The Philippines is a world of jeepneys, traffic jams, and spicy chicken guts on skewers. Traditional folklore blends with American and Spanish influences. The children enthusiastically chase you just to say a shaky “hello” and grown ups witness the scene with a humble smile on their faces.
The tropical islands are inhabited by fairy tale-like moody creatures like the tarsiers of Bohol. You’ll speed past chocolate-colored unearthly hills while riding your scooter. You’ll find crystalline waters, astounding limestone formations, pristine white sandy beaches, and all the coconut water you’ve ever dreamed of. It’s a place where people seem to have realized what really counts in life and can find joy in the simplest things.
In Banaue, you’ll find jaw-dropping rice terraces, and heavenly waterfalls of every possible shape and size in hidden corners of the country. In the countryside, you can’t help but wake up every morning at 4:30 AM because of a rooster concert. Everywhere, you’ll find mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets, where the sky can’t decide whether its favorite color is red, orange, pink or purple.
The country is surrounded by an underwater universe that is too beautiful to be real, where diving between thousands of sardines is totally normal, as it is to spot families of shy clown fishes taking shelter in their anemones in a forest of multi-hued corals. Here, you also get the chance to marvel at the kindness and elegance of a whale shark while swimming right next to it.
I never fell so quickly for a country, its landscapes and people, as I did for the Philippines.