(Image courtesy of Leizel Avila)

When I first wrote about “Why there are no backpackers in the Philippines?” on my first blog, my purpose was to really find out why? and that to raise awareness to my fellow Filipinos as well as our government if we could do something about it.


Yes, 21 day pass. Some other Southeast Asian countries (mostly) gives out free 30 day visa and to think that we are an archipelago that needs more travel time to go from island to island, makes it less practical for a backpacker to visit.

Negative Feedback from Locals

From my point of view, I realized several reasons why.  During my travels to different places I met some Filipinos working in one of the places I visited and when you ask them about the country, negative things about the country is what you will hear.  Heavy traffic, pollution, thieves, scammers, kidnappers, killing and all negative stuff a Filipino could ever think.  I, myself did the same and I start asking myself why do we do that?

I found the reason why, my sociology class made sense now, that the media has a lot of influence to a person and bombarded by negative news everyday (repetition) will create fear to people.  The media magnifies the negative things happening than the positive ones, therefore leaving all those people that are doing their best to help the country invisible.  Although, I still believe backpackers should be very careful not to go Mindanao (Philippines is divided into 3 Major Islands; Luzon, Visayas, & Mindanao).

Safety Issues

Safety is one issue for tourists here, unlike Thailand, they have Tourist Police assigned to tourist places who protects well and maintains order at the tourist places in Thailand (I heard they are better paid than normal police, and they are trained well).  This is a major factor for travelers to consider the place if its worth visiting.

Backpackers Places

From working in a hotel, traveling around, I noticed that there are way more  backpackers than tourists traveling around the world.  They travel and stay in one place for a longer period of time, therefore spending more money than the splurging tourists that stays for only few days.

This is what Philippines are not aware of, by offering cheaper deals like accommodation, we encourage them to stay longer in the place.  Backpackers are always on the go, they don’t stay much in their rooms because they want to experience more of the place so they opt to get the cheapest accommodation they can find such as dorm rooms, hostels, rather than the posh and deluxe suites, hotels, and resorts.  In a way, another reason why more and more big resorts and hotels are closing because of less customers coming in.  If only, more dorm rooms are available or cheaper rooms, we’ll have backpackers flooding any tourist areas packed with local or foreign ones.

Food, Food, and More Food…

Food are not a bad issue, cheap food are everywhere in the Philippines.  Street foods are even better than most street foods I experienced in Vietnam and cheaper, I did not appreciate it before because I did not go and check out much street foods then.  Where did I found out that we have cheaper food here? From fellow backpackers who have been to the Philippines! Even mall food stalls are way cheaper.

I am now back to discover more of my country after backpacking Southeast Asia on my own, and as I have started doing it slowly, I have seen beautiful things and scenery I never imagined my country have.  I only have seen few places so far, but they are truly amazing!


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6 thoughts on “Why Backpackers Skip Philippines?

  1. I spoke to someone 5 minutes ago who just came back from the Philippines and loved it (she stayed somewhere north of Manila, around rice fields and stuff).

    It is weird that places like Thailand get all the tourists, when there are loads of other countries that are just as appealing.

    1. Oh that’s Sagada! That place is awesome! It’s simple because its more accessible and way tailored for the tourists than most of the countries like ours. Oh I wish, we would be the same soon. 🙂 more jobs for locals.

    1. I have read an article about who’s the worst behaved travelers in the world, and English people were at the top. Although, I met good ones along the way just that the majority ruins it for your team. Just how Vietnamese people doesn’t really like the majority of Filipinos there (says my Vietnamese buddy).

  2. Hey Lyndsay,

    This is really a fact… backpackers skip Philippines. Friends (here in England) spoke of having visited this and that in the south east but never Philippines. I also remembered when I watched 4oD’s documentary (My Family’s Crazy Gap Year), they went to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia but not a single family went to the Philippines…and like you, I asked why? I have read in other blogs myriad of reasons… our geographical location is one… Thailand for example is a haven for backpackers because they can also go to Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia… Even amongst the locals, even if the DoT keeps on promoting “domestic tourism”, travel time from island to island eats so much of the time if done by land or by sea…and if done by plane, it is too expensive plus, accommodation is really not cheap. There’s also an endless list of bad raps (hustling taxi drivers, thieves, etc)…

    However, I really think that the main reason is that the government does not think that tourism provides revenue for the country…There’s a national tourism development plan put into law in 2009 as the Tourism Act… and I think so far, what has been done is just another failed re-branding of the Philippine tourism campaign…Even the DoT website is so crap, you won’t even have any link/info on how to get to a place…it only has an interactive map, which is not actually interactive per se. Instead, you are given some tourism statistics of how many Koreans have gone to the Philippines? Eeeeh? I love my country. I really love Philippines. It is sad that such a beautiful country is not much seen by backpackers/tourists from around the world because the government failed to provide the infrastructure needed to entice people to come and see this beautiful country…

    1. Thanks for sharing Joan! It’s true that there are lots of factors influencing why backpackers skip our country traveling around. Although, there may be few that no matter what happens they will still want to see what’s in the country (applause for them!). There are lots of things that is hard to appreciate in the first glimpse too, and specially for first time travellers, Manila (the country’s capital) would be a total shock! Hence, there are millions of reasons and places for them to explore the country experience it…only its not advertised much.

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