I never gave much thought to the Philippines before oI have no way to explain my adoration for the Philippines. My first experience with this country, and with Southeast Asia, was in Boracay, one of the most heavily visited islands in the nation. It's a bit of a party capital and it has clearly developed along with the influx of tourist dollars. Despite the development, the island isn't lacking in local, more traditional Filipino culture.
Head away from the tourist center of D-Mall with its Starbucks and western restaurants, and into the seclusion of places like Puka Beach. As you make the drive out, you'll be separated from the main tourist fray and pass through what seems to be the "real" Philippines. Kids on their way to school, local restaurants and homes poking out here and there.
You'll make your way to Puka Beach thinking the drive was beautiful, but you'll be totally unprepared to take in the gorgeous white sand beach. The massive over-development of tourist towns hasn't reached this part of Boracay island yet. There's one or two local restaurants, a few tiny places to grab a drink. A couple of guys that will sell you coconuts. The rest is white sand and everchanging shades of ocean-blue for as far as you can see.
I've discovered that the Philippines is like this. It's mobbed with tourists and you take a turn and discover not one other foreign face. It's hyper-developed and then there isn't a building in sight. It is a third world country with the first-world amenities that tourists want.
It's warm and welcoming wherever you go though. Locals add you on Facebook. Hang out with you. My friend and I even had a self-appointed bodyguard at a club.