… not. The current worldwide slogan for Philippines tourism is, from this humble travelers’ perspective, inaccurate. I think that “It’s more funky, or futile, or fruitless” would seem to better describe the overall sense of the country. But then that wouldn’t reel in the masses with expendable cash, would it?
I thank the higher powers that I took up scuba diving prior to my journey to PHP. I got in about 20 dives during my month there. Otherwise, I would have been deadly bored after about one week – there just is not much to see or do that is meaningful compared to other Asian countries. Once you arrive at the prime diving areas, you are typically surrounded by great beauty and enough creature comforts. And PHP has so much to offer for remote island and beach getaways. So there is that.
The problem for me were the periods of getting to these spots and moving on to the next. To me, the country is sordid – seedy, dirty, desperate. The level of poverty is appalling in all of the population centers that I visited. It seems that where the development money goes is into shopping malls and high-rise condo projects; the benefits appear to be attainable only by a small percentage of the people. The contrast between the haves and have-nots could not be more stark.
Although I visited some awesomely beautiful locations, I never got the sense of “wow, I could live here”. It was hard to eat a healthy diet anywhere. Population density was overwhelming in many places – Manila and Cebu City are impossibly unpleasant.
OK. Enough carping. I didn’t find it to be “more fun” in any way. Next country, please!