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I Didn’t Like The Philippines


by Josephine Miranda



The Philippines is a country known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and warm and friendly people. With over 7,000 islands, it offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush mountains and vibrant cities. It is no wonder that the Philippines is a top tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year.


However, as with any country, the Philippines also has its share of challenges. While many people have had amazing experiences and have fallen in love with the country, there are some who may not share the same sentiment. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why some individuals may have had a less than favorable experience in the Philippines.


It is important to note that this article does not aim to criticize or make broad generalizations about the entire country or its people. Instead, it aims to provide a balanced perspective by addressing some of the challenges that certain individuals may encounter during their time in the Philippines.


It is also crucial to recognize that everyone’s experience in a foreign country can vary greatly based on personal preferences, expectations, and circumstances. What may be perceived as a drawback to one person may be seen as an adventure or learning opportunity by someone else.


With this in mind, let us delve into some of the reasons why some individuals may not have resonated with the Philippines as much as others have.


Initial Impressions

First impressions play a significant role in shaping one’s perception of a new place. For some individuals, their initial impressions of the Philippines may not have been as positive as they had anticipated.


One factor that can influence initial impressions is the infrastructure. While major cities like Manila may have modern amenities and infrastructure comparable to other urban centers around the world, smaller and more remote areas may not have the same level of development. Limited access to basic services and amenities, such as reliable internet connection, clean water, and healthcare facilities, can leave some individuals feeling unprepared and frustrated.


Another aspect that can affect initial impressions is the level of crowding and congestion in certain areas. The Philippines, being a densely populated country, can have crowded urban centers and tourist hotspots. The hustle and bustle, along with the noise and pollution that come with it, can be overwhelming for some travelers, leaving them with a less than favorable impression.


Cultural differences can also leave some individuals feeling out of their comfort zone during their initial interactions. Customs and social norms in the Philippines may differ from what individuals are accustomed to, leading to misunderstandings or moments of discomfort. For example, the concept of “Filipino time” can be perplexing to foreigners who are used to strict punctuality. Additionally, the laid-back and relaxed pace of life in some areas may clash with the fast-paced expectations of certain individuals.


It is important to remember that initial impressions can often change as individuals spend more time in the country and become acclimated to the local culture and way of life. While some may have had a less than positive initial impression of the Philippines, it is worth giving the country a chance and exploring further to truly understand and appreciate its unique charm.


Cultural Differences

The Philippines is a country with a rich and diverse culture, influenced by a combination of indigenous traditions, Spanish colonial heritage, and American influences. While this cultural blend creates a unique and vibrant society, it can also lead to some challenges and misunderstandings for individuals unfamiliar with Filipino customs and traditions.


One cultural aspect that can be challenging for some individuals is the concept of personal space. In the Philippines, personal space is often smaller compared to Western standards. Filipinos are known for their warmth and friendliness, and it is common for people to stand closer during conversations or in crowded places. This can make individuals from cultures that prioritize personal space feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed at times.


The concept of “saving face” is also deeply embedded in Filipino culture. Filipinos highly value harmony and avoiding confrontation. As a result, they may shy away from directly expressing their opinions or giving negative feedback. This indirect communication style can be confusing for individuals who are used to more direct and assertive communication styles, leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of intentions.


Family plays a central role in Filipino culture, and the concept of extended family is highly valued and practiced. It is common for multiple generations to live under one roof. While this strong emphasis on family can be seen as a positive aspect, it may also present challenges for individuals who value independence or are not used to living in close-knit communities.


Furthermore, the religious landscape in the Philippines, predominantly Catholic with a significant Muslim minority, can also contribute to cultural differences. Religious practices and observances may play a prominent role in daily life, and some individuals may find themselves not fully acclimated to the customs and traditions associated with religious festivities or religiously driven societal norms.


It is crucial to approach cultural differences with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt. By embracing and respecting the diversity of the Filipino culture, individuals can bridge the gap and forge meaningful connections, enhancing their experience in the Philippines.


Language Barrier

Language can often be a significant barrier when traveling to a foreign country, and the Philippines is no exception. While English is widely spoken and understood in many parts of the country, there can still be instances where individuals encounter difficulties due to language differences.


One aspect that can pose challenges is regional dialects. The Philippines is home to numerous dialects, with Tagalog being the national language. However, different regions have their own distinct dialects, such as Cebuano, Ilocano, and Hiligaynon, to name a few. This can be particularly challenging for individuals who do not have a basic understanding of these dialects, as it can make communication in certain areas more difficult.


In more remote or rural parts of the country, individuals may encounter individuals who have limited proficiency in English. In these cases, basic communication can become a hurdle, and individuals may find it challenging to convey their needs or understand local instructions or directions.


Additionally, it is important to note that even though English is commonly spoken, there can still be differences in accents, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. These variations can sometimes lead to miscommunication or misunderstandings, especially in fast-paced conversations or in unfamiliar contexts.


However, it is crucial to highlight the efforts made by Filipinos to accommodate and assist non-Tagalog speakers. Many Filipinos are patient and understanding, willing to go the extra mile to help individuals overcome language barriers. Simple gestures, such as using hand gestures, visual aids, or relying on translation apps, can bridge the gap and facilitate communication.


It is also worth mentioning that learning a few basic phrases or greetings in Tagalog or the local dialects can go a long way in breaking the ice and showing respect for the local culture. Making an effort to understand and embrace the local language can lead to richer cultural experiences and stronger connections with the Filipino people.


Food and Cuisine

The Philippines is known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, offering a wide array of dishes that showcase the country’s culinary heritage. However, for some individuals, the local food and cuisine may not be to their liking or may present challenges due to dietary preferences or restrictions.


One aspect that can be challenging for some is the level of spiciness in Filipino cuisine. Many Filipino dishes, such as adobo and sinigang, incorporate spicy ingredients like chili peppers. While this may be enjoyable for those who enjoy spicy food, individuals who are not accustomed to spice may find it overwhelming or uncomfortable.


Moreover, Filipino cuisine often features a blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. The use of ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, and fermented shrimp paste can give dishes a unique and sometimes acquired taste. Some individuals may find these flavors unfamiliar or not to their liking, leading them to have a less positive experience with Filipino cuisine.


Dietary restrictions and preferences can also pose challenges in the Philippines. For vegetarians or vegans, finding plant-based meal options can be challenging, especially in more rural or remote areas where meat is a staple in many dishes. While larger cities and tourist destinations may offer more options for those with dietary restrictions, it may still require extra effort and research to find suitable food choices.


However, it is important to note that Filipino cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes, and there are options available for individuals with different preferences. Exploring local markets, seeking out vegetarian or vegan restaurants, or trying regional dishes that may align better with one’s taste can provide a more positive experience with Filipino food.


Lastly, it is worth mentioning that food is a significant part of the Filipino culture, and trying local dishes can be a gateway to understanding and appreciating the country’s traditions and way of life. Even if not every dish is to one’s liking, being open to new flavors and culinary experiences can enrich the overall experience in the Philippines.


Transportation Issues

Transportation is an essential aspect of traveling, and for some individuals, the transportation system in the Philippines may present challenges or cause frustration during their visit.


One common issue that travelers may encounter is traffic congestion, particularly in major cities like Manila. The heavy traffic can result in longer travel times and delays, impacting one’s itinerary and potentially causing stress or frustration. It is important to plan accordingly and allow extra time when navigating through busy urban areas.


Another transportation challenge is the availability and reliability of public transportation. While the Philippines does have various modes of public transportation, such as buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and trains, their efficiency and reliability may vary. Some areas, especially in more remote locations, may have limited options for public transportation, and schedules may not always be strictly followed.


For individuals who prefer to drive themselves, navigating the roads in the Philippines can be daunting, especially for those not familiar with the local driving customs. The prevalence of motorcycles and tricycles and the lack of strict adherence to traffic rules and regulations can make driving more challenging and potentially unsafe for some individuals.


Furthermore, the Philippines being an archipelago, traveling between islands may require additional planning and coordination. While there are domestic flights and ferry services available, the scheduling, availability, and reliability of these modes of transportation may be factors to consider when island-hopping or traveling to more remote destinations.


It is important to be aware of these transportation challenges and plan accordingly. Researching and understanding the transportation options, utilizing reliable transportation apps for real-time updates, and seeking assistance or guidance from locals or travel agencies can help mitigate potential transportation issues.


Despite these challenges, it is crucial to remember that transportation is just one aspect of the overall travel experience. The Philippines offers countless breathtaking destinations and attractions that are worth the effort and the occasional transportation hurdles.


Safety Concerns

Safety is a top concern for travelers in any destination, and while the Philippines offers many safe and enjoyable experiences, there are certain safety concerns that some individuals may encounter during their visit.


One of the main safety concerns in the Philippines is petty theft and pickpocketing, particularly in crowded tourist areas. As in any tourist destination, it is important to remain vigilant and take precautions such as keeping valuable belongings secure, avoiding displaying signs of wealth, and being aware of one’s surroundings.


Scams and tourist traps are also something to be cautious of. Some individuals may fall victim to schemes that exploit tourists, such as overcharging for services or goods, offering fake tour packages, or engaging in fraudulent activities. It is advisable to research and use reputable tour operators, be mindful of deals that seem too good to be true, and seek advice and recommendations from trusted sources.


The Philippines is also prone to natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. It is important to stay informed about weather conditions, follow any advisories or warnings, and have a plan in place in case of emergency. Registering with the local embassy or consulate and having travel insurance that covers natural disasters can provide added peace of mind.


Another safety consideration is the potential for political demonstrations or civil unrest. While these incidents are generally localized and infrequent, it is advisable to stay informed about the current political climate and avoid areas where protests or unrest may occur.


Additionally, it is essential to exercise caution when engaging in outdoor activities or exploring natural attractions. Follow safety guidelines, use experienced guides for hikes or water activities, and be informed about potential risks like strong currents or wildlife encounters.


While it is important to be aware of these safety concerns, it is equally important to highlight that millions of travelers visit the Philippines without any major incidents. Most Filipinos are warm and friendly, and the country has many beautiful and safe destinations to explore. By staying informed, using common sense, and being mindful of one’s surroundings, individuals can enjoy a safe and memorable experience in the Philippines.


Lack of Infrastructure

The Philippines, like many developing countries, faces challenges regarding infrastructure development. While progress has been made in recent years, the lack of infrastructure in certain areas can pose challenges for visitors.


One prominent issue is the limited availability and reliability of public utilities, such as electricity and water. In more rural or remote areas, power outages and water shortages may be more common. This can impact the comfort and convenience of travelers, especially those who rely on consistent access to electricity and water.


Internet connectivity can also be an area of concern. While major cities and tourist areas generally have reliable internet access, more remote locations may have limited or unstable internet connection. This can impact communication, access to online services, and the ability to stay connected while traveling.


Infrastructure for transportation is another area that faces challenges. Roads in certain areas may be poorly maintained, leading to difficulties in navigating and longer travel times. The lack of efficient and organized public transportation systems, particularly in remote areas, can limit mobility and hinder the exploration of certain destinations.


In addition, there may be limitations in terms of healthcare facilities and services, especially in more rural areas. Access to quality medical care, emergency services, or specialized treatments may be limited outside of major urban centers. Travelers should ensure they have proper travel insurance and be prepared for potential healthcare contingencies.


However, it is important to note that the government and private sector are working towards improving infrastructure in the country. Projects are underway to improve road networks, upgrade airports and seaports, and expand access to utilities and services. Tourist destinations and major cities continue to see improvements in infrastructure, making them more accessible and comfortable for visitors.


Despite the challenges, many travelers find that the charm and beauty of the Philippines outweigh the limitations in infrastructure. Being prepared, flexible, and patient can help mitigate any potential inconveniences and allow individuals to fully enjoy their experience in the country.


Pollution and Environmental Issues

The Philippines, like many rapidly developing countries, faces various environmental issues and challenges, which can impact the overall experience for some travelers.


A significant concern is pollution, particularly in urban areas and popular tourist destinations. Air pollution from vehicle emissions, industrial activities, and the burning of waste can result in poor air quality. This can affect individuals with respiratory sensitivities and create discomfort for those unaccustomed to such levels of pollution.


Water pollution is also a concern, especially in coastal areas and bodies of water where improper waste disposal and untreated sewage can lead to contamination. This can impact the enjoyment of beaches and water activities, as well as pose health risks for individuals who come into contact with polluted water.


Noise pollution is another issue that travelers may encounter. Urban areas can be bustling and noisy, particularly during peak hours, which can be overwhelming for those seeking a quieter and more serene environment.


Environmental degradation, deforestation, and habitat loss are also pressing concerns in certain regions of the Philippines. The exploitation of natural resources, illegal logging, and unsustainable practices can have detrimental effects on the country’s unique ecosystems and wildlife species.


Plastic pollution is another environmental issue that the country is grappling with. Like many other parts of the world, single-use plastic items contribute to the accumulation of waste, particularly in coastal areas. Efforts are being made to address this issue through bans on single-use plastics and the promotion of eco-friendly practices.


Despite these challenges, it is worth noting that the Philippines is also home to many stunning natural landscapes and conservation efforts. There are protected areas, marine sanctuaries, and ecotourism initiatives that aim to preserve the country’s biodiversity and natural heritage.


Travelers can contribute to positive change by practicing responsible and sustainable tourism. This includes minimizing waste, supporting environmental initiatives, respecting wildlife and ecosystems, and choosing eco-friendly tour operators and accommodations.


While pollution and environmental issues may be a concern, the Philippines still offers countless opportunities to appreciate its natural beauty and engage in eco-friendly activities. By being mindful of these issues and taking steps to minimize our impact, we can contribute to the preservation of the country’s natural environment for future generations to enjoy.


Poverty and Inequality

The Philippines, like many developing countries, faces issues of poverty and income inequality, which can be evident during travel experiences and affect the overall perception of the country.


Poverty is a significant challenge that some individuals may witness while traveling in certain areas of the Philippines. The country has a significant percentage of the population living below the poverty line, resulting in visible disparities in access to resources and basic services. It’s not uncommon to encounter informal settlements or impoverished communities during travel, which can be a sobering experience for some visitors.


Inequality is another issue that can be observed in the Philippines. There is a significant disparity in wealth distribution, with a small percentage of the population holding a majority of the country’s wealth. This can lead to a stark contrast between affluent areas, such as luxury resorts and gated communities, and poorer neighborhoods or rural villages.


The presence of poverty and inequality can manifest in various ways, including limited access to education, healthcare, and basic infrastructure in certain regions. Travelers may witness overcrowded public schools, inadequate healthcare facilities, and inadequate sanitation, further highlighting the societal challenges faced by marginalized communities.


It is important to approach these issues with empathy and respect. Engaging with local communities, supporting local businesses, and seeking out responsible tourism initiatives that focus on community empowerment can help create positive social impact.


It is also worth mentioning that poverty and inequality should not overshadow the resilience, warmth, and generosity of the Filipino people. Despite facing challenges, many individuals find happiness and fulfillment in their daily lives. Travelers may be inspired by the spirit of resilience and community despite the harsh realities of poverty.


By learning about and supporting grassroots organizations, social enterprises, and community-based projects, travelers can contribute to positive change and help address these societal issues. It is through understanding and collective action that progress can be made in promoting a more equitable and inclusive society in the Philippines.



While the Philippines is a country with incredible natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, it is important to recognize that certain challenges and experiences may impact individuals differently. This article has explored some of the reasons why some individuals may have a less than favorable view of the Philippines.


From initial impressions and cultural differences to language barriers, transportation issues, safety concerns, lack of infrastructure, pollution, environmental issues, and poverty and inequality, these factors can shape one’s experience in the country.


However, it is crucial to note that these challenges should not overshadow the unique experiences and positive aspects that the Philippines has to offer. Travelers who are open-minded, adaptable, and aware of the potential challenges can navigate their way through them, allowing them to appreciate the beauty, culture, and resilience of the Filipino people.


By understanding and respecting the local customs and traditions, making an effort to bridge language barriers, supporting sustainable tourism, and being mindful of the environmental and societal issues, visitors can contribute to a positive and meaningful travel experience.


Ultimately, each individual’s experience in the Philippines may differ based on personal preferences, expectations, and circumstances. What may be perceived as a drawback to one person may be seen as an opportunity for growth and learning by another.


So, before forming a final judgment on the Philippines, it is recommended to explore its diverse destinations, engage with the local communities, and appreciate the unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage that the country has to offer.


In the end, it is through a combination of understanding, respect, and appreciation that one can truly embrace the Philippines and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.