Most people are probably aware that Philippines is located in South East Asia and quite westernised-ish. The Filipino culture is a combo of East and West (as well as rich and poor – going from one extreme to the other). The capital city of Manila is a busy, populated and hectic society with a lot of Western influence tied in with their own native culture. There’s plenty to see and do here – large shopping centres to more traditional activities. Their native food and international entertainment is very popular with the locals too (a big part of their culture actually)! While exploring the cities, it’s probably better not to be flashing expensive jewellery and watches on yourself – like in many big cities of third world countries (the locals can always spot the people that aren’t from there). Be prepared to be approached by children begging you for money and/or food sometimes too – sad, but it happens. But it’s not all like that of course, there’s some pretty lush, flash spots there too.
There’s a big change of pace when you leave the city and head into one of their provinces (small towns, or suburbs even?)…obviously less pollution, fresher air, more greenery and the people are a little more laidback and traditional. You see lots of large areas filled with rice paddies and locals living very simple lives. You always see people in the streets late at night and most of the neighbourhoods/villagers know eachother or of eachother – so there’s definitely a feeling of community in these areas (some of the most simplest things in life keep them all so happy).
The climate is warm pretty much all year round so be prepared to sweat! (humid, humid, humid!) They also have some beautiful beaches and resorts in this country, and their food is delicious! The locals love international visitors too so tourists generally love their hospitality!