Hello, kamusta ka kaibigan? First to begin with a positive note, congratulations to Singapore and Philippines for making onto Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 countries to visit in 2015”! 🙂 There must be something special about Singapore and Philippines to win this honorary title! (The only two Asian countries) If you are in a dilemma whether to visit The Philippines, a beautiful gem in South East Asia, probably this article can help you clear your doubts and calm your anxiety. The country and its island are somehow misunderstood by many.
The Philippines is sitting at the very eastern edge of South East Asia. Many people seem to have very different opinions of this spectacular country. The harsh reality is, there is a certain stigma towards the country, probably a result from media reports or simply the lack of knowledge.
As a traveler, many people like to seek my recommendation for vacation in South East Asia, the first country which always comes to my mind is the Philippines! Usually people will be skeptical as this travel destination is not something they expect (unlike to mainstream places i.e. Phuket or Bali) It’s undeniable that many people really do not know much about the Philippines and are missing out a lot from this amazing country. Well, I am not saying the country is perfect, but Philippines is indeed a GREAT destination for tourist to visit.
Till now, Philippines is the only beach destination country that had me visited twice. Both times, the Filipinos never failed to surprise me with their genuine hospitality and sincerity. I laughed hard when I heard about some horrendous and hilarious prejudices and stereotypes of the Philippines and this lead to this article for me to share the top 10 misconception about the Philippines. Hopefully this will turn the stereotypes and prejudices into love and you may become a fan of the “Islands of Paradise”. (A title I personally gave Philippines) Who knows, in future you might start wearing tee shirts with the prints “I Love PH”. haha
#1 Wow, are you serious? Philippines is dangerous!
#2 What’s there in the Philippines? Isn’t it full of dangerous active volcanoes?
#3 The unpatrotic Filipinos wish to migrate out and work elsewhere
Filipinos are raised with strong nationalistic values and have pride in their own heritage. When I backpacked around the world, the Filipinos and the Canadian were the only two nationalities who proudly sewed their country flag badge onto their backpack. Well, have you ever sew your country badge onto your backpack before? I always wanted to, but just didn’t do it. haha
Often, many Filipinos love the fact though some can’t believe that I have been to their country and love it there, and it can really make their day when they hear foreigners complimenting their country. Rather than just a skeptical reply from the locals, many Filipinos actually provided me with some tips for my next visit, some even humbly invited me to stay with their family if I visit Philippines again. 🙂
#4 Philippines is full of domestic helpers and call centre operators! No?
#5 I thought Philippines is boring, no?
#6 Filipinos are mostly rowdy, unfriendly and unhappy people
There is something I really admire about the Filipinos, can you imagine, even with poverty, natural disasters, people still lead their life normally with a positive outlook and remain happy and friendly to everyone they meet. They believe in living their life to the fullest. They have a strong positive outlook of their future and it doesn’t matter if they are sick, jobless, or whatsoever, they believe their luck will improve eventually.
#7 Filipinos are not Malay?
#8 Filipinos eat bizarre food and it’s expensive there
#9 Philippines is the same as the rest of South East Asia countries! No?
#10 Filipinos can’t speak good English and with an accent
Accordingly to my limited knowledge of the country, there are in total about 175 languages and dialects in the Philippines, and 171 of these are actively used in the country. So, do not underestimate their language ability and get yourself into trouble. Last thing you wish to happen is that they scold you using their dialects with a smile on their face! haha
Why the stereotype?
Well, people don’t formulate such opinions over night. For this decade, news spread like burning fire via media. I’m not just talking about the traditional media i.e. newspaper or TV but social media as well. Unfortunately, the news we got about the Philippines via traditional media were usually about tropical storms, terrorism or fights in some areas or sometimes on social disputes. In addition, Philippine’s tourism promotion activities are over shadowed by the more popular mainstream countries such as:
- South East Asian countries i.e. Thailand, Malaysia, or Vietnam,
- European countries. i.e. France, England, Italy, Spain,
- American countries i.e. USA, Canada
- or the all time Asians’ favourites on East Asian countries i.e Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and etc…
On the contrary, social media seems to help promote and unveil the truth better than traditional media. Social media is a GREAT platform to let people know the real sight of Philippines via travelers’ blog, or vlog. In fact, that’s how I got to know about Boracay Island 4 years ago when I was following the news of Amazing Race Asia Season 2 racers, Marc Nelson (Aussie-Burmese) and Paula Taylor (Thai), who went to Boracay Island together after the race! LOL From then, I discovered more and found out many cool places and facts about the Philippines, and eventually got me hooked by the Philippines travel bug. 🙂
After visited the paradise islands of Philippines twice, I decided to help unveil the truth about the amazing country and share my experiences via my stories and the beauty of the country via my photos. I just don’t wanna people miss out the chance of visiting this gem of Asia! 🙂
In my opinion, stereotyping is really bad and annoying, it shuts your mind and blinds your visual. The only way to live life to the fullest, meet many great people and have a trip of a lifetime, is to open your heart when you travel! Only when you open up your frame of mind and accept things wholeheartedly, you will see things differently.
Many people said I am blessed with many great friends around the world. I should say the general formula of meeting great people is – Just open up and let people enter your world. People cannot understand and know you as a person, when your door is shut! You can read up more on my article: 27 Types of Travelers I Have Met When Traveling Around The World and find out more the different types of travelers I met, and great friends I made when I traveled.:-)
Last year November, I followed the news on tropical storm Yolanda aka Haiyan very closely and I was actually praying hard for the Philippines, just before my Christmas visit in December. This heart wrenching disaster made me realised the country has come a long way and had a hard time when such devastating disaster hit them! Despite the difficulties, the Filipinos never gave up and was persistent of surviving with a positive attitude! There are so much to learn from them. Coming from a country with no natural disasters and a low crime rate, sometimes I could take things for granted.
Last but not least, I hope you will like this article – the top 10 misconception about the Philippines, elaborating the most ridiculous and funny stereotypes I heard when I traveled around the world. These are some hard facts to my discovery, some personal experiences and funny things I have heard! haha The moral of this is: Do NOT stereotype, & Don’t be ridiculous! If Philippines is in your mind, just book an air ticket and FLY! You will definitely enjoy it, see their beautiful landscape, amazing people, and have a trip of a lifetime! Who knows, you may fall in love with this stunning Islands of Paradise, just like me! 🙂
Travel safe and till next time when I visit this gem of South East Asia again! 🙂
“Open your mind before you open your mouth” – Subroto Bagchi