Galapagos Reminds Me of the Philippines

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read the full disclosure policy here.

The past week has been really interesting as it feels like my life is coming full circle.

In 2010 I wrote the post The Difference Ten Years Makes about how much I had changed from my time in the Philippines to Central America.

Now in the Galapagos when things happen I have fond flashbacks to my time in the Philippines as island life has many similarities.

pescado encocado

SO much rice

Meals come with two scoops of rice! I can never eat all of it and I don’t know how they do it.

Not enough veggies

You have to go to a tourist restaurant if you want a spinach salad. Otherwise you will get potato and if you’re lucky a bit of carrot.

ALSO READ:  Cuy in Ecuador

It is why I have started making green smoothies at home for breakfast and sometimes I bring a baggie of broccoli or spinach to throw in my soup.

It’s more efficient to get other people to do some things (laundry)

It seems that in the Philippines you are either a helper (servant) or you have one. There is no in between.

I really struggled with it in Cebu and only agreed to have one come weekly to clean and do my laundry.


She worked for a ridiculously low wage and when I moved back to Canada I left her a basket of most of my belongings like my walkman knowing that she would either want them or could sell them.

I don’t have a helper here but traveling in Latin America it is far more practical to drop off your laundry than to do it yourself. Here it is $1/pound and I have two pounds of clothes.



The Philippines had fire ants so fierce that for months after leaving I would swipe my arm every time my skin twitched.

Here the ants aren’t so vicious but I do find myself constantly flicking them off me.


If you live in a tropical region you have cockroaches, it’s not a sign of an unsanitary place it is simply part of life.

The first time I saw a cockroach it was the night I arrived to my apartment in Cebu with so much jetlag I wanted to vomit.

I turned on the light in the kitchen and saw two cockroaches scurry away. Then I turned on the light to my bedroom and another gigantic one scurried into my bathroom.

I threw a bathmat on it and stomped on it. I flopped on my bed in the fetal position, prayed they could not climb beds and passed out.

Here in the Galapagos they are much smaller, slower and afraid of me although I have seen one on a wall which really scared me.

I usually see one a day and after killing the first two my sister reminded me about karma and since then I have just let them be.

No hot water

Fortunately here I have an electric heater but that is a luxury. What is unfortunate about it is that it stopped working yesterday.


Amazing fruit

You may have had banana or passionfruit at home but there is nothing like having it fresh.

Great food in the street

You will never be hungry if you know where to go. Head first to the market for traditional Ecuadorian food and there are always lots of vendors, need an afternoon snack?

So do Ecuadorians so at 3pm you can find meat on a stick or empanadas.

American Aspirations

In the Philippines I had tons of people walk by me calling me Americana (I tried to explain I’m Canadian but they didn’t care) and there was such a strong desire for youth to mimic the American culture.

Television and movies warped their vision on what the US is really like and unfortunately how many people perceived me.

In Ecuador it’s not necessarily that they want to be American but American brands are everywhere with knock off Abercrombie and Fitch, music and American television with subtitles.

I’m normal height!

Other than people who have family from the Coast, everyone is around my height.

I am beautiful

This is true for most of Latin America not just Ecuador but it also happened to me in the Philippines. People would just tell me I was beautiful, it wasn’t always young men, occasionally it was old women or children.

There is less stigma with commenting on a person’s looks. Oddly enough people will also freely speak if they think someone is fat.

I’ve heard friends joke about each other here and in the Philippines (when I was 23) a 50 year old man that I was working with told me I was too fat for his liking.

Thankfully that has not happened to me here…yet.

I know the Galapagos and Philippines are different but something feels familiar and I like it.

Join the Conversation

  1. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    Blast from the past 😛 I am in the UK now and I miss the sunny Philippines.. I seldom eat with rice now T_T

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Come to South America, you can eat rice every day!

  2. You got the filipino references pretty spot on.

    I don’t eat as much rice now, but growing up my mom would make a few cups of it daily. When I have been traveling for a long time I always seem to crave rice. Just plain boring white rice!

    I am so lucky that when I went to the Philippines I saw no cockroaches! I may have just had to put a biohazard suit on if I saw some of those giant ones! Eeeekks!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate to do this but I always talk to Ecuadorians about rice because I know they will say how much they love it and it makes me giggle.

  3. Haven’t been to Galapagos yet, but that does sound a lot like Philippines 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I guess it´s time that you go!

  4. The”blues” in your first picture makes me think about Greece.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Maybe it´s a sign we should go to Greece.

  5. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Enjoyed this post. A lot of people don’t realize tropical islands are loaded with cockroaches because they stay in hotels where they spray pesticides.
    I choose bugs over poison any day 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah especially cockroches, as long as they don´t fly they will stay out of your way.

  6. I haven’t made it to the Philippines yet, but I’d love to test your theory!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I would love to go back, I bet so much has changed.

  7. TammyOnTheMove says:

    Ha ha, being called fat sounds familiar. Cambodians think nothing of if when they call you fat, as to them it is a sign of wealth and beauty. When I say to them that 55kg at a height of 1.71m is not considered fat in Europe they just shrug, as women here usually just weigh 40-50kg.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Not joking but yesterday someone called me ¨gordita¨and when they saw my face they urgently tried to explain it was a term of endearment for a child. I laughed but then told them never to call me fat again 🙂

  8. Jean | Holy Smithereens says:

    You know what, I was scrolling down the photos of this post without really reading, and I thought those were photos of the Philippines! then I moved back to the beginning of the blog post and read what its about and i was amazed! I find that the Philippines in terms of food culture and people, have more in common with some latin american countries than other neighbouring Southeast Asian or just Asian countries. I was in Mexico City 2 years ago and I felt like I was just in Manila. Thanks for this post, Galapagos is on my bucket list definitely 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is a fantastic place and it is well worth staying a few extra days in Puerto Ayora.

  9. Ha, I had no idea there were so many differences! Cockroaches are something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to…they absolutely terrify me.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Believe me I was once terrified of them. I am still a big pansy but now they don´t seem to bother me.

  10. kirsten gouthier says:

    true2x true, all the islands almost have the same quality. I live quite long enough in the Philippines and I can feel what you felt over there. Very good article. This is the first of your blogs i read, this is very funny and interesting.!! Good-luck with your next adventure.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ahh thanks, both are very special places to me.

      1. i hope I can visit Galapagos anytime soon. good-luck with your adventures. 😉

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          It’s a magical place, come as soon as you can.

  11. Am born in the Philippines but haven’t been to the Galapagos yet. I’m curious if the islands have their own produce or they’re flown in?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think most of it is flown in with the tourists, I didn´t see any farm land for vegetables.

  12. Oh my gosh, ever since I had real, truly fresh island fruit for the first time, there is nothing else like it. It has this totally unique, different taste for anything you’ve had before. And now I’m craving some fresh mango…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I do love the mango from the Philippines.

  13. Charli | Wanderlusters says:

    Fresh tropical fruits taste so much better when eaten close to where they were grown! Love the tip about making fresh green smoothies and carrying little bags of broccoli. My body shuts down if I don’t eat enough greens!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me too!

  14. Hi Ayngelina,
    I just fell in love with the Philippines so I should give Galapagos a try ;)? At the moment I am however thinking of Mexico or Columbia as a next destination – but you’ll never know 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well you can’t go wrong with Mexico or Colombia, two of my favourite countries.

  15. Sherwood Park Hotel says:

    Every land has different, culture, peoples, activities, life style, and food. I think it’s an unforgettable experience. Otherwise, it’s very easy to take bagle with butter and coffee in the breakfast. Is it a great taste?

  16. My background is Filipino and though I live in Australia now, I have been back to Philippines many times and you pretty much have it spot on. They love American everything and even though they know I am from Australia they still refer me as coming from America.
    Your rice comment made me laugh. Even in Australia, all the Filipinos I know eat so much rice.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      SO much rice!

  17. Maybe the climate there in Galapagos is the same with the Philippines, since the two countries is situated near or at the equator. 🙂

  18. I’ve never been to Galapagos but I heard a lot of good things about the island. I had an unforgettable experienced in the Philippines. Discovery Shores Boracay made it a perfect vacation for my family. It’s perfect..

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Good to know!

  19. Ayen Davids says:

    “It seems that in the Philippines you are either a helper (servant) or you have one.” You are such a racist! Don’t you know that they are one of the most good speakers in Asia whom tourist like you won’t have a hard time to communicate. It seems that you don’t know well enough hence you stereotyped. They may be some Filipino helpers like the one I had back in the Philippines but that helper was able to sent her children to school and her kids are now professionals. She has a doctor son and corporate mogul daughter. Now tell me, are they either a helper or have one? And yes, you are right, they eat a lot of rice but never gets fat unlike other people who only eats broccoli but bloats like to other business.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ayen thanks for taking the time to comment. I didn’t mean for the comment to offend you and it certainly wasn’t meant to be racist. I loved my time living in the Philipines but I wasn’t stereotyping anyone I was simply stating my experience there. Filipinos are some of the nicest, and hardest working people I have ever met.

  20. Christy Ann says:

    am a Filipino and very happy that you visit our country but I felt very sorry about your travel experience in the Philippines. I hope you will never experience that again once you go back to our country.

  21. Cebu Tours says:

    I am a Filipino and very happy that you visit our country but I felt very sorry about your travel experience in the Philippines. I hope you will still visit Philippines someday. I hope you will never experience that again once you go back to our country. Anyways, thanks for sharing your opinion!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh no I loved the Philippines and I hope to return someday soon!

Comments are closed.

© Copyright 2021. Bacon Is Magic. All rights reserved