Why there are very few backpackers in Philippines
Why there are very few backpackers in Philippines
I often wonder why there is really almost zero backpackers in the Philippines, have been here about 4 times now, it is becoming clear.
My instincts says that the Philippines is too dangerous for the average Asia traveler, I started out in Mexico, Central and South America and this country is easy for me, however Thailand is very safe in comparison to the Philippines.
I find that I ignore so many things that the average traveler would find extremely annoying, and I have learned by going to India to ignore many things.
- V I A G R A Sales persons
- Poverty of small children walking around with no clothes, hard on the heart.
- World Class Taxi Driver, probably some of the best at trying to cheat you on the planet.
- A daily scam attempt or someone trying to fraud you.
I have been thinking about starting a Hostel in the Philippines, I am putting on the very back burner as this place has a problem. It is not the corruption that worries me; it is the fact that there are no backpackers.
I realized, I want to have a Hostel or Hotel where fun backpackers could hang out.
How could this happen, when there is no backpackers in the Philippines?
The Expats are fun, they are hilarious, and the girls are funny here.
IF I listen to the Philippines persons or the Expats it is like watching a soap opera, or better yet, like going to the border towns and listening to the border people, a whole separate culture.
However, I realize, this is hilarious for about 2 weeks, then it start to buzz my head, I start to get impatient with the stupid comments. I really do not like soap operas, and the Philippines are one big soap opera.
This has made me realize, if I made a hotel in the Philippines is would be another soap opera unless I could figure out a way to screen the visitors.
What I am fighting is a tourist department and country that is actively promoting only one type of person to feel good in the Philippines. They all go to Angeles City, and hang out or Subic Bay. The ones that are not there have a Philippines girl in tow and touring the country.
It makes me weak after awhile, not a good snapshot of life or people.
My gut says that Peru is the best place to start a Hotel or Hostel, a better type of traveler.
Why there are very few backpackers in Philippines
honestly of all asian countries, the philliphines is the last option for me. i like thailand so much especially Koh Pha Ngan. By the way, i come from Malaysia and under no reason at all, i find going to our neighbouring Philliphines is just for business trip only, not for holiday or travel. maybe it gotta be the fact that you can get kidnapped by terrorist in the south or maybe be involved in a military coup, it is politically unstable for the past 5 years. The last 3 presidents were all charged for corruption, the last one is still in jail. maybe, maybe someday i will go to there....
My friend, who travelled with me for the first month in India, is currently in Peru. He is there for 2 reasons: 1) to help out the community, doing missionary things. (i th ink building an orphanage or something) and 2) to trek the Inca Trail.
I found I largely had more fun when I was in a place with Trekkers. Trekkers seem to be easy-going people. Active: they don't want to sit on a beach drinking beer all day, they want to be challenged.
Most of the Trekker people were encouraging to me, who does not normally do much exercise. They were friendly, and look out for people. This is a person type i can get alogn with.
If there are people going to Peru to trek the Inca Trail, then maybe I can see why this is a good place. People will be attracted to Peru to Trek, or to see a culture or a history. Not just for cheap beer and cheap girls.
If people are atteracted to a place for a long time, not just a 2 week vacation, then maybe it is a good place, attracting good people.
In Goa, I had fun in Palolem. Nice people, although for sure, most of them on vacation. Adventurous vacation, however. But Anjuna, in North Goa... I could not wait to leave this place. And I will not go back there.
To me all countries are options. However, I read the Encyclopedia, I read the statistics on the country and go. The newspaper and TV are full of crap for the most part, however there is some truth. Guidebooks do not help either, on the other hand most backpackers are polorized, they either love or hate a place, no middle ground.
I have been here four times, I must like the place, however I also do not like the place.
IT is very curious though to me what is in the head of another backpacker. Of course the opinion of a person that has visited the Philippines would hold more merit.
I have been to the Philippines in 2003 and can say that it is definetly not an easy country to travel. Other Asian countries and of course Peru are much more easygoing. On the Philippines I never really felt comfortable when travelling alone. Most of the time I spent with philippinian friends though and that was fantastic because they were so hospitable. I just think that the public transport on the Philis still lacks a lot and you are right- harldly any backpackers to be seen, not even on Boracay. I think I will go back to Manila and Lucena to visit my friends. If I will travel there - I don't think so.
When I was in the Philippines I was asked by a few people how my experience was comparing with all the news stories I had seen. Honestly, I had forgotten about those news stories and the fact that I had arrived two weeks after a fresh Travel Warning was issued by the U.S. State Department.
Keep in mind...for those of us living in the U.S., our per capita crime rate makes most of the world look like upstanding, law-abiding citizens (Look Here).
Not sure what your problem is with travelling in the Philippines. I've been there three times, traveled all over and found it just as easy as South America. Just hop on a bus or boat and take off. It's fun. Backpackers don't go there cuz there's not that much to see compared to the rest of asia, culture is boring and food is dull. But they sure are nice. Just don't trust them all.
Hi Guys and Gals,
The Philippines is not a safe place like all the places in the world, what is nice about this country is almost all walking in the streets can speak a little and understand alot of english if you just speak slowly. They are not making fun of people, they are just born funny and wants to laugh all the time. if you lost your wallet, policemen are very helpful, remember travellers like us are not the target .
what made you think there are no backpackers in my country?
not that many, mainly because the stupid people at the Department of Tourism still defines tourists as people who came in airconditioned buses and stay in luxury hotels
finding information in the net about places is hard but thank God for the bloggers (like me) who offer information online
what ever country you will go its not safe. in thailand last year i think there was 1 female from UK rape and murder by thai fishermens, my friend from canada was died in bombings in hatyai and another tow russians sexy ladies was shoot to death daylight in Phuket but in the Philippines i didn't here any foreigner in tourist destination killed in bombings or rape as long as you will not go to the place which is not safe at all. I went to boracay, palawan and the amazing race was there for there series, cebu,in mindanao I went camiguin, dakak, samal island, lastly in general santos city sarangani province wow a very virgin white sand powder beach in gumasa Glan was very fantastic and never been explore we stayed there for 2 weeks and I enjoyed a lot. What ever country you will go its not safe at all as long as you know how to avoid.
in the end the philippines is amazing.FACTS manila have the largest numbers of expat in asia.most numbers of americans.we have huge malls than any other country in the world.the philippines is 4 rich and very affluent asian tourist only like koreans,japanese,taiwanese chinese and australian coz dey have money to spend the government not targeting any poor white backpackers coz dey dont have enough money to spend around the counrty.the philippines is a very diverse.all in all wer else on earth wer u can find a country dats have it all.we have amzing nitelife,powdery white sand beaches,century old churches,diverse environment,hospitable people.and for the crime,usa is far more dangerous than the philippines
philippines is amazing.FACTS
Hehehe, you are on Drugs, I wrote this post about two years ago the first time I came here.
I can now tell you, there is only white trash in the Philippines.
Expats, Thailand has 13 Million Tourist per year, and Philippines has 3.
The arrogance of the Philippines is the biggest problem, they just do not know how crappy their countries is compared to the rest of Asia.
So what do you get, 3 million sex tourist.
My name's Airene Terry and I am Filipino...I came across your site because I am actually planning to put up a travel agency that would cater to backpackers...and I just want to jot down some reactions to faulty criticisms made by those strangers against my country.
YES, we do admit that this country has too many problems, politically, economically, socially, etc. etc...no, we don't deny that fact. But for a person to say that the country offers boring culture, dull food, and nothing but cheap beer and cheap girls only mean one thing: that person knows very little about the Philippines...so they say, little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
The country has so much to offer. If you only think of going to Manila or Subic or Clark...well, my dear...those places are not even what the country boasts about. The country has 7,107 islands, with 111 distinct indigenous languages and dialects and numerous and diverse tribes...who says Filipino culture is boring? It is so unscrupulous to give such comment. Cultures all over the world are equally interesting and dynamic.
My country may not be as modern as other Asian countries but still, mine is a beautiful place. Come to think of it...history-wise, the Spaniards, Americans, Japanese and many other countries fought each other just to conquer this country --- the Pearl of the Orient.
Furthermore, we are not here to compete against Thailand, India, Peru or any other country. Let the beaches and the mountains and the lakes and the lagoons and the caves, the volcanoes,the water underneath and the sky above us do the talking. We can't please everybody so there's nothing we can do about it.
But to mention that the Philippines only attract 3 million sex tourists??? THIS IS NOT SOOOOOOOOO TRUE! this is the biggest insult hurled against my country and those well-meaning travellers who visit my country with the purest of intentions.
I have nothing much to say but this: no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.
"...If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home..."
I am a Filipina backpacker, I have been travelling for 6months now around Southeast Asia, and asked other backpackers if they're gonna do Philiipines, most of them says NO. When I asked why, they've got similar answers..."It's expensive in the Philippines..."
I must say, there's no backpackers in the Philippines because there are no guesthouses, hotels, cafes that are catering to backpackers...and it's awesome for you Mr. Andy to consider Philippines on putting your own hostel catering to backpackers. If only there are a lot of business establishments that caters to budget travellers which are the backpackers, they will start coming to Philippines, and more than half of travellers in the world are backpackers, so we got to start encouraging them in our country.
Also, prostitution in the Philippines is illegal which helps lessen the sex tourism, unlike Thailand, and I think everywhere has their own(prostitution) whether its legal or not. Every country has its own beauty and weaknesses...And what Sowelu just said is so true, Subic and Manila are not the ones that we boast in the Philippines, if you haven't heard Palawan, Boracay Island, Hundred Islands, Surigao, Vigan, and a lot more places tourists haven't see...the places you just mentioned is not popular for its beauty(though Subic has few good beaches,not great), it is popular for something guys would love to deal with...lol...
Don't get me wrong, I love Philippines and Thailand, they've got their +'s and -'s, but they're both great! and I admit as a Filipina backpacker, Philippines cost of living is way much marked up, specially on tourism stuff. The difference is shocking, that I could even a rent a condo in Bankok, fully furnished, including water, DSL, electric bills for 7,000Baht!!! whereas you can't in Manila...too many uneccessary rules that keeps the tourist away, like minimum rent is 3months...and eating at a good cafe 3x for 100baht a day. How's that? that's good food, healthy ones...
Philippines is not that bad, we just have to improve systems...we only cater to business travellers and yuppies...but really, backpackers will boost the economy, knowing they are the most dominant travellers in the world, thay spend more when they can stay longer...
And to all planning to visit Philippines, you just have to stop booking stuff online, find out your own...its better if you know a local who will do bargaining for the real prices for you...and they know where the real price area is.
Anyways, this is almost a blog...lol...reach me through mine at: http://www.lyndsaycabildo.com ....and Advance Happy Holidays to you peeps!!!
You guys don't try to mess my enthusiasm to travel the Philippines. I am leaving in 10 days, and I am pretty excited to face new chalenges. I used to travel South east Asia , India, Mid East years ago, and It was really fun. The possible minor danger is the part of backpacking. For those who are seeking for pre-booked rooms and arranged things-to-do must be boring and scary. The sense of backapcking is to discover, and explore, to find and learn new culture. That is what I always unintentionaly do. I never liked to follow check list and to have a photo with every statue or building. But sitting on the street , playing guitar, try to be one among of others, to share the life. Thats what I love on backpacking. However, 2 monhts is never long enough. Will see later, in the mean time i will be posting some blogs here http://manolo801.vox.com/
i was looking for this backpacker/ outdoor club in the philippines when i reach this blog.
i am a filipino and i have always been proud of my country's rich culture and natural wonders. it's such a pity that you haven't seen this side of the coin... of should i say "you focus on the other side and ignored the best part."
if you are looking for backpackers in my country, you can find some. and just like any other asian country that i've been to it is always nice to learn something from a new place and appreciate what is there instead of looking at the negative side of it. sometimes, we just need to open our minds. i must admit, my country has many flaws but which country is perfect anyway. even the richest countries have their flaws, they just "wrap" it nicely with all those technologies they have and they cover all the flaws.
if you want to find backpackers in the philippines or just learn something nice and positive about the country, you can visit this site: http://ytrip.org.ph
sometimes,we just need to open our eyes and our minds to see the beauty of what we have. you can't just listen to what people say, you gotta see it for yourself.
hey, andy, im filipino, and i chanced upon this blogsite of yours. i have been reading your journal entries for a couple of days now and i find it really informative and interesting. one thing you said though that really turned me off is that you think we filipinos are arrogant. how were you able to come to that conclusion? i have travelled to many countries for holiday and i can say without any bias that the filipino is one of the least arrogant races in this planet. maybe you encountered some arrogant filipinos (of course there would be some in any race) but in general filipinos are a humble people. we are actually so humble to a fault when it comes to foreigners (especially white foreigners - and even more to americans!). we have been a colony for hundreds of years that up till now we cant seem to shrug off our colonial mentality. we look up to foreigners too much, especially to you americans. when people here see a foreigner they would do everything to please them even if the foreigner is brash or insensitive of our cultures and traditions. you dont see that in other places. in other countries they would say it to your face (or worse, you could get beaten up) if you didnt follow some of their traditions. i also remember that there was a worldwide survey last year or two years ago that showed that the philippines is one of only a few countries wherein majority of the people surveyed said that they love the united states! and so, i really dont get it how you could say that filipinos are arrogant. maybe you feel we are arrogant because we could speak better english than the other asian countries, or maybe because we act and live more western than the other asian countries. if so, whats wrong with that? you have a problem with us being progressive and modern? if you have a problem with that maybe you should analyze yourself and find out if youre already being racist and supremacist. i admit we have a lot of problems as a country but dont put us down for something were not. thanks.
Asiabill from has written 260 comments
I'd missed this post of yours and am pleased to find out that you have already realized that operating a hostel / hamg out for backpackers here in the Philippines would not only be FUN, an adventure in itself but also more profitable than in most deveoping nations in the world with much less competition. You mentioned the issue of screening out the NON backackers. I know California hostels screen out the homeless by requiring an international airline ticket and or passport. So it occurred to e that you could screen out nonbackpackers by requiring to see at least 2 or 3 stamps on their passports of countries other than their own country of origin. Another way to screen out others is by NOT offering air-conditioned rooms NOR Cable TV because most real world travelers / backpackers find no need of either nor want to pay more for such. Another subtle way is making some sort of age limit like not allowing anyone over a certain age to check in. One more way is to simply maintain a certain ATTITUDE which you already maintain naturally as just being YOU, YOURSELF of ZERO toleration for certain type so behavior or answers to questions which rubs you the wrong way. That will screen out MOST if NOT all such NON backpacker types which you deem UNWORTHY of your companionship / accommodation. We did this for maybe the first 10 years until we went to the States for our daughter's education.
Of course PRICE is nearly EVERYTHING when it comes to budget travelers or backpackers so some Australian Hostels also offer FREE stays for backpacker residents who help clean up and change the beddings etc. I really have no idea but it's probable that you might have your own "fan base" so setting up a hostel / guesthouse could provide that "base" a solitary location where they could pass through and "pick your brains" or share travel adventure stories together with each other. So WHY NOT! It seems a natural small "business' for a well traveled adventurous person who likes to have FUN ut also feels the need for a "homebase". WE LOVE WHAT WE DO!
Pilgrim from wrote 1 comment
Interesting comments, I have been traveling and living on and off in the Philippines for almost 13 years...yes, I am a 'foreigner' a label which is applied to all aliens by the Philippians, regardless how long one lives in their country. Its an ongoing love-hate relations, I personally try to 'blend in', to varying degrees, trying to be accepted. In all these years I never made a single Filipino male friend, but then, I am operating from a western point of view. Part of the problem is money, if one is lucky enough to hold down some job in PI the daily salary would be around 120 peso for a waitress or 250 to 300 for a trades man...thats about 4 to 8 US$ per day. so naturally one automatically becomes a 'rich' mark. Education is poor, opportunities are few, if any. Religion has a firm grip, birth control is a sin, organised corruption in the police and government is enormous, life is cheep. On the other hand, the islands are beautiful, transport is available everywhere, I am not sure its a good place for pack backers.. its a hard place to travel, especially in the provinces. But then, that makes it interesting.
Hey, I'm a Filipino and all I can say that is our country has so much to give. Maybe there are conflicts going on in Mindanao but that only happens in one island and there are 7,000 more to visit and explore. Every country always has a bad side but if you consider yourself as a real traveler then you wouldn't care about the situation. Maybe you could take precautions but the main thing is you experience the culture and understand the people. In that way you could appreciate more the country or the place you are visiting. Danger is everywhere, wherever you are, whatever country your in, but that's not a basis of saying that a certain country is not worth visiting for. Tell me, in your own country or hometown, haven't you encountered any danger which led you to conclude that Philippines is a dangerous country?
jhonnyZbakpacking from has written 2 comments
I found your blog while googling for backpacking groups in the Philippines.
I have to agree there a few backpackers in the Philippines because of the expensive accommodations and travel fees. The Department of Tourism is also ill equiped. There are a few tourist information centers and the existing ones are dusty and un-inviting. Even local have a hard time backpacking in our own country.
But, I have to disagree about the country being unsafe. Actually most countries are unsafe and the Philippines is the least unsafe. I have travelled in some Asian countries and experienced arrogant citizens, prostitution, taxi monsters, tourist traps, unfair currency exchanges, unprofessional tourist guides, and the hostel owners, themselves warn us about the crimes targeting tourist.
About the tourist towing around girls, this is a residue of the American base in the Philippines. American G.I.s on leave would go out of the bases and participate in prostitution. It is a global problem.
Try toi visit the Northern and Central islands including Palawan. There are more to visit besides Manila and Subic. Sad to say, it is only the Southern Philippines which is really unsafe.
When travelling, one should always be cautious or careful inorder to enjoy the experience.
jhonnyZbakpacking from has written 2 comments
If you intend to enjoy the other parts of the Philippines, besides Manila and Subic, it would be advisable to stay for a week or two. Travelling, alone would take much of your time given the countries poor transport infrastructure. Otherwise, you will only be able to visit the provinces adjacent to Manila.
"The arrogance of the Philippines is the biggest problem, they just do not know how crappy their countries is compared to the rest of Asia."
my dear... i'm sorry but i would really like you to SHUT UP about the philippines. first of all, you have to admit that the people are actually nicer than thais
2: yeah i know the philippines isn't the best asian country. it is also not the worst. and what gives you license to tear strips of a very proud nation? i get it, okay, they're arrogant sometimes but come ON. i can give you 5 countries with more arrogant people
3: the problem with you tourists is that so MANY of you just come to my beloved country and the first thing you notice is how hot-slash-funny-slash-cute the women are. jeez. at least give us our dignity.
yeah... i have nothing more to say to you. just try not to grill the philippines too much, cause you don't see any of us spouting shit about your country.
Negative: Filipinos in general are too slow (but they can be fast if they want to), which make them late for meetings, deadlines and appointments - bad for business no professionalism. There's arrogance associated with their tardiness. Arrogance is one of the stances that people in positions have such as those working as public servants and in the government, from lowest to highest. It's kind of what corruption does to people....because if you want bribe you have to act subtle, and not too eager. In other words, you have to take things slow. Also, being slow is a sign of wealth... wealthy people have maids and servants, so there's never a need to do things in a hurry. There won't be a need to do things out of your way or to try to please. Though, there are only a very small minority of Filipinos who are that rich, the attitude has become fashionable, accepted and second nature.
There's an air of heaviness about them, and this is felt and seen in their facial expressions and their body language. But that said, it's also a good thing. It means they feel deeply they're not shallow. They're very aware people and very cautious... Just look at the way, they drive. You got to be very aware and attentive to drive that way and in those traffic conditions. Being cautious is also evident in the way they approach business. They don't like taking risks. How many Thai restaurants do you see in LA or Sydney, compared to the number of Filipino restaurants?? 1Fil/100Thai or worse. That's how much they hate taking risks... Or maybe they just don't believe that the food is not that delicious. When they do open a Filipino store in other countries, they only focus on selling to their own people, unlike the Chinese who expect to sell to everyone.
Their approach to business in their own country itself is the same. They have not prepared for tourists or visitors. Does the average businessperson actually think of tourists when they set up a business? No, unless the business they're setting up is intended for tourists.
I come from the Philippines and I find my people just fine. It's fine because I can understand why we're the way we are.
I hope the world just sees us for the way that we are, because we all have differences. True, we, Filipinos have many negative characteristics but we're always improving. Needless to say, infrastructure needs improvement if we are to attract tourists. Give us a chance, come and visit our country....and maybe you'll find something special about it. We like visitors, we're just not very good at showing our feelings.
It's me again. I have learned a few things from reading this thread of comments from people. Among other things, I've learned that a backpackers hostel/accommodation would do very well in the Philippines. It's a great business idea! You or I could set one up, the more the better. It will help start a whole new image for Philippine tourism. It is a tropical country with over 7,000 islands after all.
Please check out my Philippines fan page on facebook, displaying photos of fans in their natural environment, videos and backlinks to other Filipino websites. There's a lot to learn out there. The Philippines is everyone's land, it's a part of the wide wide world we are all born in. It is yours just as much as it is the Filipinos'.
Hope you'll LIKE it. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philippine-bound/75625050882