From buzzing metropolitan to pristine beaches, the Philippines has got it all. We have covered so much on the tropical paradise, but in case you need even more reassuring, who better to do so other than an actual Filipino? We spoke to Aziza Mondonedo, owner of travel company Destino Luxe Travel and Tours, which focuses on travel services and destination events. She gave us 10 reasons why, time and again, the Philippines is a go-to destination that offers everything to everyone. Check out what she has to say below!
Let's start by stating the very obvious. The Philippines is home to the best beaches in the world: crystal clear, turquoise waters and the perfect temperatures to splash in. The sand is not only white and powdery; there are also pebble beaches, pink sand and silver sand. It’s even the home of the golden pearl!
There are several beautiful mountains you can hike in the Philippines: Batulao, Makiling, Pulag, etc. Mount Pulag is the highest mountain in Luzon, and the third highest peak in the country (after Mount Apo and Dulang-Dulang). It is famous for the beautiful view of the stars at night and the “sea of clouds” at dawn. If the beaches are Paradise, the peaks of these mountains are the Gates of Heaven!
The Philippines has a great cultural mix incorporated into its hearty and savory flavor. There are Spanish, Chinese and Malay influences that make up a very unique taste, enjoyable to anyone. It’s a perfect blend of east and west!
Filipinos do love their native Tagalog, but they also speak English fluently. If you’re looking for adventures in the exotic lands of South East Asia, the Philippines would be a good place to explore since everyone speaks English and can help you get around. You won’t have trouble finding your way!
The Philippines has some pretty crazy superstitions. There's even a beautiful island that is said to be the dwelling place of witches and sorcerers that can help you with spells and potions! You can believe what you want, and even if you don’t buy any of it, listening to these fables makes for pretty good entertainment.
It’s been scientifically proven that singing is good for health. No wonder a lot of Filipinos live a long and healthy life what with all the singing at karaoke! You don't have to have the best voice - all that matters is your passion. Karaoke is a festive bonding activity that will guarantee a great time even with people you aren’t that close to…yet!
Filipinos are very close to their families. There's a strong sense of kinship among the people, and that’s why Filipino weddings and funerals are so big. It’s because they maintain good relations with every single family member, including the in-laws. They also respect the opinions of their elders, and that's also why their bonds are so strong and traditions are long lasting.
Filipinos are the warmest, most hospitable people you will ever meet. If you are a guest in a Filipino's home, they will give you their master bedroom to sleep in! They will also include you in their social circle, family gatherings, even milestone events. So if you become friends with a Filipino, their world becomes your world and you will feel like you have been part of the family all along.
Filipinos have the best smiles in the world. They give their smiles freely, whether they are going through hardship or joy. The smiles are genuine and you can feel the sincerity from every man, woman and child. They always choose positivity and project sunshine, even if their lives are not always completely rosy. We are the happiest people on earth.
Filipinos do everything with lambing or are very malambing - English for “affectionate”, “sweet” or “loving”. Whether it’s cooking for you, taking you sight-seeing, giving you water, serving you coffee, or even picking you up from the airport – you will feel all the love that goes into their gestures and your heart will just melt!
"Loving what I do is the most important because it doesn't feel like work. This gives my business a personal touch, like I'm interacting with old friends instead of clients. I always try to put myself in my customers' shoes. What would I like if I were buying a product or service? How would I like to be treated? Then I apply those answers to our business and carry out the best customer service we can provide. Also, different people like different things, especially if they're coming from different countries. I try to make sure to be aware of the cultural differences and timezones when dealing with my old friends."
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Among the Indonesian Christian community, Sidney and Etha Mohede are extremely popular. Sidney is best known as an award-winning gospel singer-songwriter and one of the pastors of a Jakarta-based megachurch, while Etha is a social media influencer. This Christmas season, we had the opportunity to talk with The Mohedes about their Christmas tradition, how they're going to spend this year's Christmas, and the importance of photography for their family.
We think our family's Christmas is just like any other family's. When we're in Jakarta, on Christmas morning we'd wake up and open our Christmas presents. But, since these couple of years we spent our Christmases traveling overseas, we'd open the presents before we fly off.
Also, we like to think that the trip itself is the present for the entire family, and we are happy to enjoy the trip together, just us and our three children.
Our family's Christmas dinner usually happens on the Christmas Eve, with simple dishes and no special table decorations. We always like to finish up all the hassle before Christmas Day itself. On Christmas Day we'd usually just eat simple take outs and just enjoy our time together.
However, we think that our family's dinners–be it Christmas or not–is a tradition in itself. We want to make sure that every family member sit around the table at dinner time. We see nowadays in modern families, at dinner time everybody's still busy with their own things; the kids watching videos on their tables, the parents still busy with their gadgets... We don't want that in our family. We make sure that everyone sits around the table and really enjoy our time together, including on Christmas dinners.
This year we'll be going to Europe, namely Italy and the Netherlands. This would be our first time in Italy, and it's a 3-families trip. We're flying off to Dusseldorf, then we'll travel to Milan and meet the other 2 families there. Then we'd spend 7 days in Italy and 7 days in Netherlands, so in total it would be a 14 days trip.
As for the detailed itinerary, we honestly have no clue, but we've already booked a car to drive around. We want to try a road trip-style holiday this time around, and we think it would be fun! It's going to be an adventure!
Of course! For me (Sidney) personally, I love photography because it is a way I can express my passion easily. I was an art major in university, and my first passion was drawing and painting. But drawing something takes a lot of time. With a camera, I can capture the beauty of what I was seeing wherever I go with a single snap. I can still use my brain and eye for the compositions and colours, and I can express my visual arts passion in an easy way, without having to spend more than 30 minutes to draw one picture.
Which is why, we also love SweetEscape very much, because the idea of not being the one who takes the photographs and actually being photographed once in a while is really fun! Honestly, I'm (Sidney) not a big fan of being photographed, like most guys, I believe. But for a family photo, it's always nice to have, since most of the times we'd have to take turns taking pictures with the kids, or resort to selfies. With SweetEscape, we don't have to worry about this, and all five of us can be in the picture together!
SweetEscape connects you to thousands of local professional photographers in more than 500 cities around the world, so you can capture every moment and get beautiful photos directly to your devices in just 48 hours after your session. This holiday season, capture more with SweetEscape's JINGLE DEALS, where you can get sessions starting as low as USD 50! Download our app, book your session today and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!