about the philippines:
The Philippines are a country made up of over seven thousand islands. The people are friendly, prices are reasonable and as an added bonus English is one of their national languages so communicating here and making travel plans was relatively easy. You do however need a plan of attack as far as an itinerary. While you can travel via boat between many of the larger islands, doing so can often take days in often uncomfortable conditions. Planning ahead by even just a few days you can score wicked cheap internal flights with a little research and effort.
And then you need to decide where you want to go. Palawan is an absolute must hands down. El Nido impressed on every level imaginable. Bohol was pretty and full of activities and Oslob too was a great place to visit. Boracay was passable with nice beaches but was quite touristic. And consider giving Manila a pass - I did. I listened to fellow travelers who advised me that my time would be better spent away from what they considered just another (incredibly hot) city, ultimately giving me more time on the beach and in the water.