Philippines happened to be my TOP3 Most expensive and least favourite countries for the last couple of years.
There are 2 sides of Philippines.
Puerto Princessa Underground river, Vigan or Tassier Sanctuary were great places, Resorts were comfy and stylish, people almost everywhere were really nice and friendly and there is absolutely unique mix of Asian country with huge latino influence. I would say that Philippines are real and the life here is very busy, society is doing awesome steps for a future like accepting transgender people as organic part of it.
But there is another side.
Maybe i choose the wrong places, but Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Luzon sounds like the main tourism islands in Philippines. I haven’t seen any great beaches, had a lot of downtime as there was nothing to see and do (all of sights below are 1 hour visit and dozens of hours to get there), was stucked at the dirty and ugly streets each time i want to go out and explore and 90% of time had to eat at the fastfood as the food in Philippines is usually something deeply fried with rice. I checked, researched and asked, but most of the places were far from being awesome or required super efforts to get there.
And all of it was for the price compared to Croatia and way more expensive than Malaysia, Thailand overall and almost all the places i’ve been for the last year.
I had a closer look at all the beautiful pics that promote Philippines and have found most of them are simply good framed resort pics or drone shots with no details. That’s the truth that noone tells. But travelling is not about flying drones as you see another perspective on ground and thought resorts are really nice from time to time, but at the end of the day, it’s not the main reason to travel.
Apart from it, there were some small details, that at the end of the day makes a huge difference: fees to enter airports and ferry terminals, atm fees and different hidden taxes that turns into 1 day budget, tricky transport logistics, problems with regular laundry service (not that fun having your clothes smelling after laundry each time), beggars standing next to my table in cafes and pretty bad accommodation in non-resort areas. Also i had few security issues along the way including being attacked on the street in Manila. I can go on and on.
I always was somewhere between heaven and hell, i saw 2 sides of Philippines so close to each other. It was way more challenging than i can expect. I don’t enjoyed exploring it most of the time and mostly the efforts, time and money were simply not worth it.
If i would change something, i simply will go for a few days to stay at resort and check some major sites, 3 weeks were too much fo me.