5 Things This 21-Year-Old Learned After Visiting All 81 Provinces Of The Philippines

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I was your typical 3rd year college student back then, scrambling to submit a report for a summer class in 2011. The day after I met the deadline, I flew to Puerto Princesa, my first solo trip in an unfamiliar location.

Using the money I saved from my allowance, I made a trip to the remote islands of El Nido. Spending a couple of days in paradise got me hooked on the concept of budget backpacking. That was the time I challenged myself to visit all 81 provinces of the Philippines knowing that in every province lies a piece of heaven just waiting to be discovered.

But I was faced with a problem — I didn’t have the money to pursue my newfound passion, an aspiration which seemed impossible to achieve.

Harly Marcuap in El Nido, May 2011

El Nido, May 2011

Then came the first weeks of my 4th year in college. I eagerly looked for part-time jobs. I became a library assistant, a laboratory assistant, and an elementary tutor.

I worked in between classes during the day and worked further from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. This allowed me to save enough money to buy plane tickets and explore more provinces: Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte. Later that year I braved Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi, my first time in Mindanao. And before the year ended, I hiked the mountains of Ifugao, Mountain Province and Benguet.

Harly Marcuap in Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi, October 2011

Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi, October 2011

After my graduation in 2012, I landed a good job which helped me save more money to finance my travels. Then after passing the Geology board exam in August of the same year, I created a list of provinces I haven’t visited, grouping them in such a way that I could explore each one as extensively and as efficiently as possible.

And on January 7, 2014 at the age of 21 — I turned a dream into a reality. I was walking along the port of Balut Island in Davao Occidental, my 81st and final Philippine province.

Three years of solo traveling introduced me to countless life-changing experiences. Not only did I meet new friends whom I shared precious memories with, I also ended up with an infinite number of lessons and tons of striking realizations. Sharing all of them will make this article unbearably long, so please allow me to narrow down the list to 5.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned during my trips across all 81 provinces in the Philippines:

1: The Philippines has an insanely diverse landscape.

7,107 islands from north to south, from Mavulis Island in Batanes to Saluag Island in Tawi-Tawi, each one having its own unique size, shape, set of mountains, volcanoes and beaches; clearly wherever you go in the Philippines you will find a scenery that will suit you best. Mountains? Beaches? Desert? Skyscrapers? Grasslands? You can see it all!

Sand Dunes Paoay

The rolling sand dunes of Paoay, Ilocos Norte by Amer Amor

An archipelagic nation of more than a thousand islands, would you believe that the summed up length of our coastline is longer than that of the United States?

And imagine every island having its own span of beaches, from black-colored to spotless white, from pebble to powdery sand, from bluish to turquoise waters embracing the shores, it’s no longer a question that the Philippines is truly a world-class beach destination.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Even our mountains differ from one island to another. Many are endowed with thick tropical forests teeming with endemic plants and animals while others were magnificently carved over thousands of years by our great ancestors. Some are extremely difficult to summit but most are easy to climb. If you love hiking and seeing wonderful views from the top, you know that’s not going to be a problem if you’re in the Philippines!

Buscalan Kalinga Rice Terraces

The rice terraces of Buscalan, Kalinga

2: Bisaya is more widely spoken than Tagalog.

Growing up in the Tagalog-speaking town of Sariaya in Quezon Province and learning from textbooks that Tagalog is the country’s official language, I used to think that people in farther provinces also use the language to get through their daily lives. Since my family frequented Pampanga to visit our relatives, I was only able to appreciate the variation between Tagalog and Kapampangan.

In college I had classmates from Visayas and Mindanao and while most of them spoke Bisaya, our class was still dominated by Tagalog speakers. I was in 4th year when I visited the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor — all of them had Bisaya as the primary language, only with slight variations from one island to another.

Funny-Bisaya-Sign

“Huwag OA ‘day kasi magkasintahan lang tayo!” | Photo from pinoyshots.com

Then in 2013 I focused on traveling across the islands of Mindanao: from Dinagat Islands to Sarangani and from Surigao del Norte to Zamboanga del Norte, with stopovers in densely populated cities like Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Ozamiz and Pagadian.

It was then when I realized Bisaya isn’t only confined in the islands of Visayas. It vastly extends down to northern and eastern Mindanao. I also noticed how the language slowly stretches out to areas in central and western Mindanao to some parts of southern Palawan and Leyte. And would you believe, even up to Romblon which is already part of Luzon!

"Bawal umakyat kasi delikado"

“Bawal umakyat kasi delikado”

In short, I got overwhelmed by Bisaya to the point that learning a few phrases became handy during the entire span of my journey across the country. And so my native language Tagalog, despite having more native speakers, turned out to be less extensive compared to Bisaya.

3: Almost every province in the Philippines has its unique dish.

I’m sure many of us are familiar with Pampanga’s sizzling sisig, Ilocos’ empanada, Cordillera’s pinikpikan and Bulacan’s chicharon.

There’s also Bicol Express for those who love spicy food, Cebu’s dried mangoes, Capiz’s mouth-watering seafoods, Davao’s durian and Iloilo’s La Paz Batchoy. Our islands also serve as home to various coconut-based sweets like the Binagol of Samar and Leyte, Buko Pie of Laguna, and Bukayo which is found almost anywhere in the country.

Photo by Judy Rose Sayson

Bukayo photo by Judy Rose Sayson

Indeed there are plenty of delicious food to try in every province. And traveling deeper lets you discover uncommon but equally delectable dishes such as the Tiyula Itum of Basilan, Cagayan’s Batil Patong, Putli Mandi of Sulu and the Uvud Balls of Batanes. Explore even further and you’ll get a chance to taste exotic treats like the world-famous Balut, Tarlac’s Betute Tugak and Palawan’s tamilok.

4: Flying with budget airlines is sometimes cheaper than taking the bus or ferry.

When I was younger, I thought traveling by plane required huge sums of money. Well, it used to be true but when I started traveling in college, I realized it wasn’t the case anymore.

With the entry of budget airlines like Cebu Pacific and AirAsia, flying across our islands became more affordable. And with the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines also offering discounted fares on its domestic destinations, there are now plenty of options to travel by air without hurting your wallet.

All you need to do is to like Facebook pages of these airlines and wait for their posts about promo fares. If you’re lucky, the amount you’ll spend for a one-way bus or ferry ticket from Manila to Davao would already be equivalent to a round trip plane ticket for the same route. This simply lets you get to your destination faster and cheaper, providing you with more time and money to spend on your vacation.

5: Not all Muslim Filipinos are terrorists.

In Muslim Mindanao, the media often emphasizes kidnappings, shootings, bombings, and the like, so it’s understandable to hesitate or maybe even feel fear when we hear of places like Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, or Cotabato.

However, there has always been this misconception that every corner of Muslim Mindanao is unsafe and even more alarming is the generally negative perception towards our Muslim brothers and sisters in the south.

Muslim women in Simunul Island Tawi Tawi

Enjoying the afternoon in Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi

I have to admit that I also had fears of visiting the provinces that comprise the Bangsamoro region because just like the others, I was concerned about my security.

But I tested my fate and risked traveling to these areas and to my surprise, I was greeted with the warmth of the people and their genuine kindness which never asked for anything in return. And yes, from Marawi to Cotabato to Basilan to Tawi-Tawi, all of the people I met were notably hospitable and peace-loving and just like many of us, they are also against terrorist activities.

Harly's Host Family in Sitangkai Tawi Tawi

With my very accommodating host family in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi

So have I in my life regarded Muslims as trouble makers? Yes… but thanks to traveling, not anymore.

What about you? Did you encounter any interesting or maybe life-changing realization in any of your travels? Feel free to post a comment and share your amazing story with everyone!

Read more about Harly’s adventures in the Philippines:

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About Author

Harly Limlingan Marcuap

A young Filipino geologist and travel enthusiast, he is the writer behind Akrosdayunibers. He likes diving, mountain climbing and exploring remote islands across the Philippine Archipelago. His passion is to discover new places and share it with everyone!

  • Vic Rollon

    Very nice story. I want to do the same… God bless you more!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thank you so much for the good feedback Vic! The article was meant to inspire so thank you! God bless you too. Take care on your travels. :)

  • Mikhael Verano Mercado

    HAHAHA ITS FUNNY THAT YOU HAD TO TRAVEL TO ALL THE ISLANDS TO ACCEPT THAT ALL MUSLIMS ARE NOT TERRORISTS! Good job ^^

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      HI Mikhael! Thanks for the comment! No I didn’t have to travel all the islands just to realize not all Muslims are terrorists. Visiting Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi during the first year of traveling across our islands already gave light to my crooked perception. You know I used to be a kid before, BRAINWASHED. I actually included #5 to give credit to all the wonderful Muslim friends I met during my travels, especially the ones who helped me explore Basilan and Sulu without asking for monetary compensation. I felt the frustration of our Muslim brothers and sisters whenever people look at them badly, associating them with terrorism, so the purpose of #5 is to enlighten those who are still BRAINWASHED. I hope this clears out everything Mikhael. I’m sorry for the confusion. :)

      • Jhoe Cordero

        Ka Lakbay Harly Marcuap – To a fellow traveller, I salute you. Hats off man for a dream come true. Never stop exploring cause every dream is worth sharing.

        • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

          Hi there Jhoe! I’m sorry for the late reply. My hometown (Sariaya, Quezon) was among the hardest hit by Typhoon Glenda. I’m glad we share the same interest, traveling. Take care bro and enjoy your future trips! Cheers!

          • lizzycutey

            Hi Harly,

            Just curious because you are a geologist, did you spend
            your own personal money or some of it was company’s expenses? Was it
            not scary to go to Tawi-Tawi?

            I’m also a traveler but have not
            discovered Phil so far yet only 10 provinces and 4 Asian countries and
            it’s my dream to discover the whole Phil.

      • Leysander Ordenes

        Great stuff!!!! Keep on traveling. It’s a big world out there :-) Lots of good people too.

        • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

          Thanks for the appreciation Leysander! Yes let’s keep on traveling and acquiring new knowledge. I’m also excited to meet more people like you said. Thanks man and take care! :)

      • http://iamtravelinglight.com/ Claire | Traveling Light

        I salute you for doing this. I agree a lot of Christians, especially in Luzon, need to know Muslims more to clear up conscious and unconscious biases. This will also help in making the peace agreement between the national government and the Bangsamoros more of a daily reality. I get frustrated when people I know make sweeping generalizations about Muslims based only on what they see in the media. It must be difficult living as a Muslim in such an environment.

        • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

          Hi there Claire! I know you! Haha. Yes thank you for sharing the same sentiment here. It’s really important for us to do whatever we can to clear the mind of those people who live on unhealthy biases. This is why I’m really hoping this article served its purpose. Thanks again Claire and take care on your future travels! :)

      • Red Hat

        But it sad to know that most terrorist (not all) are muslim

        • rachel yap

          The reality is MAJORITY of the Most Dangerous criminals in the entire Philippines are NON MUSLIMS…… see the prisoners in jail,,,,,,,,That is the truth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Mindanao people are actually very very kind,hospitable and caring…… It is actually very very safe in Mindanao, than in Manila… and very beautiful there too…

      • Ano ni mousse

        How long did you stay in Basilan, Marawi, Cotabato & Tawi-Tawi? Have you notice something unusual? Did you notice that every household there have their own guns? Come on, 81 provinces (you say)? Haha

        • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

          So you’ve been to all houses in Basilan, Marawi, Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi Ano ni mousse? You’d surely make it to Hollywood! :)

          • Serhan Solaiman

            I enjoyed reading your article. Alhamdulillah and thank you for mentioning that not all Muslims are terrorists. You stayed where in Marawi and when? That place is my hometown and I go home every now and then though my work is here in the metro. I’ll gladly tour you around Marawi if in case you’ll be back to visit again.

        • Yazir Rajim

          To have gun is part of the culture in Sulu. Just like in heydays people loved to bring along their Barung or Kris to the market nowadays it changed because there are plenty bad people out there to take all your properties away. It is a sign that the PNP and the Armed forces are not doing their job well. So if you are a Tausug living in the archipelago surely you will do the same?

      • Fake Name

        Not all Muslims are terrorists but it only takes one terrorist to change your life forever… no matter what heritage they base their terrorism on.

        You weren’t a white male… you were of no value to Muslim extremists.

    • rox

      Hi Mikhael, really funny?are all muslims in mindanao a terrorists?come and visit muslim areas in mindanao..challenge ur self too..

      • stjohnofthevatican

        I think that’s basically what he did. Read further.

        • ginco

          I think he’s referring to the commentator, not the author ( who happens to be Harly ;) )

    • Jaspher Dizon

      Ha. someones in here trying to be funny. tss

    • bansheerabidcat

      I don’t appreciate reactions like this — here’s a person who is sharing lessons learned, taking steps forward, and then you laugh at him because, what, you assume he learned these things “too late”?

      Travel does things to you. It’s different to know one thing from google and relying on common sense, but it’s a different experience when you find yourself staring at it. Or should i laugh at you too for not knowing that?

      Lessons come to us when they need to. Now shut your pie hole and let this good person be.

    • Oriel Bong Quimbo

      Religious prejudice sets Muslims and Christians apart. When Muslims watch TV for news, they can see crimes and killings done by Christians, then they have the same prejudice against us.

  • Jane Saño

    very lucky …you get to visit most of the provinces here in the Philippines.Were you also able to explore Leyte and Samar ?. :) GOODJOB! keep traveling! :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hello there Jane! Thanks for dropping by a comment. :) Yes also Leyte and Samar Islands, from Southern Leyte to Northern Samar. Great places. I really enjoyed the region from Limasawa Island up to Biri Island! I also had the opportunity to visit Biliran and I should say that Sambawan and Maripipi Islands are super duper incredible! Thanks Jane and enjoy your travels too. :)

    • pertcast

      me i already explore samar and leyte from liloan to catarman, from borongan to buray very nice place peaceful.

      • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

        sounds amazing to me Pertcast! I’ve been to Liloan and Catarman but not yet in Borongan and Buray. I hope one day I’ll get the chance to visit these places! :)

  • Yougart

    Nice one Harly! Do you have a blog? I hope could make your top 10 or so lists. Since you really have a very good experience of Philippine-traveling, it would be much appreciated.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi Yougart! Nice name! Anyway yeah here’s my blog… http://www.akrosdayunibers.com... Top 10? Well that sounds difficult but yes I’ll try it one time! Thank you for this input! If ever I make that article I would love to post it here on looloo insights so I hope you’ll be around when that day comes. Thanks! Thanks! :)

      • Yougart

        Thanks. Wala kasi ako maisip na name. Hope you could also invite people to go to your next destination or if you plan on revisiting somewhere. Thanks!

        • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

          Yes Yougart! I would love to invite people to go along with me in some of my travels. It would be a pleasure to impart whatever knowledge I have. Hihi. :)

  • Reymund Rivera

    Harly, Thank you for your sharing. What you are doing is a great investment. Highlighting the goodness of our country and our people are often neglected. Continue opening the doors to learning because it is one of the source of wisdom. I will sharing your insights to my Grade 9 World History students. May the good Lord bless you!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi there Reymund! Thank you for this warm insight. Yes I also think that it’s very important for each one of us to focus on the amazing things that happen to our country and its people, but still not overlooking the ones which need improvement. We always have to hang on to the positive side. Thank you for sharing Reymund. I’m hoping your students will like it. And God bless you too! :)

  • Nicole Yvonne Flores

    Hello, I admire your courage to travel alone and your spirit for adventure. Grabe! You’re way too young to travel and by reading this it’s POSSIBLE. I am really inspired by this article and it makes me want to wander the wonders of the Philippines. And thank you for sharing your experience to all young travel enthusiast that this is possible even in young age, :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Well thank you as well Nicole! It inspires me even more whenever I become an instrument in encouraging people to travel even at a young age. Go wander the wonders of the Philippines and you will surely be wondered! Nothing is impossible if you have the eye, and the heart to reach your goal. Take care on your future travels Nicole and thank you so much for this heartwarming comment! :)

  • Nox

    Ayos :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thank you Nox! :)

  • pertcast

    Very wonderful experience i hope you also make observations why this places remain stagnant and many of our pilipino brother and sister still suffering from poverty, then what is you recommendation to our national leaders to improve their living. Did you notice that El nido has no 24 hours supply of electricity? same with san vicente, palawan.

    • benz

      Good for you. At that age, you have already done what I am still planning to do once I will retire at age 60.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Yes this would go on a separate post pertcast. Thank you for the input! :)

  • James Dizon

    A very inspiring read! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I’m happy you found it inspiring James! Salamats! It was my pleasure to share. :)

  • jarred

    great post. how do you manage to have those beautiful pictures with you in it? :) also, where did you stay for the night during your travels?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I ask favor from people to take my photo haha.. But see that first photo above (El Nido, May 2011)? I used the camera’s timer! HAHAHA. I stayed in every possible place Jarred — sidewalk, hotel, hostels, Brgy. halls, random house, resorts, beneath the watertank, tents, etc. :)

  • Lexi Valencia

    I wanted to see at least half of the the provinces our country has but upon reading this, why not do what you did? Kudos to you! :)

    #5 made me smile. It has been a constant struggle to prove that Muslims are nice and actually want peace in their land. My bestfriend is a Muslim and we get along so well despite the differences in culture, religion, etc.

    Indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines! Maraming salamat sa pagbahagi ng iyong paglalakbay! :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Walang anuman Lexi! Salamat din sa iyong comment. Yes go for the challenge, make that 81! I’m glad you and your Muslim friend get along well. I also have a number of Muslim friends and they were all very nice and fun to be with. Thanks again Lexi. Enjoy traveling!

  • Jet Babon

    Thank you – that was all lightly put but I sense a profound impact that it (travel) had on you. I wish I could do the same :)

    • Jet Babon

      Is there a gallery of your travels where it is set on public viewing?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Of course you can do the same Jet! Yougart was kind enough to answer your question below, you may browse my travel articles here —> http://www.akrosdayunibers.com :)

  • Elaine June Fiel

    We have the same goal, Harly! I think it’s sad that we can go to overseas destinations and yet not know the beauty of our own country. I just need to find the courage and the time to do this. Anyway, wala namang deadline ang dreams diba? But the sooner we act on our dreams, the better. Thanks for this post. God bless you! :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I hope you get to find that courage and time soon Elaine. At tama, walang deadline ang mga pangarap, pero gaya ng sabi mo, pwede ring unti untiin hehe. Ingats and God bless din! :)

  • Mark Jhon Battuing

    Don’t forget to Visit the Best view’s of the Land of no Return. “Batanes”. surely you will enjoy this place.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Yes I enjoyed visiting Batanes Mark! Simply breathtaking. :)

  • teraisuazo

    How did you find Bukidnon?

  • justbreatheterai

    So how did you find Bukidnon?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Bukidnon is one of my favorite provinces in Mindanao justbreatheterai. I’m a huge fan of mountains and cool weather. :)

  • Keane Vincent Valencia

    I also want to do this myself. It is a dream of mine to explore the entire archipelago of the Philippines before exploring other countries in the world. Someday, I’ll be able to accomplish what you just did. Thank you for sharing your experience through this article. :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I know you can do it Keane! You just have to hold on to that dream, and little by little work on it. :)

  • Popsicle820

    kainggit! sana ako din!!!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Kaya mo rin yan Popsicle820! :)

  • EVILCOUPLE

    You’re lucky no one kidnap you in Muslim Mindanao. why? because they are here already in Metro Manila slum.

    • stjohnofthevatican

      serisously? Have been to National Bilibid Prison? Most of those confined there are non-Muslims. Wake up a bit or rather quit hitting the bong.

    • soloflight

      too ignorant to say Muslim Mindanao..only around 30percent of Mindanao population are muslims and not all of them are kidnappers or bad people.There are a lot of them also who are kind, well-educated and well mannered even filthy rich..We are living diversely with the tri-people of mindanao( christians, lumads and muslims) peacefully.Kidnapping is not also rampant all over mindanao, it happens case to case basis and in few areas where peace and safety are threatened..but generally is a beautiful place.You should try going over here to ease your ignorance and misjudgments.Just like christians and lumads people differ ..thway people behave does not depend on our faith or ethnicity.Please take time to do research then..

  • eaves

    you’re great…awesome place to travel.. how is your experience in CAR province?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      CAR is my second most favourite Philippine region after Bangsamoro eaves. I could still recall my sweet experiences in Kalinga, and the generous family who treated me as their own. Kalinga coffee in Butbut was the best coffee I ever tasted. I also did spelunking in Sagada (Mountain Province) and tried eating dog meat in Bontoc (I didn’t like it though partly because I’m a pet lover). I climbed Mt. Timbac and Mt. Pulag in Benguet, also explored some other towns like Atok, La Trinidad and Tuba. I visited the towns of Calanasan and Luna in Apayao, as well as the rice terraces of Ifugao. In Abra I explored the towns of Bangued and Tayum. Wonderful experiences! :)

  • Joseph Rejano

    what is your top ten Philippine destination? Top Ten foods? top ten beautiful ladies? thanks

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Wait for them Joseph! These topics will be coming soon! Top ten beautiful ladies? Well that’s a tough one but I must say I met a lot of beautiful girls in Iloilo and Bicol. Hahaha.

  • herminio

    I have a friend Jerry who loves to travel here and abroad. I learned a lot about our country and travel in general from him and you. I envy you both. May your tribe increase. ANG GALING NIYO.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I don’t like being the source of envy herminio haha. But yeah thanks! I hope the article inspired you. Regards to your friend Jerry! :)

  • Elias

    Ug ayaw gyud kalimti nga ang pinulongan nga ginagamit sa kadaghanan sa mga Pinoy mao gyud ang BISAYA. (And don’t ever forget that the language used by most of the Pinoys is really BISAYA.) Have you ever known that some tourists mistakenly identified Cebu as a different country because of it?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      lage Elias! daghan kaayo ang Bisaya diha sa Visayas ug Mindanao… bisan diri sa Luzon daghan pud… mistaken Cebu as a different country? could be because of the different language. :)

  • Caryl Vanessa

    W O W! i envy you! hahaha congratulations! great job! ;)

    • Caryl Vanessa

      magsabi ka next time kung san ka pupunta sama kami

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thank you Caryl! You can do it too! Sure ok lang naman sakin may kasama hehe.

  • Patrikios

    Hahaha, you’re brave! My mum wouldn’t let me travel alone. She even cried when I went to Europe on my own…

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      That was very brave of you Patrikios! Europe alone? wow!! I wish I could also visit Europe one day… save! save! save!

      • http://www.idonthaveawebsite.com.au Patrikios

        Yeah, I recommend you do! The best experience. But I also recommend at least minimum of 2 months if you plan on doing a FULL trip of Europe. Otherwise do a Contiki tour.

      • http://www.idonthaveawebsite.com.au Patrikios

        Yep! Save up for that. Its the best. But be very cautious of skilled thieves in Euro-Mediterranean areas. My camera almost got stolen.

  • Shane Guzman

    What a great achivement!! That’s very courageous of you. And it must have been such a huge fulfillment having to finance your own travels. My first solo adventure was in Mindanao and yes, I get what you mean: a lot of the people I’ve spoken to would still respond in Bisaya even if I told them I can’t understand the dialect. Ü Nevertheless, the experience and the people were great.

    Visiting all the provinces of the Philippines is a nice goal, and i would like to achive it too someday. Keep inspiring!!!!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      You know you can do it too Shane. Nothing is impossible, we only need the right amount of determination. Bisaya is sooooo extensive I know hahaha. I enjoyed every bit of my time in Mindanao too! Thanks for the insight Shane and I wish you the best on your future travels! :)

  • Reych

    I just started my first solo trip adventure last Feb (Camotes Island!) and it was an amazing experience. Yours is pretty inspiring! Keep on travelling!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Way to go Reych! I wish you more travels. Always take care! :)

  • Erika Tuprio

    I want to meet you personally! :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Sure Erika! Anytime!

  • Whey Emmenegger

    Nice to hear your story and thanks for sharing your experience. I have one question, how were you able to acquire a host family in Tawi-Tawi?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi Whey. A guide was provided by the provincial tourism office of Tawi-Tawi, and this guide happened to know someone in Sitangkai. We asked the family of his friend if they can host us for a night, and they gladly agreed. They even prepared dinner and breakfast for us. :)

  • http://oolalai.com/ Oolalai

    Amazing! Now where’s the link to your blog and your itineraries?

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      You’re pretty Oolalai! Therefore, here’s my blog link —> http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Enjoy! Hahaha.

      • http://oolalai.com/ Oolalai

        Hahaha! Thanks! :>

  • akramgolteb

    Yes so true, not all muslims are terrorists or terrorist supporters. Only 9 out of 10 are.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Naaaahhhh akramgolteb. Would you be willing to provide us your source for this alarming statistics?

  • Gracey

    I admire you for the courage to travel alone. Thank you for sharing with us your experiences. God bless you more!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thanks Gracey! It was my pleasure to share my experiences. God bless you too!

  • joy joy

    pertcast shut up– stop worrying about it. why don’t you donate your car or house if you are so patriotic

  • Doodoot Antoque Collo

    Thank you for this article! Its really inspiring, its never too late for everyone to experience how blessed we are being in the Philippines..Very patriotic and brave.. keep it up and Kudos!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thank you Doodoot! Thank you for appreciating this article. I’m glad it brought you inspiration. We are truly blessed! :)

  • Joe FilChi

    Number 5 so correct.. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but so far ALL SUICIDE BOMBERS AND SUICIDE KILLERS are Muslims. Figure that

    • Ijiwaruna

      http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christian-suspected-in-suicide-bomb-attack-on-Zamboanga-airport-19141.html

      http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=7137

      you gotta love it

      but a lot of our criminals here are catholic tho lol so

      “figure that”

      Stop the Drama, Start The Beauty

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I have to disagree with that Joe FilChi. I believe not all suicide bombers and suicide killers are Muslims. Have you heard of the Japanese kamikaze? Were they Muslims? :)

      • Joe FilChi

        Hahaha. Sorry. Kamikazes were part if the Japanese military and their targets were U.S. warships IN A DECLARED WAR in a HOSTILE battle ground (world war 2 pacific area). Those were not indiscriminate murders that included women and children in NON WAR ZONES which are done today. And besides kamikazes were from over 70 years ago! Not part of modern contemporary discussion. :)

      • Joe FilChi

        Bit of historical facts here Harly. First the Japanese kamikazes were part of the FORMAL/OFFICIAL Japanese army that targeted AMERICAN WARSHIPS and AMERICAN SOLDIERS in OFFICIAL WARTIME (World War II) in an OFFICIAL WARZONE (the Western Pacific). Muslm terrorists blow up public buildings, trains, offices with women and children in areas NOT DESIGNATED as war zones. Also Harly, kamikazes and their legend are over 70 years old in terms of history and not part of any contemporary discussion about modern day terrorism, especially the Muslim kind. Let’s update ourselves there :)

  • Victor Simon Nicolas

    I must say that this is amazing. I for one have tried travelling to different places. The thrill of finding yourself in unfamiliar places brings out your sense of adventure. This also allows you to see and meet different people from all walks of life. It will also allow you to experience Filipino hospitality and hostility at the same time.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I agree with everything you said Victor. I also like finding myself in places I’ve never been before, going there without knowing a single person. And you’re right, this situation allows us to meet new friends; letting us deal with locals and know more about their ways of life. Thank you Victor. Let’s continue traveling! :)

  • Jason Paul Calma Laxamana

    I noticed that one of your hometowns is Pampanga. I hope you have discovered the province more than just the churches and the cities :) have you visited the sea of Pampanga (yep, Pampanga has a sea)? Or the highlands of Floridablanca? :)

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I love Pampanga Jason! Except the hot weather!! Haha. Sea of Pampanga? This is my first time to have heard of it. Can you please enlighten me about it? I would like to see that sea! My family frequented Floridablanca when I was young. We also love going to Mexico, Clark and Angeles. Guagua is my mom’s hometown. :)

      • Jason Paul Calma Laxamana

        Pampanga is not a landlocked province if you check the map. The towns of Macabebe, Sasmuan, and Lubao contain the coast of Pampanga Bay (which is also Manila Bay). Porac and Angeles are home to lahar canyons, hot springs, and waterfalls that you might not have yet visited. :)

  • Brian

    First of all, don’t be disheartened if others take some of your observations the wrong way. Everyone is sensitive about something, you can’t please them all.
    Secondly, I’ve travelled extensively and a lot of times by myself so I know the thrill that comes with it. From castles in Scotland to Temples in Cambodia, there is always a sense of adventure that comes from exploring, even more so if you’re on your own.
    And lastly, I’ve gone from Batanes to Basilan, and various places in between, but I admit I haven’t been to all the provinces in the Philippines. That, in itself, is a feat not many can boast of. So kudos to you for that and I wish you a safe journey on your next adventure.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi Brian! Thank you for the support. You know I really find it difficult to read some negative comments but after some time I have learned how to squeeze value out of them. Safe travels to both of us! I wish you fun on your future trips! :)

  • Reina Adlawon

    This is awesome! Thumbs up!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thank you Reina! Thumbs up to your heartwarming comment! :)

  • warlaw

    If our muslim brothers had steady jobs, enforced free or/and affordable educationl, and government pours infrastructure projects to Mindanao, peace will rein. Indeed the Philippines is a beautiful country.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      You are totally correct warlaw! I’m also hoping our national government will provide equal opportunities to our brothers and sisters in Muslim Mindanao. Philippines indeed is a beautiful country. No question about that! :) 10 Best Provinces? Hmmm I’m afraid the other 71 will get jealous! Haha.

  • Bilmoko Yoko

    How could our Muslim brothers and sisters “escape” from being labeled as terrorists even if, they are like the rest of us, peace loving, educated and progressive citizens when media identifies those who committed terrorist acts as Muslim terrorists? In the US and other western nations, terrorists are no longer identified along religious, cultural and nationality lines. They are only identified as such if they publicly admit to it. Otherwise, those identities are not mentioned in the print and broadcast media. Now we could hear on CNN and BBC the terrorists being referred to as Islamist radicals or hardliners because it is a fact that not all Muslims are Islamist radicals or hardliners.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      I agree with you Bilmoko Yoko. I think the media should really stop branding terrorists as ‘Muslim terrorists’. Christians and people of other faith can also be terrorists for all I know. This type of reporting gives a bad impression towards the rest of the Muslim population around the world. Thank you for this insight.

  • Pedromarco123

    Tagalog is not our official language. It’s Filipino. I don’t know what books you have read. Then Bisaya is not also the name of the dialect you are hearing from Visayas and Mindanao. It’s actually Cebuano. Because Bisaya dialects are the likes of Cebuano, Ilonggo, Hiligaynon, Waraynon, etc. And what a realization, “Not all Filipino Muslims are terrorists.”!!! Can you not rephrase it maybe, just to make it look less hurtful and indisciminate?

    But appreciate much for sharing your experiences and those nice pictures.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      You got me there Pedromarco123! I’m very sorry. I failed to notice that. Yes, Filipino is the official language and not Tagalog. I apologize for that mistake. Although I know that Bisaya is not a dialect, not even a formal language, but a collective term for a group of related languages spoken in Visayas and Mindanao. I’m aware that Cebuano, Boholano, Hiligaynon, Aklanon, Waray, Surigaonon, etc are different from one another, but may all be collectively grouped under Bisaya. “Not All Filipino Muslims are Terrorists” — it may sound discriminatory at first but if you read the texts under it, you’d realize that this heading has a purpose behind it. Thanks Pedro! It’s always a pleasure to share my experiences and photos. Thanks as well for this wonderful comment especially for correcting me about the official language. Thanks! Thanks! :)

    • Jason Paul Calma Laxamana

      Accdg to linguists Tagalog and Filipino are the same. Ever wonder why the Palanca Awards have a Filipino category but no Tagalog category? Coz they’re the same.

      • GATang Laing

        Filipino and tagalog are different po….. Tagalog is the language/dialect used by the people in Region 4, NCR and some part of Region 3 while Filipino is our National Language…. if you are going to read the Filipino Dictionary, you will realize na ang Filipino language ay pinayamang lenguaheng pilipino na nanggaling sa iba’t ibang dayalekto sa buong bansa……

        • rickytell

          tagalog is the same as Filipino period. no ifs and buts.

          • GATang Laing

            Prove it……. no ifs and buts? eh di mo naman maipaliwanag….. sige tumanda kang mali ang paniniwala……..

          • rickytell

            you must be ignorant. I was not born yesterday. I know what i am saying. I dont have to prove it. you just read a Filipino dictionary idiot.

          • GATang Laing

            Bat di mo ilatag ang pinaglalaban mo? Anong sinasabing mong u dont have to prove it? if u really know what u are saying, u have at least give some proof…. nagbabase ka sa Filipino Dictionary? Bakit di mo pag-aralan ang saligang batas? para naman hindi ka maging tatanga-tanga…. hindi ka nga pinanganak kahapon, hindi ka naman natuto sa kahapon…. Kasi kulang ka sa pagbabasa….. Ilatag mo ang reference mo para naman maniwala ang tao sayo…. Sino ngaun ang ignorante sa mga walang kabalbalang komento niya? Patunayan mo hindi puro maduduming salita ang lumalabas sayo… Halatang takot ka, Pati litrato mo ninakaw mo sa iba… halatang walang pinag-aralan

          • rickytell

            I wont discuss about this subject with you any longer. May sarili kang mundo. Obviously, you only speak tagalog. no sense talking to you. Ang author nga mismo nagsabi na tagalog ang tawag sa language hindi Filipino. di ka naniniwala. syempre tagalog kaya ipinagpilitan mo na ang tagalog iba sa Filipino. wake up to reality. Im a doctor in education and you are not.

          • GATang Laing

            Talaga? Doctor ka in education? “HE SAID” Ang author ay isang manlalakbay, hindi bihasa sa lenguwahe o kasaysayan. Discuss? nagdidiscuss ka ba? wala ka ngang matinong sinabi…. eh ano kung Nagdoctorate ka? Bat hindi mo gamitin yang pagiging doktor mo para makapagpaliwanag ka ng maayos? Sayang ang pinag-aralan mo, hindi mo ginagamit ng maayos. Wala kang natutunan sa mahigit sampung taong mag-aaral mo…. LAGALAG pa din ang paguugali mo

          • GATang Laing

            basahin mo toh oh……. please naman para makasama ka sa mundo namin…. doktor ka kasi eh… kaia kala mo alam mo lahat…. ikaw ang mai kariling mundo….

            http://www.ncca.gov.ph/download

          • Zhane Kong Chua

            hahaha.. I like you Sir… i do appreciate you.

          • GATang Laing

            BASAHIN MO TO…. PARA NAMANG MAY SILBI ANG SINASABI MONG HINDI KA PINANGANAK KAHAPON….. SALAULA….

            http://tagaloglang.com/The-Philippines/Language/filipino-tagalog-pilipino.html

            https://ph.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AwrSbl6hPtVT7mkAuYSzRwx.;_ylu=X3oDMTByc25qcnVyBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw–?qid=2007072013532

            http://ezinearticles.com/?Tagalog-and-Filipino-Language—What-Is-the-Difference?&id=6097404

            On December 13, 1937, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive order No. 134, s. 1937, approving the adoption of Tagalog as the basis of the national language of the Philippines, and declared and proclaimed the national language so based on the Tagalog dialect, as the national language of the Philippines.[20]

            In 1959, the language became known as Pilipino in an effort to dissociate it from the Tagalog ethnic group.[21]

            Later, the 1973 Constitution provided for a separate national language to replace Pilipino, a language which it termed Filipino. However, Article XV, Section 3(2), mentions neither Tagalog nor Pilipino as the basis for Filipino, instead calling on the National Assembly to:

            take steps toward the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.

            This move has drawn much criticism from the nation’s other ethnic groups.

            In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.[22] Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:

            as [Filipino] evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.

            And also states in the article:

            Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.

          • rickytell

            No need to prove it. you just read a Filipino dictionary. It is actually a tagalog dictionary. You must be tagalog speaking.

          • GATang Laing

            http://tagaloglang.com/The-Phi

            https://ph.answers.yahoo.com/q

            http://ezinearticles.com/?Taga

            On December 13, 1937, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive order No. 134, s. 1937, approving the adoption of Tagalog as the basis of the national language of the Philippines, and declared and proclaimed the national language so based on the Tagalog dialect, as the national language of the Philippines.[20]

            In 1959, the language became known as Pilipino in an effort to dissociate it from the Tagalog ethnic group.[21]

            Later, the 1973 Constitution provided for a separate national language to replace Pilipino, a language which it termed Filipino. However, Article XV, Section 3(2), mentions neither Tagalog nor Pilipino as the basis for Filipino, instead calling on the National Assembly to:

            take steps toward the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.

            This move has drawn much criticism from the nation’s other ethnic groups.

            In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.[22] Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:

            as [Filipino] evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.

            And also states in the article:

            Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.

          • rickytell

            you just read Filipino dictionary to prove my point. Of course, Quezon is tagalog speaking.

          • GATang Laing

            binasa mo ba ang saligang batas? sana basahin mong magi ung mga link… walang knalaman ang pagiging tagalog ni quezon sa issue sa konstitusyon… sa alpabeto palang makikita mo na ang pagkakaiba ng dalawa….

          • GATang Laing

            aside from that…quezon is not tagalog…he’s spanish… you better study your history brother……. im surprised that you are using foul words like idiot and ignorant to win a healthy conversation… cause as far as i know, only morons use that word to tell other people that they are more dominant and intellectual…. I don’t read dictionary. I only use history and constitution to back up my arguments….. now, hinahamon kita to post your reference to prove that im wrong…. Pilipino ka ba talaga?

          • GATang Laing
      • karst

        All the 80+ laguages, dialects, and vernaculars in the Philippines are collectively called Filipino. However, Filipino is primarily based in Tagalog to have a common ground.

    • kikimomikoto

      It’s Pilipino, not Filipino. Filipino refer to citizen of Philippines.

      • Pedromarco123

        Mali ka brad. Filipino is the language and it refers also to the citizens of the Philippines. But if you try to look at it, mas tama siguro if ang Pilipino would refer to the citizens so that it would be aligned with Philippines.

        • Zhane Kong Chua

          Nope. According to Our constitution, Filipino refers to the language and Pilipino refers to Us, Citizens. walang “siguro siguro” dito, this is fact.

          • Pedromarco123

            Did you read the Constitution brad? Or have you ever read it? Does it say that Pilipino refers to the citizens? Basa2x din pag may time… wag magmarunong. Lumalabas ka tuloy hambog pero bobo! At yan sigurado, hindi siguro lang.

          • Pedromarco123

            Did you read the Constitution brad? Or have you ever read it? Does it says that Pilipino refers to the citizens? Basa2x din pag may time… wag magmarunong. Lumalabas ka tuloy hambog pero bobo! At yan sigurado, hindi siguro lang.

  • mar

    marami na akong nabasa tungkol sa mga kwento ng mga manlalakbay halos magkakatulad ang mga sinsasabi nila maaring tungkol sa masasayang karanasan o kaya ay malulungkot na sinapit sa kanilang paglilibot. Sa totoo e ngayon lang ako nagbigay ng aking pagpuna sa mga ganitong bagay dahil ito ay naiiba, una binigyan mo ng pagkakataon ang iba magakaroon ng lakas ng loob na maglakbay, ikalawa inilarawan mo ang kakaibang kultura ng mga pilipino 3. binigyang pansin mo ang wika na may maraming bilang ng mga nagsasalita kung saan ay ito ang katotohonan kung minsan ay ginagawang katatawanan ng mga filipino speakers pag nakarinig na nagsalita ng bisaya. pang huli naisalaysay mo ang tunay na kalagayn ng pamumuhay sa mindanao na katulad sa iba pang panig ng bansa ay may lugar na tahimik at lugar na ang mga tao ay naghahanap ng pagbabago. I commend you for that very informative story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Napaligaya mo ako ng husto Mar. Maraming salamat sa pagsuporta mo sa artikulong ito. Binigyan mo ako ng inspirasyon upang lalo pang pagbutihin ang aking pagsusulat. Maraming salamat at ingat palagi. :)

  • Filipina Maharlika

    Great article!

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Thanks for appreciating Filipina Maharlika!

  • BreakngChristianNews

    Harly – as the rock group U2 says/sings, “Kill your inspiration and sing about the grief.”

    The Philippines is so #overwhelmed with #corruption and abject #poverty it is excruciatingly disheartening. Most Filipinos work at a rate of US$1/hr. There is lawlessness and crime rampant and everywhere, including every boarding house or otherwise, has bars on their windows
    because the police, which many a time are alleged to be corrupt and make up their own rules as they go along, are non-existent in terms of their ‘presence’ on the streets as in any other normal, developed countries.

    Yourgovernment is not prepared to lead because of total lack of experience and again corruption (there was a report from your government about 2 years ago that stated that an estimated 20% of ALL GDP is squandered in corruption – TWENTY PERCENT!). When the earthquake and typhoon hit last year thousands of Filipinos were lost because your government failed to warn it’s citizens properly and evacuate before the typhoon hit all the
    affected areas. And yet EVERY year Filipinos faces the threat of deadly typhoons and yet – your government does nothing to protect it’s own children!

    Furthermore the reasons for 66% to 80% of your citizens living in such deplorable housing and cycles of poverty is because the wealthy Filipinos support politicians who will not change basic law to allow for more foreign investment which any country needs to create a new economy, new jobs and sustain the people vocationally. Why do they do this? Because they do not want foreigners being able to invest in the Philippines like any other normal democracy allows for. And again why? Because they want to continue enriching themselves at the expense of their fellow Filipino brothers and sisters who mean absolutely nothing to them. All they want is more worldly riches to ‘stay in a privileged life of power’ which has been abused in the most derelict way in front of the entire world but moreover – #God.

    The other main reason Filipinos are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty is because
    the ‘contracts’ that low wage individuals are enslaved to. In the US or any other normalized democracy this would be 100% UNCONSTITUTIONAL. These ‘contracts’ benefit ONLY the companies. The Philippines has no labor laws to protect it’s poor and allow them, through the favor of Godand self-determination, to rise up and break the cycle of poverty in their family line and as a predictable result people are born in a boarding house and die in a boarding house. It must be CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THIS IS NOT GOD’S WILL!

    Now going back to the typhoon of last year and every year – when it happens what does
    the Philippine government do? It stands with it’s hands out yet again asking the nations of the world to ‘donate’ what ultimately now is in the hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars to bail out your citizens and ‘rebuild’ affected areas again and again, over and over. This is #mindless.

    On top of this during these natural calamities their are NO first responders (ambulance, EMT’s, police, firedepartment, etc). When is the Philippines going to get ‘right’ with God and serve the interests of the people with basic civil infrastructure as in any other normalized democracy? WHEN?

    At 6 o’clock a prayer comes over the loud speaker in the stores but around the clock Filipinos are routinely denied treatment from hospitals for lack of money and many are left to return home to die. #HYPOCRISY. Feigning morality and a conscious in God will not go unpunished from the #Lord.

    And your government treats foreigners so disrespectfully who contribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually to your economy in rental income, utilities income, faith-based income,
    retail income, food and restaurant income, hotel and lodging income, etc, etc. They have the nerve to demand that foreigners pay high and increasing fees every 60 days in order to stay in the Philippines! WHERE is the gratitude to the millions of foreigners who come here and pour
    hundred of millions, billions in total, into your economy which keeps the weakest of the poor from perishing outright? Without this influx of foreigner payments – your ‘economy’ (we really can’t call it that) would crash overnight and this cannot be disputed in any way.

    There is no gratitude from your government for the life-saving financial contributions of all foreigners. There is none. There is no fear of God.There is no appreciation for the kindness and blessings foreigners pour into the Philippines in a myriad of ways.

    My heart breaks for the millions of Filipinos and Filipino children who live such a dark existence, mired down in suffocating and incapacitating generational poverty because of the avarice of the wealthy Filipino families and the corruption of your government (or lack thereof).

    Lord Jesus – bless the Philippines with the leader(s) they so desperately need to turn the tide of this dark and demonic battle and help all Filipinos, especially the blessed children, overcome and go on to lead a live of victory. <3

  • Breaking Christian News

    Harly – as the rock group U2 says/sings, “Kill your inspiration and sing about the grief.”

    The Philippines is so #overwhelmed with #corruption and abject #poverty it is excruciatingly disheartening. Most Filipinos work at a rate of US$1/hr. There is lawlessness and crime rampant and everywhere, including every boarding house or otherwise, has bars on their windows
    becausethe police, which many a time are alleged to be corrupt and make up their own rules as they go along, are non-existent in terms of their ‘presence’ on the streets as in any other normal, developed countries.

    Your government is not prepared to lead because of total lack of experience and again
    corruption (there was a report from your government about 2 years ago that stated that an estimated 20% of ALL GDP is squandered in corruption- TWENTY PERCENT!). When the earthquake and typhoon hit last year thousands of Filipinos were lost because your government failed to warn it’s citizens properly and evacuate before the typhoon hit all the
    affected areas. And yet EVERY year Filipinos faces the threat of deadly typhoons and yet – your government does nothing to protect it’s own children!

    Furthermore the reasons for 66% to 80% of your citizens living in such deplorable housing and cycles of poverty is because the wealthy Filipinos support politicians who will not change basic law to allow for more foreign investment which any country needs to create a new economy, new jobs and sustain the people vocationally. Why do they do this? Because they do
    not want foreigners being able to invest in the Philippines like any other normal democracy allows for. And again why? Because they want to continue enriching themselves at the expense of their fellow Filipino brothers and sisters who mean absolutely nothing to them. All they want
    is more worldly riches to ‘stay in a privileged life of power’ which has been abused in the most derelict way in front of the entire world but moreover – #God.

    The other main reason Filipinos are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty is because the
    ‘contracts’ that low wage individuals are enslaved to. In the US or any other normalized democracy this would be 100% UNCONSTITUTIONAL. These ‘contracts’ benefit ONLY the companies. The Philippines has no labor laws to protect it’s poor and allow them, through the favor of God and self-determination, to rise up and break the cycle of poverty in their
    family line and as a predictable result people are born in a boarding house and die in a boarding house. It must be CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THIS IS NOT GOD’S WILL!

    Now going back to the typhoon of last year and every year – when it happens what does the
    Philippine government do? It stands with it’s hands out yet again asking the nations of the world to ‘donate’ what ultimately now is in the hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars to bail out your citizens and ‘rebuild’ affected areas again and again, over and over. This is #mindless.

    On top of this during these natural calamities their are NO first responders (ambulance, EMT’s, police, fire department, etc). When is the Philippines going to get ‘right’ with God and serve the
    interests of the people with basic civil infrastructure as in any other normalized democracy? WHEN?

    At 6 o’clock a prayer comes over the loud speaker in the stores but around the clock Filipinos are routinely denied treatment from hospitals for lack of money and many are left to return home to die. #HYPOCRISY. Feigning morality and a conscious in God will not go unpunished from the #Lord.

    And what about travel? Financially weak Filipinos are #NOT allowed to travel out of their own country, on their own, and see the world as they would in any other normalized democracy! Why? Because in part, they check their bank accounts and if they’ve got little or no money then they will not grant travel VISAS to poor Filipinos. This is an #outrage and literally keeping Filipinos as indentured #slaves. This is NOT democracy.

    And your government treat foreigners so disrespectfully who contribute hundreds of millions of
    dollars annually to your economy in rental income, utilities income, faith-based income, retail income, food and restaurant income, hotel and lodging income, etc, etc. They have the nerve to demand that foreigners pay high and increasing fees every 60 days in order to stay
    in the Philippines! WHERE is the gratitude to the millions of foreigners who come here and pour
    hundred of millions, billions in total, into your economy which keeps the weakest of the poor from perishing outright? Without this influx of foreigner payments – your ‘economy’ (we
    really can’t call it that) would crash overnight and this cannot be disputed in any way.

    There is no gratitude from your government for the life-saving financial contributions of all foreigners. There is none. There is no fear of God.There is no appreciation for the kindness
    and blessings foreigners pour into the Philippines in a myriad of ways on a daily basis.

    My heart breaks for the millions of Filipinos and Filipino children who live such a dark existence, mired down in suffocating and incapacitating generational poverty because of the avarice of the wealthy Filipino families and the corruption of your government (or lack thereof).

    Lord Jesus – bless the Philippines with the #Christian leader(s) they so desperately need to turn the tide of this dark and demonic battle and help all Filipinos, especially the blessed children, overcome and go on to lead a live of victory. <3

    #FollowUs @iChristNews on Twitter

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi there Breaking Christian News. Thank you for this very detailed insight about the state of the Filipino nation. I hope we can talk about this on a separate post. This sounds interesting though; it only needs a more appropriate venue for discussion. I hope you’ll understand. Thanks! :)

  • MissM

    Fantastic article! I love it! One of my dream is to travel and visits places around Philippines before touring in different countries. But I am hesitate to pursue it because of some scaring situation that happened in different Provinces especially in Mindanao area. But your article gave me a cleared idea that its not really that scary. So if its GOD’s will, i can do it one day.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi MissM. I’m glad you liked it! Yes please travel around The Philippines first before exploring other countries. This will let you realize how beautiful our islands are! Trust me, you won’t regret it. Take care and all things are possible! :)

  • Ah_lex

    Salamat Harly sa pag-share mo at nadagdagan ang kaalaman ng mga nakabasa, kasama na ako. Naka-relate lang ako sa sa ika-2 at ika-5 dahil ang mga biyahe ko sa iba’t-ibang lugar sa ating bansa ay dahil lamang sa trabaho, at madalas ay sa mga kabayanan lamang.

    Mas marami nga ang nagsasalita ng dialect na Bisaya (may pahilis sa last syllable which is different from Bisaya – the region) kaysa Tagalog. Dito based ang Cebuano (natutunaw ang “L” at minsan ay pinapalitan ng “W”), ang Boholano (ang “Y” ay nagiging “J”, at ang “K” ay nagiging “H”), pero sa karamihan ay ang klarong Bisaya pa rin ang ginagamit. Nakakalungkot nga lamang isipin na para lamang masabing nakarating sila or nakapag-aral sa Sugbu (Cebu City), or kabilang sila sa mayayaman, or para raw may class, ginagaya nila ang mga salita ng mga taga Cebu City at hindi ang taal na bisaya (may pahilis sa huling syllable).

    Tungkol sa ika-5 naman ay mas maraming nagkwento sa akin, sa mga napuntahan kong lugar sa Mindanao (kabilang na rito ang Tupi, Tacurong, Isulan, Cotabato City, Parang, Sharif Aguak, Jolo, Canatuan, Tangub, Baroy, Bislig, Tandag, Valencia, Quezon, etc., at siyempre ang mga big cities), na mas marami sa nanggugulo ay mga rebeldeng hindi kasapi sa Islam/Muslim.

    Salamat muli…

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Maraming maraming salamat din sa iyo Ah-lex. Tama ka, mas malawak nga ang saklaw ng wikang Bisaya. Alam mo, pareho tayo ng pananaw. Nalulungkot din ako sa tuwing makakarinig ng Cebuano sa mga lugar na hindi naman natural na Cebuano, gaya halimbawa ng Surigao at Butuan. Ako rin ay umaasa na bukod sa paggamit ng Cebuano ay pahahalagahan din ng mga lokal sa lugar na ito ang sarili nilang bersyon ng Bisaya (Surigaonon, Butuanon). Tama rin na ang ibang naghahasik ng kaguluhan sa Mindanao ay hindi Muslim. Ang iba sa kanila ay may kaibang paniniwala sa mga kapatid nating Muslim.

      Salamat ng marami sa iyong mga pananaw Ah_lex. Ingat lagi. :)

  • shamgar100

    This guy is a moron! What he found out (for himself) was no different from saying that not all Muslims all over the world were terrorists! It could have been acceptable if he did not reach high school.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Ouch shamgar100! That hurts! You mean ‘not all Muslims all over the world are terrorists’? I agree! :)

      • Zhane Kong Chua

        I salute you sir!.. just go ahead and carry on. nothing good will happen to us if we will pay attention to negatives.. just go on to your odyssey and discover more.. i will wait for more of your articles.. so much thanks for you for the knowledge you are imparting.. feeling inspired to travel because of your articles…

  • Marci Ruba

    I hope you were able to visit Bukidnon Harly.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi Marci! Yes I was able to visit Bukidnon. The province has some of the most breathtaking mountains in Mindanao! I love the cool weather too. :)

  • wwmm

    81 provinces in 36 months that average 2.2 per months which are feats to imagine, achieve, and duplicated. What were your travel spans in summer days to monsoon or typhoon months? You trips covered the entire provinces by visiting more towns or just passed them along way? Wonderful to see smiling and well dress local maiden in Sinunul Island, Tawi-tawi. Thanks for sharing your lengthy adventures and multi-experiences of the islands nation of the Philippines.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      First, what an awesome name wwmm! Nah, just kidding haha. Yes what you said was partly right. Although before I started traveling solo, I’ve already been to around 20 provinces (all in Luzon) with the help of school field works. Sunny or rainy months never mattered to me. In 2013 for example I averaged 4 provinces per month. My trips to every province covered a few towns, two to five. I make it sure to explore the main attractions of the province, adding some unpopular destinations when time permits. I hope I answered your questions wwmm. Thank you also for reading the article. Take care! :)

    • Guest

      You hit it right! 81 provinces in 3 years? Sounds too good. Maybe he just passed them along way. When you do backpacking, you should explore every towns and cities. That is how you count it. Come on, Mr. Marcuap! It took me 8 years to explore Visayas & Mindanao region including Turtle Island and Sandakan area.

    • Ano ni mousse

      You hit it right! 81 provinces in 3 years? Sounds too good. Maybe he just passed them along way. When you do backpacking, you should explore every towns and cities. That is how you count it. Come on, Mr. Marcuap! It took me 8 years to explore Visayas & Mindanao region including Turtle Island and Sandakan area.

      • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

        Too hard to believe eh? Well I couldn’t believe I did it as well, but here’s my blog —> http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Somehow I managed to chronicle my trips there. :)

  • Julius Azarcon Puerto

    im a seafarer and i got the chance to travel the world..pero sariling bansa di ko man lang naikot..yong mga post mong white sand beaches natin mas maganda pa sa caribbean..

  • Jessie

    Ako malapit ko na rin makumpleto thanks to my work in an environmental consultancy firm. hehehe. good job, harly.

  • rj

    there’s no such thing as “Davao Occidental”. :(
    “Cebuano” (not Bisaya) is more widely spoken :)

  • chedy

    Hello there, truly Philippines is an amazing place.
    Try to visit Surigao del Sur you’ll love it. Take care!

  • Tin Vilar Pingul

    waa!! 21 y.o visited all 81 provinces of the philippines!? waa!! you’re so great!!

  • Ian L.

    Hey Harly! Thanks for sharing. Great insights. Have picked up your article from CNN. It’s also been my dream to explore the country and I hope to do so soon. I would have wanted to become a geologist like you but I ended up as a medical doctor. Would love to travel with an extra purpose, that is helping to heal sick people that I will meet. Proud to be a Filipino! :)

  • Elwyn Tampipi Pantujan

    Good for you, Harly! That would surely make you a more open-minded person. Just like you, I also have the opportunity to travel many places in the Philippines, but not a single penny spent from my pocket, as my work calls for it. I minded the Google to check how many provinces had I been so far, and realized, I’ve already been to 69 provinces. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful for that…Nice article, Harly!

  • Laurence G. Aniceta

    pag may pera pa tlga lahat gusto mong mapupuntahan moh…

  • Jessica Fuerte

    Salute to your unbelievably strong determination and eagerness to work and save money for you to be able to do your passion. thumbs up! :)

  • Reese

    I’ll be honest, of course alam kong hindi lahat ng tao pare pareho, pero once na pumasok ang Mindanao sa utak ko, hindi maiwasang isipin na may mga terorista and such kaya iniiwasan namin yun for vacation, parang sa ibang bansa din naman yan eh, yung mga tiga Iran/Iraq/Israel/Palestine etc. kahit madaming masamang balita, sigurado naman na hindi lahat ng andun masasamang tao. Good blog! atleast napatunayan mo na mali ang iniisip ng karamihan. Aminin wag magpaka plastic, kahit gaano kalawak utak mo, darating sa punto na may takot kang mararamdaman, well of course I blame the media somehow.

  • Vice Liberty Andreas

    I am always fascinated to see grasslands (in batanes) and to see sand dunes (in ilocos norte). They are both rare for a tropical country.

  • Quinnie Mae Gallarde

    WOW! ,awesome ,amazing, words to describe to your experiences sir , i wanna be like you someday, i really do love and like travelling and discovering new things. good job you are a brave traveller at your young age sir.WOW!!!

  • A.Murder

    Lucky you! Could you make an article about what seems to be the common blessing or problem/conflict in the 81 provinces? Or perhaps create an extensive interactive map with the 81 provinces and your itinerary for each? It’s great that you were able to visit all these places but your Top 5 doesn’t look like you need to travel all 81 to realize it. I was looking for something extensive, or maybe even philosophical.

  • Joy Javier

    good job Harly Marcuap…. i admire you’re sense of adventure and got inspired by it.. being 38 now and a mother of 3, i just realized i’m missing a lot from the country, not just the places but the people as well… hoping one day i can go as far as i want, since i have been to only
    2 or 3 destinations here in Luzon..(what a pity, i guess) continue your journey and God bless you as well!

  • Daisy Jane Omega

    I like you. Love it <3

  • giegie

    hi sir, i have read your blog and your blog inspired me to also to see the hidden beauty of our country. i have been in subic, baguio, bohol, cebu, davao, batangas and cavite.. can i ask you some tips of how to travel on tight budget?

  • amos

    have you pass by Kidapawan city of North Cotabato?

  • Gerrard Alexander Tudio

    Sapalagay ko po parang may konting kamalian sa #2…. May side na tama may side na mali….. Tama kasi malawak nga ang mga probinsiya na nakaka talos ng salitang Bisaya, subalit ang bisaya kasi ay pamilya ng iba’t ibang dayalekto sa mga rehiyon sa visayas at mga parte sa mindanao…. Ilan dito ay waray-waray, hiligaynon, at cebuano kung kaya’t tiyak na mas marami nga ang mga lugar na nasasakupan nito. di tulad ng tagalog na naka-concentrate lamang sa Region 4, NCR at ilang parte ng Region 3….. Subalit kung titignan nating maigi (population wise), mas madami pa din po ang mga pilipino sa mga nasabing rehiyon sa Luzon kung kaya’t mas madami pa din po ang mga nagsasalita ng tagalog. Pangalawa, hindi man native tongue ng mga taga-visayas ang tagalog, sila ay nakakapag-salita pa din kahit papaano nito. Kaya technically, tagalog is more widely spoken than bisaya.

    Ganun pa man, hanga pa din ako sayo at naabot mo ang pangarap kong literal na libutin ang pilipinas…. Sana’y makapag-post ka pa ng madaming litrato ng iyong paglalakbay upang magsilbing mamulat ang mas nakararaming pilipino na “It’s more fun in the Philippines”…. more power to you

  • Carlos Hernandez

    Ang galing! You are inspiring, and so is this article! Will be frequenting your blog site for tips on your trips :)

  • F.

    Hello fellow Sariayahin! I wish someday I, too, will be able to travel to those provinces. Questions (if I may)?
    1. Do you always have host families? How were you able to have host families in your travels?
    2. On an average how much does one need per trip?
    3. And can I tag along in your future travels? ahaha!

    But seriously, what a fulfillment and you’re only 21! To more travels and learnings! Clap Clap!

  • Delia Mabait Sin

    This goes to show that you really love our country. You can now shout MORE FUN here in the Philippines. Mabuhay ka!

  • Delia Mabait Sin

    These goes to show that you really love our country. You can now shout MORE FUN here in the Philippines. Mabuhay ka!

  • Ligaya Boico

    Congratulations! You have travelled all over the country to places where only a few dared to go. I envy you. I’ve to places in luzon, visayas and mindanao but only to “safe places” and i miss the adventure you experienced.

  • Marie Beatriz Arrojo

    Hi, Harly! After reading this article, I truly believe now that if you dream it, you can really achieve it. I am positive and hopeful that I’d be able to travel extensively in the country once I’d have enough funds to support my adventures. Just waiting for the sembreak to come then I’ll go up North and in Bicol Region. I wish I can visit El Nido or Batanes by the end of the year. Ugh, so much feels right now whilst reading this. I would really love to read more of your Bangsamoro story. I want to dare venturing there all by myself. Anyway, keep safe on your next journey!

  • MerleC

    Number 5 should read “ONLY A HANDFUL OF FILIPINO MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS.” And Tagalog per se is not the official language, Pilipino is. However, Pilipino is largely based on Tagalog, borrowing several words from other provincial dialects, to make it sound “national.”

  • Jessica Geonzon Guingao

    wow!!!.. this made me think of exploring PINAS!!!…i wonder how you managed traveling alone. how did you establish contacts in places na wala kang kakilala. yun ata yong reservation ko to travel alone.

  • JMT

    Hi Harly! great read..i, too am on my quest to travel the 81 provinces…i still have yet a lot to visit but i am getting there…if i may add, one of my great discoveries also about mindanao (which is my favorite destination) is not all people who live there are muslims…and it’s very much safe to travel in mindanao (80% of which is safe- as a matter of fact i feel safer to walk in the streets of cotabato city or sultan kudarat than to walk in the streets of quiapo or divisoria). another great confirmation is that filipinos are innately and truly hospitable people. there were many occasions that i slept in the houses of strangers (all the time either couples or families) when i was backpacking, and this is truly heartwarming. this makes me so proud to be a filipino. and last but not the least is YOU CAN DEFINITELY TRAVEL CHEAP if you only make the necessary preparations. cheers to us!

  • Nona Meyet

    Great article and kudos for traveling the entire country. Our national advisers and anyone involved in national policies should visit at least once, all the provinces in the country. Better yet, they should travel lowkey and not in political fanfare style.

    Not to be pedantic but Bisaya has more native speakers hence the reason it has a wider geographical reach compared to Tagalog.

  • http://www.filmdizin.com Özge başak

    Thanks for the great article. i really appreciate it. I have been making research on the internet for a very long time and now come up with something useful. it will be a great guide for my thesis here:

    http://www.incehesap.com/icerik/94/4k-cozunurluk-hakkinda-bilmeniz-gereken-4-gercek

  • Guest

    Filipino Muslims are just like us, they’re also Witty and Kalog, they also like Peace Pipe…and loyal to a friend….STCW

  • KarlosRegaza

    This is a great feat! This is exactly my dream travel across the country.

  • JR John Robert

    nice one :)

  • eduard

    hey Harly, God job. we share the same interests and i enjoyed reading your narratives here,,both trivial and opinionated, yet very intellectual. cheers!

  • Golden Jubilee

    entertaining/educational. may I ask is there a davao occiidental? davao is the biggest province before it was divided into sur, oriental , norte provinces and davao city. just asking for clarification from a super senior citizen who lived once in davao.

  • Raqs

    Mabuhay ka Harly Marcuap!! I should start packing my bag, be brave enough to set foot in Mindanao. One of many provinces I dream to visit, if there is a mountain to hike I will. I have the same perception about Mindanao/Basilan/Tawitawi- magulo, delikado. I wish to explore beaches that are still undeveloped, I should not just wish, it is about time. Ang galing mo.

  • Mienne

    Thanks for sharing this. I also had a wrong perception about Siquijor. But it changed when I had my first job assignment as field engineer for an expansion of one of it’s piers. It was also my first time traveling alone. Siquijor is the complete opposite of my perception back then. The people in Siquijor are so accommodating, hospitable and friendly.

  • Kami Upat

    Hi Harly. It seems that you just visited 60 provinces and rode across the other 21. Maybe I just missed it, but you failed to mention BUKIDNON.

    • http://www.akrosdayunibers.com Harly Marcuap

      Hi there Kami! Are you referring to the list of provinces on my blog? Thanks for taking time to count all of them! Well I’ve explored all 81 provinces including Bukidnon, yet unfortunately haven’t blog about all of them. In Bukidnon I visited the towns of Manolo Fortich and the capital Malaybalay, and I think one waterfalls in Valencia. Also if you will observe I also didn’t have my home province Quezon on that list even if I have been to most of its towns, also Surigao del Norte where I was based for two years. My mom’s home province Pampanga ain’t also on the list but I get to visit the province at least once a year. I hope one day I’ll have time to write blogs about the remaining provinces I haven’t written about. :)

  • http://futurestreamevents.wordpress.com futurestream events

    you are amazing! i also love nature! i’m also a blogger visit my blog at futurestreamevents.wordpress.com

  • Sphynx

    Hi Harly. I really admire and envy your travel achievements. I must say 81 provinces in 3 years is really quite a big achievement considering your young age. I have been planning all my life to travel and do the same. But due to work and financial constraints, it didn’t give me ample vacation time and allow me to travel. I agree, I would like to travel around the country first before exploring the whole world. Especially in Mindanao where most of my Christian relatives live. My parents brought us there when I was just 3 years old and my childhood memories have already vanished. I want to rekindle these nice memories now that I’m on my late 30’s. Could you kindly share as well some of the tips and tricks that you learn from all your travels? If possible, make it per province if not to much to ask. This way, all future travel enthusiasts young and not so old would be properly guided. Hoping to hear from you soon. Once again, I salute you for your accomplishments. God bless on your future travels.

  • Yazir Rajim

    Indeed Harly Muslims in Sulu and Mindanao hate terrorism. I like your site and the info you have shared with us. God bless and continue your great hobbies in life.

  • ka.lamo

    Hi Harly what an amazing project! Love that you grew up in the shadow of Mt. Banahaw.

  • Vanessa Marie Bongcawel

    Wow! I can see your struggles para lang makapagtravel. Ako din iniipon ko ang 13th month pay para may pang travel. Hindi nga ako High maintenance girl pero travel maintenance lang. hehe. Isang inspirational traveler that I will surely include on my list. I met @journeyingjames just this year and sana I could have a picture with you din. GOD BLESS and keep inspiring Travellers :)

  • Oriel Bong Quimbo

    Hey Marly, wow…your article is terrific! I admire your passion to travel all over the Philippines. And you are fortunate enough to have done these travels at your age. I’m now in my 40s, but I also love to explore and travel all over our country. I have been to many provinces in Luzon, 70% of the Visayas, and probably 50% of Mindanao.

    I used to live in San Pedro, Laguna, that gave me opportunities to go to some provinces of Luzon. I once lived in Silay City, Negros Occ. which also gave me opportunities to travel around Visayas provinces. I’m from Cagayan de Oro City, but I’m now based in Jimenez, Misamis Occ. near Ozamiz City. I traveled around the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur with my Kawasaki Rouser motorcycle, and passing through these provinces was a tremendous experience.

    I also want to share about our Muslim brothers and sisters. There was a time I was traveling alone with bad weather condition from Cagayan de Oro City to Misamis Occ. passing through the city of Iligan and the province of Lanao del Norte when a bridge collapsed near Linamon town and my car couldn’t pass. So I had to turn around and made a long detour to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, then to the province of Zamboanga del Sur, and then to Misamis Occ. Along the way, at the town of Ganassi, Lanao del Sur (the western tip of Lake Lanao), my car’s rear tire was flat. Then I found out that, my spare tire was also flat and my jack broken. I was in the middle of nowhere beside Lake Lanao where 100% of its populace were Maranao Muslims. At first, I was overwhelmed with fear because of my prejudice against Muslims. But lo and behold, 2 Maranao guys came to help me. They offered me to change my flat tire using their own jack. At first, I was hesitant but I had no choice than to let them do it. They also took my flat tire to the town to be vulcanized, which was 3 kms from my location. After almost an hour, my heart was pounding: what if they have taken my tire and left me all alone? What could I do? Then they came and changed my flat tire. They also offered me lunch but I declined for I had to be moving. In gratitude, I handed them P500, but their help was priceless…thank you Ahmad and Khalil!

    Indeed, not all Muslims are terrorists. Majority are kindhearted and hospitable.

  • Stephanie Val B. Ecate

    Great article! I’m from Bukidnon, but I haven’t seen most of it yet. Now that I have the funds, I think I’m going to put this on my bucket list. I’ve been to Puerto Princessa, Bacolod, Ilo-ilo, Camiguin, Davao and a few other provinces in Luzon. I’m making it a goal to go around my own province next year and Coron Palawan is also on my list. Good job! *apir!

  • Guest

    Great work Harly! Looking forward for some more exciting articles related to travel you will right.. More power! :)

  • embhang

    Great work Harly! Not all people are gifted with the opportunity and courage that you have.. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and looking forward for more articles you will write. God Bless! :)

  • Mohammad-yusoph Mapia

    Wow, your words were no doubt. you are one of the unique man in the Philippines. I salute you brother. you are living evidence to the real nature of Muslims. thanks.

  • marciel

    I planned to travel , and still planning… and this guy traveled alot before he reached 21. good job!

  • venhar bantigue

    hindi ko alam kung san ako maiinlove sa article or sa author..hehehe nainspired ako magtravel…:)

  • venhar bantigue

    nakapunta din ka po ba sa Enchanted River sa Hinatuan?

  • Rona Taduyo

    Wow. Nakakainggit naman! Sana malibot ko rin ang Pilipinas. Malapit ko ng malibot ang Mindanao next na siguro ang Visayas. By the way, sa lahat ng provinces na napuntahan mo, saan may pinakamagandang waterfalls at beaches?

  • KC Dy

    Wow, this is great. I totally envy you! Will surely satiate my wanderlust after the board exam. But don’t you think it’s a bit dangerous for a lady to travel alone? Any advice/tips you can give to anyone who wants to follow your footstep?

  • Davester Dumagat

    Idol na kita Harly, I am 32 and already married with kids, pero i will never quit on my dream to also make suroy-suroy sa mga probinsya dito sa pilipinas, maybe when the kids are grown I can fullfill this dream.

  • marge

    Just keep on travelling… ;) Hope to travel with you soon…

  • Filman Santiago

    T’was really a brilliant post Harly. But I think, (don’t get me wrong here) it would’ve been much better if you made it a series of posts. It took you years to visit all the 81 provinces and then you just squeezed it like this. :(

    Anyways, again, t’was brilliant!

    http://etc.soundsfunny.ws
    http://www.intheeyesofblackberry.com

  • Jigz Reed Stark

    You are awesome man. I feel inspired with your adventure :)

  • Rey Guma

    did you take a bus from iligan to marawi ? what accomodations & places can you suggest to stay & visit there ? i heard lake lanao is a cool place to visit.

  • pi_a016

    if I were a boy….

  • Martin E Blake

    Good to know that Bisaya is used more than Tagalog. Also good for most other men is your report about Muslims in Mindanao. If however a Woman goes there and gets hooked by a Muslim in marriage, he will demand that all the children become Muslim. Unless she escapes, she will also be forced to Islam. What you saw traveling was mostly first impressions and shallow interpretations. Very interesting report though, thanks.

  • Francis Lorica

    good to share your exoerience but better if you also give us more info on each place you went to. i was actually expecting to see that in your blog. anyway, keep on travelling. good luck!

  • Martin E Blake

    Islam has two faces. One face is for tourists or visitors to see and the other is for financing war and conversion. If you’re non-Muslim, you have to pay Jizyah tax under Islamic Sharia Law. It’s also in the Quran.
    “And al-Razi says in his interpretation of the quranic verse(9:29) in which the jizya was enacted:
    The intention of taking the jizya is not to approve the disbelief of non-Muslims in Islam, but rather to spare their lives and to give them some time; in hope that during it; they might stop to reflect on the virtues of Islam and its compelling arguments, and consequently converting from disbelief to belief. That’s why it’s important to pay the jizya with humiliation and servility, because naturally, any sensible person cannot stand humiliation and servility. So if the disbeliever is given some time watching the pride of Islam and hearing evidences of its authenticity, and see the humiliation of the disbelief, then apparently this might carry him to convert to Islam, and that’s the main rationale behind the enactment of the jizya”.

    • Martin E Blake

      Please don’t delete these posts. People need to know the truth. It is the truth that sets us free.

    • LolKittunz

      Siiiigh. Do we still stone adulterers? Do we sell our disobedient children to slavery? No. All these were in the Bible but aren’t followed anymore because they are barbaric and have no bearing on your faith.

      For that same reason, NO MUSLIM COUNTRY ENACTS JIZYA ANYMORE. None. Not even the very conservative Saudi Arabia. The only “country” which enacted Jizya (after a century of it being an obsolete practice) is the recent renegade state of ISIS which is basically irrelevant. They are barbarians, rejected even by fellow Muslims.

      Not to mention that Christian conquistadores and crusaders were just as bad as well. If not worse. They too forced everyone to convert and killed, enslaved, or marginalized those who refused.

      • Martin E Blake

        They continue to let Terrorism happen, that’s why it persists. Followers of Islam are forced to conform, and they don’t have freedom. Women are baby factories and Muslims rejoice when “infidels” are killed. Christians no longer force those to convert or be killed.
        ISIL’s actions in Iraq are evil.

        • LolKittunz

          Do you really believe then that ALL Muslims are evil just because of Al Qaeda and ISIL and Hamas and Taliban or whatever? I know a lot of you don’t want to accept it, but Islam and Christianity are both offshoots of Judaism, with the same core tenets and the same god. Jesus is even accepted in Islam as a prophet. Both share the same origins in the strongly patriarchal culture of the ancient Semitic peoples, where women were treated as mere possessions, and yes baby factories. Because all of them are based on the Old Testament.

          Did you know for instance that the Bible asks you to cut off the hand of a woman who tries to defend her husband in an argument between men? Or that god specifically commanded Ancient Israelis to raze and pillage neighboring Canaanite settlements for more land, and to kill everyone except the women whom they were to take as wives? Sound familiar? These are merely some examples. Don’t act like this is a purely Muslim thing because it’s not. It’s an EXTREMIST thing. There’s a big difference. Christians would have done the same thing, so would Jews, if they followed the scriptures literally. In fact they did so in the past several times. Hence why fundamentalism in all three religions share so many characteristics.

          And yes. I know that women’s rights in some Muslim countries (the very conservative Wahhabist Saudi for example) is still very questionable. But you can’t seriously believe that all Muslim women are treated exactly like their scriptures say.

          And what do you mean “let terrorism happen”? You realize that you already contradicted yourself, right? Most victims of Jihadist terrorism are actually also Muslims. The people who are fighting ISIL RIGHT NOW are Muslims.

          You’re making caricatures. They’re not cartoon villains, they’re still people. Most of them with the same hopes and dreams that you have. You learn that quickly enough when you actually make the effort to get to know people instead of just judging what they are from Fox News or something.

  • Martin E Blake

    The tax is like the money that Abu-Sayyaf extorts from citizens. Abu Sayyaf are also Muslim.

  • Martin E Blake

    Please don’t delete these posts. I spent time researching this information. Thanks.

  • Martin E Blake

    People who go to Mindanao can be Victimized by Muslims. Harly Limlingan Marcuap is fortunate he is a male. Women are more easily taken and converted. They become breeders for their Muslim Husbands. I know; that’s what happened to Orang my sister in law.

  • Budrick Bias

    I’m glad you had a great time in your travels through out the Philippines. I have lived on the Island of Mindanao 8 years now and love it. But with my white American skin I would never travel to some of the places you have mentioned simply because I would become a target. It’s one thing to travel these areas as a Filipino but much different to travel as an white faced tall American. We just stand out as bait for the bad guys. When you say it’s safe to travel you must make sure it’s safe for all. Thanks.

  • Robe Zamora Dagcuta

    PART 2 pleeease…. More realizations please. I significantly liked No. 2. HAHAHA… Trivia lang po: That’s because Bisaya is a FAMILY of LANGUAGES… Like me, I speak Surigaonon Bisaya and I can also speak Cebuanon Bisaya. If you want to get by and learn the language, I encourage you to speak Cebuanon Bisaya cause it’s more widly spoken and understood. It’s like the mother tongue for all
    Bisaya languages.

  • Reynald Paul Magbanua Imjada

    Traveling and learning about people is something we should all embark on. It’s good you shared and shattered five prejudices. While many focus on the Muslim as Terrorist issue, you do make a good observation that 1. The Philippine landscape is divergent. 2. Bisaya is still the widely spoken dialect, though Pilipino (the less strict form of Tagalog) is considered the national language (you missed the fact many Filipinos can speak English more than Pilipino and Bisaya). 3. That we have a wonderful and diverse culinary specialties and finally, budget air fares are better than ferries or bus. Good article. Sadly many focused on the Muslim issue.

  • True True

    i don’t understand why this article was posted anyway, i didn’t even read but just to drop a line and say who cares and why would one be interested of what a 21 year old thinks? Haven’t they got anything to post that’s most interesting, please?

  • Randy Morris

    I am an American missionary married to a Philippine wife. I have lived in General Santos now for 51/2 years. I really appreciated your article and hope you write more about your travels across the Philippines. You certainly have a very beautiful country. I hope to see more of it.

  • chelay

    Nakaka-inspire ka po! It always been my dream to travel around the Philippines, sabi ko nga sa sarili ko, malibot ko lang ang buong Pilipinas pwede na akong mamatay at hindi mag asawa. hahaha pero I can’t do it not until my subject agrees with my verb. haha mag-aaral na talaga ako ng mabuti.

  • dftysrtysrty

    0. do you really need to exert all this effort to ‘learn’ these 5? i got to the same conclusions by simply reading

    2. filipino is one of the official languages of our republic, not tagalog. there’s no way you can win this one.

    5. do i even have to explain?

    6. think of complaining about the potholes in the metro? in the provinces, there are seldom any decent roads (or other public services for that matter)!

    7. if we have 81 provinces, guess how many political dynasties we have

    lesson: 5 is not enough, especially if you love this country more than just setting foot on all its provinces

  • Renren Pabon

    I strongly agree of what had been written on number 2’s realization you faced during your travels. Wi
    Hence, “Bisaya” dialect should be hailed as our country’s national language.

  • Renren Pabon

    I strongly agree to what had been highlighted in your item # 2 realization during your previous and recent travels around the country. Hence, “Bisaya” as my dialect, should be hailed as our national language. How about that? ;)

  • Ph3n0M47

    I have been lucky enough with my job to be able to travel extensively and have come to the exact same conclusions as you Harly. Pakistan, the Middle East, and other Muslim countries such as Indonesia and parts of Eastern Europe are full of great people that love their families and enjoy friendship and peace just as much as you and I. They also hate terrorism and the stigma surrounding violence and lawlessness placed on their regions by the media. Traveling is so important and promotes opening of the mind which in my opinion is critical to – if anything – just being a decent and fair human being. So many “experts” out there that have no clue what they are talking about influencing those that are not as fortunate to travel and see all the wonderful things that you have. This only leads to ignorance and one need only turn on the news to see the results of that.

    Great post my man!

  • Apol

    very interesting to read though am a late reader, i wish i could do that in God’s time. Goodluck :))

  • Milagros Santos

    I have also traveled almost around the Philippines not only once but more on my personal account except Zamboanga and Jolo and hope to do this around this year. Ang ganda talaga ng ating bansa.

  • Titit

    Nice ^^ hoho “makasuya kaau ka”

  • Ahn2nee

    I love your article. I myself is a traveler and can’t help blogging them sometimes. I have an extensive blog about Mexico since it is the most cheaper place to go near California and I’ve almost been to all the places in the central and southern parts of Mexico seeking magical places and studying the existence of the indigenous people there from the Toltecs, Aztecs, and Mayans. I never tried the northern part yet except Monterrey and the border cities because of the bad perception about drug cartels beheading strangers. Like you I might try going to these places someday to change my crooked impressions about the people living there. Very inspiring and thanks for sharing. My blog is Inner Contemplations. You might Google it and try reading it. I will embark on a 30 day journey in Eastern Europe this coming October and will surely blog them. Have a nice day!

  • Jasper Salcedo

    Just a quick question: have you traveled on weekends only? If yes, wasnt it bitin?

    Anyways, i like this blog post. Good job sir.

  • robert berjame

    We have shared the same interest, at my early age of 20 i was able to visit the popular country in europe, and that is paris, france , united kingdom, germany, and italy. And many more, now i am still continuing my travel enthusiasm by visiting different continent in the world and i was able to accomplish six continent wih different countries visited, one more to go and that is s.america, it was fun indeed experiencing differnt culture of diffrnt countries., and I have lot of stories to share like you do.

  • tony

    Do you think it is safe for a blonde haired, white skinned American kid to visit the southern Muslim Islands? I really want to go but I am scared. Thanks, great article.

    • Zhane Kong Chua

      i am from mindanao and i live here… i have a lot of american friends who visits me here.. nothing happens to them. they went home happy and safe, then they comeback again to visit… actually one of our family friends just went home to U.S last wednesday.

    • LolKittunz

      You’re safe if you avoid areas the locals tell you to avoid. Places like Tawi-Tawi or Sulu, though relatively safe for Filipinos can be dangerous for obvious foreigners. But yeah, everywhere else is pretty safe. Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Surigao, Davao, etc. have a LOT of foreigners.

  • Zhane Kong Chua

    I am thankful for his articles..i will wait for more of it..new learnings i got from you..thank you so much..

  • Jasmine Rocillo

    Inspiring! :) Hope to achieve that dream of mine, too.

  • grapesofwrath

    When your politicos decide to chop chop another province, then you would have missed another. These idiots in congress love to slice up the provinces and God knows when it’s gonna stop.

  • Janine Elace Soriano

    OHMYGOD you inspire me. You did what I’ve always wanted to do.

  • Amor Andula

    Hi Harly, i agree! Especially your #5 points. I’d travelled Mindanao so many times and Our Muslim brothers and sisters are not into that. I remember, we are really welcomed to the grand mosque in Cotabato. The care taker let us explore and witness the muslim culture, he even took some of my photos. Lake Sebu and Saranggani is beautiful, they got the perfect weather and now, I can’t wait to visit Zamboanga, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi next year. In my 4 years of travelling El Nido and Batanes is my favorite. Congrats Sir! Your an inspiration! I can’t wait to discover more in our 7,107 islands! Indeed, its more fun in the Philippines.

  • Alyana Adriatico

    Nice, sir! Student palang po pero I have the same dream as yours – to travel the 81 provinces of the Philippines. Sobrang nakakainspire, sir! Galing nyo po magmanage ng time for acads, part-time at pag-travel. Kudos! :D

  • Ron

    Because of the title of the article being “5 Things This 21-Year-Old Learned After Visiting All 81 Provinces Of The Philippines”, one could presume that listing “Not all Muslim Filipinos are terrorists” means that you only learned that after the fact. So it’s reasonable that readers would be incredulous, even shocked, and interpret it to mean that for the longest time, even right through your higher education, that you thought ALL Filipino Muslims were terrorists… until you traveled. Even if you were indeed “brainwashed” into believing it, in the age of the internet, and living/studying amongst people of various backgrounds, it would have been easy to know that, of course, not all Muslim Filipinos are terrorists.

    Based on your comments, that doesn’t seem to be the case (?) and the point is well-intentioned and that perhaps you’re reaching out to those that are misinformed and who (still) think that way. In any case, Item 5 could just have been better phrased so as to not have been misinterpreted. Something like, “I gained appreciation of Muslim Filipino culture” or “Muslim Filipinos are our fellows”. Sayang.

  • Cynthia Reyes Medrano

    …Happy for you! Having enjoyed most of the country’s beautiful beaches, traveled “off the beaten tracks”, ‘seen and immersed yourself in the different cultures of our people at such a young age is worthy of emulation. I have two grown-up boys in their thirties and wished they all traveled while still young and single. Heck, I just took the courage of traveling solo 2years ago! It was the most inspiring, exhilarating and spiritual journey I took from the Holy Land to Spain, France and Italy. Go young man… and inspire the youth. It is the best gift you can give yourself!

  • LolKittunz

    I still don’t believe the claim that Tagalog “has more native speakers”. I think that’s a misconception resulting from counting everyone who can speak Tagalog (which is basically everyone since it’s taught in schools), including those who speak it as a *secondary* language.

    Visayan languages encompass around three or four major languages. Cebuano (or simply Bisaya) being the most widespread, is spoken in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, parts of the rest of the islands in Visayas, parts of Palawan, and almost the entirety of Mindanao. And it’s mutually intelligible with other Visayan languages like Hiligaynon (Ilonggo).

    In contrast, Tagalog proper is spoken as a native language only in a very limited area in Luzon. So unless the NCR holds more than 50% of the Philippines’ population, it just seems highly unlikely that Tagalog has “more native speakers”.

    Also, most Tagalog-speakers don’t seem to realize it, but in the same way that you find Bisaya too “matigas”, we Bisaya also find Tagalog funny because it sounds so “soft”. Not soft like the beautiful flowing intonations of Hiligaynon. But soft as in it sounds like you’re whining all the time. No offense though. Just saying. :P

  • haljordan44

    The lesson he learned shows his intellectual level. Firstly, Tagalog is more widely spoken because most Bisayan people also knows how to speak Tagalog while only few Tagalog can speak Bisayan. Secondly, the comment of Muslim is so naive. I hope you learned more than this 5 listed items otherwise your trip was wasted.

  • http://bituina.wordpress.com/ B. Aquino

    Nicely done, sir! When I was younger, I wanted to do an “Around the Philippines in 80 days” kind of thing, but when I would visit a province and make new friends, that unique Filipino brand of hospitality (genuine warmth and care for strangers), makes me want to stay around for an extra day or two. So 80 days isn’t really enough, hehehe. Also, there are some provinces with a gazillion tourist spots to explore, each one equally exciting and breathtaking in natural beauty. In addition to your home province, what other province is your favorite place to visit? Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Have a nice day, Mabuhay ang iyong lahi! :-)

  • sailormoon

    About that Muslim Issue, I think its about time for our media outlet (pls ABS, TV5 & GMA) to make a TV program about Filipino Muslims, sana magkaroon ng tv series na tumatalakay sa buhay at kultura ng kababayan nating Muslim para mas malalimang pag-intindi sa kanila. Saka ang daming magagandang lugar doon na tamang tama para sa cinematography.

  • Ricardo Morales Suringa

    I totally agree on #2. Anywhere you go, may bisaya talaga. Good job on this article! More please!

  • Nel

    Nice adventure, fellow travel enthusiast. Like you, I like to travel but to a much more exotic and undiscovered places. Never been popular and unexplored. A beauty that is tantamount to popular places such as Boracay and El Nido without the noisy party people and city like lifestyle. A place that is like feel at home with nature. Though same with your age, I cant do your feat and I salute you for that. Hope you could join me someday with this trip.

  • urkrib

    my eldest son who is now 23 y/o shares the same interest but haven’t had the chance to go for it primarily because of budget, his work sched and… my apprehensions of letting him go all by himself especially down South.
    Thank you Harly for sharing this, i admire your enthusiasm and envy your memorable experiences in all your destinations. from now on, i will be “all-support” towards my son’s plan to pack & go. I might be asking you for some suggested place to stay though :)

  • Rhoda Tedor-Taitano

    Thank you Harley for sharing your thoughts. I love to travel and i have the same desire to explore all the provinces in the Philippines. I’ve gone through 15 provinces and i visited some of it often. I still have more provinces on the list to visit to. I also travelled to 2 Asian countries but before i would intentionally travel the rest, i want to explore our very own place first and also meet people like you said. Thank you for this article. Good job yow! A dream come true indeed!

  • omerta cancer

    I hope you write a book about your experience on the commonality among diversity of the places you have visited. You could help break down barriers brought about by regionalistic and parochial thinking of many Filipinos. Your Mindanao experience was so touching. Thanks for sharing and opening up my mind about our peace loving Muslim brothers in Mindanao.

  • Makoy Montaño

    Nainspire ako lalo magtravel dahil sa article na ito and yung “How This 21-Year-Old Backpacked Across The Entire Philippines On A Tight Budget” article mo, Harly. Then I read “January 7, 2014″ yung 81st province na navisit mo. It’s my 22nd birthday so maybe it’s a sign. Hehe. I am really looking forward to the people as much as the place. Nagsisimula pa lang ako. Take care always and God bless us all. Maraming salamat sa pagbahagi ng iyong karanasan!

  • http://www.kindtrepreneur.me Kenjie Suarez

    Awesome post! I like the part where it says not all Muslims are terrorists. You might as well check this post out. Top Tourist Spots in Cebu

  • http://www.ethananarchy.com/ Ethan

    That’s seriously your top five? Seriously? Because a lot of people can jot these down without having to travel. Not at all insightful.

  • Guest

    Seems like a list from someone who is (or was) naive, disillusioned and pampered beyond reason. Not insightful at all.

  • Mabel Lopez

    c’mon, you cant afford those trips by your school allowance and part time jobs, admit that mama and papa are the ones funding your trips lol..

  • Kakaw Watit

    ha ha ha I missed Sitangkai …

  • mike

    Mr. Harly Marcuap, thanks for sharing to us your travel experiences. I am glad I read this from start to finish. When the truth is I less enjoyed long stories,hehe but in this the longer it is my heart desires to read more. With your sharing, I felt like I have also travelled across Philippines. Thank you man. God bless you!

  • Bambi Marasigan

    Thank you for this sharing, Harley!!! Good for you to know how great our country is!!!

  • Prettie Atienza

    This is lovely Harly, def sharing this. :) I wonder if you’ve ever been to my province, Biri Island, Samar to see the rock formations? You should! They’re spectacular :)

  • Viethmier

    hi Harly, Thank you for sharing your insights specially on number 2 and number 5. maybe because i am a Cebuano(Bisaya) .. i also want to honor you of what you have accomplish. i am a traveler myself and we share the same passion to travel the whole country .. at least in my life time. i have also traveled most of the places in the Philippines except for some few places in Luzon specially the Batanes Islands. i also started way back in my college days.. but back then travelling was old school, hard, tiring and expensive but i enjoy every challenge and every experience i have…. there were no airline promos back then… but the dream still lives on. its set aside for the time being because i am now residing in Canada. i am looking forward at finishing what you already have accomplished in such a young age. God bless you and more power

  • May Angel Sadia Datoon

    I salute you! Sana lahat ng mga kababayan natin mga Pilipino katulad mo na mas uunahin pang magtravel sa bansa natin kesa sa ibang bansa.. Sana magawa ko din ang nagawa mo na malibot nag Pinas. Para makita ko din ang gandang tinatago ng ating bansa!! You’re my inspiration and you give me motivation na gawin ang nagawa mo… Although kasama na sa trabaho ko ang magtravel monthly iba pa din kung walang halong trabaho… Maraming Salamat for doing this article… Share ko lang po itong picture ko sa tikling island, Sorsogon, Bicol…
    God bless You!

  • finn

    “grouping them in such a way that I could explore each one as extensively and as efficiently as possible”

    hi!. may i borrow your list? :D