No doubt about it, the Philippines boasts of some of the world’s most amazing islands. And that’s the reason why, despite the deplorable lack of proper transportation system to facilitate seamless journeys from one island to the next, foreign tourists still flock in droves. There are a million and one reasons to discover the Pearl of the Orient’s over 7,000 islands but Filipinos, being among the world’s most curious bunch of people, are equally not averse to the idea of occasionally venturing out of dear motherland and exploring other countries. Our passport may not be among the world’s most powerful and we still need to get travel visas for over 100 countries, but that has never stopped Pinoys from hieing-off to a foreign destination whenever an opportunity presents itself – usually in the form of cheap flights, long weekends and a cash windfall.

So here are the top five overseas travel destinations for Juandering Pinoys:

1. Bangkok

Bangkok is considered one of the world’s great shopping cities, where visitors are literally spoilt for choice from bargain-priced items to the ridiculously expensive. With a storm of air-conditioned shopping malls carrying countless local and international brands as well as, flea markets and bargain kingdoms like Platinum and MBK, Bangkok certainly sets you in the mood for a shopping frenzy. But that’s not all there is about this gem of a city. Bangkok is also known as one of the culinary capitals in Asia, promising to satisfy your every craving from the ubiquitous street food, if you are feeling more adventurous than usual, all the way up to a few Michelin-starred restaurants, if your wallet can handle the damage. Lastly, Bangkok is a cultural haven with buddhist temples aplenty as well as, the Grand Palace, all within a train/cab/tuktuk ride distance. No wonder traveling Pinoys have been drawn to this city for many years.


Photo by Prachanart Viriyaraks on

**Travel time from Manila to Bangkok is about 3 hours and 20 minutes on average and there is no visa required for Philippine passport holders.

2. Singapore

The Little Red Dot has always seduced Filipino travelers for a ton of reasons – great food, covetable efficiency in nearly all areas where our very own government fails in a colossal way (public transportation, tourism, etc), world-class attractions such as the Universal Studios, Resorts World, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay – the list goes on and on. And of course, the annual Formula One night race. This incredible state nation’s ultra sleek and modern distinction, starting from the top-notch Changi airport experience, makes it a consistent top-tier placer in traveling Pinoys’ bucket list.


Photo by Nicolas Lannuzel on

**Travel time from Manila to Singapore is about 3 hours to 40 minutes. There is no visa required and Filipinos can stay up to 30 days.


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3. Hong Kong

Like modern Singapore, Hong Kong is another favourite travel destination for Filipinos as it promises to fulfil a great deal of travel itineraries from food, shopping, tourist attractions, etc. Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong has ‘winter’, which is a welcome change from the tropical weather conditions in the Philippines. Aside from the iconic transportation – The Star Ferry, Peak Tram and Hong Kong Tramways – this island also boasts of naturally spectacular vistas, turquoise water, mountainside trails along the ocean, abandoned villages, white sand beaches and a waterfall found in the Sai Kung East Country Park along Tai Long Wan Bay.

Hong Kong

Photo by Kabacchi on

**Travel time from Manila to Hong Kong is less than two hours.

4. Tokyo

Back in 2013, CNN named Tokyo as the greatest city in the world and why not? This city is every foodie’s dream with every dish looking like something straight out of Pinterest or Instagram and not only that, when France’s iconic Michelin Red Guide released a Tokyo edition — the first one to cover an Asian city — they awarded the area’s restaurants a total of 375 stars in the “Tokyo Yokohama Shonan 2013” edition of the guide. Back then, Tokyo had about 160,000 known eateries, more than 10 times the number in Paris, and a lot more has been added since. The Shibuya Station experience is easily one of the most unforgettable moments for every single traveler, bumping into or simply swaying with millions of commuters converging in one massive pilgrimage to the world’s most sophisticated railways. The city also boasts of fashion stores by the hundreds, ranging from rare cheap finds to the world’s most expensive designer brands. All these and MANY more makes Tokyo a hands-down dream travel destination for Filipinos.


Photo by Sebastien Batardy on

**Japan requires travel visa for Philippine passport holders which can be obtained from the Embassy of Japan in Manila. Travel time from Manila to Tokyo is about 4 hours and 17 minutes on average.

5. South Korea

Just as there have been hundreds of thousands of Koreans visiting the Philippines on a yearly basis (some of them even choosing to stay in the country to study, set up a business or just to roam around visiting the islands – Boracay, being a default favourite), Filipinos have now started their own Korean exploration. Once overlooked for more popular cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong, Seoul at present enjoys the Asian and global attention given to its rich cultural history, cuisine, technology and innovation, medical and cosmetic advancement and yes, the K-Pop revolution.


Photo by Hajo Schatz on

**Visa is required for Philippine travelers and travel time from Manila to Seoul takes about 4 hours.

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