If friends from abroad visited tomorrow and wanted the most unique, authentic, and beautiful Philippine experience, would you know where to take them?
Many of us are enamoured with the world outside our own. The villas of Bali, the streets of Japan, the markets of Vietnam. If we’re not busy ticking off every TripAdvisor recommendation for other countries, we’re writing our own lists and reviews ourselves. It’s amazing how much we can say about a country we’ve been to once or twice – but what about the country we’ve lived in all our lives?
It’s unfortunate that it takes a neighbor’s perspective to make us realize the beauty of our own backyard. You’ve probably heard foreigners from all over the world gush about the Philippines and its people. With glimmers in their eyes, you must have heard them talk about all the places you’ve heard of your entire life but for whatever reason have yet to experience for yourself. At the times I found myself in these situations, I stood in awe not just of how much others knew of our country but of how little I could contribute to the conversation.
It’s amazing how much we can say about a country we’ve been to once or twice – but what about the country we’ve lived in all our lives?
This summer, we challenge you to explore the Philippines as eagerly as you would a foreign country. At a time when overseas travel is the easiest, least expensive, and most popular it has ever been, we’d argue that it is more important than ever to travel local. All we seem to hear about nowadays are the bad stuff. That doesn’t mean there’s no good. It just means we’ve been sitting on our butts for too long. The good stuff is out there! We just need to get up and look around (actually look around, not search locations on Instagram). We should be experts on our land, paving and promoting the way instead of following others’ leads or running off to their lands.
It’s time to stop coming home to the Philippines just to daydream of the next time we get to leave. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually feel at home? Well, we can’t do that if we never even see the house. We understand that the call of the foreign is difficult to ignore. It’s nice to be elsewhere. It’s funny hearing conversations you don’t understand. Food you’ve never heard of tastes that much better. We’re just saying you don’t have to go too far to have all these experiences.
Stay home! Ditch NAIA International. Take a bus. Learn a few words in a local dialect. Between the untapped rainforests and indigenous tribes of the countryside and the inspiring communities and eco-friendly bike tours right in the city, you’ll have plenty to do that doesn’t involve visa applications, immigration lines, and exchange rates.
The next time someone asks you what there is to do in the Philippines, make sure you won’t have to Google it!