Why this Tourist Fell in Love with the Philippines after Backpacking around the World & Decided to Stay

Ac Wichstrom is from Oslo, Norway. He is a backpacker who has been around the world for 6 months visiting 7 different countries and 3 different continents. This wanderlust fell in love with the Philippines’ natural wonders and says that it’s the best country he has ever visited.

He took a video of his adventures in the Philippines and posted it on his Youtube channel for all the world to see the beauty that he saw.

He says: “I really love to travel around the Philippines. There are still so many places that I have left to see and document with my camera, and to make more videos from. Next on my bucket list for places to visit in PH are Siargao, Siquijor, Camugin, Batanes, cliff diving at Tali beach, as well as to hike Mt Pinatubo, Mt Arayat and Mt Mayon.”

We conducted a short interview with Ac asking him what made him fall in love with the Philippines and most importantly, what made him stay?

What Philippine culture did you encounter that you liked?

“My best friend and traveling companion, and myself both agreed that the Philippines was one of the best countries and places we visited! It’s easy to get around since so many people know how to communicate in English. People are veeeeery friendly, hospitable and polite here! I’ve never been called “sir” so many times in my life! The people of the Philippines seem in general very happy as you can always see a smile on their faces and a song ready to be sung at any given moment.”

What do you like best about the Philippines?

What I like best about this country is that it’s still very much “low-key” and “under-the-radar” when it comes to tourism, which I think is one of the best parts of why I love to travel around here! It’s still a “hidden paradise” were you won’t find any ugly Hilton or Marriott hotels whenever you travel around these beautiful islands. Well, maybe Boracay might be an exception.

He also tells us a funny story about his trip to Coron and his amazement with the Busuanga airport:

We went to Coron (probably my favorite place in the PH so far), and besides it’s AMAZING beaches, lagoons and wreck diving possibilities, it has the CHILLEST airport I’ve EVER been to! Neither you nor your carry on bag have to go through any airport-scanners! They simply pat you down and look into your hand carry as if you were entering SM Megamall (but even SM Megamall has metal detectors)! And our tickets weren’t printed out by a machine, no, they were HANDWRITTEN!!! Trust me, I’ve traveled around a lot, but I’ve never experienced a place like that!

What is your advice to anyone who wants to go to the Philippines? Especially foreigners such as yourself?

Don’t spend too much time in Manila… Manila is just another busy (and heavily trafficated) big city, and not a good representation of what beauty the Philippines has to offer, which are of course the beaches, islands and nature that still bears authenticity to it. The sense of the original and simple provincial life that you find here, where dinner is from the local fisherman who has just caught some fresh tilapia or bangus earlier during the day.

Is there something you don’t like about the Philippines?

I think it’s a pity how so many Filipinos don’t realize or aren’t able to see (because of their poor conditions) how incredibly beautiful their own country is! And I’m getting a sense that so many people here, if given the chance, would rather go out and seek a “better life” outside of the Philippines, especially idolizing the US. When I got here back in September 2014 and told Filipinos who I met that I actually moved here, they all looked at me with strange eyes that said “why would you want to move here?!” But trust me, I did my studies in the US; in Los Angeles, California and lived there for 3 years, but in retrospect, for me personally, I would much rather come back to the Philippines anytime over the US!

What do you wanna say to people who haven’t been to the Philippines?

GO! Hands down, just go! It’s probably Asia’s best-kept secret that might not stay a secret for that much longer! It’s said that “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, well, that’s because it’s a country of amazing and happy people, incredible food, unbelievable beaches, it’s off the beaten track, it’s cheap and safe, everyone speaks English, and it’s a country that is growing super fast! And oh, I almost forgot, shopping is fantastic and the girls are by far (after my opinion) the prettiest in Asia! Woop! Woop! to our new Miss Universe!!!

You can follow Ac’s adventures in the Philippines by subscribing to his Youtube Channel by clicking here

What do you think of Ac’s video? Do you agree about the things that he said about the Philippines?

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