The first time I visited the Philippines I completely messed up my trip and I returned home quite frustrated and pissed off.
The reason why I quote/unquote messed up my trip is because i didn’t take into account two important factors.
The first, as I have already mentioned, is that I was assuming that my Filipino wife would be eager to show me around and travel with me to the most exotic places in the country. Pretty soon I discovered that when Filipinos go home they are much more eager to spend time with their relatives than with their foreign husband (in many cases at least, not always) so it gets really hard to get them to visit the country.
But even when I finally managed to get my wife to travel a bit I found out that moving from my wife’s place was extremely complicated.
When I planned my trip to the Philippines I calculated the distances between my wife’s barangay and various tourist spots I wanted to visit based on the Italian standards. So I kind of reasoned: “well, from Bulacan to the One Hundred Islands is like going from Rome to Florence” and in my mind there was the idea that I would cover that distance in a couple of hours.
The reality is that covering 300 km in the Philippines might take up to ten hours and, in fact, it took us long hours to get to Alaminos City.
What was even worse is when we went to Tagaytay. My reasoning was: “I know we have to go through Manila, so we’d better get up at 4.30 am to avoid traffic”.
Well, in Rome if you get up at 4.30 the streets are empty but at 5 am the EDSA Avenue in Manila is already heavily congested and it took us 5 hours just to get from Quezon City to the toll gate of the South Luzon Expressway.
I learned the lesson and the second time I visited the Philippines I spent 9 days in a sea resort first thing, then once I was in my wife’s province I just explored the surroundings and I didn’t even try to cover 2 or 300 km by car.
The bottom line is: the Philippines does not have the infrastructures that Europe has and moving from point A to point B can be extremely difficult so my idea is that you better focus on one area and stay there.