10 Things To Know Before Visiting The Philippines

From weather considerations and visa needs to cultural norms and safety tips, having a comprehensive understanding of what to expect will make your vacation much more enjoyable
Somewhere in Philippines
Somewhere in PhilippinesUnsplash

Before travelling to the Philippines, it's essential to acquaint yourself with the necessary details to guarantee a seamless and fulfilling stay in this fascinating Southeast Asian nation. With its breathtaking scenery, lively cities, and rich cultural heritage, the Philippines is a traveller's paradise. However, being equipped with essential information beforehand will help you navigate the subtleties of Filipino life and get the most out of your trip to this diverse and welcoming destination.

1. Be Ready To Face The Heat And Humidity

The first thing that hits travellers when they exit the airport in any city of the Philippines is the intense humidity. It is not something that most travellers are used to. It is nothing like Europe's dry, scorching heat or other parts of the world. Since humidity thickens the air, it can feel hotter than it is and make breathing difficult for someone who isn't used to it. To stay comfortable, wearing light, loose-fitting clothing is advisable. It's also crucial to stay hydrated, as the body sweats more to cool down. Seeking shade and consuming plenty of water will help you adjust and enjoy your visit.

2. Keep Pocket Change

Carrying small denominations of currency is crucial when exploring the more rural areas of the Philippines, where the economy thrives on micro-transactions. Public transportation like tricycles and purchases from local sari-sari stores, which offer goods in single servings, heavily rely on having exact or near-exact change. Keeping a stash of smaller bills, such as 50 pesos, is wise to avoid inconvenience, as finding change for larger bills like a thousand or even five hundred pesos can be challenging in these regions.

3. Everyone Speaks English

In the Philippines, encountering someone who does not speak at least basic English is uncommon, as both English and Tagalog are taught in schools. This bilingual education ensures that navigating through the country is hassle-free for English speakers, with menus, street signs, and other essentials readily understandable. For those interested in learning Tagalog, "Salamat" means "thank you," and adding "po" shows respect, akin to saying "sir" or "ma'am." Thus, "thank you, po" is a polite expression you'll frequently hear. Knowing a smattering of the local language makes for a richer and more immersive travel experience. 

4. Buy A Local SIM Card On Arrival

Sim Cards
Sim CardsUnsplash

Having a local SIM card will make it easier to stay connected and get about the Philippines, which is believed to have the worst wi-fi connectivity in all of Asia.

Purchasing a SIM card as soon as you land at the airport is something we'd recommend, especially if you plan to explore many of the more remote islands where it can be difficult. 

5. Be Respectful Of The Local Environment

Whether you're climbing a mountain or scuba diving, always be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid touching or littering the coral, and make sure to remove any plastic you see out of the sea. The Philippines' tourism industry is expanding fast, which is putting a strain on its infrastructure and cleanliness and as global citizens and travellers, we must do our part to protect these ecosystems.

6. Carry Toilet Paper

Certain restrooms have toilet paper stored on a dispenser outside of the stalls. So, just remember to take some before entering to use the loo. Some toilets might not have any toilet paper at all; they are likely public toilets away from tourist attractions. It is best to be prepared with a small roll of toilet paper in your day bag; it can also double up for cleaning up spills. 

7. There Are A Lot Of Islands

The Philippines has a little more than 7,100 islands. Some of these 7,100 islands have been used for filming the popular T.V. series, "The Survivor," so if you're as obsessed with the show as we are, you'll be freaking out when you get there.

8. People Are Incredibly Polite

A filipino man
A filipino manUnsplash

You'll find Filipinos to be extremely polite and courteous, especially in places that aren't overrun by tourists. Also, almost everyone you meet will address you as "sir" or "ma'am." or perhaps even "ma'am sir." They will value your respect if you use appropriate terminology when talking with them.

9. Buy Aqua Shoes

If you intend to visit any beaches or go island hopping, you'll need some good-quality aqua shoes with thick soles. The beaches can be rocky, sharp and quite slippery, especially when you're getting on and off boats for island hopping tours.

10. You Can Get Around Using Tricycles

Using local transport is the most common way to move around. It includes buses, motor taxis, tricycles, multi-cabs and Jeepneys, which are buses with vibrant colours. The tricycle is the most widely used mode of transportation. It's also fairly inexpensive and simple to get you where you need to go. Simply flag one down on the street, hop in, and off you go.

11. Getting There

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Phillipines from India is via flight, which takes around 10 hours and 40 minutes and costs between INR 15,000 to INR 36,000. The flying distance between the countries is around 4,775 kilometres.

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