15 Reasons Why The Philippines Is The Best Country In Asia
Written by Dezza, 1 March 2018.
The Philippines is made up of 81 amazing provinces. Filipinos will tell you that if you genuinely want to experience the Philippines, you really must visit all 81 provinces. And this is quite true in that every province is so unique and has something special to offer. That is why you need to experience each of the provinces on their own to fully appreciate the country as a whole and understand why its the best country in Asia.
As I have been living here since 2003, I have had plenty of opportunities to explore some of the best places in the Philippines with some of the most amazing natural wonders you are ever likely to see. I haven’t been to all 81 provinces yet, but I have visited close to 50 of the 81 provinces. Based on this, and I may sound biased, but the Philippines is, without doubt, the best place in the whole of Southeast Asia! So for this blog, I have decided to list down the 15 reasons why the Philippines is the best place in Southeast Asia. There is a lot more than 15 reasons, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so 15 reasons will do. Anyway, these 15 reasons will give you a broad overview of the beauty this country has to offer.
1). The People.
It’s just not the Philippines destinations that make this country what I consider to be the best country not just in Southeast Asia, but the entire world – the people! Filipinos are very friendly people and no matter where you go or how little they may have, you will always see them smiling. Even those that have nothing will still be happy to see you and will share with you whatever they have. This is very heartwarming and humbling and is one of the things that does make this country so unique.
2). Scuba Diving
The coral reef area in the Philippines is the second largest in Southeast Asia – amazing when you consider the size of the country. Around 421 of the worlds 577 coral species are found in the Philippines. It’s no wonder that around 40% of the people that come to the Philippines come for the purpose of scuba diving. With some world-renowned scuba diving locations such as Puerto Galera in Mindoro, El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Anilao in Batangas and Manta Bowl in Donsol, it is easy to see why. Padi courses are available across the country to make it even easier for you to enjoy the natural underwater wonders.
With 7,641 islands and over 60,000kms of coastline, there is no shortage of magnificent beaches in this country. White beaches, golden beaches, pink beaches, black beaches, grey beaches, and sandbars – the Philippines has it all. Beautiful turquoise coloured water, graceful palm trees swaying in the breeze and warm sunshine typify the beaches of the Philippines. There are not too many places in Southeast Asia that can rival these beaches on a pound for pound basis.
The Philippines has a fantastic array of waterfalls and they come in all shapes and sizes. From tall and elegant waterfalls such as Katibawasan in Camiguin, the world-famous Pagsanjan Falls, through to the lesser known but just as wonderful waterfalls, the Philippines is truly blessed in this area. Many of these waterfalls have beautiful turquoise coloured water in the basin which adds even more beauty to these natural wonders.
Adventure tours are becoming increasingly popular in the Philippines. The amazing landscape of this country makes it perfect for all levels of adventure. Mountaineering, surfing, rappelling, skydiving, canyoning, rock climbing, scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, white water rafting, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, spelunking (exploring caves), cliff jumping into the ocean – you name it, you can experience all it in the Philippines!
6). Underground Rivers
The world famous Puerto Princesa subterranean river, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, is a true gem. At 8.2 kilometres in length, it is the second longest navigable underground river in the world. There are also numerous other underground rivers such as the Bulanbogang Underground River in Caramoan and those found in Biak Na Bato National Park just out of Manila.
7). Whale Sharks
Whale shark watching is becoming increasingly popular in the Philippines with Donsol, in the Bicol region, leading the way. Another popular location for whale shark watching is a bit further south in Oslob, Cebu. Here you can enjoy the experience of getting up close and personal with these giant yet peaceful creatures. There are some pretty strict rules when diving with the whale sharks so make sure you observe these closely. The best time of year to visit the whale sharks is the dry season and summer months (November to May).
8). The Philippine Tarsier
The Philippine Tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world and is indigenous to Bohol. The head and body range of a tarsier is around 10-15 cms and their tails can be as long as 25 cms. Bohol is considered the only place in the Philippines in which you can find tarsiers. There is actually a tarsier sanctuary that allows you to get up close and personal with these amazing little creatures. The kids will love it!
The Philippines has one of the most colourful histories of all Southeast Asian nations. Being a former Spanish colony, it is the only Catholic country in Asia. The Philippines was also colonized by the Americans in the early part of the twentieth century which also means that just about all Filipinos can speak English very well. When you also consider indigenous Filipinos and the extended Chinese influence, along with Japan and Korea, the Philippines really is a cultural melting pot. While it may not have some of the temples and other amazing architecture that is synonymous with other Asian countries, the Philippines certainly has a fascinating history and culture spanning thousands of years.
For those who may not know the exact definition, a lagoon is a shallow body of water that is separated from a larger body of water by reefs or barrier islands. With the widespread coral and limestone activity in the Philippines, there are numerous lagoons across the country. Palawan, in particular, is famous for its lagoons which have become the focal point for a lot of drone photographers in recent times.
Of all the countries in the world with volcanoes, the Philippines ranks at number 8 with 50 volcanoes. For a relatively small country that is a large proportion of volcanoes. Mt Pinatubo is probably the most well-known volcano in the Philippines due to the devastating eruption in 1991. You are able to hike to the crater lake of this beast. There is also Taal volcano which is the second most active volcano in the Philippines. This is inside a lake which is also actually a crater. You can also hike to the top of this crater and check out the crater lake. Then, of course, you have Mt Mayon which is a perfectly cone-shaped volcano which last erupted in early 2018.
12). Sea turtles
Of the seven species of sea turtles in the world, five live here in the Philippines. There are several locations in which you can scuba dive or snorkel to observe these graceful creatures. However, the most popular location is Apo Island, just off the coast of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental. It is not necessary to go scuba diving in order to view the sea turtles here. You can do this simply while snorkelling. Other sea turtle locations include Palawan, Bohol, Mindoro, and Batangas (which is driving distance from Manila). THINK TWICE WHEN DRINKING THROUGH A PLASTIC STRAW!
13). Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the indigenous people. They are classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. They range in height from 3,300 to 4,500 feet above sea level. There are several groups of these terraces, but it’s the Batad and Bangaan Rice Terraces that carry the UNESCO listing.
14). Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills are found in Bohol. These unique marvels are basically a cluster of limestone mounds. These mounds number 1268 in total and vary in height from 30 to 50 metres. There is still a lot of scientific debate about how these fascinating mounds occurred, but it is assumed they were once corals submerged in the sea. Over time, the sea has disappeared, leaving these inland mounds.
And last but not least let’s end this blog with how a day would normally end – with a sunset! I am a massive fan of sunsets. Unlike the twilight sunsets of Europe and Australia where sunsets can take literally a couple of hours, in the Philippines, being an equatorial country, sunsets can be over within 15 to 20 minutes. The benefit of this is that you get to see the changes happening rapidly before your eyes. With over 7,500 islands, there is plenty of places to catch a good sunset.
Still not convinced that the Philippines is the best country in Southeast Asia? Then check out my video below!
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