The Philippines is one of the most attractive destinations right now. If you’ve been browsing around Instagram or lists of “best of” beaches in the world, you’ll know why. With stunning vistas, a low exchange rate, and a large English-speaking population, the Philippines makes for an incredibly attractive travel hotspot.
One of the things that Like to do before choosing my next travel destination is to do my research thoroughly. As I sit here in a dive bar in Hoi An, Vietnam, it’s been a conscious decision to travel here. Does this spot have everything that I’m looking for in a travel destination? Well, in terms of this trip, it has – one based on tantalizing my tastes buds. As a bit of a foodie, Vietnam has a lot on offer.
Some of my other trips are based on other whimsies though. When I want to go clubbing I’ll head to Berlin. When I want to go hiking I go to Nepal. When I want to go shopping I go to Singapore. You get the idea.
So, when you want to go on a gambling trip you might think to head to Vegas. I find that a bit of a cliché though, and as an aficionado of Asian countries in general, I must say that the Philippines certainly is turning into a bit of a gambling Mecca. Manila in particular is becoming a certified hotspot when it comes to gaming.
My first trip to the Philippines, I was younger and seeking a bit of excitement that I couldn’t find elsewhere. Much like Muay Thai is the sport du jour for attendance (and gambling) in Thailand, I quickly found out that cock fighting was a big deal in Manila – so naturally I sought this out. While I’m all against animal cruelty in general, I figured do what the locals do.
It was an eye opener and quite the experience. If you’re in Manila and want to go check it out it is certainly something to behold. The cab driver at the time was happy to indulge about chatting about cock fighting and the gambling experience in general in the Philippines.
It turns out that casinos are big business in Manila. In one of the most highly densely populated cities in the world, there are now over 20 casinos operating in the metro area, some of them huge and glitzy like you’d find in Vegas. Online gambling, where you can win for real, is also legalized.
If you would like to stay at one of Manila’s casinos, then there are plenty to choose from. The Winford Manila Resort and Casino is a gorgeous place to check out. The hotel itself is grand and inviting. The rooms are plush, clean, and modern, the dining is a first-class affair, and the pool is great for relaxing.
Another choice for the casino hotel connoisseur is the Midas Hotel and Casino which sits highway side but is an escape from the stresses of everyday life. While their lodgings aren’t as innovative as the Winford, it is an easy place to stay and their casino is much appreciated. The hotel has a reasonable rating on booking sites like Booking.com.
There is a stark difference in going and checking out some of these casinos and riding through the back streets of Manila. There are clearly areas when plenty of money has been poured into the area – and you could lead the glamorous life. And there are plenty of places that are dirt poor. It’s interesting seeing such juxtaposition in just a few blocks.
Most types of gambling are legal within the Philippines and supported by a healthy infrastructure supported by national regulations.
If you are looking for a gaming destination, then you’d do well to examine the Philippines and Manila in particular. You can bet on casinos, sweepstakes, street games, and online gambling, all while managing to stay within the law. While the current leader seems hell bent on cracking down on drugs within the country, it’s not so with gambling.
While I mentioned that Manila, the country’s capital, is the go-to place for gambling, it’s not my favorite place in Philippines. The city is big and dirty and doesn’t exactly have the most charms.
The spot in the Philippines that I love to visit and that you should also get to if you head to the Philippines is Palawan. Palawan is one of the smaller islands and is one of the spots that you see all that terrific beach photography from.
While Boracay has long been the name for the number one beach of the Philippines, I like something a little more remote, a little less built up. El Nido is what I’d call perfection in a picture scape. There is gambling to be done in these smaller places, but there is less about. You’re more likely to find a local friendly game than to find a massive casino.
Don’t Miss My Tips
My tip? If you want to do some serious gambling, then hit up Manila for a few days to a week. Once you’ve got it out of your system then make your way over to the beaches of Palawan for some serious relaxing in the sun. Make sure to avoid rainy season though, if you’re checking out the beaches. Rainy season, while it’s a lot cheaper to visit the country during, is often an inundation of rain – in that it simply pours all day, something that you want to avoid. This season runs from June to October, and there can be typhoons in September and October.
So, forget Vegas, forget the States, and see how people do it in Asia. Hong Kong better look out if they are wanting to keep the crown of the gambling city of the East, as Manila is coming up hot on its heels. Take my word for it and check it out for yourself. You might just fall in love with the whole country like I did. And with the prices that you pay for things you can take an extended trip to the beach too!