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Alexandra Kovacova

Alexandra Kovacova

Nationality: Slovak (from Slovakia).

Occupation/Location: I used to work as a stewardess on a plane for 2 years after I got MA degree from Spanish philology and while I was getting the one from English philology too. Since March 2011 been working as a travel blogger and writer, photographer. Location independent ever since.

How did you find about the Philippines?

Through my 2 great friends who are Filipinos. They wanted me to visit them when I was in SE Asia and I fell in love with the islands very quickly.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Manila, Dagupan, Batad, Bohol, Cebu, Puerto Princesa, El Nido and the small islands around, Boracay.

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

     Places

I really enjoyed all those I visited. Beautiful nature, beaches and sunsets. But there’s so many cool places in the Philippines that I’d need a lifetime to see them all.

     Food

Not my favorite one. I eat healthy and I don’t eat meat so it was very difficult to be able to find something I could eat.

     Culture

Pretty much what I expected. Still think I need to see more of it :).

     People

Love Filipinos! Smiling, helpful, friendly, always in a good mood..

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Transportation, paying taxes at airports and ferries besides the ticket price and the mentioned unhealthy food. Also no oat meal for breakfast :D.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Unspoiled nature, waterfalls, secluded beaches, unexpectedly nice sunsets, friendly people, halo halo ice cream, peace and quiet, fresh coconut water, fruit.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

I’m Sabrina, but most people call me Sab

Nationality: I’m German, with Italian roots, my dad is from Sicily. I can’t speak Italian though. I blame my dad, he never taught me. But I still love him :).

Occupation/Location: I used to work as a screen designer, but after years of working I realized that can’t be all. I sold all my belongings and completely changed my lifestyle, I decided that everything I need should fit in a backpack. I don’t really have a homebase anymore. My home is wherever I am. The last 12 month I lived in Istanbul, Turkey. Currently I’m looking for a new home for the next months. Who knows, maybe it will be the Philippines :).

Nowadays I only do freelance work, I work whenever and wherever I want to. I did tons of different jobs during my travels, web designer, travel guide, German teacher, writer for travel magazines, photographer, and a few more things… Once you get out of the normal 9-5 lifestyle, you will be amazed what kind of opportunities are awaiting you.

How did you find about the Philippines?

A Filipina who hosted me in Macao motivated me to visit her country. She was such a sweetheart and convinced me to meet her and her family in Manila, which I did a few months later.I was always curious about countries that are a bit off the beaten track. Philippines is mostly forgotten by many backpackers. I have seen almost every country in South East Asia, but the Philippines surprised me the most. Unbelievable kind and hospitable people and the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in my life. I instantly fell in love with the country, the islands and the people

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Manila, Baguio, Banaue, Sagada, Boracay, Iloilo, Cebu, Malapascua, Moalboal, Oslob, Bohol, Siquijor, Siargao, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa, Sabang, El Nido and Coron.

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

     Places

There is so so many places to see in the Philippines, a lifetime is not enough to discover this wonderful country.

     Food

I really love Pancit and Halo Halo! Well, as much as I love the country, the Filipino food is delicious, but not my favorite food. I could never try Balut, for me it seems very weird 😉 But the good thing is the Philippines has a variety of everything, Thai Food, Sushi or Pizza, Philippines has it all. And I love the fresh sea food!

     People

The friendliest and most hospitable people on earth!

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

I wouldn’t say dislike, but there is one thing i kinda find strange: The shops are selling everything in small portion packages, really EVERYTHING from coffee to shampoo to washing powder, everything is available in a tiny portion. It’s such an amount of garbage.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Ge dela Cruz

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: Network Engineer in Verizon Communications; Makati City, Philippines.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was born, raised, and currently living in this beautiful country.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I guess the farthest destination I reached is Boracay. I’ve also been to Baguio, Subic, Tagaytay, Batangas and Zambales. I’m not actually a traveler; I take photos wherever I am, so most of my photos are not more than 2 kilometers in radius from where I live.

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

     Places

Though our urban places are not as outstanding as those of other countries, I should say that our natural resources are so spectacular that it brought attention to the world.

     Food

“Variety” for me is the exact description of Filipino food. Since we’ve been influenced by different cultures, our own delicacies are of mixed sensitivity to taste.

     Culture

We are naturally rich in culture. Even the old traditions are still alive in the old provinces from the northern part to the southern part of our country.

     People

Filipinos are very hospitable.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Politics. Pollution in some urban areas.

What do you like about the Philippines?

It’s nature.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Ivy Joy Legisniana

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: Student, Sto.Tomas Batangas.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was born and raised in the Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I’ve been in different location of the Philippines like Bohol, Baguio, Subic, La Union, Manila, Tagaytay. Ive been raised in Sto.Tomas Batangas and studying in Lipa City Batangas.

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

     Places

Philippines indeed offers array of beautiful places, but sometimes the problem is the maintenance and developing of certain places. One of the best attractions in our country are the beaches, countless foreigners do really appreciate the splendid beauty of the beach here. We do also offer attractions like our historical churches, green surroundings and the like.

     Food

In terms of food we Filipinos has a lot of different foods to be proud of. Say it from Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao, each and every provinces has their own delicacy to be proud of.

     Culture

I do believe that our country already adopted different cultures from other countries, but still we has our distinct culture that we can definitely say that its only in the Philippines. Saying po and opo are one great distinction of Filipino culture from others.

     People

People from our country are really born hospitable, that is not a question. Even so, Filipinos has their own different attitude, but we are named as polite, hospitable, caring and has a great sense of humor.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Pollution, crab mentality, politics.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Everything about Philippines except the said in the above question.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Jed Rosell

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: I’m a freelance graphic artist, photographer, blogger based in the Philippines.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I am born and raised in the the Philippines. The Pearl of the Orient is my beloved mother land, and I won’t exchange it for anything else in the world.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

I’ve been traveling around Luzon Island for quite some time. Recently, I’ve been to Ilocos Norte, Camarines Norte, been traveling around my hometown in Rizal Province, and around NCR. I have visited few places in Visayas, but unfortunately, I haven’t been to Mindanao. However, Visayas and Mindanao are my target destinations for this year.

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

     Places

Every province and every town in the Philippines have something to be proud of. One province has the best pristine beaches while the other boasts of their lush green forest reserve. One town displays richness in culture while the other exhibit abundance in historical treasures. There’s just so much to do, so much to explore, so much to experience, you’ll never run out of destinations.

     Food

Food is a celebrated attraction in the Philippines. All regions offer a wide array of gastronomic delights that would tickle the taste buds of food adventurers.

     Culture

The diverse culture of different indigenous groups all over the archipelago makes the Philippine culture unique which gives the Filipino people their own identity.

     People

Filipinos are deeply rooted in the Philippine culture that no matter where they are in the world, they exert offer to make their lifestyle feel more closer to home through values, celebrations, food, etc..

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Yen Baet

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: Photographer based in England.

How did you find about the Philippines?

I was born and raised there.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

My family moved around a lot through the years, so I have lived in all of the 3 major islands. I was born in Ozamis but grew up in different parts of the country including Davao, Cebu, Ilo-ilo, Manila, Laguna and Pampanga.

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

     Places

The Philippines is a haven for photographers when it comes to breathtaking landscapes, cityscapes and seascapes. It also has a great variety of interesting contrasts including old and new architecture in rural and urban environments. Its pristine beaches are among the best in the world.

     Food

Filipino food is a product of different cultures that have influenced our cooking style over the years, and that makes it great and varied, offering many choices for every taste bud.

     Culture

Despite other cultural, including Western, influences, the Filipinos have still managed to preserve old and endearing traditions that make us unique. Our festivals celebrated all over the country, for instance, tell a lot about not only our history, but also our attitude and outlook as people who love to celebrate life in general.

     People

Hospitable seem to be the most popular world to describe us, and it’s certainly one characteristic to be proud of.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Jens Peters

Nationality: German.

Occupation/Location: Travel Writer and Publisher, Philippines and Germany.

How did you find about the Philippines?

On my very first South-East Asia trip in 1975 I discovered a small note on the Hong Kong Youth Hostel bulletin board saying that the Casa Olga Pension in Manila was an inexpensive place to stay, people in the Philippines were friendly and the beer there was good and cheap. Two days later I gave it a try and ended up spending two months on the islands. At that time the Philippines was an absolute backpacker’s no-man’s-land, so to speak. You had to ask a lot of questions to find your way around. That’s when I started taking notes, which eventually became part of my first Philippines guidebook.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

From Batanes to Sulu Islands, from Palawan to Catanduanes, I have visited all the major islands and many, many small ones in between.

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

     Places

The Philippines are a unique mixture of tropical islands, everybody should see at least once. Since you don’t find the usual Asian attractions here, but fiery fiestas, cha-cha, coffee and rum, I call them “the other Orient, Asia’s very own Caribbean Islands”. When island hopping, you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of impressions. Even after only a short crossing by boat, you might be surprised to find totally different landscape, food, tricycle designs and often even a different language.

     Food

Serve me Sinigang, Tinola, Kinilaw or any fresh seafood and I’ll be a happy customer. I definitely don’t need Jollibee or any of the other popular fast food joints.

     Culture

Although true traditional Philippine culture can only be found in tribal villages in remote areas, in Muslim Mindanao and on the Sulu Islands, it’s always great fun to share the joy and enthusiastic atmosphere of a fiesta, cockfight, basketball game and karaoke singing.

     People

Easy-going people, happy most of the time, make a foreigner’s time in the Philippines fairly smooth and uncomplicated.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Not much. But those insane bus drivers speeding like racing cars through small villages can be quite annoying.

What do you like about the Philippines?

First of all, I like the people and their great sense of humour. Filipinos can laugh about themselves, which is not something you can normally take for granted in Asia. Then I like the variety of islands. Their large number (over 7000 of them) offers lots of room for exciting travel activities (if you spent only one day on each island, it would take you about 20 years to visit them all…).

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Tee

Nationality: French.

Occupation/Location: Tour operator, Manila.

How did you find about the Philippines?

While travelling in SE Asia but I also read some books about the country.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Mostly Luzon and Mindanao.

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

     Places

There are so many amazing spots in the country. I could spend my entire life visiting all of them. I especially love the mountains and volcanoes here.

     Food

Best food in the world. There is nothing better than a sisig, a kare-kare or an Adobo. Filipino cuisine has taken the best for its history. I am also amazed how good are Filipino cooks when it comes to prepare some foreign dishes. To give an example, the best Paella I have eaten so far was here in Manila.

     Culture

A very interesting culture. You probably need a lifetime to understand it well as it is a very rich culture.

     People

Filipinos are great, open minded, they know how to enjoy life and at the same time they are hard working and very efficient.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Maybe the pollution in Metro Manila. I hope the country goes green.

What do you like about the Philippines?

People, food, mountains, beaches.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Berty Thomas

Nationality: Indian.

Occupation/Location: Business Analyst, Chennai(India).

How did you find about the Philippines?

There was this one photograph of the Mt.Pinatubo crater lake that I saw on the internet and I was spell bound by its beauty. Being a passionate traveller, I decided that very moment to go and see the place for real and hence planned out an entire vacation to tour Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Boracay, Manila, Angeles City, Mt. Pinatubo, crucifixions in Cutud.

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

     Places

I think Philippines is an amazing place to be. I have been to around 10 countries in South East Asia and I guess Philippines trip has been one of the most lovely ones I have had! It is surely a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature!

     Food

Loved the food we had in Philippines. Though I didn’t try much of the native dishes, the food that we had in the tourist places has been amazing. And yeah, it isn’t expensive as well!

     Culture

I could witness some interesting rituals in Philippines. Since I was there during the holy week, I could witness the crucifixions in Cutud. Though it was a bit strange, I know that the differences in the way we think is what makes the human race so special!

     People

The people are amazing. Best part for me – everyone knows English!! Yeah, that helps a lot when you are a foreign tourist! And more than knowing the language, people are always helpful! You can always feel free to ask the people for help when you need! Another interesting thing which I saw was that people in Philippines are extremely happy being photographed!! Ha, I haven’t seen so camera friendly people in any other place that I have been to so far!

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Surprisingly, Philippines do not give Visa on arrival for Indian and Chinese nationals! And I had to go through a lot of redtape to get one.

What do you like about the Philippines?

The place, the people, tourist friendliness, etc etc.

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.

Gina Dela Cruz

Nationality: Filipino.

Occupation/Location: A blogger from Mandaluyong City.

How did you find about the Philippines?

Born and raised in the Philippines.

What Philippine locations have you visited?

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, Baguio, Pangasinan, Bataan, Vigan, Pagudpud, Laoag, Paoay, and Leyte.

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

     Places

There are a lot of different beautiful places to explore. And it’s surprising that every time you visit a place, whether it’s a new place or a comeback, there’s always something that you like.

     Food

The foods are exquisite. Every province has its own delicacy.

     Culture

The Philippines has a lot of distinctive cultures. It’s a mark of who we are. We live in a modern world, but inspite of that, most of the traditions are still being practiced, like pagmamano and saying po at opo to the elders.

     People

Filipinos are friendly and hospitable. Most Filipinos can still manage to smile and say they’re okay even if they’re not at all.

What do you dislike about the Philippines?

Dirty politics, crab mentality, and polluted Metro.

What do you like about the Philippines?

Aside from the one’s mentioned in #7, everything. I love my country! ?

Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.