It has been a few crazy months since I have been all over the world.

As a passionate traveler, I’ve had the privilege of exploring various corners of the world, each with its own unique charm. Recently, I embarked on a journey that led me to reminisce about my home of the Philippines destinations: Accra, Ghana. What I discovered was surprising and heartwarming—the interesting similarities that make these two countries incredibly appealing to me.  Traveling with the CIEE Legon, Ghana Team, has been a very fulfilling and amazing experience thus far.

1. Warm and Welcoming Locals

One of the first things that struck me in both the Philippines and Accra was the warm and welcoming nature of the locals. Growing up around Filipinos, we are renowned for our own hospitality, often going out of our way to make travelers feel at home. Similarly, Ghanaians in Accra embrace tourists with full open arms as they share their rich culture and traditions. I am currently staying with a host family in Ghana that my program connected me with and has been hosting international students for over seven years. Whether it’s a friendly smile or a helpful gesture, the people in both places make you feel like a cherished guest.

My host Ghanaian family, Mommy Vivian, Brother Joel, and Sister Na.

2. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

The Philippines and Accra boast some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes I have ever seen. In the Philippines, there are so many pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical forests you will find and truly remember. The islands, like Palawan and Boracay, are paradise for beach lovers. Accra also offers its own brand of natural beauty with serene coastal views along the Gulf of Guinea and lush greenery in areas like Aburi Botanical Gardens. As I have visited all of these places, Ghana an the Philippines provide ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and immerse themselves in nature.

My roommate Kobi with our Joel and Na at Boti waterfalls

3. Mouthwatering Cuisine

I personally feel that food is a universal language, and both the Philippines and Accra have a lot to say in this regard and truly did not disappoint. In the Philippines, you can indulge in dishes like adobo, sinigang, the delectable lechon, and so many more. Accra also serves up mouthwatering Ghanaian cuisine with dishes like jollof rice, banku and tilapia, and the irresistible kelewele (spicy fried plantains). As I ate some of these dishes, I was reminded of my Filipino household.

Picnic time at Aburi Botanical Gardens and Park

4. Vibrant Street Markets

If you’re a fan of shopping and immersing yourself in local culture, the Philippines and Accra have vibrant street markets to offer. In the Philippines, Manila’s Divisoria and Baguio’s Night Market are a few of the markets with so many vendors that offer everything from souvenirs to local delicacies. In Accra, the Makola Market and Madina Market are must-visit destinations, where I found local traditional crafts, textiles, and street food, all while experiencing the lively atmosphere of local markets.

Market errands with Mommy Vivian at Madina market.

5. Rich Cultural Heritage

While the Philippines and Accra come from different corners of the world, they share a rich cultural heritage. The Philippines’ history is marked by a fusion of indigenous, Spanish, and American influences, evident in its architecture and traditions. Accra, with its historical sites like Cape Coast Castle and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, offers a deep dive into the history of the transatlantic slave trade and Ghana’s path to independence. Both destinations provide opportunities to learn and reflect on their unique historical journeys.

Late night at Cape Coast Castle

My home country of the Philippines and my currently almost four-month trip in Accra have made me more aware of the beauty of unanticipated parallels between two seemingly unrelated locales. A few of the elements that unite a distinctive tapestry of experiences are the friendliness of the people, the beautiful natural scenery, the delectable food, the lively street markets, and the rich cultural history. We typically seek for the unusual as tourists, yet the real joy of seeing the globe lies in these surprising parallels. So, whether you find yourself in Accra or the Philippines, know that you’re in for an incredible trip packed with the magic of discovery and the beauty of human connection.

Published by Jairus Meer

Class of 2024 Hometown | Las Piñas, Philippines Major | Biological Sciences Minor | Peace and Justice Studies

Leave a comment