There’s nothing wrong about wanting to see all of the world, but a foreigner has this advice for Filipinos setting their eyes abroad: Discover the Philippines first.
“The foreign always appears more exotic and intriguing than your own home country,” said Philipp Dukatz, a German who spent three months going around the Philippines.
“But the Philippines has so much to offer that it would be a shame to not explore it before venturing out into the world,” he told Yahoo Philippines through email.
In June, Dukatz made waves in the online Filipino community after he shared his adventures in a blog post titled, “Roundup Philippines: A country that has it all.”
The blog offered Filipinos a fresh look into local destinations that may have grown too familiar to them, this time through the eyes of an outsider.
From his account, it could be said that Dukatz has seen—and loved—it all: the white sand beaches of Boracay, the clear waters of Palawan, and the steep slopes of Sagada.
“It is all there, all there for the taking and for you it is not even far away,” Dukatz told Filipinos, adding that “now is the best time to discover the Philippines.”
“Imagine that foreign tourists like myself pay a lot of money for an overseas flight to come and see the beauty of your country,” the German national added.
While traveling the Philippines, Dukatz was joined was by two backpackers from Belgium. “You can have it for cheap and you don’t even need to take a long holiday,” he said.
Asked where Filipinos should start, Dukatz advised against looking too far. “I would suggest looking at places that are around one’s hometown and take it from there.”
He said there are destinations for every personality in the country. The beach bums may try Boracay while the adventurous may trek the Cordilleras or Mountain Province.
For foreigners staying only briefly, Palawan is a must-see, Dukatz told Yahoo Philippines, saying the island province “offers a good mix of almost everything.”
“Nice beaches, off-the-beaten-track places as well as more developed ones, diving, hiking and much more. I think it combines a lot of the great things the Philippines offers tourists,” he said.
The real attraction
But Dukatz thinks the country’s main attraction is not any of its headlined spots. “[T]he thing that really sets the Philippines apart is its people,” he said.
“The Filipinos’ unique kind of hospitality is really one of a kind. I found them to go out of their way to help and make you feel welcome,” he said.
He particularly cited his stay in Gubat, a small seaside town in the province of Sorsogon, where he said he made a lot of new friends among locals and tourists.
“We were invited for food and drinks, we had long nights at the beach sharing laughter and stories and in the end we all became friends,” he told Yahoo Philippines.
He even pictures himself falling in love with a Filipina. “Love doesn’t know nationalities I think. So of course I could imagine it,” he said when prodded.
But the German national was quick to add that he “could also imagine falling in love with a South American, a German or an American or a girl from anywhere else.”
Now is the time
If he had all the time and money in the world, Dukatz said he would like to ride a motorbike across the Philippines, stopping wherever he would feel like it.
“I think there is so much to explore in the Philippines and that riding a motorbike would be a great and fun way,” he said. “I hope I can soon come back for more.”
Dukatz even has a solution for Filipinos who want to experience the foreign. “Chat up some foreign tourists while you are traveling. We always like to get in touch with locals,” he said.
“Basically you don’t have to look far to find true beauty and a real adventure. It is all out there, maybe just around the corner,” Dukatz said. “Take the chance and go see those places now.”