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Old 04-07-2018, 06:47 AM
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,196,266 times
Reputation: 9489


I'll start...these are my own impressions, based on the places I've been in the Philippines. Granted, each is just limited exposure, some of them multiple times, and others just for a day or two...so I'm open and flexible to more 'information' on them, that others contribute. If others would like to share their own thoughts on different cities as well in the Philippines:

BAGUIO: Cold, rainy, in the mountains. Pretty cool looking residential housing, in my opinion, some of the coolest looking residential houses in the Philippines. They dot the hills at night and everything is up or down in the hills. They were also recognized as one of the artist cities by UNESCO, I believe it was UNESCO. The core is Sessions Road, which is a bit too crowded, and not that pretty, but all the stuff around it and up in the hills is really cool looking.

ANGELES CITY: This is the sex tourism city. It has been years since I was there, and I only went once. It didn't have much else to do, but watch sex tourists do their thing. I just remember it wasn't well-lit at night, and I didn't care for leaving the hotel much at night. But, I've heard know they have a Walking Street, and at least one mall. It seems to be changing for the better.

MANILA: A pretty cool-looking city, in my opinion. I like the look and feel of it. BUT, super sketchy, and way too many 'hustlers' with every kind of hustle coming at you. It gets draining. Because of it, it feels like foreigners are forced more into the malls (along with everyone else). The malls have tons of security, as does everything. Ermita/Malate is the core of Manila, which has real fun bars and clubs...it's just not all that fun to walk to them.

MAKATI: Part of Manila metro, where many of the corporate offices are located. I also like the feel of Makati, just more upscale and better than Manila, and way less of the hustlers. More leafy parks, more expat foreigners everywhere. Alaya Malls, Greenbelt 3, etc...a whole collection of malls and restaurants and bars and clubs that are interconnected and keeps you out of the streets. There is also Burgos Street, which is the gogo bars entertainment area.

TAGUIG: Another upscale area, which is the easiest place to feel 'comfortable' and 'safe' in the metro area. An outdoor area with parks, shopping, malls, restaurants, and all the rest. A different feel than Makati, but attracts a lot of money just like Makati.

PUERTO GALERA: Small little town, and divers go to Sabang, and beach-goes go to White Beach...one just to the east, one just to the west. Kind of a popular expat location as well. Lots of foreign businesses, and a little bit of everything, on the ocean....but on a small scale.

LUCBAN: Small little town that I visited, that surprised me with how comfortable and safe and nice it felt, and I'd never heard of it. Not many cities in the Philippines are kind of 'cool' or 'interesting', there is a lot of 'same-ness' to many of them - i.e. just a lot of trikes, and malls. But Lucban has a nice church with a park in the middle, and I dont know, just kind of liked it more than most other Philippines towns and cities I went to.

NAGA: Nothing really special stuck-out to me. I spent a night there, and moved on quickly. Kind of typical Philippines town, flat, a bit sprawly, and not much to walk around and see, and you just try to hit the mall for a bit of relief...

LEGASPI: Mayon Volcano, is what you can see from here. Asymmetrical volcano perfectly shaped. I don't really recall much else sticking out to me, about that particular city.

EL NIDO: Small beach/diving town in Palawan. 100's of islands you can go to, by renting a boat to take you to them. The beaches/town have limestone cliffs right up next to them. Real gorgeous beautiful setting. Not super easy to get to, so not a ton of tourists, but always a steady stream of some tourists.

PUERTO PRINCESA: Largest city in Palawan. You can walk from the airport into the city, although it takes a good 40-50 minutes. But, restaurants line the street between the two. Nice waterfront area in PP as well, and set in a nice bay, with many different directions to see 'ocean'. Palawan is also a narrow island anyway, so this city can see a lot of ocean. Also recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the Philippines, which isn't saying much. It didn't stand out as super clean, but it didn't stand out as dirty or polluted either.

BORACAY: White Beach Lane. Everything right on the beach and you don't need shoes anywhere along the heaviest collections of shops/stores/restaurants/etc. Tons of tourists and events. A world-class tourist destination now, and quite popular for Philippines movies, videos, celebrities as well. Just an interesting place, that all should see if they visit the Phils.

KALIBO: This is a town where many flights to Boracay come in. Others go to Caticlan. Not much of a city though. Hard to walk around in it, always forced into walking with the traffic, and you struggle to get into the mall again - a theme with the Philippines. It's too bad, as if they beautiful a city somewhat near Boracay, it would be a great combination. With all the flights and tourists going through Kalibo, you'd think/wish/hope they'd beautify their city a bit. That being said, I think more flights are going to go to Caticlan instead, which is right next to Boracay Island by 15-minute ferry. Not much in Caticlan yet though.

ILOILO: I liked it. It had some density at the core that I liked. Smaller city. I just remember seeing quite a few Koreans in the malls - a common theme in most mid-size cities. The town is more pleasant than most other Philippines cities. Not an amazing one, just an average-looking place, with a nice 'bones' to it.

BACOLOD: A bit more spread out city, about the same size as Iloilo, and not too far away. Tons of ****-fighting and chicken restaurants here. The local TV had 24/7 ****-fighting, and the city had also built a large arena for ****-fighting in the city. It's well known for its chicken restaurants.

SILAY: This used to to be 'the Paris of East'...but in reality, its a very small little town, that once had a lot of money. Some cool-looking residential houses. It's an interesting town, not much else to see there, but kind of interesting.

DUMAGUETE: College town. Waterfront that people walk along. The college population takes up about half of the town, and not much else to do but sit or walk on the waterfront. The beaches are outside of the city a ways, not able to walk to them. The town is well-known for expats, but I found it a bit too boring after just two days.

CEBU: As they all say, most of the amenities of Manila, with few of the problems. That being said, it's a bit too sprawly for me. Not that enjoyable to walk around, but more manageable to get around in taxis and such than Manila. It's also definitely the #2 best city after Manila, and many expats would put it #1 in front of Manila. I think if someone was to relocate to the Philippines and anywhere is open to them, CEBU is a good choice. It also has international flights.

BANTAYAN ISLAND: One of my personal favorite islands in the Philippines. Typical of the islands, gorgeously beautiful clear-water ocean with white sand beaches. I liked this one, because there are a couple small cities on the island, and plenty of beaches too.

MALAPASCUA ISLAND: This one is more popular than Bantayan, but I found it too small. I could walk around the entire island. Just a few restaurants to go to, so you see everyone there all the time, except when they are out diving or on a boat.

TAGBILARAN/Bohol/Chocolate Hills: The city is nothing special. Juts a lot of exhaust fumes and chaos. The rest of the island is pretty cool. Other towns have small churches, and Chocolate Hills are worth-seeing. I felt like Chocolate Hills might be a good spot for expats, as you'd always have some tourists and such, so you might be able to do a business somewhere in this area.

PANGLAO Island/Alona Beach: This is 'the beach' for Bohol. It's much similar to Boracay - in feel, in expenses, in white sands, in clear oceans. It's a bit smaller than Boracay though, but very similar in feel. Not as exciting as Boracay though...

CAMIGUIAN ISLAND: Getting down into Mindinao, this island is super laidback. People were so honest, I went by trikes and such, and they charged me local rates of just nothing. So friendly and honest and helpful. No good beaches, but plenty of waterfalls. Some mediocre beaches though.

CAGAYAN DE ORO: I really liked the density of this Mindinao city. It has a fantastic density to the downtown area, and I really liked walking around it. It is also a hilly city, and just one of the more picturesque that I recall. Maybe I felt that way because I'd been to so many other 'not so interesting cities' in the Phils, than this one really stood out as much more interesting. I also remember getting a TON OF STARES from locals here, as they just weren't used to seeing foreigners at all. I got a lot of pointing and attention, and you know you are down in Mindinao when that starts occuring!

DAVAO: Biggest city in Mindinao. It's actually the 2nd biggest city, bigger than Cebu. But, expats-wise, nowhere near as many as Cebu. That being said, the people are really nice, and it's much safer in feel than Manila, or even Cebu. People seem a bit better-off than your typical Phils cities.

GENERAL SANTOS: Spread-out, few foreigners, not much to do.

There are probably another 10-15 town/islands that I've been to...but I just can't recall them at the time being. They might come up later as others respond. I think, in general, other places that I've been...i.e. Batangas, or were just so un-memorable, that I skipped writing about them altogether, and the fact that I never got to know it so much either, that I might have missed something.

Let's hear some of your own thoughts on these cities or others!
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:20 AM
621 posts, read 384,191 times
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Nice to know you've been to many places in the Phils. Some of which I have never been to tbh.

In the case of Angeles, it is actually the largest city of the 4th most important/wealthiest metro in the Philippines called Metro Angeles. This part of the Phils which has a Korean town and perhaps has the largest expat population in the Phils. The strip clubs and walking street of which comprises I believe only a bare 1or 2% part of the whole metro. The future capital is being planned to be located in one of its enclaves Clark. This is the metro where we live too albeit not in Angeles but very near.

Purchasing power of this metro is somewhat higher than the country average.

When it comes to malls, Angeles City alone has 7 malls to be exact (SM Clark, Robinsons Angeles, Nepo Mall, Jenra Mall, Newpoint Mall, Marquee Mall, Central Town Mall), far from the 1 mall you mentioned. That doesn't include the malls yet within its metro located in San Fernando and cities roundabout which can total to more than a dozen.

Actually there is so much things to do and sights to visit in this place if you only have done your homework researching them in advance the first time you visited it. You might consider visiting it again and I can give you some tips on places to visit if ever.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:51 AM
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,453 posts, read 1,689,855 times
Reputation: 8133
Handling expat paperwork takes up all my time, so not much chance to travel around.

MANILA Second worst city in the world (after Cairo) by almost any measure, but at least its friendly-ish and I felt safe. Completely un-walkable, at least around my hotel (Kabayan) but the supermarket was reachable, with effort and derring-do.

CEBU is where I live and love. It's cheap and easy and friendly and safe.

ZAMBOANGA Much lower cost of living than Cebu. But noisier. I can speak Spanish there slowly and with an American accent, and be understood by everybody, who all speak Chavicano. Mostly avoided by expats due to rebel activity nearby.

DUMAGUETE Just saw the port area in a suburb, which is pleasant and relaxed. Went over from Cebu on the ferry for lunch.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:28 PM
400 posts, read 105,219 times
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Baguio has ugly houses (but a beautiful natural setting) I think you may have been thinking of Trinidad, Benguet, which is close to Baguio. It has colorful houses on hills

Kinda reminds me of parts of Latin America
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