This is really amazing because my prior knowledge before coming here was quite little - minus the fact that I have heard statements that Filipinos are 'the friendliest people in the world', is very modern with very big malls, and have very scenic & beautiful beaches.
But like the saying goes, seeing is believing... and I can now agree with all the statements above.
Here are the few things I've noticed about Philippines and simply awed by:
1. Friendly people - and Happy too!
On the whole, the people here are friendly - to the likes of say, Thailand. And they are usually so happy & in many ways, carefree - making any local or tourist feel so comfortable and at home. Truly, I have not seen happier people in the world!
2. Good service
The greetings of "Hello, Sir", "Thank you, Sir", etc just gives such warmth feeling - something I believe many tourists will just feel like coming back. Add that with most Filipinos able to converse in English just makes the trip perfect.
3. Mega malls & more
Frankly, those who do not know much about the Philippines will not think much about their modern structures. But that's where I think most of us (pardon me) are wrong!
The malls here like Mall Of Asia, Mega Mall, Green Belt are huge - and the shops in them, very nice. (Btw, Philippines has 3 of the biggest malls in the world!).
Actually, it's not just the malls that are modern & big. Philippines too have many modern buildings in the metro Manila area - something my Pinoy friends are so proud of, and I think they have the right to. For example - the many enclaves like Eastwood & Serendra which also houses many nice shops.
4. People power & freedom
I am in a way fortunate to be here in the Philippines to witness such a grand stand off for their former President, Cory Aquino, the lady who gave the people its freedom & democracy rights.
Though not from the country, but I am touched with her spirit, her vision and her contributions to the country... just like my friends said - that's what makes Filipinos happy: freedom(!)
5. Entertainment power
We all know about Hollywood, Bollywood, and Korea and HK entertainment industries. But what most of us most likely don't know is how big the entertainment scene is right here in our neighbouring country.
Here's the big news: a friend mentions their top celebrities can earn up to 20million pesos (USD 400k)/ month! Never have I imagined this - for though smaller to say USA, but, in their own money, this is huge and a big deal!
Celebrities endorses everything here - from clothes to fast food... any consumer good possible. That's the star power!
I've also noticed that they have ratings, similar to that of USA... meaning, they are on the right track, practising from the best.
In fact, I believe their entertainment industry is already one of the top in the world, and is only time it will go beyond their shores (in fact, it has already - our very own Carmen Soo has already starred in their TV drama and is starting to make her name here).
I believe their free spirit and love for entertainment makes the Philippines entertainment industry a huge one. This is something we really should look up to - both in spirit & the works!
6. Beautiful & scenic places
As with many other South East Asian destinations, the Philippines is simply beautiful... so far, I'm proud to have experienced the beautiful Boracay & the chill Tagatay... and of course bustling Manila (more of these to come!).
I still have a few more days here in Philippines, after a good few days of business and leisure. Already I have so many good memories, but there's definitely more Wow experiences to come! :)