The Philippines has it all, beautiful secluded beaches, tropical green forests and rivers, a friendly outgoing people, and then there are the poor people, city slums, smog filled traffic choked city streets, city scam artists, the risk of robbery, food and drink spiking, and even kidnapping by terrorists groups in the Southern Islands.
In spite of the negative aspects I would still recommend a trip to the Philippines to those with a little adventure in their blood, if you use common sense and research your travel plans beforehand you should be able to keep yourself out of trouble. I would advise using a local guide when you can; they are relatively cheap, save you a lot of time and can take you safely to local places you may never see travelling by yourself. It’s also a great way to put money back into the local economy, and at the end of the day if you are happy with your guide pass on your thanks with a few extra dollars, it will be appreciated.
There are over 7000 islands in the Philippines, most are not yet spoiled by the growing tourist numbers. I visited Panglao Island which is a popular tourist destination, at the moment the only access is by sea ferry but there is a proposed plan to build an international airport on this small island.
Should the airport go ahead, it will be great for the local and national economy but ultimately a change for the worse for this sleepy island and the larger neighboring Bohol Island.
With so many islands, forests, rivers and ocean waters the Philippines is known for its biodiversity, every year undiscovered species come to light in the forests and oceans. It is one of the world’s biologically richest countries with a significant share of endemic species that are under threat from humans, making it a high priority for global conservation.
Transport in the Philippines can be an interesting experience, in the main cities the colourful jeepney is the most popular form of transport for the locals.For travelling between islands there are many ferries to choose from, but there are noted concerns regarding the safety of some ferries, however I didn’t experience any problems.
Christianity first arrived in the Philippines with the arrival of the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521; today 90% of the population is Christian, 80% being Roman Catholic.This strong Spanish style Roman Catholic belief can be seen everywhere from the many old churches and parishes in country and city to the enthusiastic religious writings on the cities jeepneys
Unfortunately there is a lot of poverty in the city streets of the Philippines. It’s not uncommon to see homeless street kids and the poor, even close to well-travelled tourist areas.
I saw a number of thoughtful city truck drivers in busy traffic purposely throw out of their window half eaten burgers and partially full plastic bottles of soft drink to street kids on the foot path. The kids would rush over and quickly pick everything up to eat immediately, obviously their first meal for some time.