Ordinary activities that are extraordinary to a foreigner in the Philippines

Recently, I’ve changed roles from being the guest traveler to a local homestay host. I love to stay at homes whenever I travel because I like to see the authentic culture of a country, and I want to connect to locals on a personal level and learn their way of living too. It’s more economical yet it’s more authentic.

Surprisingly, even if our place in the Visayas is very remote, there are actually foreigners who wanted to explore the area.. guess they are after the secluded beach and unlimited coconuts ^_^..

For locals like me, everything in our place is like ordinary, even non touristy at all, but for non locals, everything is different and interesting.. and authentic too!

It is my 3rd time to have foreigners visit our place. The 1st one was a Canadian who was my foreign counterpart when I was working in the corporate. The 2nd one was an American couchsurfer who went to stay together with another Ilongga couchsurfer.

Now, the 3rd one, a new friend from HK, is staying longer for a few weeks and will be traveling the Philippines longer.

So what makes our place special that people want to stay? I initially don’t know too coz for me everything is ordinary.. But during observation, I think this is what makes our everyday ordinary activities extra ordinary in their eyes.

1. From rice paddies, coconut fields, mangoes, and other trees – everything is painted green. I remember my Canadian officemate (hi Vlad!) even tasted a rice twig out of curiosity… I’m sure when I go to farms in other countries, I’ll be in awe when I see different fruits too. This is him with 2 of my relatives.


This is my dad’s beachhouse in the middle of nowhere.

our house in the middle of nowhere

2. Local authentic home cooked food – I’m lucky to have an Aunt that cooks very well… may God bless her with many more strong years ^_^.. all my visitors, local, non-local finds her cooking great too! And the most interesting part is she cooks it traditionally using charcoal, and she teaches visitors how to cook using it too! My friend from HK, an aviation graduate from the US, now knows how to bake a cake using wood charcoal, well done Enoch ^_^.. I will not be surprised if next time, you’ll be climbing coconut trees! ;D
So yep, you can bake a cake without an oven… I actually learned this in Nepal but I replaced sand with water instead, big thanks to Didi Radhika for sharing her skill to me ^_^

chocolate cake

3. Trip to the market is an exciting sight seeing tour. I observe the delight in the eyes of my friend when he saw and smelled vinegar and cooking oil in the sari sari store for the first time.. And in the wet market, we even took a picture of the vendors like they, fishes, veggies, snails are celebrities.

market tour

4. Jeeps and tricycles – even nonlocal friends enjoy being on top of a jeepney in this province, although yeah, I’m thinking what’s wrong with them.. I’m sure my visitors are thinking what’s wrong with me for being a killjoy

5. Nipa huts and secluded beaches – Me and my aunt went to Bohol and stayed in a farm there, she was actually surprised that the farm in the middle of nowhere have foreign visitors and they are staying in Nipa huts.. that is because for foreigners, Nipa hut is very different from a regular house.

So you know what is ordinary in our eyes is exciting for non locals.. So finally I have enlisted my hidden paradise for homestay and see how it will go.

You can do this too in your own homes and be a local tour guide or homestay host.. If you want me to feature your home as a homestay, feel free to contact me too.Let us invite visitors in our houses and build friendships all over the world. ^_^


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