Every so often I travel to distant provinces to hike in scenic mountains or swim at beautiful beaches. Every time I travel, I make it a point to sample the local goods, like the coconut farmer selling coconut water, the merchant selling trinkets and tools handcrafted by his or her family, and the home-style small restaurant or eatery serving their province’s unique cuisine.
In most areas, there will always be that stray 7-eleven, big name fast food chain, or convenience store chain selling the same old cheap stuff you can find everywhere in the big cities like Manila, but I always remember to prioritize the local family-owned shops and restaurants. Big name stores are out to make a profit. The small businesses, on the other hand, were started by entrepreneurs to support their families AND showcase their unique crafts.