According to a leading Chinese online travel services provider Ctrip, Philippines ranked at number 10 in the list of top destination countries for Chinese tourists and placed 8th as a popular travel destination during the Chinese New Year holiday this year. Travel China Guide also released a list indicating the Philippines as ninth top destination.
More and more Chinese tourists are attracted to see the wonders of the cultural and natural beauty of the Philippines. Another report last February 2018 proves this claim as China becomes third among the top sources of foreign tourists in the Philippines next to Korea and Japan in terms of tourist volume. It posed as the most improved market. Philippines is expecting more Chinese arrivals after the former’s immigration now offers visa upon arrival for the Chinese tourists and investors.
The booming tourism industry also leads to an increase in number of direct routes between Cebu and China. And when Civil Aviation Authority of China grants clearance to the Puerto Princesa International Airport, more chartered flights from other Chinese cities and provinces such as Wuhan and Changsha could be expected.
What makes the Philippines an attractive Asian destination to the Chinese tourists? Philippines has the best snorkling and talc sand beaches scattered among its more than 7,000 islands. It is also worth mentioning that Philippines is a friendly host for foreign visitors.
The recommended places in the country, as per tourism statistics, are found in Central Visayas and Palawan. As a fan of my own country’s tourist spots, I share the same sentiment. Here are the top pick destinations in the Philippines:
1. South Cebu
A lot can be visited in Southern Cebu – the famous blue waters of Kawasan Waterfalls, the school of sardines under Moalboal, the sandbar of Sumilon Island, and the unique land formations in Osmena Peak.
Another underwater gem is the peaceful island of Siquijor. It’s best for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Find out why such hills are called The Chocolate Hills. Around Bohol, one can also see one of the tiniest primates on earth – the tarsiers.
4. El Nido
In my humble opinion, the best beach destination in the Philippines is El Nido. With a total of 22 islands, beaches and lagoons to choose from, the minimum days to stay is 5 days to cover the number.
5. Puerto Princesa
Known as one of the newest Wonders of the World, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is worth visiting to experience a different kind of cruise inside a cave.
Despite the closure of Boracay until October for rehabilitation, the future of once-proclaimed as the world’s number 1 island Boracay looks promising. A number of activities can be included in a itinerary such as snorkeling, island hopping, ATV, water sports activities, paragliding, booze cruise, bar hopping, and more. It’s indeed a 24/7 island.
Travel Smart Around the Philippines
The love for social media is a common denominator between Philippines and China. Like Filipinos, Chinese spend much time on social media everyday with WeChat as the messenger of choice of the latter. Fortunately, WeChat allows its users to purchase products online. A whooping 83% of the user population utilizes this feature. For fast and secure payment of goods while traveling around the Philippines, Chinese tourists can now use WeChat Pay. It accommodates nearly every type of merchandise and services for Chinese tourists.
Robinsons Retails stores, the second largest retailer in the country, including stores in Robinsons Place Ermita Manila such as Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Handyman, Robinsons Appliances, Daiso Japan, and Toys R Us has already joined the growing list of accredited merchants. Primer Group of Companies that holds the biggest travel-related brands such as Bratpack, Columbia, GRIND, Roxy, The North Face, The Travel Club, R.O.X., and Salomon, are also accepting WeChat Pay. These merchants have partnered with AUB. AUB has started rolling out WeChat Pay integration and has conducted accreditation and orientation programs for local merchants. It is also worth mentioning that closure of Boracay is taken as opportunity for both AUB and merchants to serve the Chinese tourists better when it re-opens to the public as more merchants sign up for the service. Imagine the greater convenience in using a QR code-based digital wallet as they visit souvenir shops, tourist attraction services, hotel accommodations and ride hailing services, and more. Expect WeChat Pay through AUB PayMate gain ground in the local scene.