EXPLORE THE PHILIPPINES
The Philippines, also known as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific. It consists of roughly 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Not just a white sand beach lover’s paradise. With its emerald green fields, bustling megacities, smoldering volcanoes, crystal clear waters and vast mountain ranges it’s a dream destination for all. World heritage sites such as the City of Vigan in Ilocos region, the Tubbataha reefs in Palawan and Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean river are all worth a visit.
PHILIPPINES TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Visit Mayon Volcano
Mayon, also known as Mayon Volcano or Mount Mayon is a sacred and active stratovolcano rising to 2462 m in the province of Albay in Bicol Region, on the large island of Luzon in the Philippines. Considered the world’s most perfect volcanic cone because of its shape, it has a base 130 km in circumference. The volcano erupts frequently and evacuations in the neighboring towns to save the people from the mud and lava are common.
In the Bohol region of the Philippines lie the chocolate hills which are a unique and mesmerizing site to see. In an area of around 20 square miles, there are 1260 hills. An expanse of grass covers the small hills which when dries giving them the appearance of being chocolate.
If you want to escape from the chaos of the cities and relax on a beach, then you must plan a trip to Mactan Island. The Island has several water sports activities for visitors, and its diving sites will give you a chance to admire the incredible marine life. As Mactan Island and Cebu share a connection, it is the perfect place to begin your island hopping once you’ve landed and explored Cebu.
At the entrance of Manila Bay you’ll find the ancient Corregidor Island. This island honors the Americans and the Filipinos who sacrificed their lives saving the country from the Japanese at the time of WWII. Take a guided tour to learn the history of this symbolic island. If you’re interested in exploring the island for longer, there is a hotel with excellent services and great staff.
In the Laguna region, Pagsanjan falls is the most famous waterfall in the Philippines. This three-tier waterfall is reached by going on a river trip, usually in a canoe. It is a 91 m high waterfall, and once you have reached the top, you can canoe down the fall with a skilled canoeist going past fourteen rapids. If you do not want to go for a rapid ride, you can also hike up the falls taking around 500 steps and two vertical ladders.
Read more: Top 10 Things To Do In The Philippines
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Meet Komodo Dragons, camp at the Gates of Hell or do a Silk Road overland tour. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Asia Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
PHILIPPINES TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Sinulog festival is the most colorful festival in the Philippines. It takes place in Cebu City on the third Sunday of January each year in honor of Santo Nino who is believed to be the child of Jesus. A dance ritual where participants dress up in colorful attire and dance to the beats of drums and native songs.
People celebrate this festival to honor a land deal that happened in the 13 century between the Ati King Marikudo and ten migrating Bornean chiefs. Take to the streets dancing to the beats, shaking your head, moving your feet and waving your hands along with thousands of fun costume clad dancers.
In the city of Iloilo embrace the cheerful chaos of Dinagyang. Natives drop everything to take part in this annual fiesta. People shed their shyness, dress up in vibrant colored Ati warrior costumes, paint their bodies black and hit the streets. The costumed Ilonggos dance to their heart’s content to celebrate Dinagyang.
Language: The official language of the Philippines is Tagalog, however most locals speak English, especially those in big cities and tourist spots.
Currency: Philippine Peso.
Visa: Nationals from 151 countries do not need a visa to enter the Philippines if you plan to stay for 30 days or less. Have a ticket for your return journey and a passport valid for the next six months. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for the Philippines is required (which depends on the country you’re from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: Philippines operate on 220V power with plug types A and B which is a standard American Plug. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Philippines: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN THE PHILIPPINES
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in the Philippines are listed below. Don’t drool!
Chicken Abodo: Perhaps the most popular dish in the Philippines. The locals stew the marinated chicken in vinegar, soy sauce and bay leaves and add peppercorns. Abodo is usually served with rice.
Lechon: After Abodo, perhaps the next most popular dish in the Philippines is the Lechon. Pork lovers cannot find anything that can beat this fully roasted pig with super crispy skin and succulent meat. Best samples on the island of Cebu and served at any grand fiesta or Pinoy gathering.
Crispy Pata: If you are not able to find Lechon, a delicious crispy pata is an equally yummy delicacy. The entire pig leg is deep fried and served with a soy-vinegar sauce and chopped chili and garlic.
Panchit Guisado: APhilippino dish that is most popular among foreigners. Panchit means noodles and Panchit Guisado is the most well known dish. Eaten by locals for long life and therefore an essential part of any birthday party. Locals like to have the sautéed noodles with meat and sliced veggies and they squeeze kalamansi over it.
Silog-Filipino Breakfast: Meat, siningag, garlic fried rice, and egg form this hearty Filipino breakfast. Every variant of this dish has a different name depending on the type of meat used. This generous hearty breakfast will be the best thing you treat yourself to, to kickstart your day.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE PHILIPPINES
The Philippines is a really affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in the Philippines is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to the Philippines affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Indonesia will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in the Philippines can cost less than $20 dollars. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes western amenities and comforts then there will be more options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Manila and Cebu.
If you’re traveling to the Philippines during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. The Philippines is a very popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in the Philippines. However, if you are backpacking in the Philippines or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Southeast Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES
The Philippines are most popular with travelers during the dry season which is between November and April. During the Philippines dry season the country’s many beautiful islands and more remote areas are fully accessible. The weather gets really hot during March and April, so it’s best to travel during the cooler months of December to February.
PHILIPPINES TRAVEL BUDGET
The Philippines is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to the Philippines really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between $20 to $30 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $35 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $100 to $200 plus a day.
IS THE PHILIPPINES SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to the Philippines. Pick-pocketing, bag-snatching and other scams to take advantage of tourists are common in some areas such as Manila and Cebu. Some parts of the Philippines are dangerous so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of solo travel in Southeast Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance. I would never leave home without insurance and I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Philippines trip.
PHILIPPINES VISA CHECKER
PHILIPPINES FLIGHT DEALS
PHILIPPINES TOURS & ACTIVITIES
PHILIPPINES PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to the Philippines, like most other places in Southeast Asia, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to the Philippines and it’s always best to travel light whenever possible.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our fabulous finds with you.
It’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates just remember to pack lightweight and breathable lose-fitting clothing. Be prepared for the occasional chilly morning and evening depending on the month you visit and pack a warm sweater or coat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to the Philippines include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.