Thinking about going on a trip to the Philippines? Need some facts to take into consideration before going? Well, you have come to the right place. This article will tell you all you need to know about the Philippines before visiting. In this article, we will be focusing on six major points that will give you a good idea about what to expect when visiting.
As a matter of fact, there has been a lot of news about the weather of Philippines and it is often not good news. Don’t let this scare you. The Philippines has always been known to be a very warm and wet country.
Philippines has a maximum of about 26-27°C even though most of the beaches hover around the 28-30°C mark. On an annual basis, the Philippines gets a staggering average of about 19 typhoons, these can be avoided by going to islands that are in the South West. Areas such as Busuanga, Culion, and Palawan seldom experience the full extent of these storms.
There are three seasons in the Philippines which are Tag-Ulan, Tag-Init, and Tag-Lamig. Tag-Init season is the dry and cool season which usually falls over March – May, the season of Tag-Ulan offers plenty of rain and it occurs between June and November, the last season which is the Tag-Lamig is the cool (26°C – 28°C) and dry season which lasts from December to February. There is usually less rain between December and April.
Among the Philippines islands, the most common is the Boracay island. Although the Boracay Island is a bit small when compared to the other Islands in the Philippines, it offers an amazing party atmosphere and an unforgettable nightlife.
Another island is the Bohol Island where you can see the Chocolate Hills or swim with Whalesharks. Luzon island is the largest island in the Philippines where you can visit unique but old rice terraces of the Banaue. For those of you who are crazy about geography, Luzon island is where you will see the famous Taal Lake and Volcano at Tagaytay located at about one hour from Manila.
However, a favorite for most people is Palawan because the island is very long and is home to some great sight seeing opportunities. There’s the El Nido island too which is the center of all the activities in the north such as diving, day trips, hotels, backpackers and much more. El Nido is very busy even though at heart it is a sleepy village. The Port Barton island is also worth considering. Here, you can see some sea turtles and it is also a very beautiful place to be. Last but not the least, Coron island can be accessed from Busuanga. It is surprisingly beautiful and has several great lagoons as well as cliffs. All in all, there’s no island in the Philippines that guarantees more fun or incredible experiences.
People of Philippines
The Filipinos are very religious people and are generally very vibrant and happy.
The amazing thing about these people is their tolerance level with every other religion, unlike some other countries that often discriminate. These people are really hard working, friendly and super relaxed which is another enjoyable feature of the country. The country has a general belief of “what will be will be” which is an embodiment of their culture known as “bahala na”.
It is important that you are aware of the bad sides of these people although this is not a general thing except for the far South East area. The islands of this area which are Mindanao and Sulu (Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan) are best avoided as they are dominated by extremist Islamic people and it is therefore considered to be unsafe for non-locals.
Health in the Philippines
Unlike some countries in the world, Philippines does not have any specific health requirements before you can visit. It is not compulsory that you provide a certificate of yellow fever or any kind of illness before entering.
Tap water in the country, especially rural areas, is not considered drinkable and we suggest you drink bottled water throughout your stay. You should also bring some emergency meds for stomach bugs just in case you do consume some contaminated water. Sunscreen will come in handy because the sun can be quite harsh.
Dressing for the Philippines
The weather in the Philippines is very hot no matter what season you visit.
You won’t need any closed shoes other than your hiking shoes. You should also pack a bottle of SPF-50 sunblock lotion and a face towel too because it’s quite hot most times. Mosquito repellent creams are also very useful in case you’re going on a jungle safari or tour to prevent insects from biting you.
Filipinos are quite conservative and love to dress elegantly in the evenings. If you have a formal occasion to attend, a cocktail dress or a pashmina should suffice. Men should avoid black clothing. You can do without a jacket and a tie. You should dress well though as even though most hotels and restaurants are not strict on dress codes, shorts may be improper in certain circumstances unless you’re really close to the beach. Laundry services are also widely available so you should pack light.
Generally, food is cheap in the Philippines even though sometimes the prices do go up depending on how civilized the area is. Coffee and cocktails are the only things that seem to be costly in the country.
However, you can survive and spend less on fresh coconut juice and beer. Diving is affordable and the accommodation in urban areas is considerably cheap as well. There are expensive hotels and resorts in the country but we advise embracing the culture and experience the real life by staying closer to the cities.
You should always beware of local money changers. Money changers in the Philippines are known to be hard negotiators and will gladly rip you off if you do not pay attention during negotiations. This does not mean that they are dishonest, but just do your research to know rates and where to get the best deals before heading out.
Finding your way around
Google offline maps are important if you are going to be in the rural areas without access to WiFI or GPS. Having an offline map lets you locate wherever you’re going. Tricycles and local buses will get you around wherever you want to you. The local Jeepneys are affordable and will help you save money on your trip. If you are not sure where a location is, confirm at the hotel front desk before leaving so that you have a good idea of how much the fare should be and how long it should take to get there on the average. If you’re nervous about transportation and buses, you can ask your hotel to help you get a taxi for hire, just be prepared to pay the price.
Final words about the Philippines
We cannot overemphasize the importance of being polite. Filipinos are very sarcastic and can be very lighthearted. You should try to be aware that there is a cultural difference so you should not insult people whether lighthearted or not. Overall, food and drink are quite cheap in the Philippines so you can also do a bit of shopping if need be. There are fresh juices and coconuts everywhere, don’t waste money on soda or packaged drinks. Most importantly, relax and enjoy your holiday.