Happiness in Philippines: The 2nd Happiest Country in SEA

Whether you want to 

  • Travel to the Philippines, 
  • Outsource part of your business there, 
  • Discover the unforgettable and untouched beaches, or 
  • You are just curious about what makes the Philippines so special according to the World Happiness Report (WHR), 

This article will explore what makes this country so gorgeous through the eyes of the local people, answering the question why people are happy (or unhappy) and what is happiness in the Philippines.

I wrote this article with the help of the proud local Filipinos, who state why their country is worth visiting, giving a unique inside look into their lives, families, and culture. 

Ultimately, happiness in the Philippines is a fascinating topic, one which we shouldn’t only address purely philosophically, but one which we are invited to experience in person, preferably on one of the white sand picture-perfect beaches in this unforgettable paradise. 

Happiness in the Philippines vs the Rest of the World

According to the World Happiness Report for 2022, the Philippines ranks as the second happiest country in Southeast Asia (with Singapore topping the list). There has been a gradual shift in economic and development policy taking into account people’s subjective experiences of well-being, and the World Happiness Report has played a crucial role in this.

In terms of GDP per capita, the Philippines lags significantly behind other developing countries such as Thailand, China, and Malaysia. But if we compare countries based on their citizens’ level of happiness, the Philippines comes out on top.

Increases in income, trust in public institutions, and life expectancy appear to be the driving forces behind the Philippines’ outperformance relative to many of the continent’s wealthier nations. The Filipinos also do very well when it comes to the quality of their personal relationships, or the “five F’s” (family, friends, food, fun, and faith).

Inside Look into Everyday Life of the Filipinos

Many people spend the weekend with their families, enjoying a day of rest and relaxation that may include going to the beach, taking a road trip to a new city, or cooking up a delicious meal at home while drinking beer.

Depending on who you ask, the typical Filipino way of life can be either very stressful or very fun. Adding a playful twist to any activity is the key. Meetings at the office often include light refreshments and a few celebratory events. Folks would sit down to meals together and strike up a conversation.

In general, Filipinos are unhurried individuals. They do not operate in the same manner as the Filipinos. They strive to find a work-life balance, insisting that they are working to live and not living to work, whenever possible, fully disconnecting outside their working hours.

The importance of family in Filipino culture cannot be overstated. Simply being with one’s family is sufficient satisfaction in and of itself. It makes no difference what kind of life you lead in this place as long as you’re surrounded by the people you care about. That right there is happiness in and of itself.

A Great Business Opportunity

According to recent reports from the Philippine embassy, the Philippines has become one of the world’s primary investment destinations for the world’s wealthy and savvy investors. The majority of the investors are from the United States and Europe, but there are also some Australian investors involved.

The following are just a few of the many compelling reasons in favor of investing in the Philippine economy.

  • Employees who are fluent in English and have a higher than average education level. 
  • The Philippines occupies a strategically important geographical position in the global economy, making it a prime business destination.
  • Start-up costs are half as high as they are in the US, saving new businesses a ton of money.

The Philippines has a business-friendly economy, and the government actively promotes and rewards new business owners through incentives like tax breaks, subsidies, and cash investments.

Also, the Philippines has emerged as a global leader in outsourcing business processes in addition to being a popular tourist destination. The Philippines have a deep history in the offshore industry. Companies with headquarters in other countries are increasingly setting up branch offices in the Philippines. These businesses represent a wide range of sectors, from manufacturing to information technology.

If you want to consider outsourcing in the Philippines, make sure you partner with an established company that has a lot of experience working with major international brands, like Coefficients. This company can help you hire qualified personnel to assess, design, and run part of your company at a very attractive price. This way you can lean back, relax, and enjoy some of that happiness in the Philippines knowing that your business is in the right hands.

Untouched Paradise

I want to tell you a secret. Unlike most overrun beaches in the world, the Philippines offers a great variety of untouched picture-perfect beaches you will never forget. There are over 7,000 islands offering a great variety of exotic nature, unforgettable scenery, breathtaking sunsets, and yes, you’re never far from a stunning beach. 

For example, Boracay Island is the place to go if you want to enjoy a party on the white sand beaches. Dumaluan Beach on Bohol’s Panglao Island, Palawan’s Coron and El Nido Islands, and the Philippines’ Dumaguete and Camiguin Islands are just a few of the thousands of undiscovered paradises in the Philippines. One of the best things about visiting the Philippines is that you can find a quiet beach away from the crowds without having to travel too far. And did I mention diving? It is fantastic, offering nearly 92% of the world’s 500 coral species. 

Eat Well With Filipinos 

With the Philippines’ long and interesting history, it is also home to a wide variety of tasty cuisines. And the Filipino culinary tradition extends far beyond the bizarre balut (duck embryo).

Adobo and Sinigang, two Filipino dishes, are internationally recognized as symbols of Philippine cuisine. One of the best things to eat in the Philippines is adobo. Vinegar and soy sauce are used to marinate the pork or chicken. Due to its simplicity, it is widely consumed across the nation.

Even more so, you should sample Lechon. The most prized part of a pig roast is the crispy, golden-brown skin, which is served with liver sauce. Even the late, great chef Anthony Bourdain praised it. And he won’t call it the best pig ever without good reason!

Sinigang, a local specialty, is another Filipino dish that you simply must try. However, there is a wide selection available, from pork to seafood. Its sour and mildly spicy flavor makes it a fan favorite.

Some people may not understand the appeal of balut, the reason for the long lines for isaw (pork and chicken intestines), or the practice of using one’s bare hands to eat at a Filipino restaurant. Try some Filipino dishes for yourself to get a better feel for the cuisine.

Philippines is no Thailand

Just what are the Philippines’ unique selling points? Where does it differ from other Asian paradise islands? It’s incredible that there is so little litter in the water (well, except for the water pollution around the big docks in Cebu and Manila.) No plastic bags or empty Coke bottles will be found on the idyllic islands.

The Philippines, in contrast to the islands off the coast of southern Thailand, are still relatively untamed in their natural beauty. You won’t believe how incredible the water is. Snorkeling is fantastic as well. Seriously, we often rely on PADI or otherwise scuba diving institutions to explore the underwater beauty, but in the Philippines you don’t have to go far or deep and you can easily do it with a simple snorkeling mask. Off the coast of Coron, you could find some incredible reefs.

Friendly People

In 2022, the Philippines ranked as the top 10 friendliest countries in the world, which to me says a lot about happiness. After all, if you’d imagine a paradise, wouldn’t you want everyone to be friendly? The country’s reputation for warm hospitality to visitors, foreigners, and expats has been widely praised. Filipinos are just exceptionally hospitable.

With all the friendly greetings, Filipinos are eager to be of assistance to you. They always have a genuine smile on their face, even if you wake them up in the middle of the night or ask the same silly questions over and over again. You can even expect to be invited to visit their homes even if you just met them. To put it plainly, Filipinos will always treat you like a VIP.

As a people, the Filipinos are incredibly empathetic, to the point where they will always go out of their way to help a close friend or family member in trouble as if it was their own problem. Many modern couples are inseparable, rarely spending time apart and regularly touching base with one another through text, phone, Skype, or any number of other digital means.

Filipinos have a deep reverence for family and are especially tender toward their elders. This act of “pagmamano” is so ingrained in their culture that it has replaced all others as the primary means by which love is expressed within the household.

You can often find Filipinos working in positions of service, hospitality, and care due to their friendly and hospitable nature.

Festival celebrating happiness in the Philippines

Large-Scale Celebrations

In the Philippines, happiness comes in the form of many different celebrations, which local people take very seriously. Actually, there is a celebration for just about everything in every province. They’re bright and colorful and full of life and splendor.

These celebrations are a great example of the country’s rich culture and the ingenuity of its people. Many feature colorful costumes, painted bodies, and crazy beautiful street dance performances.

Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy the Philippines’ grand festivals, embracing the national slogan: “it’s more fun in the Philippines.”

An Enticing Fusion of Cultures

The country’s long history of colonialism and contact with other cultures, including China, Malaysia, Spain, America, and the Philippines, has resulted in a fascinating fusion of different traditions.

The similarities that the Filipino people share with other cultures will surprise and amuse visitors from anywhere in the world. Keep your eyes open, the Philippines is ready to surprise you at every corner. 

Is life really good in the Philippines?

It varies according to each individual. However, most Filipinos are content with what they have, at the same time striving to improve their lives in any way they can.

“It’s definitely more fun in the Philippines!”, states the country’s tourism slogan and this seems to be correct. There is always something new to see and do. It is just that easy to have a good time in the Philippines. You will adore the locals and every city and town. 

The Philippines is a popular tourist destination for its beautiful beaches, but the country has much more to offer. The Philippines might not have the highest GDP or living standards just yet, but they’re getting there. 

The Filipino people are blessed nonetheless with many wonderful qualities and beautiful locations that inspire genuine joy.

It’s not hard to fall in love with the Philippines, and by the end of your trip, you won’t want to leave this paradise. And in the unlikely event, you are forced to return home, you will always have great memories and a burning desire to come back, to experience a little bit more of that happiness in the Philippines.

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the founder, main author, and Chief Happiness Officer at Optimal Happiness. He is also the author of Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a revolutionary book about becoming the happiest version we can be. After studying this topic for over 8 years Roman believes that everyone can reach their happiest potential, challenging people to reach these highs. Are you ready to accept this challenge?

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