Why do tourists visit the Philippines?

Famous mountains in the Philippines

A year ago, the opportunity presented itself to me to travel to the Philippines for business.

Coming from NYC, I was hesitant as its a country thats not often on the radar for many media outlets or general discussion and I had no connection to the country whatsoever.

Ive come to realize that its one of the most undermarket Asian countries in terms of travel but it wont stay that way for long.

More and more, the Philippines has become a travel destination as it hosts some of the most pristine and serene beaches in Southeast Asia as well as some other pretty awesome scenic destinations.

,Enough with the talk, Ill just show you some picture of the places Ive been to over the past year.

,Ive witnessed a ton of amazing sunsets in my life but this was by far one of the nicest.

Taken on White Beach in Boracay.

n,,Heres another one that I took in Boracay.

Its quickly becoming a hotspot across all of Asia and many tourists come from all over to visit this spot.

n,Heres one I took when I visited Bantayan Island, Cebu.

n,This next experience was pretty surreal.

Took an 8-10 hr bus ride from Manila to the famous rice terraces in Banaue.

From there, hiked 3 hrs through the mountains into the darkness and stayed overnight in a remote hotel in the middle of the mountains to wake up to the massive rice terraces of Bataad.

,,,nThe Philippines also hosts some of the best dive sites in the world.

Ive dove with manta rays, turtles, thresher sharks, reef sharks, and countless other macro stuff.

The Philippines is located in the middle of the coral triangle which makes it home to a ton of sick marine life Ive only dreamed of seeing when I was a kid looking at fish in an aquarium.

,,,One of my favorite experiences by far was going on a night dive and having the dive master signal all the divers to turn off their flashlights.

At first, I was scared shitless.

.

.

turning off all the lights in the deep blue only to hear the sound of my regulator exhaling.

But then we started waving our arms around which activated the bioluminscent plankton that surrounded us.

Just think about that for a second.

.

.

thats some Avatar ish right there.

,Also, Filipino people are cool too.

Thats me (the Chinese dude) and some super chill people on a boat getting ready to dive with the famous Thresher sharks at 5am.

,,,,Then theres Coron which is excellent for island hopping and swimming in super warm water lagoons.

,,,nThen comes my personal favorite.

El Nido, Palawan.

Id put money down to say that this experience is probably fairly comparable to the Maldives or Bora Bora at a much better bang for your buck.

This was.

.

.

amazing.

The translucent turquoise waters, the giantic limestone structures, the snokeling, the marine life and the ability to just paddle board or canoe around certain island and discover your own 20ft stretch of beach with nobody in sight.

,,,,,,nThere are a ton of other places but I hope that helps.

Top 20 highest mountain in the Philippines

The answer is actually pretty simple:,The people in Vietnam are generally richer than the people in the Philippines.

Iu2019ll stick some hard statistics down below to convince you that this is the reality.

,There is a reason why the Philippines is infamously portrayed as one of the poorest nations in South East Asia, and why Vietnam has moved away from that image more, despite coming off a relatively recent war.

Itu2019s not largely down to u2018u2019western mediau2019u2019 bias and sensationalism.

,If you want visual affirmation that Vietnam u2018looks richeru2019: Patrick Dooleys answer to Which is the more advanced and more prosperous country, Vietnam or the Philippines?Whether or not Vietnam, as a country, is actually richer than the Philippines is hard to tell at the moment, with how close their economies are right now.

However; this isnu2019t at all important for this question.

We do not consider the Philippines or Vietnam richer than Qatar, just because they have the larger economy, just to make sure we are on the same page; instead we look at the people.

,,National poverty statistics:The two countries have different national poverty thresholds, in fact Vietnam goes further and sets different rates depending on the location.

To eliminate any bias caused by different national standards; I have brought in data from the World Bank which has 3 distinct rates.

,Keep in mind if the rates used look so low, the value quoted in dollars is not necessarily the same value as the dollar today due to inflation.

I have misquoted the Philippine data for 2016, it is actually for 2015 like in the graph, sorry for this inconvenience.

~,Poorest of the poor comparison:From this first graph we can already see quite a few interesting things:,Yes, at the start of millenium the Vietnamese were definitely poorer than many Filipinos at the time.

,However, Vietnamu2019s poverty headcount ratio has remarkably decreased by 33.

8% in a period of just 8 years.

The u2018developmentu2019 felt by the people in the Philippines pales in comparison.

,Between 2009u20132010 is when Vietnam officially had the lower proportion of its population in severe poverty.

,~,2.

Middle rate poverty threshold:The second graph shows an even more drastic decrease for Vietnam.

This means a lot of people passed the middle rate threshold.

,Again, the progress the Philippines has made is quite poor.

,~,3.

) Higher rate poverty thresholdAdjusting for inflation this u2018requirementu2019 is the equivalent of living off 185USD/month per person;or around 9,388 PHP per month per person (as of 26/04/20)or around 4,332,174 VND per month per person (as of 26/04/20)This is noticeably higher than what both countries consider to be u2018in povertyu2019, which also makes it the most useful of the three graphs, as it now overlaps into the middle class.

,~,From this graph we can tell that:,Vietnam at this point seems like a poverty-reduction miracle.

From nearly 90% of people, this has fallen to 23.

6% in just 16 years.

The Philippines is painfully struggling to bring it down with a decrease of only 9.

2% in 15 years.

Both countries have a growing population, the Philippines can actually end up looking like it has even more financially insecure people, than it did at the start because of how small the improvement was on a personal level.

,The Philippines has nearly double the proportion of people under this poverty threshold, than Vietnam.

,The Philippinesu2019 last available data has more than half of its total population under this threshold.

Vietnam has less than a quarter.

,These 3 charts alone pretty much summarise why Vietnam seems richer than their eastern neighbour; because the poorest of the people are definitely richer.

,The information that proceeds down below reiterate the message of the introduction; but provides even more evidence and exposes just how bad the inequality in income is masqueraded by over simplistic u2018markersu2019 of development like GDP per capita, GNI per capita, particularly in the Philippines.

It is not necessary to read further, however I like to delve deeper into topics like this and will offer my further insight for those that wish to proceed.

,,National elite (rich) statistics:So there is a classic argument being thrown around that the Philippines currently has much more billionaires than Vietnam, and therefore the Philippines (as a consequence,) has much larger companies (more globally known as well,) whilst the Vietnamese counterparts pale in comparison.

To address this argument, first let me point out that we cannot assume that the wealth in any particular company is even remotely fairly distributed; it would be futile to say that u2018u2019the employees, of this company, and therefore people in this country are richer because the CEO is so richu2019u2019,To remove any bias, I will directly compare the actual population and presence of the elite in both nations.

,I will be using figures from a report by Knight Frank (an agency based in London): https://content.

knightfrank.

com/content/pdfs/global/the-wealth-report-2020.

pdf1.

) The richest of the rich:Yes, there is no dispute that the Philippines currently has more billionaires than Vietnam; triple the number in 2019.

,2.

) The high upper-class:This is where it gets interesting:,In 2014, the Philippines nearly had 3 times more individuals in this demographic than Vietnam.

,However in only 4 years later, Vietnam had closed that gap to 1.

2 times.

,In 2024, Vietnam is predicted to have a higher population of the upper-class than the Philippines, reversing the orientation of the gap.

,Notice how this is closely following the trend with how poverty got better in Vietnam, started worse than the Philippines; but ends up doing better in the first two decades of the century.

,2.

) The total elite population:Just like the highest threshold for the poverty in the first section, the lowest threshold for the u2018richu2019 paints a very contradictory picture to what most people believe to be the richer country.

,Already in 2014, Vietnam had a higher number of millionaires than the Philippines; despite having a population 9.

6% smaller than the Philippines.

,In 2018, and 2019.

This gap in absolute number of millionaires continues to increase heavily in favour of Vietnam.

Vietnam at one point becomes the 3rd highest country with increases in millionaires globally, the Philippines does not reach the top 10.

,In 2024, Vietnam is predicted to nearly have double the population of elites than the Philippines, despite the Philippines having around 13% more people.

,When I found this report, I immediately felt closure of why it would seem that the people in cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, for example, feel/look more exuberant than people in Metro Manila.

Life is more vibrant.

Thereu2019s just simply a lot more of them in Vietnam, on top of the already richer, poor demographic.

It also seems that income disparity isnu2019t simply bad against the rich and poor in the Philippines, there is also a great division of wealth among those considered rich in the Philippines, themselves.

,Vietnam didnu2019t just lift millions out of poverty around 2009.

Vietnam also saw a lot of its old upper middle and upper income classes rise a few years later.

,In my opinion, I would gladly consider the country with 22,129 more people/families who are a part of the elite population as richer than the country that has 11 more billionaires/families, yet has thousands less millionaires,National median wealth argument:We have looked at the extreme rich, and the extreme poor.

Does the same hold true for the majority in between?,Maybe the Philippines has a lot of impoverished people, but the middle class are generally richer than the working class in Vietnam? Thus, it has a higher average GDP per capita you might sayu2026.

This time I will be using Credit Suisseu2019s Global Weatlh Databook for 2019.

Admirably they include data for the mean and median wealth per capita.

Remember, this talks about wealth and not just income.

Furthermore, this report is extremely beneficial as it only talks about adults; removing the bulk of the young that should not be working, not making money and unlikely to have assets.

,I have compiled the data and global ranking for ASEAN members below:,Letu2019s just look at mean wealth first:Not many surprises here:,Vietnam is just below the Philippines (difference of only $351, this will be important to remember.

) Which follows the usual GDP (PPP) per capita and GNI per capita tables.

,Largest surprise is probably how Indonesia actually underperforms compared to the two nations above it, whilst Laos (a country that is usually considered to be on par with Vietnam sometimes with simple metrics) is significantly down by nearly $5000.

,Letu2019s rearrange the table in order of median wealth per adult, which gives us this result:If you need an explanation of why a median is a better measure than the mean, I suggest this page: What the difference between mean and median tells us about income inequality.

,Now back to the second table:,A lot of countries switched places; and ALL countries experience a gargantuan drop in their median wealth, compared to the mean wealth.

This is to be expected, as the extremely rich minority skew statistics for most countries.

,Vietnam (unsurprisingly) performs better than the Philippines (with around $1000 in difference,) and (surprisingly) outperforms Thailand a little in the process.

,Indonesia drips even lower! This could be an interesting country to digest after this question (since originally Indonesia had the higher GDP per capita of all 3; but lets focus on Vietnam and the Philippines.

),Note that Vietnamu2019s adult population is actually more than the Philippines, but it still maintains the higher median.

,So it would seem that the hypothesis going into this section, is NOT true.

The Vietnamese middle class appear to be considerably wealthier, on average to their Philippine counterparts.

This follows the trend discussed with the poverty statistics and elite statistics.

Letu2019s look at who lost most due to the mean-median wealth per capita difference in p, buercentages:,Nothing surprising here with respect to the Philippines and Vietnam, the latter still boasts a surprisingly equal distribution of wealth considering itu2019s median is high.

,,The gross regional domestic product argument:Still not convinced that Vietnamu2019s people are actually the wealthier? All of us have probably been guilty of being fixated on GDP per capita to distinguish between nations.

In this section, Iu2019ll give that logic the benefit of the doubt and scrutinise regional gross domestic product data.

,A few things I need to clarify about my methodology:,Vietnam released GRDP data for all of its provinces and municipalities in 2018.

,The Philippines released GRDP data only for regions in 2018, and has never disclosed provincial data.

Yay for transparency! ud83dude44It would be unfair to compare individual provinces of Vietnam to whole regions of the Philippines, (a Philippine region, on average contains 4u20135 provinces,) so instead I manually calculated the data for Vietnamese regions,Likewise, it would be unfair to use the official regions of Vietnam.

There are only 8 of them and they do not separate HCM or Hanoi.

I decided to reassign the provinces, making a total of 14 regions compared to the Philippines 17.

,Below is the data I used for Vietnam, and a map of how I reorganised the regions for transparency:,The data obtained from the Philippines is from a PSA 2018 report.

I had to manually convert the numbers from PHP to USD.

I did not reorganise the Philippine regions.

,Hereu2019s a quick sneak peak into the national rankings of regions, separately.

,The Philippines has the region with the highest GRDP per capita, by far.

,Thereu2019s definitely a lot of regional inequality going on in both countries; the poorest Philippine region has it 15.

5 times less than Metro Manila, the poorest Vietnamese region has it 4.

7 times less than Ho Chi Minh.

,How about we compare the two sets of regions together?,Of the 14 regions that have a GRDP per capita below $2000; 10 of these are PH regions, 4 of these are VN regions,Of the 10 regions that have a GRDP per capita between $2000 and $3000; 6 of these are from VN, 4 of these are from the PH.

,Of the 7 regions that have a GRDP per capita above $3000; 3 are Philippine regions and 4 are Vietnamese.

,But wait! Iu2019ve set arbitrary levels to make those 3 comparisons, you could argue that changing those boundaries could slightly alter your opinion of the data.

Instead Iu2019ve made this graph that superimposes the two countriesu2019 regional data to lessen any bias:,Three Philippine regions are undoubtedly poorer than all of Vietnam.

,Of the remaining 14 regions; 10 of the Vietnamese regions outperform their Philippine counterpart - the difference does not seem to be humongous though for regions ranked 8thu201314th.

,For regions ranked 5th-7th, the Philippine regions do better than the Vietnamese, albeit in a much smaller magnitude compared to the difference in 2nd-4th.

,For 2nd-4th, Vietnam heavily out performs the Philippines.

This seems to be where the largest deviation in GRDP between the two nations is, excluding the 1st ranked regions.

,Thereu2019s one huge problem with this analysis though.

Up to this point, I have given equal weighting to each region; but different regions have different populations! This is where it gets very interesting for GRDP data.

Hereu2019s a better graphical representation of the regional data, but this time their population as a percentage of the national population is emphasizedu20261.

) Regions under $1,0003.

7% of the Philippine population produce under this level.

,100% of the Vietnamese population produce over the bottom 3.

7% in the Philippines.

,2.

) Regions under $150016.

9% of the Philippine population produce under this level,5.

0% of the Vietnamese population produce under this level, but all 5.

0% of this produce more than the 16.

9% of the Philippine population above.

,3.

) Regions under $17507 regions of the Philippines produce under this level, and have now been counted.

This means 27.

2% of the population are under this bar.

,2 regions of Vietnam have been counted that make up only 9.

4% of Vietnam.

,4.

) Regions under $2000A whopping 44.

3% of the Philippines produce under 2000usd.

Correspondingly, the Vietnamese population under this level is 25.

6%.

,Unlike the Philippines, the income increases in the next two Vietnamese regions added are not substantial, (a gentle plateau is reached.

),5.

) Regions under $2566 (Vietnamu2019s 2018 nominal GDP per capita)I have set the bar at Vietnamu2019s GDP per capita for 2018.

,No Philippine regions have been added, so it remains that 44.

3% of their population produce a considerably lower amount.

,In contrast, multiple regions of Vietnam are clustered around the $2000s, and have been added.

The Vietnamese population that technically produce below the actual national number is 59.

3%,It should be noted that 55.

7% of the Philippine population and 40.

7% of the Vietnamese population produce over this set level.

What happens next is where it gets very, very weird.

,6.

) Regions under $3103 (Philippinesu2019s 2018 nominal GDP per capita)I have raised the bar to the Philippines 2018 nominal GDP per capita.

,5 Philippine regions have been added, and the population accounted for jumps to 73.

8%.

There remains 2 Philippine regions which account for 26.

2% of their population; this is the population that actually make more than their official figure.

,Only 1 Vietnamese region has been added, and so only 65.

0% of the population live under this level.

There are still 4 regions in Vietnam that I have yet to count, who make up 35.

0%.

Is it not strange that a greater proportion of people in Vietnam pass the Philippines GDP per capita, than people in the Philippines, by nearly 10%?7.

) Regions under $4000It getu2019s weirder.

Letu2019s set the bar much higher at $4000,I am forced to include CALABARZON region, which now means I have counted 87.

8% of the Philippines.

CALABARZON is the region with the second highest GRDP per capita in the islands.

,None of the 4 remaining Vietnamese regions were added, as they all produce above this level on a per capita basis.

,I only have 12.

1% of the Philippine population that produce more than $4000, yet I have a whopping 35% of the Vietnamese population that do the same.

8.

) Full Graphs:Iu2019ll add the last regions for each country in the two graphs below if you want to take a closer look.

You should be able to notice how unbalanced the Philippine graph is with respect to Metro Manila.

,Vietnam also has a slightly similar problem between Ho Chi Minh and the next 3 closely ranked regions; however at least it is not less than half of Ho Chi Minhu2019s number.

,9.

) Superimposed graphsSo you might still be having trouble telling if the sheer GRDP of Metro Manila overpowers Vietnamu2019s strong points on both sides of the graph (the extreme rich, and extreme poor.

),What happens if we put the two graphs on top of each other?,Going from 0% to 100%, Vietnam is u2018u2019richeru2019u2019 than the Philippines for two-thirds of the span.

This is despite Vietnam having an official GDP per capita that is $537 lower than the Philippines.

,But what about the area of the overlaps, that also matters right? To make this easier to visualise, I tried to mash the overlaps caused by both countries into the picture below:,Itu2019s quite obvious that the Philippine overlap area is actually larger than Vietnam, which is entirely expected.

Until the countries two nationsu2019 GDP rebasing, (late 2019 for Vietnam, and early 2020 for the Philippines,) Vietnamu2019s total economy was thought to be less than the Philippines in 2018.

,There is a concerning image portrayed by the diagram.

The only reason why the Philippine overlap area is larger, is because of the NCR region.

In fact, the NCR region overlap alone would have been enough to surpass Vietnam.

We can already start to see that there is an unhealthily high concentration of the Philippine economy in Metro Manila, (NCR.

) That in turn skews the Philippinesu2019 statistics noticeably, despite have only 12.

2% of the population.

,,You might be wondering why I am heavily discarding the contribution of Metro Manila? After all, it remains part of the Philippines and should be included; even if it distorts national statistics.

Technically, if the people of Metro Manila are significantly richer than the rest of the Philippines then the impression of being richer, at least within that region should be evident.

This is where usage of GDP per capita falls flat, in this case even GRDP.

Anyone that has been to Metro Manila, and toured properly around all 16 cities should be aware that this isnu2019t the reality.

If people were making 3u201310 times more by just moving from a province to the National Capital Region: then much more people would have migrated to the area, and there wouldnu2019t nearly be as much OFWu2019s needing to go abroad to make a decent living!,It happens in Vietnam too, albeit to a lesser extent.

Did you notice that Hanoi has a lower GRDP per capita than quite a few Vietnamese provinces? It sounds a bit strange, but a lot of foreign companies have based themselves in the provinces surrounding Hanoi, so this probably skews the statistics for them.

,GRDP per capita pretty much does not really help in representing the actual situation of a population, especially with two countries that may be similar in development.

If only there was something better we could useu2026,,Regional annual income per capita:The great news is that both countries give a hint in the average monthly income of its people in different regions.

Some points on how I organised and obtained the data:,This time I will be using the official 17 administrative regions of the Philippines, but only 6 regions of Vietnam as this was how it was allocated in their statistics portal.

,Vietnam thankfully records the data as income per capita, so no processing was required apart from conversion into USD.

For the Philippines, they inflated their numbers by recording annual household income.

So I had to manually convert this into income per capita, using the total number of households (as recorded by PSA,) per region and converting this into USD.

,Here is the data for the two countries separated:Before I start the direct comparisons between the two countries, lets compare how different the actual income per capita is from the GRDP per capita in each country.

,Spoiler: Itu2019s huge.

,Philippines, on average looses a lot more of its GRDP per capita, when translating it into the actual income per capita.

,The population in the National Capital Region lose the most of the GRDP per capita, at a whopping 76%.

Note that the income per capita is even below the Philippinesu2019 GDP per capita ($3,102.

),Note that the income in NCR is not even double of the 2nd and 3rd highest regions of the Philippines.

Remember when I said earlier that there is no way that the people in NCR, on average, make 3 times more than other regions otherwise there would not be as many OFWs? Hereu2019s the proof.

,Note that NCR remains the region with highest income per capita in the Philippines; that means ALL regions of the Philippines have an income per capita lower than the countryu2019s national GDP per capita.

It seems counter-intuitive that this is possible, but this is what is actually happening.

The extreme, few, rich in the Philippines are extremely skewing the stats.

Vietnam only has 1 region that surpasses itu2019s national GDP per capita ($2,566) and another region that is closely trailing behind it.

,Letu2019s combine the tables and start directly comparing:,All Vietnamese regions outperform the bottom 12/17 Philippine regions.

,Of the top 10, 5 are Vietnamese, 5 are Philippine.

,Two Vietnamese regions, actually have a higher income per capita than Metro Manila.

This is directly contradictory to how the GDP per capita of NCR is substantially higher than the Southeast and Red River Delta.

,In a surprising reversal of performance, the Mekong River Delta actually has one of the highest income per capita, surpassing the Philippinesu2019 CALABARZON.

Recall that the Mekong River Delta had a lower GRDP per capita than many Philippine regions.

What matters more to people, GDP or their actual income?,The Northern Midlands and Mountain Areas does better than Davao Region and Northern Mindanao.

The latter two are the most important economic region in Mindanao, and yet they under perform to the poorest region in Vietnam.

,But wait, Iu2019m not done yet.

Iu2019ve put the regions ranked with basically equal weighting.

I did not account for their populations! Will this change the narrative? I will be using a similar approach with the bar charts in the GRDP per capita section; except with two pie charts of the national populations.

Remember, these are generalisations.

,First level of income.

,Over half of the Philippine population already live under this level in 12 of 17 Philippine regions.

,No Vietnamese region, and therefore none of the Vietnamese population are under this level.

,TL:DR 100% of the Vietnamese population are richer than more than half of the Philippine population already,.

,2.

Second level of income,Only 1 region from both countries are forced to be accounted.

,87% of the Vietnamese population are richer than 61.

1% of the Philippine population,Iu2019ve nearly accounted for 5 times more of the Philippine population than the Vietnamese population already.

This looks very bad for the Philippines.

,.

,3.

Third level of income,Both countries have two regions added.

,Nearly 3/4 of the Philippine population live under this level, yet only 40% of the Vietnamese population do the same.

,In contrast, 60% of the Vietnamese population are richer than 73.

8% of the Philippine population.

,.

,4.

Fourth level of income,One region is added for both countries.

,I only have one region remaining for the Philippines, this is Metro Manila.

This is the only region in the Philippines where the annual income per capita is actually above $2000.

It only accounts for 12.

3% of the PH population.

,I have two regions to add for Vietnam, but this makes a whopping 41% of the VN population.

It is important to note that the two economic powerhouse regions of Vietnam, make up a significant proportion of the national population.

Compare this to the Philippines where its 12.

7% versus 41% in Vietnam.

,41% of the VN population is therefore richer on average, than 87.

8% of the Philippine population.

This again suggests the Vietnamese people make more money.

,.

,5.

Fifth level of income,The fifth diagram is the most telling.

I have set the level at $2400 per capita and this happened:,100% of the Philippine population live in regions, where the average income per capita is below this.

Yes, 100% so including Metro Manila!,Vietnam didnu2019t budge.

The remaining 41% of the Vietnamese population still live in regions with higher mean income per capita than $2400.

,So that means, 41% of the Vietnamese population are more likely to be better off than 100% of the Philippine population.

Shockers.

TL:DR: Metro Manilenos are not as rich compared to the VNese as the oversimplified statistics display.

.

,6.

Final level of income,Iu2019m going to add the remaining Vietnamese population for completion, I have singled out Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

,Excluding the two major cities, we have 23.

9% of the Vietnamese population still living in regions with higher income per capita than 100% of the Philippine population.

This is extremely good news for Vietnam, and a terrible picture for the Philippines.

The provinces surrounding the major economic hubs in Vietnam do exceptionally better than the only true metropolis in the Philippines!,Iu2019ll just point this out for another perspective to consider as I close this answer: the population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh together make up 17.

7% of Vietnam.

Metro Manila makes up merely 12.

7% of the Philippine population.

Are we really sure that the Philippines is more urbanised?

Mountains in the Philippines for hiking

In one word, great!,I am an Indian living in the Philippines for a little over 2 years now and it has been an adventurous ride for me.

A ride full of new experiences, tasty cuisines and most importantly smiling people.

,1.

The People - They are genuinely nice.

I go on trips and treks with random groups almost every other weekend and I have made a whole lot of friends here.

Filipinos are generally large hearted and very giving.

Also, they live in the present.

They make sure they are enjoying their today.

The spirit is just amazing and it rubs on you.

,Although some filipinos do joke around saying that we are nice to foreigners and not to our own people.

I wonu2019t know about that but all I can definitely vouch for their generosity and kindness.

,2.

The Places - If you love travelling, a day hike, a 2 day trip to the beach, camping on the mountains, love surfing, want to go spelunking (cave exploring)u2026 the list just goes on and onu2026 in short, Philippines has something for everyone.

And mind you, there are really affordable trips every weekend that do not burn a hole in your pocket.

You can literally do 2 decent trips a month with the same amount of money that youu2019d probably burn in a night partying with friends.

,Hereu2019s my contribution to the topic - Is Philippines beautiful? Maybe you decide if it is beautiful really?,3.

The Weather - Itu2019s not hard on you, for sure.

Whichever part of the world you are from, youu2019ll find it relatively better here.

The temperatures are in the mids really, never too hot, never too cold with frequent showers now and then.

Although it may play spoilsport with your travel plans sometimes but thatu2019s that.

,4.

The Food - Iu2019ll come to the local cuisine later.

Philippines has all of the asian cuisines in abundance.

And since it was a US based colony that had Spanish influence as well, food from the Europe and US are also readily available.

However, the local cuisine is to die for.

True that they have a sweet tooth and they love their rice, sometimes even for desserts.

,Also, the chilly really doesnu2019t mean chilly here.

Having said that, these are people that love to party and celebrate and you cannot do that without good food, can you?,5.

The Life Lessons - What I absolutely love about the Philippines is that it teaches you to take time out for yourself.

To be involved with something other than work, to let you have a life, if I might say.

,Lastly, I would just quote something that has been really fascinating to me as a foreigner in this country.

I usually walk to my office daily along this route below a flyover.

The flyover is apparently home to a few of the poor people out there.

Some of them have food stalls, some make paintings and sell, there are beggars as well.

Whatu2019s noticeable is that, I have often seen them feeding stray dogs.

Seeing their condition, it doesnu2019t look like they have enough for themselves but having a dog, taking care of it like one of their own, even in such adverse conditions, melts my heart.