10 Really Obvious Reasons Why You Should Include Philippines in Your Southeast Asia Itinerary

The Philippines maybe off the standard Southeast Asia itinerary backpacker trail, however direct flights from Bangkok, Ho Chi Min, or Kuala Lumpur to Manila will only set you back for just around USD100.00.  It would be a shame for you to miss out on our incredible beaches and our many natural resources and as well as incredible surfing experience. So why not extend your SEA visit to a few more days and catch a direct flight to Manila before flying home.

The Philippines form part of the Southeast Asia and is an active member of the ASEAN. Many of the Southeast Asia travel itinerary will have you flying to Singapore, Malaysia or Bangkok, taking sleeper trains or short flights to Cambodia, to Laos or Vietnam and back to Bangkok for your flight going home. Or maybe something similar.

Here are really obvious reasons why your SEA backpacking trip is never really complete without visiting The Philippines and frolic in at least a few of its 7000 islands, dance to upbeat festivals around the country and get sunkissed in its many islands fringed with powdery white sand beaches.

We got the world’s best island

elnido palawan

Voted the world’s best island by Travel and Leisure magazine’s readers and browsing the countless photos upload on the internet just doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to pack your bags, throw in lots of sunblock and swimsuits and book a domestic flight from Manila to Puerto Prinsesa and start your holiday travel in the picturesque Palawan archipelago.

I summed up my experience visiting El Nido, one of the many islands you can frolic in, in a 60-second video.  Not describing it in words, because really there are no words to describe how green and clear the water is, how the towering cliffs are beautifully formed, no words really.

We got one of the best beach in the world

Ah Boracay! Who hasn’t seen the photo of its long beautiful shoreline in the internet and millions of flight magazines. You simply must visit Boracay for the sheer experience of it. You may hear that its crowded, jampacked and touristy all year round. But don’t let that allow you to miss out on burying your feet in its soft powdery beach sand during daytime, have your hair done into dreadlocks, or get a henna tattoo. Be amazed at how the serene daytime scene transforms into vibrant energetic one big party along the beach! Grab your drinks and watch the many fire dancers and band performances.


Must Read : Your 4 Day Boracay Itinerary and Travel Guide

We speak your language, Joe

We speak good English, maybe even better than your English. And if you’re from Spain or other Spanish speaking countries, we got a lot of spanish words buried deep in our dictionary, a result of more than 300 years Spanish colony rule in the 1500’s. So banish your worries about language barrier. You can breath a sigh of relief when you find out we can explain what’s in your “sinigang” or what “kinilaw” is all about. Plus we can explain in English and in depth how “balut” is prepared.

Unbelievable low cost

Your dollars goes a long long way here too, maybe even at better rates than you get from Bangkok or KL. Well depending on the current exchange rate.  A decent full meal here will cost you no more than USD2.00. Accommodation rates in backpacker hostels usually goes for USD10.00 to USD12.00 with free wifi and shared bathrooms.

Traversing around the many islands in the archipelago of south Luzon and Visayas is cheap too. You can hop from one island to another island via roll on/roll off ferries to experience totally another culture and another dialect in a matter of hours. If you want to join island hopping tours and activities, you can join group tours and pay about USD20.00, that usually includes lunch, tour guides and a whole day of island hopping fun!

Must Read : Here’s How to Travel via Ro/Ro in the Visayas Like a Local

We have our own Cloud 9

The most famous surf destination is Siargao Island in eastern part of Mindanao, accessible via a USD50.00 flight from Manila or Cebu. Our Cloud 9 is famous for it’s thick hollow tube waves and offers the best breaks in SEA. It’s also home to the the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition. Beginners can even join in the surfing activities, hunk instructors offer their surfing lessons for an affordable rate of around USD12.00, heads up ladies!

Our rich nature’s wonders

Aside from the beaches, the country is also rich in other natural resources, scale our mountains for an unbelievable jaw dropping views, natural rock formations of Biri in Samar, waterfalls in Abra, Iligan City and Samar, visit the 2000 year old Banaue Rice Terraces, experience the untraditional burial customs in Sagada and many more! Whew that was long!

solo destination philippines  

Our hospitality

We Filipinos are known for our hospitality. We take pride in making our visitors have the best experience when visiting our home. We offer our homes, our beds, our best chair in the dining table, we offer the coldest beer, and hottest arroz caldo. We want our visitors to leave the house feeling good and happy. That makes us happy too. So don’t be afraid to try homestays around the provinces. Plus you get all the insider tip for how to go around the town better and make friends too.

Our sinfully delicious lechon

Oh we have Anthony Bourdain to explain it to you. Mr. Bourdain featured The Philippines and the famous roasted pig in one of the episodes in his famous TV show “No Reservations”. He tried the lechon and absolutely loved it!

The best place to have the authentic taste is in Carcar, Cebu. Head to Carcar market place in city town by taking a bus from south Ceres bus terminal in Cebu city. Any Ceres bus heading for the southern part of Cebu will pass by Carcar.

Our cheap beer

Our best beer will cost you USD1.00. Next!

We are dead serious about responsible tourism

Really dead serious. In fact,  many local governments have started their programs on raising awareness about protecting our natural resources. For those who have started, they are beefing up on promoting their programs and getting the tourist and the locals involved which is a good thing.

Yours truly was more than happy to participate in one of these programs in Palompon, Leyte where the amazing sandbar of Kalanggaman Leyte is found. Our tour group joined the activity on Giant Clam Seeding Program where we released the cultured clams back to the open sea, their home. We still have a long way to go and many challenges to face but we’re on our way to make sustainable and responsible tourism a big thing here in our country.

We gladly invite you to become part of the many responsible tourism related activities around the country. Here is a facebook page where you can like and start to look in.


I hope all the reasons I listed above is enough to entice you to come visit our country. Review your upcoming SEA itinerary and include the Philippines if you haven’t yet. Or if you’re already in the fields somewhere in SEA, see how you can extend your break and catch a direct flight to Manila. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Must Read: Your 2-Week Itinerary for The Philippines

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Allison - last year Reply

Wow. This looks amazing!! I wouldn’t have guessed the flights would be so inexpensive. We’re a true “beach” family and we need to add this to our bucket list.

    Carla Abanes - last year Reply

    All the more reason to come and visit my Philippines! Thanks for dropping by!

Adriana - last year Reply

So you had me at Philippines honestly. There’s no need to sell anything else lol. But, I truly love the linguistic aspects of the language, in this case English. Because I studied applied linguistics, it is always interesting to analyze and observe the influences of language on another. And, of course I love Spain, and speak Spanish too, so it’ll be fun to decipher which words trickled down from the language. Thanks for the post!

    Carla Abanes - last year Reply

    That would be an interesting study! Hope to see you in one our many islands soon! Thanks for dropping by!

kelsinwonderland - last year Reply

I have never travelled to that area of the world, but it has been on my list for years. This post makes me want to go that much more!! Thanks for sharing all these great points and beautiful photos 🙂

    Carla Abanes - last year Reply

    You are most welcome! Why not make your 2017 a visit SEA and the Philippines year? Thanks for dropping by!

Cat | For Two, Please - last year Reply

Reading your post makes me miss the Philippines so much! We totally fell in love with the country when we visited there 2 years ago! Want to go back so badly!

    Carla Abanes - last year Reply

    A lot of islands had sprung up since 2 years ago! I hope you come and see how the Philippines is adapting to many global changes. Thanks for dropping by!

Mastering the Art of Itinerary Planning - Just Travelling Solo - 9 months ago Reply

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