It has been said that the most difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and this certainly applies when it comes to the Philippines. It’s also no secret that it is a rather long journey, but it is so worth it. Having just returned from The Philippines myself (jet lag well and truly in tow) I wanted to share the top ten reasons this needs to be on your gap year travel list (and no the lizard I found in my suitcase when I unpacked at home does not feature…)
It’s a great spring board to travel the world
The Philippines is the gateway to the rest of the world, once you’re out there it is only a hop, skip and a kangaroo jump over to Australia (and what a way to break up the journey!) if that is also featuring heavily on your list. We know Australia is a haven for the gap year traveller and you have to break up the flight somewhere so make it the Philippines to get your gap year off to the best start. It is a very affordable place to visit which means you'll arrive at your next destination with plenty of spending money left over - phew! Alternatively, you are in reaching distance to the rest of Asia should you wish to continue your cultural exploration.
It's home to the friendliest people
Sounds cliché and so many people said it to me before I left but it is
very accurate. I was greeted with nothing but warmth and kindness which
when you’re a million miles from home is so appreciated. The community
are so friendly and can’t do enough for you – so it’s very easy to make
new friends and get the low-down on where to go once you’ve dropped off
your backpack and slipped your flip flops on.
Exhilerating local transport
Forget planes, trains and automobiles – hop on and try their
tricycles and Jeepneys. Yep that’s a three-wheeler and a cosy bus to you
and I. The tricycles give you a chance to set your senses alight as you
whizz along the streets at ground level past the markets getting you
from A to B. It’s a great photo opportunity to see traffic jams Filipino
style – the assortment of colours as the tricycles get through the
hustle bustle together.
Mind boggling local ‘delicacies’
We all know that traveling has its fair share of ‘must-eats’ and cultural delicacies and the Philippines
are no exception. Here it is known as Balut – which roughly translates
as ‘duck embryo’. While I was not brave enough to try it – here is a
member of the group showing us how it is done… not for me but is a tasty
snack for the locals. Oh and did I mentioned that chilli ice cream is a
speciality here – definitely a must-try.
A perfect puffing volcano
Just 40 minutes on a plane from Manila, the Mayon volcano in Legaspi
is a natural beauty that cannot be missed. If you fancy feeling like
you’re in the film Moana, then you have to set your sights on this
volcano. The best way to see it? Quad bike up the black lava route where
you then hop off the bikes and hike a short distance to the black lava
wall. Once here you can see (on a clear day!) the Mayon volcano in all
its glory – it is breath taking. Now we all know what goes up must come
down so embrace your adrenaline junkie side and zip wire down to your
bikes which leads on to my next point…
The best quad biking routes
If you fancy trying something new then why not try quad biking on the trails up the volcano – anywhere from 2 – 5 hours depending on which route you take, this is a stunning way of seeing the surroundings en route to the Mayon volcano. Amble through rivers or splash your way right through, this is a real treat and takes you well off the beaten trail. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done if before, every level is welcome, and your guides are there to help every splash of the way.
Make a difference at Ticao Island
Perfect place to give back. Help Ticao Island Resort with their development projects focused on the livelihood and education of the local community. Help fishermen with their day to day activities, develop the local school, help with training for community-based tourism projects which provide an alternative livelihood to the community and help with resort guests.
It’s not every day you get to wake up and go to work on the coast surrounded by stunning landscapes, smiling people and marine giants. It’s not all work and no play, on your time off hop around the islets of Ticao which are rich in coral and marine life and discover the ‘Manta Bowl’ a dive site which is the highway for manta rays, whale and thresher sharks. Snap up the Philippines here.
Karaoke is a national sport
Seriously. I hadn’t realised until I was out there that this is a
real thing that brings everyone together. It seems no matter what bar or
restaurant you are at, somehow a karaoke machine will appear. And with
beers at approximately 50 cents it won’t be long before you are brave
enough to be up there…
Exceptional scuba diving
Fancy learning how to scuba dive
or already a pro and wanted to explore new waters then look no further –
the Philippines has you covered. It is famous for it's whale shark
sightings, something you have to see to believe, and has some of the
most incredible dive spots in the world and if you dare you can dive
with sharks... (rather you than me)
So what are you waiting for?
So there you have it, our top ten reasons you need to visit
the Philippines. Departing in February, May, July and October
come with us as we
show you the cultural beauty of the Philippines, not only do you get to see the
sights but most importantly you are contributing to various community projects
that need your help to improve – hit two birds with one stone as you make your
gap year count.
on 20 / 09 / 2019