PHP has never had my passion nor was it my favorite language of choice. However, it has well been recognized as the de facto programming language of the web and with its rapid development in the last five years in the direction of object orientation, my opinion has softened down as well. Not only the the vast improvements to the syntax and performance, also improvements in its ecosystem like Composer are well worth mentioning.
I started using PHP early on in my life - as early as 1999 according to found sources within my backups - and have built many content management systems that varied in their complexity. Back then the prominent focus was on procedural PHP 3 code with the introduction of object orientation for things like template rendering and database management.
The last half of this decennium I focused primarily on Drupal and on the object orientation as it is done in Java, Python and also the stack that ended up becoming PHP 5. To force myself out of the habit of applying procedural Drupal alone I have expiremented many times with with plain PHP for maintenance scripts but also with Symfony 2 for instance.