The Philippines is a majestic land, full of vibrant colors, a simple but admirable culture, budget conscious activities and products (cheap stuff!), and the total individual control to do what you want when you want. When I retire, I hope I decide to stay in a paradise half as perfect as this one. There is so much to do in the Philippines, so I’ve narrowed it down to the top five best things to do or must see items in the Philippines right here. When I mention prices I will roughly convert it to dollars for you to keep it simples. Remember, this is just me doing math in my head, and I really suck at math.
Just to let you know right now, I am a 26 year old male so this article is targeted towards people in there 20’s and 30’s. There is a lot of history and modern day activities in the Philippines, so these are the top things that I enjoy or at least that I think everyone should see at least once in their life.
1. Stay on the White Sand Beach of Boracay during a holiday weekend.
2. See Angeles City and the Bar Girls.
3. Jet Ski
4. Shoot Uzi’s
5. Visit LA Cafe in Manila, Philippines
Staying in Boracay during the holy week, when everyone is off school and work, is an awesome experience. Friday and Saturday night the beach is especially crowded with partiers ready to experience the nightlife that Boracay has to offer. The whole beach is lined with clubs and venders selling booze, fresh fish, jewelry and clothing. The White House, Boracay, Philippines, is a nice affordable place to stay that is in a central location right on White Sand Beach. Be careful when you order the fresh fish from the counter. Notice how all of the fish is sitting on ice with ice dumped on top. I know, it looks delicious, but that fish was caught at about 6am and you are just getting ready to eat it at 8pm and there isn’t any refrigeration, so that fish has been sitting on ice all day. It’s really not all that fresh. Not to mention, all that ice is from nasty Filipino tap water – unfiltered. Trust me on this, stay as far away from the tap water as possible. I have been sick twice from the water in the Philippines. Once I was so hung over and dehydrated that I didn’t even notice I just drank a glass of water. You always want to order bottled water. The other time was on the beach in Boracay: I only tried two oysters, but it was after my buddy ate a whole plateful, so the ice that was on top had completely melted down into the oysters. My buddy was in more pain than I, but it was still awful.
I missed out on Friday night in Boracay because of the glass of water I drank. I was better by Saturday night, thank God, because it is something everyone needs to experience. Every few feet there is another club bumping music with people dancing all night. I recommend the hookah bars and any of the clubs; it just depends on your taste in music.
Anyone who has traveled to different countries knows that there are red light districts around the world. Amsterdam has the most famous, but not necessarily the best, as I found out after my visit to Angeles City, Philippines. I have traveled more than anyone else I know my age, and I have never seen anything like Fields Ave., Angeles City, Philippines. It was crazy! The whole street has nothing but bars filled to the brim with prostitutes, a gyro spot with awesome gyros, and a 7-Eleven. The best thing that the Filipinos have been able to organize in the Philippines is the prostitution in Angeles City. The girls get a full STD check once a week. We drove by the health clinic where they get checked and every bar has a different day of the week that they go. Man, this place was busy, and understandably because there are so many bars, too many to go to even after one lives there for over a year. Literally, there are hundreds of these bars. There is never a door fee or an entrance fee to get in to these places. A waitress will sit you, and then she will usually stand right by you. Then, whenever you need something, just let her know. If you see a girl you like and you make eye contact with her, then feel free to motion for her to come over and buy her a drink. The biggest and best place that I saw was Atlantis. It was three stories tall and there must have been at least 200 girls there and every single one was gorgeous. It’s a little more expensive, but well worth it. Buying a girl a drink there still wont cost you more than buying a drink in America. Now, when you buy yourself a drink it’s about $1.50. When you buy a “Lady Drink,” it’s $3.00, but the girl gets half of this money and drinks the drink. She’ll sit down and talk with you and rub up on you. It’s cool when you can find one with a good personality who can be sarcastic. It’s a lot of fun to just talk with these girls and get to know them. Some of them have crazy stories to tell. I’m pretty quick to ask about personal issues like friends and family.
If you think you’re connecting with a girl and you like her, and you want to ask her if she’d like to go with you back to your hotel, then you ask her a serious of questions. Let her know that you like her and ask her if she would like a, “Bar Fine.” She’ll either say yes or no. She may not want to go home with you, she might be on her period, or she might be a “cherry girl,” which means she’s a virgin. It’s important to be respectful and realize that all of these girls are not necessarily prostitutes. These places are like strip clubs, only they keep their clothes on. They might give you lap dances (way better than anything you’ll get in the states and it’s only a couple bucks) or have a drink with you and talk. If she says, “yes,” when you asks if she wants a “Bar Fine,” then continue with a few questions and let her know that you’re happy she wants a “Bar Fine,” but you have a few questions first. Ask her if she’s on her “mens.” This is how they refer to their menstruation period. You don’t want to get her back to the hotel and find out you can’t do what you wanted to because she’s bleeding. Ask her what time she has to go home in the morning. You don’t want her leaving that night (or maybe you do), but it’s better if she’s not leaving at 5am because she has a kid or something. If she’s good to go, then let your waitress know that you’re going to bar fine her. She’ll bring you your total bill. It costs between $20 – $25 to “bar fine” a girl. The girl will go change and then you leave together. When you get back to the hotel you will both take showers. Use a condom even though they are checked every week. Don’t mess around with your life. It’s up to you if you tip her. She will get half of the “Bar Fine” the next day when she goes back to the bar either way. It’s sad that these girls sell themselves and only get about $10, but they would only make maybe two or three dollars a day if they worked a regular job at the mall, plus they would work 13 hour days at another job. What would you do? Would you work a lot harder for much less money? A lot of these girls come from the Province, which means they are from poverty, unlike any poverty we have in America. They are from either remote islands or small villages and they are trying to send money home.
Riding jet skis in Boracay is awesome! You feel like you’re in a Jay Z music video. It’s just the most amazing scenery to ride a jet ski in. At some point you realize you’ve died and gone to heaven. It’s somewhere between realizing you’re on this small tropical island in the Philippines, on the other side of the world, and dancing with the most beautiful women and the clubs. They love to dance. Actually, the three things people in the Philippines love are Obama, Hip Hop, and Basketball. Anyway, back to jet skiing. It was a little more than a dollar a minute, but well worth it. We signed up for 30 minutes, but I think they gave us 45 minutes. That was a good amount of time. I was ready to stop when I did. I was lapping people. It’s OK to pass others (or at least no one yelled at me for it) as long as everyone is going the same way. You should never go the opposite direction of someone.
My friends met a guy named George within their first hour of arrival in Manila. This guy was a hustler and knew everyone in the city. At first he tried selling my buddies some Viagra. By the way, there are tons of people selling Viagra and Cialis on the streets of Manila. Then George asked my friends if they wanted to shoot Uzi’s. This caught the attention of my friends. “Hell yeah we want to shoot Uzi’s.” So George took them around the corner to a gun range. This was probably the most expensive thing anyone did on our trip. It costs $1 a bullet to shoot Uzi’s. It was worth it because now they have a fantastic story to tell people.
LA Cafe is a bar in Ermita, Manila, Philippines. This is where a lot of girls hang out. Some of them are working girls, but they weren’t charging us since they were just happy to hang out with some cool guys. Be careful not to get hustled in this place. I went there with three of my friends from California. As soon as we walked in all the girls turned and looked at us. I’m 6’7″ and we are all white, so we stood out everywhere we went. We went into the VIP area upstairs (it’s only a couple bucks per person to enter) and we got a table. We each left at different times because that’s what we always do. I rarely come back to the hotel with my friends. I get distracted too easily. I left after hanging out for about an hour and a half. I knew that my roommate had already left, therefore there should have been two of my friends left at the bar. When I left I said bye to one person and I gave him $30 for the drinks, and I assumed the other friend was in the bathroom. I was wrong. Our other friend decided to leave without telling any one. Never do this! Always let the other people you’re with know when you leave or decide to do something else. Anyway, my buddy was left at the bar by himself and there were all these girls who kept inviting their “cousin” over to drink and they were all drinking wine and ordering salads. Then the bill came and of course it was expected that my buddy pay the whole thing. The girls there never pay for anything because they are broke. The bill was 5,200 pesos (more than $100, not much considering how much we drank). My friend only had 5000 pesos on him and finally talked one of the girls into paying the other 200 pesos. He left the bar and brought three of the girls back to the hotel lobby, but then they started complaining about how the one girl had to pay 200 pesos and they wanted my friend to reimburse her for that. He explained that they drank a bunch of drinks and ate food, so they should pay something and he still paid much more than his fair share. Keep in mind that this argument was over $4. Then he pointed to the front door and said, “well, there’s the door.” These girls are all hustlers, so beware. Other than that, it was a fun place to hang out and play pool. We stayed in a nice hotel in Emita, Manila, just a few blocks away from LA Cafe, and it was $100 a night, but it had a living room with a sofa pullout bed and a bedroom with a queen size bet, plus two bathrooms, so I split that with one person and it was $50 a night/person.
The Philippines is an awesome place to visit. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure. It’s cheap, the people are nice, and the natural beauty is second to none. It is important to stay safe any time you travel to the Philippines or any other third world country. See travelingmiller.com to find out more on how to stay safe and have fun in the Philippines. There is also a video from Palawan, which is another great destination in the Philippines.