landscape differs on every island a bit.

Where are the Philippines?

Like I mentioned before the Philippines are an island state, with a lot of islands. This collection of islands is located in the far east of Asia. Most of the time you will fly into Manila Airport and from there you will get another flight to the islands of your choice. You could say its almost the end of asia.

What can you see and experience there?

The Philippines have almost everything you need for an amazing vacation and countless adventures. There are endless activities to do and things to see.

Main things to do:

  • chill on beaches
  • dive in turquoise water
  • take boattours to small hidden islands
  • surf very nice waves
  • party in the cities or on the beach
  • explore different islands
  • drive scooter (a lot, because it’s fun)
  • get to know some Philippinos

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?


Islands of the Philippines I visited.

It’s impossible to visit every island in this country and I also wouldn’t recommend it. I stayed around a month in the Philippines and made it to 4 1/2 islands. Also I have to say, that I skipped Manila and only saw the airport from the inside. Some say it’s not a cool place to be, others love the city, so you need to decide for yourself.

The islands I visited were:

  • Cebu
  • Bohol and Panglao
  • Palawan
  • Siargao

I will dive deeper in what distinguish each island and which is my favorite one in blog posts on every island itself. so stay tuned.

My special Philippines experience

I personally loved the Philippines, but there were moments were I was so close to leave the country and fly back home. It’s probably not the fault of the country, but I got very sick when I was there.

First I brought a small cough from Hong Kong, which became a monster cough, that wouldn’t let me sleep anymore. And if this isn’t enough, additionally to this my foot got infected. I had a tiny, tiny cut on my foot, not worth mentioning and it just happens when you climb rocks to waterfalls. But nevertheless this little wound got so infected, that my whole foot swole to the size of a football (not kidding). I wasn’t able to walk anymore and I was very afraid to lose my foot (dumb I know :D). So I couldn’t sleep because of my coughing and I couldn’t walk anymore because of my swolen foot. Perfect Philippines start. Fortunately my brother was with me at that time, so he helped me however he could and also went to the doctors with me.

Going to a clinic in the Philippines was another interesting experience. If you are lucky the village you are in has one. The first one I visited was very competent, cleaned my foot and prescribed me some antibotics, which I could buy in a little corner store around the house. They sold soap, candies, animal food, yeah and antibiotics :D.

Second clinic was a bit better equipped and I got even a xray of my lungs, because of my coughing. At that time I was able to walk again. Only in sandales, but at least something. The lungs are fine, but the doctor prescribed me even more antibiotics and cough medicine. So I ended up taking 6 different pills everyday.

Conclusion: It helped and luckily I survived. My foot is still on my leg and I had no further problems.

So if you are in the Philippines really really pay attention to cuts and wounds and if you find any directly clean them with alcohol or drinkable water and disinfect them with iodine (a thing you should always carry around with you).

Unfortunately the tap water in the Philippines isn’t the cleanest, so your wounds get worse if you just clean it with it. Please pay attention.

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