Being a Filipino traveler can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because our motherland is blessed with countless of cultural treasures and stunning natural wonders, from historic verandas to picture-perfect peaks. A curse because our passport ranking or visa-free ranking is rather low. And, that means our options for our international destinations are a little limited. On the bright side, our visa-free score has been on a steady rise, improving from 62 in early 2018 to 69 as of January, 2019. Skyscanner lists down some of the fascinating and new visa-friendly destinations for PH passport holders.
Taiwan’s visa-free access for PH passport holders actually started in 2017, as a trial that was supposed to end in July 2018. Guess what, though? The visa-free access was, last year, extended to July 2019, giving us Pinoy travelers a few more months to enter Taiwan without a visa. So, if I’ve been dreaming and itching to see Taiwan, now would be the best time to do it.
Of course, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Taiwan for Pinoy travel junkies. For those who love eye-catching blooms and flowers, visit Taiwan during springtime to catch sight of its mesmerizing cherry blossoms. Like most Asian countries, Taiwan also has a fair of majestic natural spectacles, such as the Qixingtan Beach, Taroko George, Sun Moon Lake, Xitou Nature Education Garden and Shei-Pa National Park.
And, how can we forget about Taiwan’s booming and tasty culinary goodies. On your visa-free trip to Taiwan, you’ll have a chance to go on a wondrous culinary journey, savoring mouthwatering goodies like oyster omelet, beef noodle soup and Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice.
Want to visit China mainland without a visa? Think Hong Kong and Macau are the only visa-free destinations in China? In 2018, China granted over 50 countries visa-free access to one of their rising destinations – Hainan. And, one of the luckily countries granted with this visa-free access was the Philippines. With this visa-free access in full swing, you can now visit Hainan, China for as long as 30 days, with just your passport.
And, make no mistake about it – there’s more Hainan than the famed and extremely delectable Hainanese Chicken. Nicknamed aptly as the Hawaii of China, Hainan will sweep you away with its splendid sandy beaches and pristine coral reefs. While there, don’t forget to pay homage to the towering 100-meter-tall Goddess of Mercy statue.
The good news is, Benin now offers visa-on-arrival for every Filipino traveler with a valid PH passport. The bad news? There are currently no direct flights from the Philippines to this African country, meaning you need to fly to Ethiopia and get an e-visa. But, once you figure that out, you’ll discover an offbeat destination brimming with history and culture. Keep in mind, this country has been once labeled as the birthplace of voodoo. Just head to the Fetish Market in Contonou, and you’ll find a vast range of bizarrely wonderful voodoo products.
And, even if voodoo and peculiar paranormal experiences are not your cup of tea, you can still have an epic adventure in Benin. Here, visitors can soak up the beauty of its golden sand beaches and historic gems. A must see in Benin is the beautiful Royal Palace and its equally impressive surrounding gardens.
Dreaming of an epic climb to an insanely tall mountain? Why not take a hike to the Pamir Mountains or also known as The Roof of the World? With peaks as high as 7,000 meters, this hike will surely whet your appetite for outdoor adventures. For the not-so adventurous traveler, the country also has scenic mountain vistas as well as serene landscapes. As you visit this country, you’ll feel the urge to snap a thousand of photographs of its irresistible mountains.
By the way, Tajikistan is technically not a visa-free country for PH passport holders. Luckily, though, it provides visa-on-arrival for every Juan, meaning it’s fairly easy to get into this Central Asian country.