We all feel the need to get away sometimes in our lives, whether it's a relaxing vacation to a tropical island, an action-packed adventure or just a quick escape from reality.
Traveling abroad has always been my go-to trip of choice whenever I'm in need for a well-deserved break and a time-out from my daily routine.
With so many destinations to choose from, we become so easily drawn in by each country offering us their unique trademarks.
We are then faced with that big question, "Where the heck do I go?"
As a frequent traveler, it's safe for me to say this dilemma has, and always will, drive me insane.
One minute I'm set on a destination and ready to book the ticket, and only after a short time researching on the Internet and speaking to friends, I am left with another destination that sounds equally as tempting.
Fortunately for me, my parents come from the Philippines, and from a very young age, we have taken family trips there year after year.
And as I got older, I became more aware of its beauty and hidden gems.
Here are five reasons why the Philippines has become my go-to destination:
1. Beach, Beach And More Beach
Whenever I think of traveling, the first image that pops into my head is a picturesque, crystal-clear ocean and my sand-covered body jumping into it.
Sound like you?
Well, with over 7,000 islands comprising the Philippines, your choices of beaches are basically never-ending.
The best part is, most of them are well-kept secrets.
So, you won't be fighting for a spot in that powdery, white sand.
2. A Shopper's Dream
If you hadn’t realized already, I am a typical beach bum.
And what makes a beach bum who also loves to shop happier? Shopping on the beach.
My last visit to one of Philippines famous beaches, Boracay, left me with an overflowing suitcase and still loads of cash in my pocket.
Like most other well-known beach islands in the Philippines, you will find locals selling handmade crafts, unique clothing, hand-woven straw bags and rare trinkets at a very reasonable price.
What makes some of these souvenirs so special is the locals themselves are the ones who make them, some even right in front of your eyes.
And if markets or sellers approaching you while you’re at the beach isn’t your thing, some of Asia’s largest malls are found in the capital city Manila.
Just make sure you plan a few days there, as it could take you days just to cover one mall.
3. Endless Activities
Every city and each island comes with its own hidden character that you will feel the need to discover.
You'll want to be trekking rugged terrains in Luzon, surfing in Cloud 9 at Siargao Island and partaking in the Philippine culture of a week-long street party celebrating Santo Niño at Ati-Atihan in Kalibo.
You will never run out of things to do.
In every part of the country you visit, you will find yourself leaving it with a new experience.
4. Friendly Locals
As with other foreign countries, there are safety precautions as well as unfortunate encounters with not very nice people.
But all that aside, Filipinos are generally the most friendliest and happiest people you will meet.
Some will go out of their way to help you if you’re in need, and some just offer you their kindness with non-stop smiles.
5. Captivating Culture
A taste of the Philippine culture is always at reach.
Everywhere you look, you will immediately spot their particular way of living.
You'll be drawn to the charming bamboo houses, the jeepneys, the motorized tricycles and the locals selling the Philippine cuisine on the side of streets, out the front of their houses and even on their bikes.
It is impossible to not experience their culture.
Whether you're after a relaxing getaway with the family, a party trip on a budget with friends or an adventure seeker looking to take on destinations others haven’t dared to travel, the Philippines caters to all types of travel.