“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.” — St Augustine
Traveling offers a unique and personal experience for every person. It gives you a chance to discover new places and things, meet interesting people, and take a break from your usual grind. But where should you go?
For some travelers, the great big world out there sometimes sounds more appealing than going to local destinations. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with aiming for overseas trips — after all, it allows you to learn about different cultures and widen your worldview — but putting your own country on top of your bucket list isn’t so bad if you think about it.
With over 7,000 islands scattered across the country, there is definitely a lot of things to love and enjoy about the Philippines. Even Metro Manila with its crazy traffic and congestion, has some of the best food and most vibrant nightlife in Asia, and its old city streets have their own special charm.
The country also boasts of beautiful and pristine shores that serve as gateway to an abundant marine life. There are majestic forested landscapes and mountains that provide sanctuary to different birds and wildlife creatures. And let’s not forget the delicacies in every region, from the Bicol Express, to Cebu’s lechon, to Davao’s sinuglaw — tasting these dishes will really make you feel more connected to the place and its locals.
There are still more reasons, practical and meaningful, why you should consider seeing as much of the Philippines before traveling overseas. Here are some of them:
Living in Metro Manila and other big cities and working 40 hours or more a week can be draining. That’s why sometimes you just need even a short break from all the madness in the city. With remote beaches and peaceful mountains a few hours away from bustling cities, you can have a quick and spontaneous trip anytime you feel like it. This is something you can’t do when traveling to a different country since international trips require a certain degree of planning, not to mention all that time spent traveling and waiting in airports. When going to a local destination, on the other hand, you only need to pack a weekender bag and hop on a bus in the middle of the night to find yourself in a slice of paradise the next morning.
No visa applications required
Enough said. But seriously, gathering visa requirements and applying at the embassy of your chosen destination — even though it can or should be coursed through accredited travel agencies — is just a lot of hassle.
When you travel in the Philippines, you are effectively supporting and contributing to the livelihood of families residing in the places you visit. By touring the country, you can uplift local communities and help them have a better future. Every peso you spend will be worth it knowing that you are able to boost the lives of your kababayan in small, simple ways.
Connecting with your roots
It’s sad when Filipinos know more about foreign cultures than their own. It somehow begs you to question how they could empathize with people from another country when they’re out of touch from the reality and identity of their own motherland. Traveling in the Philippines is, in a way, a form of education. Depending on how you explore places and interact with local communities, it can open up your eyes to more than just the grand beauty of islands and landscapes. More than being able to admire nature, you also get to know real people and connect with your Filipino roots.
This year, challenge yourself to visit more Philippine destinations than foreign ones. The Philippines has 81 provinces waiting for you so make a resolution to, one by one, tick off places in your Project 81 list.
There’s no better time to show your love for country than now. Philippine tourism continues to look vibrant, and with the appointment of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, and all her big plans for the country, tourists can only expect so much more from the industry.