Every country has great points, and not-so-great points, for American expat travelers like us. But we stay positive — so this post focuses on the top 10 reasons to love Filipino people and the Philippines.
Having lived in the Philippines as a long-term traveler for a few months so far, I offer this random collection of ways the Filipino people – and their country – has grown on me.
10 Reasons to love Filipino people & the Philippines
- 10. It’s an island nation with big variety — volcanoes, beaches, jungles, forests, waterfalls, and of course, cities.
- 9. It has some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world.
- 8. Filipino people call older women “mom” as a show of respect.
- 7. Filipino children do the mano gesture: they put adult hands on their foreheads as they give a slight head bow, as a show of respect.
- 6. It’s an extremely affordable place for American retirees.
- 5. Filipino people accept American expats as neighbors, and more…
- 4. 80s rock music rules.
- 3. No smoking in public places — including most restaurants!
- 2. Great transportation options: air-conditioned buses, regional buses, jeepneys (like a small bus), V-hires (shared vans), trike taxis, habel-habels (motorcycle taxis), ferries, boats, Grab, hitchhiking…..
- 1. Filipino people are some of the nicest in the world.
Let’s take a closer look at a few.
1. Filipino people are some of the nicest in the world.
Sooooo true. Outside of cities, in rural areas, people greet you warmly with good mornings, good evenings, hellos. They also want to know where you have been, where you are going, what you are doing, and where you come from. For real.
“Filipino people are nosy,” one local woman explained to us. “They will ask you about your business – but they do not mean to be intrusive — they mean to be friendly. It’s just their way.”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked where I was going, and what I was doing, and why I’m here, and why I don’t have kids, and where I’m traveling to next. When a stranger doesn’t ask me these types of questions, I chalk it off to the fact they might be having a bad day.
In cities, people aren’t that “nosy”, but if you need directions or a bus schedule or any type of information, almost everyone is happy to assist you. No one has ever growled at us – we’ve seen only smiles.
2. Great transportation options.
In addition to variety, the Philippines is the only nation where I’ve taken a ferry and the captain of the boat gets on the loudspeaker to publicly pray for a safe journey. That’s a nice touch — especially if the water is a little choppy.
And like many Central American communities, the trike taxis (similar to tuk tuks of Guatemala) and the jeepneys have painted phrases like, “God bless this journey,” or “To God be the glory,” on prominent display.
4. 80s rock music rules.
There’s something strangely comforting about hearing American 80s rock music everywhere in a foreign country. We also heard a lot of that in places like Albania and Croatia, but it’s predominant in the Philippines. Buses, work sites, restaurants, videoke, live bands — and everyone knows all the words to all the songs, and so everyone sings along in English — young and old.
A large number of expat retirees who had their hey-days in the 1980s might be part of the reason for this rock music phenomenon. But I don’t really think too much about it. I just sing along myself: All we need is just a little patience…. yea—eeeh.
5. Filipino people accept American expats as neighbors, and more…
Meanwhile, the majority of expats we see are older Caucasian men from America. Some are single, but the majority are married to younger Filipina women.
With an estimated 600,000 American expats, the Philippines is home to one of the largest American expat populations in the world. (Mexico is number one.)
10. An island-nation with massive variety.
There are more than 7,100 islands in the Philippines, and we have not scratched the surface. We’ve extended our visa a couple of times already, and we might do so again.
If you love water-related activities – diving, fishing, boating, swimming, and more, the Philippines should be on your list of places to visit.
And 2 bonus points!
Two more boons that are not on the list: good health care can be found at reasonable costs (compared to the U.S.) in larger cities; most people speak at least some English.
In closing, I thought I’d share the national slogan for the tourism industry: “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” I’d have to say – yes, yes it is.
Thanks for reading, “10 reasons to love Filipino people and the Philippines.”
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