Why Filipinos must visit Jordan, Israel, and Egypt?

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Are you looking for new places to discover in Asia? I really recommend you to include Jordan, Israel, and Egypt on your travel bucket list! I know these destinations are not the typical places that you would want to visit as most people are concerned about the safety and security issues in the Middle East. But in this blog, I want to share with you my experiences and my must-see tourist attractions from my trip last April 2018. I believe that we should not hinder ourselves from visiting the religious places mentioned in the Bible as well as some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the New 7 Wonders of the World by just being afraid. Of course, we should always check reliable news articles about the current situation in the destinations prior to the departure date. Safety comes first as always!


Traveling from Manila to Amman, Jordan, and Cairo, Egypt to Manila is usually via connecting flight with an approximate travel time of 13 hours. There are many airlines that offer flights to these destinations like Emirates, Etihad, Oman Air, and Saudia Airlines. From Jordan, you can travel by land to go to Israel and Israel to Egypt. You can also book domestic flights but it would be expensive. I suggest that you travel by land as it is much cheaper. However, please expect that it is a long drive and it is advisable to bring snacks with you during the trip.


A view of the old city of Jerusalem


Another typical question from my fellow Filipinos is the visa processing. If you find it difficult to do a DIY tour, I personally recommend joining a group tour instead as this is much cheaper and less hassle to arrange. For Philippine passport holders, you need a group paper visa when visiting Jordan and Egypt. While in Israel, Filipinos do not need a tourist visa prior to departure. For Jordan and Egypt, the only requirement you need is the scanned copy of your passport that should be 6 months valid within your intended travel date. The travel agency will submit the passport manifest to their local tour operators in Jordan and Egypt at least 1 month prior to the travel date. The passport manifest is a document that contains the passport details of all the participants of the group tour. After submission, it will take at least a minimum of 2 weeks (15 working days) or more to get the approved group visa. The local tour operators in Jordan and Egypt are the ones who process the group paper visa directly at their Embassies. Hence, there is no personal appearance nor interview here in the Philippines.


Compared to Europe, America, and Oceania, securing a visa to go to Jordan and Egypt is much easier especially if you join a Filipino group tour. And with this, I hope you are getting more curious about the places that truly blew my mind when it comes to their beauty and history. I will be sharing it with you per country. The total duration of the tour was 12 days and 10 nights and the hotel accommodations we stayed at were all 4-star local standard hotels.


Jordan

The Treasury, Petra's most magnificent facade

In Jordan, we stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. My top tourist attractions in Jordan are Mt. Nebo and Petra. Mt. Nebo is the place where Moses viewed the Promised Land before he died. This site is frequently visited by travelers who want to see the breathtaking view over Israel. Petra, on the other hand, is an ancient city that was built by the Nabateans. From the entrance, you will cross a narrow main road called “Siq” which leads the tourists to the magnificent façade of “The Treasury”. You need to walk for approximately 2 km per way. For elderlies or for people who worry about getting tired, you can hire a horse-drawn carriage at the Visitor's Center for approximately USD 40 excluding the tip. The same rate applies if you want to book one way or round trip. Remember to approach your tour guide about this as it should be arranged before starting the walking tour. However, take note that if you ride a carriage, you will miss the chance to hear the commentaries of your tour guide and the chance to take pictures of the beautiful rock formations along the way as the carriage will go directly to The Treasury. 


The narrow road called Siq leading to the Treasury in Petra

The ancient city of Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is also one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This is definitely one of the tour highlights of the trip because you will be amazed in the way they have preserved this place.


Israel

The Wailing Wall or the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, we stayed for 6 days and 5 nights. We visited a lot of religious tourist sites in Israel but for me, Yardenit, Cana, Sea of Galilee, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea stood out the most. Yardenit is located along the Jordan River. It is a sacred place where pilgrims conduct the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. Cana is where the first miracle of Jesus happened which is turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Most groups conduct a Mass and Renewal of Vows on this site. Next, the boat ride at the Sea of Galilee is a relaxing way to appreciate the place and the view. This is where Jesus miraculously walked on water. Usually, they play music and encourage the visitors to dance as well. While for the Old City of Jerusalem, this is where you will visit the Bethesda Pool, Stations of the Cross, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Wailing Wall, and other sites that are very significant in the Bible. I was really moved when I saw the place where Jesus was crucified, died, and buried. I cannot really explain the feeling when I saw it with my own eyes, especially when I touched it with my own hands. It is really amazing how they were able to keep the sacredness and history of the place.


The high salt concentration makes it easier to float in the Dead Sea

 Lastly, experience floating at the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea! The water is rich in minerals and has a lot of health benefits that is why Israel is also known to have various kinds of Dead Sea products in the market.


Egypt

The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt

We stayed in Egypt for 4 days and 3 nights. My top tourist attractions are the Egyptian Museum and Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. The Egyptian Museum also known as the “Museum of Egyptian Antiquities” has the world’s biggest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. Some of the displays are vases, pots, jewelry, weapons, chests, statues, and one of the highlights inside the museum is the Royal Mummy Room. 


The Great Pyramid of Giza, the last remaining Ancient Wonder of the World

And of course, a trip to Egypt would not be complete without visiting the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx. The Great Pyramid is the last remaining Ancient Wonder of the World. You will be stunned by its impressive structure and how it has survived throughout the years. Egypt is very rich in history and I really wish we had spent more days understanding more about the Ancient Egyptian Civilization.


Jordan, Israel, and Egypt offer local Mediterranean Cuisine. Their meals are usually made of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and vegetables. I can no longer remember the names of the meals that I had there but I encourage you to try local cuisines to get a taste of their cultures.


Indeed, it was a great memorable experience to witness and hear the stories behind each tourist attraction that we visited last April 2018. I am forever grateful to Rakso Travel for this trip. I highly recommend you visit these countries while you are still young. The trip was more of a walking and traveling tour. It’s very tiring but it is worth it. I would definitely come back to these countries because I know that there are lots of other places to discover. You can check the available tour packages to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt thru the link below:

A Journey to Holyland (12D10N)

Unforgettable Holyland (1D10N)


Blog Contributor: Nicole Martinez

Photos by: Rakso Travel


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