“There ought to be system of manners in every nation which a well-formed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.” – Edmund Burke
Unfortunately, Philippines is an under-rated destination compared to other Southeast Asian countries marketed aggressively especially with their beaches. Thanks to social media, viral videos, and internet bloggers, a LOT of travellers are now recognizing my country as one of the best places to visit not just in Asia. When I first traveled to top 2 beach destinations in Asia (I would rather not name it but it starts with P & B hehe) I was a bit disappointed because I expected it to be better than our beaches and yet they are so popular around the world.
When I was still living in Singapore where almost everyone travels whenever we have a chance, I always suggest and brag about Philippines’ destinations to my non-Filipino friends. Indeed, very few know about what Philippines can offer and they perceive our country on how they see it from the media with negative issues that plague our country. And every time non-Filipino friends asked me where should they go in Philippines, I would always suggest, BORACAY.
Boracay is now getting a lot of attention it deserves. It received and continue receiving numerous good reviews and awards from travel magazines, agencies, etc. as one of the BEST beaches in the world. Apart from its white powdery sand and turquoise blue seawater, it’s becoming popular for its beach activities (like Beach Ultimate) and beach parties/nightlife.
Our recent trip in Philippines was my husband’s first time in Philippines. It was my 40th birthday present for him last May 2015. We were also invited to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Tagaytay, and I will be her “Matron”-of-Honour, a first for me! It would have been my 6th time if it’s Maid-of-Honour, but she told me I am already married so I should be a “matron” now, lol!
Check a separate entry for Tagaytay HERE.
Since it was my husband, Laurie’s first time, I made sure that we will visit places that I can be proud to show my husband. I chose Batanes and Boracay. Check a separate entry for Batanes HERE.
A lot of my Filipino friends were wondering why I chose Boracay instead of other pristine beaches of Philippines that are relatively unspoiled by tourists like Palawan, or Bohol, or Cebu. But I chose it because Laurie was always asked by some of his family and friends if he had been to Boracay, I think Boracay is the most famous beach in the Philippines amongst the foreigners. Besides, it was low-peak season so I wasn’t worried it will be crowded and packed like during summer.
When I first visited Boracay in 2006, it is not as convenient to go there as today. There were no budget airlines then and going to Boracay was always something luxurious. I remember though that there is a cheaper option then to take a ferry boat (Negros Navigation) but it will take you a day to get there. I was forced to fly then because my friends were laughing at me if I will take the ferry haha! Also we need to go stop by at my friend’s husband’s hometown in Roxas, so that attracted me to book my flights with them because I also wanted to see Roxas, Capiz.
I went back in 2009 with my friends and other non-Filipino friends in Singapore (Travbuddy Meet-Up). We were lucky because that was the year when Boracay decided to rehabilitate its deteriorating state because of commercialism. When we visited, the rules in the island became stricter than the previous years, it became more beautiful because they do not allow public boats to dock anywhere along the shore anymore. Making the beach view more stunning now as ever! I was really proud when our friends told us that by far it is the most beautiful beach they have ever seen!
I knew Laurie will like Boracay but I never expected him to love it, that much! He was like a child you can’t stop from frolicking at the beach. We spent our whole day in the sun without doing any water or island activities, just swimming, drinking, eating, snorkeling and drinking again, lol! But I am happy and proud at the same time that eating, smoking, drinking and touting are not allowed now along the beach shore! So it’s even getting better and better, and I do hope they continue trying to make Boracay the best place on earth.
We stayed at Pito Huts. I want Laurie to experience staying in a traditional Filipino hut, so I scoured the internet to find one that is beachfront to the White Beach, and this comes the best one so far not just in photos. There is only 7 huts inside which makes the compound not crowded and noisy, our hut is the farthest one so there is no other people walking past our hut but us. They even recommended the best breakfast restaurant in Boracay (i think!) the Sunny Side Cafe, really scrummy even if it’s a bit pricey, you won’t really mind.
The next day, Laurie just decided he wanted to see more fishes but not wanting to do a whole day island hopping activity. So we hired a boat just to take us to Crocodile Island and Puka Island. It was only around 3 hours so we went back to White Beach and continue to be lazy until the glorious sunset. Boracay remains to be one of the best places for sunsets!
After sunset we always plan to party, but I guess we were always tired or maybe just old for that already haha! So every after my body massage we always end up having few drinks by the bar only talking to other tourists also who happen to be amazed with Boracay as well. Most of them are returning visitors already. Our favorite hang-out place btw is the Nigi Nigi Nunoos, it’s just very laidback.
Boracay never failed to impress me and in no doubt it’s one of my favorite beaches around the world despite being tagged as “party island” by some. I am confident that I will go back here again and again whenever I need someone to show around the beauty of my country. Laurie’s mum and sister actually considered going there this summer after seeing our photos, however they settled for Mauritius because of flight accessibility from UK.
This is just one of the issues why Philippines is not a popular main destination, the lack of selections for direct flights especially from countries like UK. And if there is one, it’s direct flight going to Manila only (the capital), which means it will be more expensive because from Manila they will still need to fly going to these islands because Philippines is one of the largest archipelago in the world. We have 7,107 islands, go figure.
I hope our tourism board will try harder to market Philippines as aggressive as the other neighbouring country, so we won’t be just another alternative destination to these main destinations. I also hope that overseas Filipinos like me can help with this one too by promoting Philippines to their non-Filipino friends like I do too. Filipino travellers can do their part too with the people they meet during their travels. This is the littlest thing we can do for our country, right?
Sometimes it is difficult to convince people especially if they have misconceptions of your country whether from the news or from the movies. Worst is sometimes the negative things they know about your country came from your fellow countrymen who had nothing good to say about your country (and I hate those type of Filipinos btw). The best way to promote your own country is to be kind and say lovely things about anything especially where you are from. If you represent your country this way, you won’t really need to convince anyone to visit at all. Love and be proud!