I recently came across an article where it said that the Philippines is one of the least preferred country to travel in South-east Asia and honestly I was not even surprised. Being a part of Couchsurfing and having foreign friends, made me more aware about the problems our country could work on becoming a better tourist destination. I might have to add more to this list in the future though.
Here are my Top 5 Suggestions for the Department of Tourism
1. Reliable Cab Drivers
The minute you get off the plane, your chances of getting ripped off is high. Most of the time, the airport taxis have broken meters. I fell victim once to one airport taxi. His meter went crazy that when we reached to our place it was already P1,500 when it was from NAIA Terminal 1 to Makati Ave. which should cost around 400.
Imagine if all the cab drivers in our country making sure that we find the quickest and cheapest way to our destination? This change alone would make travelling in the Philippines a lot more fun.
2. Affordable and Available Healthy Food
It has been one of my frustrations when I walk around the city and other places in the Philippines. It is always easy to find adobo and other pork dishes but you rarely find a vegetable dish or even salad. With the rest of the world going for a healthier lifestyle it is sad that an agricultural country is lagging behind. It does not cost that much to prepare healthy dish. We should keep up.
3. Good Roads and Quality Accomodations
I went to El Nido last January and it was quite annoying to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido by van because the roads were just terrible. I was sitting for 6 hours and it was really uncomfortable. I was very disappointed because El Nido has been known as popular tourist destination for decades and I did not expect the bad roads.
I had one experience where we booked a place in Agoda for our business travel in Batangas and on the description it said “Resort” so we expected it as a real resort but here in the Philippines, places labelled as resort are misleading. I arrived there to find out they have really old air conditioners, no hot and cold shower and the beds were quite uncomfortable and they were charging the same rate as a good hotel in Makati!
4. Equal Charges for Local and Foreign Visitors
I find it preposterous to see how they charge tourists according to local and foreigner be it in Taal Lake or Palawan. Where is the equality? It is bluntly showing that we want to make more money from foreigners.
5. Convenient Travel Information
I went to Puerto Galera and it was our first time travelling so we wanted to find out information about the place but we found a closed tourist information center. Also tried asking some of the people in a tourist information center in Palawan and they were not fluent enough to entertain questions in English. If we want more tourist visiting our country, we should make sure that tourists will not have a hard time finding information about places. Our official website also needs more apps that would be useful for travellers like maybe one which shows bus and ferry schedules.
What’s your take on this?