If only Portuguese explorer  Ferdinand Magellan knew what he was in store for him when he arrived to the shore of a series of interconnecting islands, to be later named after King Phillip II of Spain – the Philippines. He must have known it was paradise, because he greedily claimed the archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands as Spain’s territory. Here’s what’s interesting about the Philippines, there isn’t a well treaded backpacker mill littered with hostel row, tossed plastic and beer bottles accumulating into untenable spaces or alleys devoted solely to selling trinkets made in China.  There are hostels, markets and beer, but it’s nothing packaged, sold and consumed.  It’s all a bit muddy and undefined.  There’s room for improvisation. A sense of purity tickles the senses once you leave the metropolis of Manila and begin exploring the other provinces. The Philippines offers the jaded traveler a chance at innocence again.  People from a spectrum of stratospheres readily extended friendship to me, without airs or ulterior motives.  Indeed, the reputation that the locals are welcoming far exceeds the illusion.  I never felt unsafe, scared or alone.