The budget-friendly Philippines attract visitors from throughout Asia and across the globe with its beautiful beaches and friendly, laid-back culture. Though some beaches, such as Boracay, have become veritable frat parties, the country is made up of 7,000 islands, so finding your own slice of paradise isn't difficult. The Philippines was ruled by the Spanish for 35 decades and is staunchly Catholic, which sets it apart from the rest of Southeast Asia, where Buddhism reigns supreme. Shiny malls and fast food chains are plentiful in the mega-cities, as are enormous colorful fiestas and colonial architecture.
- Get Cheerful with the Locals Despite the country's setbacks, Filipinos are relentlessly cheerful, and it's contagious.
- Enjoy the Physicality Go mountain trekking, kite surfing, volcano hiking, spelunking, surfing, and more; dream it and it can be done.
- Find Yourself. There's plenty of camaraderie in the Philippines—if you want it. Otherwise, the deserted beaches of Visayas are yours for the taking.
- Participate in a Fiesta. Celebrations are a colorful and chaotic affair, with dazzling floats and outrageous costumes.
- Belly up to the Table. Philippine cuisine tantalizes with bold combinations of sweet, salty, and sour. Pull up a chair and enjoy the feast.