Our trip to the Philippines started terribly. We got food poisoning from an Indian restaurant in Phuket where we arrived from Koh Lanta to take our flight to Manila. Actually, we kind of ‘missed’ the flight. The traffic was fine that day, the guesthouse we lived was close (20 minutes of walking) and we arrived to the airport six hours before the departure.

The Beauty of the Philippines

Fishermen preparing the nets for the night.

What we overlooked, however, was that the departure time was 00.25 on the 1st of April, which meant we should have arrived at the airport the evening of the 31st. But we arrived on the 1st in the afternoon, when the plane was already long gone. April Fools Day was indeed foolish.

But it all turned out fine in the end; we caught a flight the following day, arrived safely to Manila at 4 am, spent ten hours at the airport, tasted a lot of Filipino food and took another plane to Caticlan and a local bus to Pandan in Antique, one of the four provinces of the Panay Island.

You might remember from the post about our plans how we wanted to experience the Philippines through our own adventures. We also planned to meet with Clelia from Keep Calm and Travel, who stopped in Pandan while exploring the Philippines.

Our plan was to travel slowly from Panay to Palawan, and later to move to Cebu and some small hidden islands to look for the beauty of the Philippines so many travellers had been talking about.

In the end, we deviated a lot from our initial itinerary. We loved the small town of Pandan and its barangays (a Filipino term for a village, district or ward) so much that we decided to do a tour of other small towns and villages so that we could stay in contact with locals and avoid crowds on the beaches that were filling up quickly due to the Easter holidays.

The Beauty of the Philippines

The sunsets in the Philippines are terrific.

A vast number of Filipinos were travelling to see their relatives in different parts of the country or to spend their vacation on the beach, which coincided with very high rates for flights.

Nevertheless, thanks to all these coincidences, we travelled for three weeks across Panay and we were deeply moved by the people that crossed our path.

We spent the majority of our time with locals and we were incredibly touched by their stories, their humble yet bright personalities and vivacious energy. Now, we would like to thank them for some lessons that have influenced us.

To do that, we are dedicating this post to all of the dear people of the Philippines whom we met on the road. Many of you do not have the internet, a computer, and some of you have little to no electricity, but the world is small and we do believe these words will find you one day.

That said, we want to say a big thank you and share with you what impressed us the most:

Your smiles are charming

The Beauty of the Philippines

A happy girl on the Olotayan Island.

We did nothing but smile on the streets, in the hotels, at the markets and in the bistros everyday. The elderly, children, vendors, and fishermen; all of you smiled after the first surprised look crossed your faces.

You welcome foreigners warmly

“Where are you from?” and your other curious questions started many conversations. After we responded, you proudly said, “Welcome to the Philippines!”

Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier - www.hotelscombined.com

You love singing

A luggage porter at the airport sings, a shop assistant sings (at 4 am!), a guy selling tickets for a local bus sings, staff members in hotels sing. Not to mention that karaoke in small villages is as common as a bakery shop. There is even karaoke in the jungle!

You are big basketball lovers

The Beauty of the Philippines

A basketball match in Tibiao.

No matter how small or destroyed a town or village is after a typhoon, there is always a court for outdoor basketball. Over 30°C and the hot sun? No problem. You still manage to start a game with some friends.

Your politeness is impressive

“Yes, ma’am”, “Yes, sir” was something we were getting used to for a while. And despite us requesting that you call us by our first names, you kept on with your high standards of politeness.

Your wild nature is a magnificent experience

The Beauty of the Philippines

Green rice fields in Tibiao.

Lush, wild forests, saturated, green rice fields, waterfalls and rivers, all in unspoiled beauty. There is much more to admire than just your beaches, especially your hills that offer spectacular views of the landscape, villages, rivers and unpaved roads, where only a local can manage to ride a motorbike!

How helpful you are

Where to eat, what to see, how to get somewhere: you suggested tips and insider info without us even asking you.

Your faith in God is profound

The Beauty of the Philippines

Church mess in Pandan.

It was a big visual change for us, to come to the Catholic Philippines from Buddhist Thailand. Buddhist string bracelets were replaced by crosses on necks, temples and altars became churches, chapels and statues of Jesus and Holy Mary.
The churches we visited in Panay and Manila were full and many young and children attended the masses, compared to some predominantly Catholic European countries.

You are impressively family-oriented

The Beauty of the Philippines

A family having a lunch in Iloilo.

You used to work and live abroad and you’ve come back because of your aging parents or a family you have a strong bond with. No matter how good the job was you had, you prefer to take care of your loved ones until they get better.
Many of you also come back to retire in your homeland or plan to do so in the future.

It was not easy to explain to you that we left our homelands to travel around the world using only phone contact with our families.

Your women are so pretty

The Beauty of the Philippines

Kaylen, 14 years old girl selling fish in Roxas.

Those of you in the countryside and small provinces simply shine with their pure, feminine beauty with no artificial, cosmetic additions. In the cities this changes, but we consider this an inevitable side effect of commercial pressures in all large, global cities.

Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier - www.hotelscombined.com

You love sweet, salty and fat

We had heard so many contrasting opinions about your cuisine and honestly, the food we tasted was very nice. We especially enjoyed the homemade meal we tried at our Couchsurfing host in Manila, but very often the amount of sugar or salt in your dishes was too much for us.

You are great storytellers

The Beauty of the Philippines

Mrs. Victoria talking to Gianni at the street market in Roxas.

Once you see there is someone who is ready to listen to you, you tell your story and you are not at all shy when talking about your private life.

You speak English even in small neighbourhoods

Sometimes it was a simple “good afternoon” that you loudly declared with a smile on your face, other times you started to chat about different countries and our travels. Whether it was kids running on the shore, ladies at the markets or a solitary man living alone in a forest, all of you were happy to share your time with us and made a great effort to have a conversation.

You guys can play with anything!

The Beauty of the Philippines

Kids having fun in the port in Iloilo.

We might have been staring at you too much when you were playing with your flip-flops or with bottle lids. No need for expensive toys here!

You do your best to preserve hidden islands

In some areas, you follow strict ‘carrying capacity’ rules in order to preserve the natural treasures of waterfalls and forests. You restrict the number of tourists who can enter areas during a certain period of time and we think that’s an amazing approach! But we feel you must become more active in keeping trash out of your forest and rivers.

Oh, your jeepney!

The Beauty of the Philippines

A jeepney in Manila.

What makes them so special is the way you paint them and how you pass the money to a driver via other passengers!

You love to pose for pictures

Pointing a camera in your direction flatters you!

You always keep a positive spirit

When we saw your destroyed schools, huts and boats from typhoon Yolanda that hit you in November 2013, we had only one thought: the God you believe in so much could allow this to happen only to a people who have tremendous power to cope with tragedy. You remember exactly what you were doing that day, where you ran to hide and how long the hell lasted in your barangay.

Now, almost six months later, when you’re still waiting for your shelter to be repaired or build from the scratch, you smile! You smile and you help those who have less than you.
“Bahala na,” you say. You really live the moment, not caring about tomorrow or the past. Even if this might prevent you from planning for the future, you live your life fully, with love, open hearts and a willingness to help those who need it.

The things we learned about other cultures so far have been precious for us. But the things you have taught us are crucial for our self-development, too. People of the Philippines, you have helped us to realize that humanity is something that connects this world. We must remember that we are all the same, no matter which corner of the earth we were born in.

If you plan a visit to the Philippines and you’re looking for a hotel in Manila, on the Panay island or any other destination you have in mind to explore in the Philippines, you can do it via HotelsCombined search which is an easy way to check the prices, availability and do your booking, too. Also, if you book your hotel in the Philippines through our website, we’ll get a small commission from it that will help us to maintain this website.

Here are our suggestions:

Pearl Garden Hotel Manila

Pearl Garden Hotel Manila

Elegant and comfortable rooms with aircon, private bathroom and wifi access.

Deluxe room with breakfast: $50

Pandan Beach Resort

Pandan Beach Resort, Pandan

The resort features a private beach, comfortable accommodation and a restaurant.

Deluxe room with breakfast: $42

Circle Inn Iloilo

Circle Inn Iloilo City Center

A 3 star accommodation in the city center. Rooms with private bathroom and free wifi.

Deluxe room: $39

183 Responses

    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Melo, either in the Philippines or other country, it would be nice :)

      Reply
    • Paul Francia

      Thank you very much. Beautiful photos and even more beautiful experience that you shared. I know you have a lot of stories to tell about the Philippines and our people. I’ve lived in Manila for a long time but settled in Iloilo City since 1998. Ive travelled the world but I hope to travel to every corner of my country in my lifetime. Thank you again for sharing a positive post about my country.

      Reply
      • Ivana Greslikova

        Thanks for reading, Paul! Wishing you to explore as much of your homeland as possible!

  1. rommel pajarin

    amazing pics!!! your zest for travel is contagious :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Rommel.Glad our adventures inspire you :) Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Sab

    AMAZING PHOTOS!!! Too bad I missed you guys in the Philippines! Hope you had a great time! Fantastic post, will share it right now!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Sab, many thanks! The world is small, so hopefully we will cross our paths one day :) Enjoy Chiang Mai, it’s a great place for digital nomads… We stayed there for three months and had a fantastic time! Cheers!

      Reply
  3. TravelDoIt

    There’s some incredible pictures in here that you both should be incredibly proud of, not only for their great composure, but more for the fantastic scenes that you’ve captured.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Dale, thank you very much! We are happy we can share these moments with you and other people. We are very grateful we could witness the lives of Filipinos’ that gave us really a lot! Safe travels, guys!

      Reply
  4. Clelia

    I’m so glad that I had the chance to meet u guys! Love this post and your pictures. I can subscribe every single word.

    Filipino people are truly amazing.

    I will definitely share this :)

    Safe travels and I hope we will meet again!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Ciao, Clelia! Thank you, it was a pleasure to meet you and glad that we met in Pandan which turned out for us a wonderful place to start our tour in the Philippines!
      See you in Italy or in Asia again :)

      Reply
  5. Mandy

    very good blog!
    I recently been in the Philippines myself and I totally agree with your look on the country and it’s amazing people!
    it’s more fun in the Philippines :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hello, Mandy, glad you had similar experience! Thanks for your kind words, too :)

      Reply
  6. Sarah

    Awww.. I feel so proud being a Filipino after reading this and looking at the pictures. You captured the essence of who we are as a country, and I was left in awe and sentimental about it! Thank you for this feature! :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Sarah, thank you. We’ve been sincerely honoured that we could visit your country and to know your beautiful culture of warm hearts!

      Reply
  7. Shela Marie A. Daquila

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures….I feel so proud and lucky to see my province ( Antique ) featured in your blog.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Salamat, Shela :) We are pleased to get know your province, too!

      Reply
  8. EG

    You said the most beautiful words about distinct Filipino traits (as well some nooks and corners in the Philippines) that we Filipinos often fail to recognize and appreciate. Salamat. Thank you for reminding to take stock of our many blessings. It’s a blessing too welcome visitors in our country, but getting a heartwarming feedback on these visits is a bonus! God bless you on your future travels guys!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you a lot! We loved these unknown ‘corners’ and remote islands we visited a lot. There’s is a lot to explore and the nature was just breathtaking!
      Hopefully more Filipinos will travel to these places, too.

      Reply
  9. Franca

    We almost went to the Philippines after Japan, but we ended up in South Korea instead. There is so much to love of this country looking through your photos and the jeepney looks so funky, one day perhaps we’ll finally make it there :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Aww, you guys will LOVE jeepneys! They are real pieces of art! I sincerely wish that you’ll make it there one day. Not only because of this incredible transport, but also for the nature and people that are truly spectacular :)

      Reply
  10. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    Yes, yes, 1000x yes! There are so many things to love about the Philippines and your post pretty much nails them all. The singing! The smiles! The sunsets! The only thing we didn’t really care for in the Philippines was the food, but I think that was really the only blemish on an otherwise wonderful country. (And we were still relatively new travelers, so maybe there were better options to be had and we just didn’t find them.) So glad you enjoyed your time in one of our favorite countries!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Steph,
      we followed your adventures in the Philippines too and we can easily understand now why you do so!!

      Reply
  11. Charlene

    Aww.. This made me smile. Thank you. I brought a Chinese friend back home in the Philippines (Roxas City, Capiz) this Easter. She loves my countrymen too. She wants to go back and probably marry a Filipino fisherman. Haha..

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      If she met the same generous and funny guys as we did, then we are not surprised by your friend’s decision :)

      Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you, Anna. If you have a chance in the future, we can only recommend the Philippines!

      Reply
  12. Michael Orobona

    Some of the friendliest, most giving people I’ve ever met were of Filipino descent (in Australia and the US). I can only imagine it’s a very friendly country by what I’ve seen of its expats. Whether they have a lot or little, Filipinos share and smile. They also introduced me to a whole new style of asian cooking.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      That’s so nice to hear about your experience, Michael. I am sure you will love the country if you visit it one day :)

      Reply
  13. Katherine Belarmino | Travel the World

    Our flight home from Phuket was just after midnight too. We caught our flight, but I kept worrying about going on the wrong day! Glad you had such a wonderful time in the Philippines. My husband’s family is from the Philippines, so I hope we will go some day. I am so not surprised there is karaoke in the jungle!!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Lucky you with the flight :) I am sure your husband can bring you to many places where you can encounter a great hospitality of locals or be charmed by the landscape there!

      Reply
  14. Daryl

    Wow! I love how you’ve defined our country, culture and our ways. You’re such an amazing writter. I have this habit of skipping through words while reading blogs, but how you made me read your article, word for word, is really something! Salute!

    Also, I would like to say Maraming Salamat… For loving and promoting Filipinos to the world. Who knows, maybe someday, the favor you and your colleagues are doing for us (including all other Asian nations), may be the start of a better treatment, respect and equality to Asians around the world.

    Again, maraming salamat kaibigan… More power at mabuhay ka!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Daryl, thank you, your words are really kind. Me and Gianni, my partner, co-traveller and photographer of this website, do appreciate them.
      We will do our best to spread the word about not only Asian countries, but about all other places we visit, so people can be inspired to get know new cultures by their own and share their knowledge and experience, too. Salamat!

      Reply
  15. Pabs

    Thank you for yourkind words about our people. Little angel smiles coz she see s another angel. Take care.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you, Pabs. We’ve been very grateful that we could get know your people a little bit. Kind greetings to you!

      Reply
  16. czha

    Pure joy to read this kind of blog …while reading I keep telling myself yes we are
    likes to sing … yes we do sing a lot
    food is extreme .. salty, sweet and fat- but our seafood is great right?

    Thank you for your beautiful post.. hope this blog reach the hearts of other travelers around the world

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Czha, thanks for commenting. Right, your seafood was really good :) Gianni was in 7th heaven when we were in Roxas and sampling all the specialities :)

      Reply
  17. Ivy

    Your beautiful words & photos brought tears to my eyes. It made me miss my country, my barangay & most especially my family since I live & work here in the UK. Salamat for sharing the Philippines to the world & good fortune in all your future travels :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Ivy, thank you. Now you have made out eyes wet… Your country is just beautiful and I wish you could see your family and beloved ones as often as you want!

      Reply
      • Ivana Greslikova

        I’m so sorry to hear that so many people who are commenting here feel homesick, including you, Dennis.
        We have seen that the conditions for finding a good job are really challenging in the Philippines… On the flip side, you can spread your culture throughout the world and motivate other people to pay a visit to your homeland!
        All the best for you!

  18. Dondon Eugenio

    Thank you so much Ivana and Gianni , for being true and kind to others, but most especially for showcasing us Filipinos to the whole world! Hopefully someday, people around the world recognizes the true essence of “being human”, to love without conditions, to give without expecting in return, and to respect each other, no matter what country or place you came from. Again, maraming salamat, God bless you guys and may Almighty God always keep you safe on your travels!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Dondon, thank you for these kind words. We are confident people who will travel one day to the Philippines and those who’ve already been there can only spread a positive word about your country. At least this has been our experience and we are very grateful for that.

      Reply
  19. Yasee

    Thanks for discovering the true colors of the Philippines. Soon I will be happy to share to you perhaps giving you the tour information of the Eastern Visayas where Typhoon Haiyan first made its landfall way back. The most hidden of scenic spots wherein many of these were not yet captured by cameras….. be the first to show to the world this part of the country. I wish you to be back here in our Philippines which shows you the true colors of life…..

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hello, Yasee, from what we saw in the Panay island we have understood the place was affected a lot and some scenes and stories in small barangays made us very sad for a while. I believe that a positive attitude of locals together with some help of NGOs and individual support will bring back all necessary things that your people need.

      Reply
  20. edwina

    thank you so much for your beautiful write-ups about my country, it made me so proud to be a filipina…..your photos were so enchanting…maraming salamat po uli!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Many thanks, Edwina! The Philippines are simply photogenic :)

      Reply
      • rose

        upon looking those picture u make my tears pour down i really miss my contry my hometown thank you so much that u appreciate the beauty of our country hope in your future travel you can visit my province CEBU where a lot of tourist spot and adventures there salamat at mabuhay !

      • Ivana Greslikova

        Hi Rose,
        I’m really sorry you feel homesick, hopefully you can enjoy your time back home soon. Thanks, we want to visit Cebu, too, since we have heard a lot about it!
        Take care and wish you to be surrounded by nice people so you do not miss your homeland too much!

  21. Gilbert Glariana

    Hello, thank you so much for your great appreciation and wonderful blog of experiences about my country, the Philippines. Your thoughts and nice words to our culture reminds us our love ones whom we left behind at home, with their smiles and joys in your very nice photos we can see. We are grateful indeed that you are not just a visitors to us and to our country but you try to live within us in your short journey to the Philippines by sharing your life experienced.

    Daghan kaau salamat! Mabuhay and God bless!

    -OFW

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Salamat, Gilbert! The love and family bond you are all showing to us is so beautiful!
      We really loved our time in Antique while staying with locals and by doing this we got a great chance to know your culture better.
      Take care!

      Reply
  22. jovs

    my grand parents are from antique and ilo ilo,. and yes! i also had so much chances visiting our province, thanks for the positive feedbacks, i feel honored to come from such hidden paradise in the philippines, Godbless your journey :)

    Reply
  23. jejun guanco

    madamo gid nga salamat halin sa amon tagipusuon diri sa iloilo..in english more thanks to you from the buttom of our heart from here in iloilo….thanks for appreciating our city,culture,and our people

    Reply
  24. Danny

    While reading, tears kept flowing from my eyes without me knowing it. I am very emotional about your post on my beloved country. Hoping you will not forget us from now on, wherever your feet got you. Thanks a lot for the every very kind word you wrote. I was raised in small town of Tibiao in Antique. Madamo guid nga salamat!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Danny!
      We have been keeping the Philippines in our hearts and minds till now, and the friendships we have made there are very precious for us, too.
      Tibiao!! Our favourite place :) You can check our last post about our eco-adventures there.
      Take care!

      Reply
  25. Marites Mapa

    Fantastic! I love the way you right story on what you experienced on your wonderful journey. I’m so glad on how you appreciate my fellow Filipino people. You are so lucky for witnessing our unique culture and been in some beautiful places of our
    dear country. That is one of my dream to visit those places  when I go back home for good.
    Right now am still working in a
    foreign land.

    Many thanks kaibigan, Mabuhay!

    More power and good luck to your next interesting trip.

    Once again, Salamat! :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Marites,
      Antique welcomes everyone who wishes to explore it :) Good luck with your job abroad and happy returns home!

      Reply
  26. Francis

    This blog is so beautiful. Thank you for your beautiful comments about the Philippines. I appreciate your concern for our country. That some people do not care, politicians corrupt, illegal deforestations. We still have a long journey but I am sure it is people’s collective effort that will make the difference.

    Reply
  27. Kath

    I am deeply moved with your story about our country. It makes one proud being a Filipino and for an article written as extensive and beautiful as this it makes one Filipino to start loving, exploring and sharing the beauty of her own country.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Yes, to share and spread the voice about the Philippines is one of the best way how we all can show the love for the country!
      All the best, Kath :)

      Reply
  28. mers

    Maraming salamat for the kind words!i am so proud to b a filipino!i just came back from a week of palawan trip 5hrs ago when i saw and read your blog…the words that i dont know how to express about my own experience,you write them all down!and you inspire me to continue to travel,discover and experience all the different islands of my country!more power to your team and may u inspire more people to visit philippines!have a safe travel! :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Mers! Great to hear about your experience in Palawan! We are very happy to read that the post made your feet itchy :)
      Take care and take a chance to travel whenever you can 😉

      Reply
  29. jane cepe

    thank you so much for appreciating my country Philippines, yes I am a Filipino and proud to be an Ilonggo (ILOILO CITY), hope you could visit again…More power and God Bless you both in your upcoming journeys… Its more fun in the PHILIPPINES…

    Reply
  30. DAWN

    such compliments do make us more proud of who we are as Filipinos thou we are facing poverty but we Filipinos still have all the reason to be thank full to Gods blessings in our land

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      You are doing great, Dawn, despite all the troubles you are facing there!

      Reply
  31. ritchelle

    I have experienced travel through your eyes. Thank you for bringing me to wonderful places of my country. I am one of those filipinos who seldom travel or never ridden a plane. I can only count the few scenic places i’ve seen with my one hand. Your travels have not only seen beautiful places but witnessed the beautiful souls. God be with you and be safe. A very soul-enriching travel indeed.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Ritchelle,
      I don’t know which part of the Philippines you come from, but wish you to travel whenever you have a chance! Yes, you are right, the people we have met are gorgeous and we are very honoured to get know better some of them.

      Reply
  32. Reynaldo Latap

    Thanks for the kind words you have said about our country especially about the Panay Islands. You and your buddy is not only very kind but also very beautifu….God bless you.

    Reply
  33. Anne Ledesma

    Tears can’t stop falling from my eyes while reading this. My heart rejoiced with gladness that somebody could see the beauty that’s within Filipinos despite the negative impressions we keep on receiving. Thank you for finding time to know the heart of the Philippines, its PEOPLE. You have truly defined the Philippines. The pics are lovely. Thank you much.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Awww, Anne, it’s touching for us to read your comment, too. We are spreading the voice about the Philippines as much as we can, through this blog, but also while traveling and meeting other travellers who have never been there. Thank again for kind words and all the best for you!

      Reply
  34. Maria O'Neal

    I was very touch!!! On how you can put your experienced as I was feeling and actually experiencing it! The essence of your actual experience and writing it, made simple things significant to me. Thank you for opening my eyes!!!I have a beautiful country…Maraming Salamat po! Mabuhay .

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you very much for the feedback, Maria! Your country is charming for many people, may they be locals or foreigners :)

      Reply
  35. faith

    thank you for the nice write ups and blogs and pics shared about my country, the Philippines…. hope everyone can see the positive beauty of the place and not just the negative ones… mabuhay at maraming salamat!!!!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Salamat, Faith!
      We would like that more people go to explore your country and know your people. The land of the Philippines has a lot to offer!

      Reply
  36. Berna

    Thank you for visiting our country and for visiting my hometown Roxas City, Capiz:) I’m just so proud that I was raised and have lived their! So missing fresh seafoods, the beautiful smiles, typical bbq by the beach, the beautiful beaches and sunset and of course my family back home:( I’m so glad that people coming from other countries appreciate and love my fellow filipinos and my country too! More power to you!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Berna
      In Roxas we had a few awesome seafood feasts and we liked a lot the Olotayan island we visited one morning. Sadly, it was much destroyed by the typhoon last November. But the people there are just amazing! Take care.

      Reply
  37. Daisy

    One of the best blogs ive ever read! My tears just fall down while reading this and makes me wanna go home and explore my country. Thank you Ivana and Gianni!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Daisy, thank you very much, we are very pleased and happy to inspire also the Filipino expats to travel in their own country.
      I sincerely wish that you could go and travel through your country!

      Reply
  38. caesar

    Thank you for visiting our place … im from iloilo ..its so amazing you guys experiencing our good hopitality as a filipino …. i wonder may be you miss to eat our very own la paz batchoy and pork litson …and some time visit our dinagyang festival im sure you will love it… thanks indeed of your post .

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Caesar,
      Oh, litson was Gianni’s favourite dish! We had a chance to eat it in different provinces and he loved it :)

      Reply
  39. Gigi

    Reading your blog made me homesick – in a good way. Not many travellers explore Iloilo City & I’m glad you guys did. I’m Filipino-Canadian but will always be an Ilongga by heart. I feel your sincerity & kindness through your words. Thank you for appreciating my home country. Safe travels!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for commenting, Gigi! I hope you have a chance to visit the Philippines and spend some time in Iloilo, too.
      Take care, wherever in the world you are :)

      Reply
  40. Jodie

    We, Filipinos are very emotional. So, when I was reading your post I felt like crying. We’re glad you came to our country and saw not only with your eyes and hearts. I shared your post with friends who shared them, too. May you continue traveling together and bless more people in your journeys. Thank you soooo much.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you many times, Jodie! For your warm words and for helping us spreading the voice about the Philippines, too.

      Reply
  41. Argy

    Hi! Maam Ivana, this story brings tears into my eyes. How I miss my homeland. How I miss living in a very rural life. Working abroad esp. In Middle East when you see nothing but desert and feel nothing but the heat of the sun, made me realize that even my country is not an oil- rich country or as rich as this country, we are still blessed of having beautiful and natural resources, kind hearted and not abusive people and above all else a God- fearing country. your experience and story brings me back to my childhood days when only an empty can, a flip flop, a piece of stick, and a friends can make you Happy for the day. I hope one day you can explore more in mindanao… Thank you! Mabuhay po kayo!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Argy, thank you for the feedback. Happy to hear the article has brought you good memories, but sad to hear you are living less joyful life now.
      Wish all will be fine around you and that one day you live the life in a country, where you will feel happy!

      Reply
  42. Gayle Cressy

    Next time you come to the Philippines I’ll invite you to my island in Negros Oriental…your story is very beautiful I can’t help myself but feeling imotional. The last time I went home was in 2011 after 10 years that I didn’t able to see my family. I’m planning of going back hopefully I’ll be there before New Years.. Anyways shoot me an email:) I would love to hear from you all..much ❤️❤️❤️

    Gay C

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Gayle,
      Good luck and hopefully you get back home for NY or even earlier to spend some nice time with your family! If you are interested, you can subscribe to our newsletter so you can receive more updates about our travels and projects :)

      Reply
  43. zandro

    Thank you for the very kind words. I am one of those Filipinos out of the Philippines and this blog entry has made me miss more the simple way of life back home. Yes, no matter how many years we’ve been away, we always look forward to that one day when we go back home and never have to leave. Our family is one of the primary reasons why we leave, and the main reason why we want to go back. Again, thank you for visiting our country and it is nice knowing you and your group had a good time there!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Zandro,
      All the best for you, your family back home and all beloved ones around you!

      Reply
  44. Charlie Castillo

    Am so glad you enjoyed the Philippines. Most Filipinos are respectful and humble and very welcoming, especially to foreigners and returning Filipinos(balikbayans).
    I have Filipino friends, though , who don’t think the way you appreciate the Philippines. And I feel sad. Please come back and see more of the Philippines! Cheers!!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Charlie, thanks for commenting! I guess those who do not see the beauty in their homeland anywhere in the world are not satisfied for any reason.
      May it be a bad or no job, system, neighbourhood, relation etc. So we wish all those who do not feel comfortable in the Philippines to look at it in more positive way and feel more at ease at home soon.

      Reply
  45. Love Joy

    We like people who like us. So when you said you enjoyed your travel to the Philippines and your encounters with the Pinoys (nickname for Filipinos), it is also because you treated the people you met with appreciation and respect. I am sure that the people you talked to will remember you with fondness too, in way they mirrored your kindness and friendliness.

    Thank you for the kind words about my country :)

    Safe travels to you….

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hello Love Joy, we are confident also in the opposite: our hosts and new friends were so friendly that we couldn’t be different to them :) Many thanks!

      Reply
  46. juday

    Ur post about our country is something to be proud of, i couldnt help but 2 share it on my fb’s a/c ….thank u so much….

    Reply
  47. Marsha

    What a great post: this really makes me want to visit the Philippines. Wonderful pictures and sounds like the people are wonderful!!

    Reply
  48. Ruby

    Thank you for the pictures and stories you shared about my province. Aside from Boracay, we have a lot to show to the world how beautiful Panay is- people, place and food.
    I am from Iloilo. “Salamat gid sa pagbisita. Halong!” -thank you so much for the visit. Take care!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Definitely, Ruby! There are so many places worth of visit :) We did not make it to Boracay this time, but enjoyed the Philippines a lot, though :)

      Reply
  49. Kiko

    Salamat Ivana and Gianni for sharing this very nice photos and your kind worlds to my dear country. I work in a cruise ship and visited a lot of nice places around the world but there is really no place like home. Hope to see you both in the Philippines on your next visit. God bless you both and thank you again for this very nice blog.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Kiko. Many happy voyages to you, too!

      Reply
  50. jhara

    Thank you for your kind words. your blog about my country make us all proud to be Pinoys. truly that its more fun in the Philippines and there’s no place like Philippines. Thank you Ivana and Gianni! =)

    Reply
  51. von

    Our pocket is empty but our heart is full..this is the reason why is it that i am so proud to be a filipino. And thank u for letting the world knows what kind of personalities does the filipino have your kind words in every sentence is really appreciated..bearhugz♥

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Well said, Von, hearts of Filipinos are absolutely gorgeous!

      Reply
  52. bro grimes

    thank you for visiting philippines…awesome pics…next time you might extend your vacation in the philippines just imagine
    7,107 islands… and you just only visited 2 islands hhmmm you missed the 7,105 islands..take care and god bless…

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Bro Grimes, we are slow travellers and take all easy :) But we want to go back for sure :)

      Reply
  53. Ramil

    I guess all is been said in here.. I just want to thank you & Gianni for choosing my beloved country one of ur destination.. It’s an honored to to have you foreign visitors in my homeland.. Wish u both all the best. DAGHAN SALAMAT.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Many thanks, Ramil! We appreciated your comment!

      Reply
  54. Charles

    Great read! Can’t help but to get a bit emotional while reading it, been away from home for a year now. It’s also my dream to travel and see the beauty of my country, thank you for giving me another reason to do so. Will explore when I get back. God bless you and Maraming Salamat!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Salamat, Charles! I wish you to travel across the Philippines as much as possible :) Take care!

      Reply
  55. Jun Seyan

    I would like to thank both of you for showing the good part in us. Thank you for taking some time to talked to us and appreciate in your most sincerest way. From our heart “Maraming Salamat Po!

    Reply
  56. Frank

    Hello Ivana,

    One can only read between your lines. It is with sincerity and honesty you describe the places, the people you came across. Many of us Filipinos were touched by your kind words. You expressed your appreciation to our beautiful country that we as Filipinos sometimes never have the time to fully enjoy, because we are so busy trying to make a living to better the lives of our parents and family.

    Thank you for taking the time to write positively about our people who inspite of hardship are honest, giving and kind.

    May the LORD guide you and Gianni in your travel as you spread wonderderful words about other culture.

    Frank
    Massachusetts

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Frank, many thanks for these kind words and your blessing!

      Reply
  57. Mel john P. Rapo

    Thank you very much for taking time to visit my beloved homeland Philippines especially to the city of love ILOILO CITY♥♥♥

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you Mel, your comment is much appreciated!

      Reply
  58. Todd

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article on your blog. I am an American that so much loves the Philippines it almost hurts! I have made many trips to the Philippines and you describe this amazing country and people so well. The Philippines is a beautiful country as far as landscape…but what makes the Philippines so good for me is the people. I have NEVER met people so warm, so gracious, so welcoming, and so so so positive as filipinos.

    I wish more people in the world could visit the Philippines as you did…not just the nice resorts but down in the streets in the nitty gritty. What an amazing place and people. For those of you reading my post…if you haven’t been to the Philippines…Go! For filipinos that, for some reason, don’t realize how good your country is…open your eyes. Sure there is a lot of poverty…but you and the rest of the filipino people make your country amazing. I am proud to say I truly love the Philippines.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Todd, wow, so kind words from you! I’m sure soon this country will be welcoming more and more travellers. I can see already now that more and more people choose Philippines as their vacation destination. And that’s wonderful!

      Reply
  59. Winston T. Casis

    Thanks, Ivana for the article. I came from a small town in Aklan-Buruanga, you passed thru it on the way to Libertad and Pandan. I live here in cold Chicago. You truly love the Philippines. Someday I will come home and spend the rest of my life there!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Winston, thanks, I am very glad you’ve liked reading the post. Wishing you beautiful time in Chicago and may your dream to stay in your homeland in the future come true. All the best for you and your beloved ones !

      Reply
  60. Erv

    Thank you for the kind words about my motherland. I’ve lived in the US ever since I was 9 (almost 22 now), but my Filipino pride stays true and strong. I love reading about travelers’ experience in the Philippines; it always gives me the biggest smile! It makes me proud to be from a country that treats everyone so well, even though, as you pointed out, we’ve had our share of tragedies. I don’t know the next time I get to visit the Philippines, as I am currently in college, and in the process of trying to get into Pharmacy school. However, seeing entries like these makes me feel at ease. I may be thousands of miles away, but I’ll always be a Filipina.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you, Erv and wish you lot of success at your college and hopefully you’ll get a chance to see the Philippines one day again!

      Reply
  61. Victor

    Thanks Ivana…you are one of the reason why we, the Filipino people continues to smile…without highfalutin words you were able to describe and praise the quality of our natural essence – in simple terms about a simple people…mabuhay ka Ivana, you are welcome to come back a million times…

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Many warm thanks, Victor, we felt great among Filipinos and it’s a country which we definitely wish to explore more :)

      Reply
  62. Charlie

    Incredible photos! We travelled to Palawan last year and just thought it was so beautiful. I’d love to travel some more of the Philippines, I’m sure you could spend months and months island hopping there!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Wow, I bet you had a great time in Palawan, Charlie. We had to skip it last year, as we arrived just for Easter and flight tickets cost a fortune at that time 😀 Yeah, you’re right, you can do an epic islands hopping in the Philippines. I wonder if there is a person who did all of those 7107 islands. That could be a life challenge, right?

      Reply
  63. Rodjie Ortega

    Thank you for this blog! I got inspired about the stories that you’ve shared. I love my country Philippines and I’ll love it forever! Cebu is a nice island to!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for your comment, Rodjie, we hope we’ll have a chance to travel to this part of Philippines, too.

      Reply
  64. Tom Rogers

    Loved reading this. Currently living in the Philippines. Really well written and stunning photos ! Shared :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks Tom, you’re too kind. Which part of the Philippines are you living in?

      Reply
  65. Thor

    Well-written travel blog about our beautiful country. I admire you for seeing beauty in every situation! Life should be lived like that. Best regards.

    Reply
  66. Leo Avila | OverdrivingWithLeo

    You didn’t miss a thing in your article and great photos! The Philippines has so much to offer, really. Try visiting Boracay, with its stunning white sand beach and thriving night life! See you soon again!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Leo, thanks, you’re too kind. We were actually very close to Boracay, in a barangay called Pandan, where we stayed for for some time instead of visiting the white beaches. We’re also not big party lions and we prefer to stay with locals in calmer areas :) Cheers!

      Reply
  67. David Stock

    We love the Philippines and will be back! Our adventures took us kayaking from remote island to Island for 8 days. Exploring The Chocolate Hills on a motorbike then We completed our PADI Advanced Open Water in Puerto Galera, Philippines! Also staying with a old Leper Colony on Culion Island. Finding a Piece of Africa on Calauit Island. To Helping build a school with Hike + Bike= Build A School on Busuanga. All so much in one country and more to come! Nice people and great adventures.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Looks like you spent there at least half year, David :) So many things done! I’m curious about the BUild A School project, do you have a post on your blog about this? Would love to read more!

      Reply
  68. Patricia

    Found your blog via the Two Monkeys Travel Group. You captured the charm of the Philippines beautifully! Thanks for this post. :) Filipinos are indeed God-fearing, family-oriented, hospitable, and warm. Hope you can visit our country again soon!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks a lot for stopping by, Patricia! We do hope to come back, too :)

      Reply
  69. dante

    I agree, the people in the Philippines make it my favorite country in the world, and are why I live there

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for reading, Dante! It’s nice to hear you have such positive experience with the Philippines.

      Reply
      • dante

        I have lived here for 2 years (from the USA) and it is just a great place to live. Of course there are some small things you must get used to, but overall I love it.

      • Ivana Greslikova

        Wow, two years must be long enough to get the country under your skin :) Hope you’re having a great time there!

  70. Omar Aguilar

    I just came across this post about my native people yesterday. Thank you for seeing the good in them despite the flaws. Thank you for the heart-filled tribute you have generously given. Your tenderness and love for people show themselves through your posts, and I admire your willingness to see and show the world that which is good in others. Honor well-said; a post well-read! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you a lot for commenting, Omar. We do appreciate your kind words. Honestly, our time in the Philippines was special thanks to local people and their warm nature towards foreigners. Thanks again!

      Reply
  71. Belle A. Cee

    Very touching blog about my country and my people. You did not only captured amazing pictures during your stay in the philippines___you have captured my peoples hearts, too! Your experience about riding the jeepney made me laughed so hard…the passing of the money by the people all the way to the driver! The same amazement i had probably during my first jeepney ride long time ago, when i was just a little girl. So glad you had a wonderful time during your stay. Wish you and all your companion a happy and safe journeys in the future. God speed!

    Reply
  72. Ryan

    Thank you for sharing this very wonderful story. Thank you! Thank you! :-)

    Reply
  73. Ninochka

    Shared and Tweeted! Reading this made me teary-eyed… could be PMS but, I just had the feels. Thank you for seeing my country and my people beyond our faults and flaws. We have a lot to offer as a nation, unfortunately ..what makes us unique as a country has also been our downfall and gets the better of us in more ways than we can help ourselves. I hope you find yourselves back in our shores to tell the world more about my Pinoys. Big ups to your article and your beautiful pics <3

    Reply
    • Robert

      I agree….even tho im not fr your beautiful country..this hits my heart too..Super Apir!

      Reply
  74. Robert

    wonderfully written blog and beautiful pics of the beloved Philippines..Thank you for sharing this Ivana

    Reply
  75. Betty Engracia

    More than a year after you dropped by our islands, and people are still loving your blog about our country, including myself. You are so perceptive, appreciative and sensitive, qualities that enabled you to relay your sentiments very well. I assure you that the responses that you received are reflections of the beautiful qualities my countrymen see in you. Thank you for the warmth that you share about a country of very warm people.

    Reply
  76. Angel

    What an admirable way to travel and experience a new place . You’ve opened my eyes to the beauty of a place I still call home and I can’t wait to re-visit places I’ve been to with a deeper appreciation of the people who make me proud of who I am. Thanks much and keep loving what you do.

    Reply
  77. Bruce Curran

    By the way it was a Filipino, Roberto del Rosario, who invented the karaoke machine!
    One of the origins of the yoyo stems from the Philippines …in a local dialect yoyo means ‘come back’ …and that is what I advise you to do with the Philippines – its endless tropical magic is supported by a people friendly beyond compare! I write a blog on my site about the country and have been living here 19 years and am still exploring so many new beautiful places and islands. If you travel to every islad in the country for 48 hours each it will take you 40 years just to see the Philippines….hang on I’d better get out there again …..bye – go well, stay well. and enjoy life’s journey!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Bruce, thanks so much for reading and commenting! Well, no surprise karaoke was invented by a Filipino :) Wow, 19 years in the Philippines! So, theoretically, you should have already travelled to cca 3,500 islands according to your calculation. We definitely want to go back and explore other islands, so we might get in touch with you for some tips in the future. Thanks again for stopping by and best of luck in your adventures in the Philippines and everywhere you go!

      Reply
  78. nader .

    I soon married a Filipino woman. She is very honorable and dignified . She having Noble family And Farmer And Personality . I was fascinated by she . Philippines . A great country and thousands Beautiful island And kind people And hot Blooded . hospitable . Intimate . The good women and Accountability in life . Have Feeling And Lover Their husbands . Philippines People Looking for quietness and comfort . And Hard work and great effort They do For a decent life . ….. I am inviting all people of the world. For dating. With the great nation of the Philippines And See the beauty of the islands Philippines . .. Thank you

    Reply
  79. Mac

    Nice post about our country…
    We maybe not the strong economically but in faith we are STRONG..
    Will share this 😀

    Reply
  80. louie rubio

    Reading your stories game my eyes a sting and i was just able to hold on the tear that was to fall. You hit it on the nail guys. Reading your story somehow made me feel proud that I am A Filipino! Im nor here in ireland working far from my family back home. I guess reading your stories made me miss home more…Thanks for a very touching work!

    Reply
  81. Jacy

    Thank you for this post! You are an amazing person. Please continue travelling and writing good things about the best places you visit :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks a lot for the feedback and kind words, Jacy!

      Reply
  82. Jhes

    Hi Ivana

    What I nice article about my home country! Thank you for this post. Should you visit Philippines again, try to vist the northern part of Philippines as well.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for reading, Jhes, we’ll definitely explore more once we’re back there :)

      Reply
  83. Mark @ Manila Events

    Hi Ivana, thank you for your interest in our country, it’s really nice to see foreigners visiting & writing about my beloved country. next time visit Batanes or Cebu or both ha ha… like you, me & my fiance loves to travel, (just got back from cebu) he he. planning to visit sagada this June & davao on September. and if my pocket permits Hinatuan Enchanted in surigao del sur ph

    Reply
  84. Mariss

    Teary eyes when about to finish reading. Thank you for the kind words and great article, glad you came and keep safe for all your travels.. Reading this in 2016

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Awww, thanks for reading, Mariss and for your touching words… We will be back!

      Reply

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