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Tara Thorpe

Tara Thorpe

Where are you from? United States.

What do you do for a living and your current location? BSN-RN student.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I saw various pictures of my friends who have traveled to the Philippines on social media.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

El Nido, Coron, Culion, Buscalan and one day in Manilla.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

El Nido was beautiful! We kayaked the gorgeous blue beaches and island hopped. Restaurants were lovely and they have many cocktails to choose from. It was quite touristy but we really enjoyed it. Coron was similar to El Nido but smaller. We went to an open safari to see giraffes and zebras across the island. Culion is a former leper colony that is a 2-hour boat ride from Coron. We learned the history of the people on that island and came to really appreciate their struggle and resilience.

     Food

I really enjoyed the garlic rice and pancit with prawn. The chicken adobo was also wonderful.

     Culture

It seemed that much of the places we went to in The Philippines was westernized in El Nido and Coron however, Buscalan was where you could get a peak of culture. We traveled there to get a tattoo from Apo Whang Od, one of the last women who can do traditional Fillipino tattoos. I felt we saw culture there in the village. We slept in a hut and enjoyed the tastiest coffee I’ve ever had.

     People

We stumbled upon an experience at the airport but other than that, the people are lovely. We met three wonderful friends from Manilla who took us under their wing as we traveled to Buscalan. They set up accommodation, transportation and even a tour guide for us. They looked out for us and we are forever grateful for them.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Some taxi drivers hike up the price for tourists quite a bit.

What do you like about the Philippines?

The country is beautiful, the people are lovely.

Naps

Naps

Nationality: Swiss.

Occupation/Location: Resort Manager.

How did you find about the Philippines?

My friend Gianni asked me to help him.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Siargao — Surigao — Cebu — Manila (not really much right?) But it’s hard to leave a place if you feel you’re in paradise.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

The nature surround us and I can feel the energy all around me.

     Food

Have you ever tried “Bestfriend Eloy” kinilaw? Grabe ka lammi!!!

     Culture

A Pacific Island with a Latino vibe… What else do I want?!

     People

Serious if needed but fun, humor, laugh for the rest of the time… Marajaw na Siargao tao!

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

The approach to the ecology.

What do you like about the Philippines?

I like to wake up every morning and realize that I am here!

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Gianni Grifoni

Gianni Grifoni

Nationality: Swiss.

Occupation/Location: CEO/Founder — Kermit Surf and Dive Resort, Siargao Island.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I worked as Marine Biologist (my university degree) in the Philippines, Sogod Bay (southern Leyte) and Malapascua.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I visited all around the Philippines. Missing the Southwest part.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

I love Siargao Island, of course.

     Food

Chicken adobo is my favorite food and Kinilaw.

     Culture

I like the culture. Smile, tomorrow is another day.

     People

The most smiling people in the world.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Lacking of Nature/marine conservation. It s one of the best place in the world biologically but they are destroying it.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Everything!!!

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Philipp Christian Dukatz

Philipp Christian Dukatz

Nationality: German. Born and raised.

Occupation/Location: I am currently back in Germany and I work as market communications manager for a large industrial company.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was traveling Indonesia when I met two Dutch sisters in Ubud, Bali who had recently returned from a backpacking trip across the Philippines. They had stayed for two months and were totally enthusiastic about their trip. They were raving about a yet in most part undiscovered country, not struck by the effects of mass tourism, a true backpacker destination and with some of the friendliest people they had met. I couldn’t get their stories out of mind and so I decided to come and see for myself. I have to say, that I had high expectations before I came but all of them were exceeded by far. I had the best time in the Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Since I stayed for three months, I visited a lot of destinations. Maybe too many to name here. My highlights were Gubat in Sorsogon, the Ifugao rice terraces in Banaue and especially Batad, the islands of Camiguin and Siquijor and Biri Island in Northern Samar. I also liked El Nido in Palawan.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

There is something for everybody. No matter what you are after – beach bumming, diving, surfing, hiking, mountain climbing, surfing, the Philippines has it all. That’s what makes it so great to explore.

     Food

I traveled all cross Southeast Asia during my year-long escapade. Whereas Thailand probably features the best food in the region, I liked the food in the Philippines. My favorite dishes were Bicol Express, Tapsilog, Lechon and crispy pata. Oh and I also loved Halo Halo…my mission was to try Halo Halo in every place I stopped. And I also tried Balut..twice..and it was quite an overcoming for me. But I just had to try.

     Culture

The culture is unique in all of South East Asia. It’s this mix of Asian and Western influences which makes it interesting. I like that the Filipinos are open, friendly and always willing to help. They have this perseverance that makes always see the good things even if the circumstances are not very promising. That was very inspiring to see.

     People

What can I say? I made true friends in the Philippines and I am so thankful for that. I was taken into people’s homes, I was offered food and drinks and I was allowed to get an intimate impression of the Filipino way of life. They are among the most hospitable and friendly I ever met and that is what made my travel experience so unique and so much more worthwhile.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

I didn’t dislike anything I have to say. I had the best time there. The only thing which was strange, that certain food are more on the sweet side, like pasta sometimes or tocino. It’s not that I don’t like it, it is just very different for my European type of taste.

What do you like about the Philippines?

I like the friendly people, their openness and willingness to help. I like that you can easily get in touch with the locals due their good command of English. I like the many adventure possibilities and all the beautiful places this country offers.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Gerome Soriano

Gerome Soriano

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: Artist/Manila.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was born in the Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

La Union, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Laguna, Bulacan, Batangas, Rizal.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

Wish I have more money to travel.

     Food

Unlimited rice please :D.

     Culture

Multicultural .

     People

Getting more and more diverse and fun.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

A lot of things.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Even more things :D.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Nathan Allen

Nathan Allen

Nationality: American.

Occupation/Location: Travel Writer, San Francisco, USA.

How did you find about the Philippines?

On a bus in Cambodia a few years ago, I met a young Swiss couple that were traveling the world. When I asked them what their favorite place was so far, they told me the Philippines!

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I have been to Manila, Puerto Princesa, Sabang (Palawan), El Nido, Cebu, Dumaguete, Bantayan, Sagada, Baguio, Banaue, Batad, Bohol, Siquijor, and Apo Island.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places, Food, Culture & People

I love the people, places, culture, and food of the Philippines – no complaints!

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

The only thing I dislike is the pollution from the traffic in the cities.

What do you like about the Philippines?

What I love about the Philippines is the family-oriented culture and the warmth and beauty of the people and landscapes!

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Jacky Barnayha

Jacky Barnayha

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: Civil Servant. Subic.

How did you find about the Philippines?

Born and raised in the Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Baguio, Tagaytay, Bataan, Zambales coves, Mt. Pinatubo, Batangas, Coron Palawan, Sorsogon, Albay, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, General Santos, Davao.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

The country’s beautiful landscapes, seascapes, waterfalls and breath taking sunsets and glorious mornings have inspired me to explore more of the Philippines and engage in photography.

     Food

Each region in the country has that special must-try dish— e.g., bagnet in Ilocandia, laing in Bicolandia, danggit in Cebu, etc. But I’d say lechon tops the list, at least for me.

     Culture

Kulturang Pinoy is definitely rich and vibrant. Experience even just one Philippine fiesta and you will never forget how colorful and fun the Filipino way of life is.

     People

Filipinos are one of the warmest and fun people in the world.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Poverty. Bureaucracy. Politics.

What do you like about the Philippines?

White sand beaches. Awe-inspiring sceneries. Mangoes.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Jasper Ribbers

Jasper Ribbers

Nationality: Dutch.

Occupation/Location: Internet Entrepreneur, location variable with homebase in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I have always been aware of the existence of The Philippines as I loved geography in school. During a trip to Thailand I met someone from the Philippines who convinced me to visit.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I’ve been to Boracay, Manila, Anilao, Palawan, Cebu, Siargao Island and Puerto Galera.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

There are an incredible number of beautiful places in The Philippines. I’ve been to quite a few but I still have many others to visit. My favorite place so far is Siargao Island, but I also liked Boracay.

     Food

The food is not my favorite to be honest, although I do enjoy the wide availability of fresh fruits. My favorite dish is Pancit Canton.

     Culture

I feel like the Philippine culture is a little closer to western culture than most other Asian countries. The Catholic religion, the widely use of the English language and the love for western pop music are examples of this.

     People

I’ve always liked Philippine people because of their positive stance towards life and their friendly and outgoing attitude. It seems like they are always smiling and cracking jokes.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Sometimes it can be a bit hard to get around. It would be nice to have some improvements in public transport.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Many things. The beautiful landscapes, the beaches, the marine life, the people and the culture

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Matt Gibson

Matt Gibson

Nationality: Canadian.

Occupation/Location: Blog manager at FlightNetwork.com and outdoors and travel writer and photographer at Matt-Gibson.org and the About.com Snowboarding guide.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I lived in Taiwan working as an English teacher for nearly six years. The Philippines is, of course, one of the closest countries to Taiwan.

There are a lot of migrant filipino workers in Taiwan working in the factories. My friends and I would often go and hang out at filipino bars because everyone was friendly and spoke English well. So, we got to know a lot of Filipinos. That, along with the extremely cheap flights to the Philippines (you could fly round-trip from Taiwan sometimes for around $60 USD), made the Philippines an attractive destination for us when we had holidays. As result, I (and most of my friends) visited the Philippines several times.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I’ve been to the Manila and trekked in the Banaue Rice Terraces on Luzon. I’ve also Cebu City on Cebu and dove with thresher sharks on Malapasuca Island, just north of Cebu. I’ve been to Alona Beach, the Chocolate Hills, and the main village of the Eskaya Tribe on Bohol, as well as Cabilao Island, just west of Bohol. I’ve swum with whale sharks on Leyte, and also have been island hopping in the islands between Busuanga and Palawan.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

One thing I love about the Philippines is the incredible variety in both geography and culture between the islands. Although they’re all part of one country, visiting a new island is like visiting a new country. The all have unique history and things to offer.

     Food

One thing that many of my friends and I have noticed is that restaurant food in the Philippines isn’t very good. There is little variety and the food is simply not as tasty as that you find in restaurants and street stalls in other Asian countries.

Eating a home-cooked meal with local Filipinos, however, is an entirely different story. Home-cooked filipino cuisine is delicious! I have no idea why this hasn’t crossed over into restaurant food. I suspect it’s because outside of the city few Filipinos eat in restaurants.

     Culture

It’s hard to comment on the culture of the Philippines because it varies so greatly from place to place. If I had to describe it simply, I’d say it’s like the Latin America of Asia. The Spanish influence has left a lot of cultural remounts in both style (a filipino jeepney looks remarkably similar to a Guatemalan chicken bus) and personality (Filipinos tend to be more passionate than other Asians and have a latino-like love of music and dance).

     People

Filipinos are among the friendliest people I’ve ever met, which makes traveling alone in the Philippines very easy. You’ll never have to look farther than the nearest stranger for a friendly conversation.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Although villages and rural areas are quite safe, the big cities have a lot of crime, so I avoid them.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Other than the things I mentioned above? Tanduay Rum, of course. It tastes so good that you’ll buy a bottle of Coke to mix with it, and wake up in the morning hungover and still have a full bottle of Coke.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Bastiaan Blikman

Bastiaan Blikman

Nationality: I am Dutch, which means I’m from The Netherlands.

Occupation/Location: At the moment I am living in Perth (Australia) and I’m working as a bartender at a bar in Hillary’s Boat Harbor.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was spotting wildlife in the jungle of Borneo for a few days when I went back to Kota Kinabalu to decide on my next destination. I was already really close to the Philippines and when I went to the site of Airasia an offer popped up for a flight to the Philippines. I did some research and I became really enthusiastic to go there. So I booked my ticket and went off to the Philippines!

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I had the privilege to visit the following places in the Philippines: Puerto Princessa (Palawan), El Nido (Palawan), Bohol, Cebu, Malapascua Island, & Boracay.

What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?

     Places

The places on the Philippines are absolutely stunning. The beaches, the nature, the atmosphere and the culture. I was really surprised by the variety in the landscapes. From the weird looking Chocolate Hills on Bohol, the lush green jungle of Palawan to the white sandy beaches of Malapascua.

     Food

I really liked the food in the Philippines. A lot of times I went to local markets and ate the local food. I can’t remember the names but I do remember it was delicious!

     Culture

The culture in the Philippines is so different than the rest of South East Asia. Most people are devoted Christians and have really strong beliefs. It is a nice fresh breath of air after I saw all the temples and monks in the rest of South East Asia.

     People

The people are simply amazing! I no other country I met people that were so friendly as in the Philippines. People invited me into their houses for dinner and the sing karaoke! And every person I met was really genuine and I didn’t have one bad experience with people in the Philippines!

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

The only thing I disliked was the fact that they only gave me a 3-week visa when I entered the country. Most countries in Asia give you 4 weeks! But I think I read that they have changed it into 4 weeks now. I think that will be a great impulse for tourism in the Philippines!

What do you like about the Philippines?

I like everything! The beaches, the nature, the food, the people…. I really want to go back one day to discover the rest of the country! I already got a lot of good tips from people for my next visit.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.