Sun seekers, culture lovers and beach aficionados across the country are increasingly turning to one of the Asia Pacific’s most understated gems according to new research from Cheapflights.com.au that shows interest in the Philippines is skyrocketing.
Figures from leading flight search and deals publishing platform show a 560 per cent increase in searches from Australian airports to the Philippines in the last nine months, with January to March being the most popular time to book and March and April the most popular times to visit. This represents the shoulder between the dry and wet season, which begins in May and lasts through to October.
According to Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager – ANZ at Cheapflights.com.au, Aussies are also chasing the best fares, matched with convenience.
“The overwhelming majority of travellers are choosing to fly into the cheapest and most popular airport, Manila, followed by Cebu. These are both great jumping off points for adventure across the nation and we expect to see interest lift again later this year to coincide with the beginning of the dry season in November into 2017,” he said.
For those who are yet to decide on their next adventure, Cheapflights.com.au has pulled together the top six reasons why the Philippines should be on your travel radar:
1. The world’s best beaches With over 7,500 islands you will never run out of exotic beaches to explore in the Philippines. From secluded white sand beaches and celebrity-approved resorts to 24-hour party islands, there are islands to match every kind of traveller and taste. Do you want to spend your days in peace and quiet? The northern province of Ilocos and Batanes are teeming with stunning and secluded coastlines. Looking to party it up? Take a trip to the beaches of Boracay, also known as the “Ibiza of Southeast Asia”.
If budget is more on your side, however, visit the island of Palawan. It has not only been named as the best island in the world by Condé Nast Traveller but is also home to the longest navigable river in the world and the very exclusive Amanpulo island resort, where the likes of Robert de Niro, Bill Gates, and Beyoncé have reportedly stayed.
2. And surf resorts, too! If surfing is more your thing, the Philippines offers countless spots for every level. Located five hours away from Manila are the provinces of La Union and Baler. The former is famous for consistent waves reaching up to 10 feet from May until March, while the latter is known as the birthplace of Philippine surfing. If you are looking for a place that is more off-thebeaten-path, there is Siargao, where you’ll be welcomed by white sand beaches, yearround surf breaks, and friendly surfers from all over the world.
3. Everything is cheap! Your Aussie dollar can certainly go a long way in the Philippines than, say, Singapore or Malaysia. Apart from a host of cheap accommodation, you can also get by with approximately AUD$40, and that includes a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner in a restaurant, transportation fares, and maybe even a drink or two to cap off the day. Local beers such as San Miguel and Red Horse are must-tries, not to mention very affordable.
4. Friendly locals Filipinos are among the happiest people in the world, at least according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup. And, as a tourist, you’ll definitely feel the good vibes as friendly locals are always willing to give a smile and a hand to travellers who need help. Another plus? Almost all locals can speak English so you won’t get lost in translation.
5. Colourful history and culture The culture is an interesting mix of Spanish, American and Asian influences. While you’ll discover more about the country’s vibrant past through colonial ruins and museums, a great way to get to know its history is through its festivals. Every third Sunday of January, Cebu hosts an annual Sinulog festival, a dance ritual which evolved after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived and presented the image of the Santo Niño to the king and queen of the island, Rajah Humabon at Hara Humamay.
6. “It’s more fun in the Philippines” The country’s tag line is “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” and they are not lying. You’ll never be bored because there are always fun, interesting and crazy things happening. Apart from the many music festivals and concerts (Madonna and Kanye recently just performed in Manila, while Coldplay is scheduled to play in November), you’ll find parties in bars and clubs every day. And that includes Monday, Thursdays, and Sundays. No rest for the funloving Filipinos.