Philippines Photos by Paolo Pineda
Special thanks Christine San Diego

The Philippines isn’t always the first country people think of when it comes to tourism in the Pacific, and for those of us in the know, that’s just fine. This island nation is a gem for people in search of a new cultural experience, or if you just appreciate good food and a good beach. While in the Philippines working on our book about the country, we checked in with some of the most photogenic Philippines residents we could find on that particular beach, and had them give us their take on what makes it such as special place.

“I sometimes feel like I need to move to New York to “find myself” or “live my life”—to throw myself into the mix of things. When you talk to the girls here, they’ve found such peace by stepping away from the rat race. It puts things into perspective. It’s coming to terms with who you are by spending lots of time by yourself. The Philippines can do that for you.”

“What I love about this place is that no matter what happens to us—be it a natural disaster or a man-made catastrophe—there’s a magic about where everybody still manages to thrive. There’s a sense of happiness, a sense of faith, there’s an a sense of optimism, and there’s a genuine oneness with the universe.”

“You really feel one with nature when you grow up on the island. You really have an appreciation for your environment—the ocean, the wind, and the sand.”

“The main reason I’m back here after being gone for a few years is because I love how laid back the lifestyle is. Everyone is so genuine, and it’s really hard to find people like that.”

“I’ve been all over the world, and at the end of the day, I always come back.”

“Here, shedding my heels and makeup for slippers, that’s the best decision I’ve made.”

“I’ve found friends, my love, and my jungle family—that’s the most important thing I’ve gained here, definitely.”