TraveLinkSites talks to Flip, the man behind travel blog Flip Nomad, that discusses everything from location independence to profiling bloggers and more. Here Flip tells us all about travel in the Philippines and recommends one or two spots that you should all definitely stick on your bucket lists. Over to Flip..
1. Hi Flip! Could you briefly introduce yourself, your site and your experience travelling in the Philippines?
Hi, I’m Flip, the blogger behind http://flipnomad.com. My blog is about my travels around the Philippines and Asia. It mainly focuses on tips on how to travel on a budget in this region. I often go to various islands and beaches. I love to snorkel and the Philippines has a lot of great snorkelling and diving sites.
2. How does Philippines compare to the rest of Southeast Asia in terms of things to see and do, its food and its culture? Is it very similar to other countries or very different?
The Philippines as often described by various guidebooks as a little out of sync compare to our neighbouring countries. When it comes to religious structures, instead of temples you’ll see churches. We also have a lot of Spanish colonial buildings instead of the French or Dutch that you’ll often see in mainland Southeast Asia.
The people can also understand English very well and a lot of Filipinos, especially the young ones, are very fluent in the language.
The Philippines is similar to its neighbours when it comes to family values. The family always comes first. People from Asia often go to great lengths just to be able to provide for their families. A lot often leave their countries, even if they don’t want to, just to be able to find a better paying job.
The food is awesome (I’m biased of course) but we do have a lot of fried and grilled foods. In my view, the young ones also became fond of fast food (including me). The best food would probably be found in Pampanga and the Bicol region (if you’re into spicy dishes).
3. How much money can someone travel around Philippines for? What are the greatest expenses? What things are relatively cheap?
Budget is always relative. The country has a lot of cheap travel options when it comes to food and drink. Beer is very cheap in the Philippines. We do have a lot of accommodation options around $10 and above. But it’s quite difficult to find below rooms below $5/night in the city.
Transportation is also not that expensive, especially once you’ve learned how to use our local transport system, the jeepney.
4. What are your favourite destinations in Philippines and why?
Wow, this is a tough question, we have around 7,107 islands. Anyway, I love Manila, the chaotic city has it’s lovely sides too. I love meeting my friends in some coffee shops near Manila Bay. I love walking around Intramuros to marvel at the Spanish Forts. I enjoy going to Boracay, it’s for me still one of the best beaches in the world.
But the best place that I’ve been to is Palawan. I am in awe of the beauty of Coron and El Nido. I have not explored the southern part yet but I will go back. I want to have a house there so I could marvel at its beauty every day.
5. What cultural activities and events would you suggest everyone seeing or taking part in while travelling in Philippines and why?
1. Sinulog Festival in Cebu: This is a celebration for the St.Nino but at the same time, it seems to be the biggest street party in the Philippines.
2. Holy Week in Pampanga: If you want to see people being crucified for real! (No kidding!)
3. Christmas and New Year: We may not have the fanciest celebrations in the whole world but our celebrations are something that lasts forever in our hearts. This is the most awaited season and everyone is gearing towards making each family member feel special by cooking special dinners and giving gifts.
Whatever festival you go to, make sure to watch a singing contest. There seems to be one in every town fiesta and be ready to be shocked with the overflowing talents of Filipinos when it comes to singing.
6. What is your favourite thing about travelling this country? What is your least favourite thing?
My favourite thing about travelling in the Philippines is seeing isolated beaches with crystal clear water, unspoilt vegetation and white sand. Thailand seems to be very crowded with people already. My least favourite thing would probably be the food. After staying in China for a few months (a couple of years ago) and after going to Thailand every now and then, my palate is now looking for the intensity of their flavours. Ours is more subtle.
7. What things do you focus on most when you blog about this country? Why do you choose these things?
I have not written anything about the Philippines now for over a year since I’m backpacking in mainland Southeast Asia but I usually write about budget tips and how to find great deals in the places that I go to. I do this because I want to show my audience that travelling does not need to be expensive. I thought when I was younger that I would have to wait until I saved millions and retired from work before I could travel but I realized that it’s not true. I want to share my learning on each destination so my readers could visit these places too.
8. What’s one thing you can’t travel around Philippines without?
Don’t leave home without your patience and humor. Travelling in remote places can get bumpy and inconvenient for some. Humor and patience could help you enjoy the trip regardless of how difficult the journey is.
9. If you could live anywhere else in the country where would it be and why?
I’d definitely live in Palawan, maybe in El Nido.
10. If you could think of one thing you wished someone had told you before you started travelling in Philippines what would it be?
I wished that they have told me that it’s not expensive. The only thing that held me back then is the thought that it’s expensive to go to different places. The mentality that travel means living in hotel and spending thousands of pesos barred me from trying it until I got a job.
This is why I’m very thankful with the backpacking culture that I learned from people that I met in the past. More than learning how to travel cheap, I learned that there’s always a different way of doing things (not only in travel).
Come and visit my country and see how beautiful it is. To have an idea of where to go, get a copy of Free Ebook about The Philippines.