I have found that there so many sub-division expert Expats out there but the real travellers you don’t hear much from. The downside to this is a lot of negative stuff will be written as the lifestyle is often shaped in a fishbowl rather than getting out to experience new things and places. Backpackers generally don’t write wide reaching blogs as they will write a small personal one instead of collating the information into one big blog with multiple locations.
To experience the Philippines ideally your going to have to drop out of your comfort zone and get out there. Touring the islands is probably easiest by motorcycle for large islands and small water craft to get out to the smaller ones. I always listen with great interest when I come across people who have dropped out of the bustling city life into remote locations as there are a lot of things that the Philippines can offer in places with little or no electricity, limited water and of course no supermarket for those Western goods. Advantages of this type of life is that you are having to think your way through problems regularly which creates creativity. It’s a cheaper way of life, its disconnected from the TV garbage that floats the airwaves. It may offer basic lifestyle but it broadens the mind and opens up opportunities to do things which are more varied such as building boats or maybe developing new skills with the locals.
Now for those who can’t live without the air-con 24/7 and worry about travelling etc. all I can say is at least head out to the edges of the city your living to take in some more of the regions landscape and maybe just visit a few places. You may not be into it at all and that is fine but I just thought its worth saying to at least go and see as a lot of the changes people have made I have met were simply because they visited other areas and suddenly wanted to move there as the more remote places had cleaner air, water and a less bustling way of life if you never go you will never know.