Main Philippines Travel Guide | The Philippines Travel Guide: Here’s your Filipino travel bucket list

The Philippines Travel Guide: Here’s your Filipino travel bucket list

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Philippines Travel Guide: General Information

  • Adobo: A national treasure, savory meat (chicken, pork, or seafood) marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and peppercorns.
  • Lechon: Roasted suckling pig, a star of any Filipino celebration. Crispy skin and juicy meat – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
  • Sinigang: A sour and savory soup, traditionally made with pork or seafood and tamarind broth, vegetables, and sometimes even mango!
  • Banaue Rice Terraces: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these sculpted rice paddies carved into the mountainsides are a testament to human ingenuity and breathtaking beauty.
  • Chocolate Hills: Hundreds of unique, dome-shaped hills turn chocolate brown during the dry season, creating a whimsical landscape.
  • Vigan: Explore a UNESCO-listed city where time seems to stand still. Wander cobblestone streets lined with Spanish colonial architecture and soak up the rich history.
  • Dive into pristine underwater worlds: Explore the coral reefs of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site teeming with marine life.
  • Hike to the top of the Philippines: Conquer Mount Apo, the highest peak in the country, and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views.
  • Journey into the earth’s heart: Navigate the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the world’s longest subterranean river, and marvel at its awe-inspiring limestone formations.
  • Boracay: Indulge in the soft sands and crystal-clear waters of Boracay, a world-renowned island paradise offering luxurious resorts and vibrant nightlife.
  • Palawan: Embark on an island-hopping adventure in Palawan, where hidden lagoons, towering limestone cliffs, and secluded beaches create an idyllic escape.
  • Siargao: Catch the perfect wave in Siargao, a surfer’s haven known for its world-class breaks, laid-back charm, and stunning natural beauty.
  • Ati-Atihan: Witness the vibrant celebration of the Ati tribe in Kalibo, where vibrant costumes, energetic dances, and a riot of colors depict deep-rooted traditions.
  • Sinulog: Join the lively festivities in Cebu City during Sinulog, a Catholic festival honoring the Santo Niño (Child Jesus). Witness the grand parade, pulsating religious processions, and a display of Filipino faith and cultural fervor.

Geographically, the Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Manila’s Metropolitan Melange

Manila - Philippines Travel Guide

Intramuros, the historical heart of Manila, stands out with its rich history shaping the city’s landscape. Here, ancient churches, regal palaces, and old monasteries dot the district. Fort Santiago, a 16th-century bastion that endured through the city’s darkest times, now hosts art galleries, eateries, and shops within its historic walls.

Manila Cathedral, a masterpiece of architecture, St. Augustine Cathedral, and the bustling Rojas Boulevard add to the city’s historic charm. Other notable attractions include Rizal Park, the National Museum of the Philippines, and the vibrant church communities of Malate, San Binondo, and Quiapo, making Manila a tapestry of cultural richness waiting to be explored.

Cebu – Historical Island Haven

Cebu - Philippines Travel Guide

The island is a paradise for diving aficionados and those eager to swim alongside whale sharks. Visitors can also indulge in a range of water sports like wakeboarding and wakesurfing. A must-visit is Kawasan Falls, celebrated as Cebu’s most stunning waterfall, located near Moalboal Resort. While accessible from Cebu City and Mactan Island, it’s often experienced as part of a thrilling package tour that includes canyoning or a trip to see the whale sharks in Oslob, making for an unforgettable adventure.

Davao – Adventure Awaits

Davao - Philippines Travel Guide

The real treasure, however, lies just beyond the city limits—Mount Apo, the nation’s highest and semi-active volcano. Standing at 2,956 meters, a hike up Mount Apo offers panoramic views of the diverse Philippine flora and fauna. Adventurers can either join an organized tour with Climb Mt. Apo or venture solo with a permit obtained from the City Hall in Santa Cruz.

So, immerse yourself fully in the wonders of Davao. Explore its unique locales, engage with friendly locals, and savor the authentic flavors of Filipino cuisine. Davao invites you to experience the richness of its land and culture.

Malapascua – Island Hopping Serenity

Malapascua - Philippines Travel Guide

For those intrigued by local legends, Malapascua has its own tales to tell. Visit the charming village church where the “Desamparados shrine” is housed. This shrine features a revered doll believed to protect the island from natural disasters like fires and tsunamis. According to local lore, this doll not only resists fire but also mysteriously grows over time.

Beyond its folklore, Malapascua is also a premier diving destination, ranked among the top five in the Philippines. Whether you’re exploring underwater wonders or soaking up the island’s peaceful vibes, Malapascua promises a truly breathtaking experience.

Boracay – Asia’s Beachfront Paradise

Boracay - Philippines Travel Guide

The island is conveniently segmented into “boat stations” which serve as handy landmarks for explorers. Station One is noted for its upscale resorts and vibrant nightlife, making it the go-to for luxury seekers. Station Two buzzes with activity, standing as the epicenter of Boracay’s energy. Meanwhile, Station Three offers more economical lodging options, appealing to budget travelers.

Despite modern developments and comparisons to destinations like Phuket, Boracay retains a nostalgic charm with locals and long-time visitors reminiscing about its quieter past. Yet, its continual enhancements ensure that Boracay remains a top choice for a perfect beach vacation.

Angeles City – Adventure and Nightlife

Angeles City - Philippines Travel Guide

After dark, Angeles City transforms into a kaleidoscope of lights and entertainment. Explore a diverse range of bars and clubs catering to various tastes for an unforgettable night on the town.

Witness the magic unfold during the annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta held in Clark Freeport Zone, just minutes from Angeles City. Take in the breathtaking spectacle of colorful balloons dotting the azure sky, creating a picture-perfect backdrop for an unforgettable experience (usually held in February).

Philippines Travel Guide: Useful Information

Travel Tips | The Philippines Travel Guide: Here’s your Filipino travel bucket list

Travel Tips

  • The Philippines is recognized as one of the most disaster-prone nations globally, frequently experiencing natural calamities like volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, and typhoons. For a safer visit, it’s best to travel during the dry season to avoid these natural hazards.
  • When planning your trip, avoid areas such as Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and the Zamboanga Peninsula, where religious and ethnic tensions can flare up.
  • In the bustling cities, petty theft is more common, although it’s rare in the countryside. Tourists might occasionally encounter locals asking for small gifts or money, a practice that is relatively mild compared to other Asian countries and usually not aggressive.
  • The Filipino people are known for their warm, friendly demeanor. They are invariably cheerful and carry a romantic, laid-back approach to life. However, this can sometimes translate into a perceived slowness or shyness, especially among service workers like cab drivers or waitstaff. Yet, you’ll find their spirits lift remarkably during traditional holidays, Sunday services, and local sporting events, which include the widely-followed cockfights and basketball games.
  • English is commonly spoken throughout the Philippines, even in rural areas, thanks in part to the country’s colonial history. This makes communication easier for travelers compared to other regions in Southeast Asia.
  • In terms of security, police presence is notable across public spaces, both in uniform and plain clothes, ensuring safety but sometimes feeling a bit overbearing for foreigners. They manage to maintain order discreetly yet effectively, keeping a watchful eye on public interactions.
  • For convenience, public restrooms are readily available in cities and can also be found in hotels, bars, and stores, though a small fee may be charged. These facilities are often labeled as “comfort rooms” or “CR” and are designated by “lalake” for men and “babae” for women in Tagalog.
  • Travelers to popular destinations like Davao should be aware of strict no-smoking policies in public places. Violations can lead to hefty fines, and repeated offenses may result in a brief jail term.
  • Tipping is customary and appreciated in the Philippines, with standard gratuities ranging from 5-10% of the total bill for services including taxis, hotels, and restaurants. Often, guests are encouraged to tip more for exceptional service, according to what they feel is appropriate.
  • Regarding electrical needs, the Philippines uses a dual voltage system (220 V or 110 V, 60 Hz), and outlets accommodate both two-pronged (American style) and three-pronged plugs, making it convenient for travelers from various parts of the world.
  • In the Philippines, public transportation is diverse and robust. Buses range from standard versions to air-conditioned ones with TVs, costing just 10% more but offering added comfort and luggage space. Jeepneys offer a vivid but basic travel option with bench seating and open doors, ideal for short trips and costing between 10-50 PHP. Minibuses serve as a speedy, cozy transport alternative, with fares based on travel distance. Additionally, trikes provide a colorful and varied experience, with costs fluctuating from 20-40 PHP depending on the resort area.

Philippines Weather – When Is the Best Time to Visit?


What is the best time to visit the Philippines?

The best time to visit the Philippines is during the dry season from December to April when the weather is sunny and temperatures are pleasant. This period avoids the typhoon season, which runs from June to November.

What are the must-try foods in the Philippines?

When visiting the Philippines, try local delicacies such as Adobo (a savory stew of meat marinated in vinegar and soy sauce), Lechon (roasted pig), Sinigang (a tart soup made with tamarind), and for dessert, Halo-Halo, a mixed ice dessert with various sweet ingredients.

What are some essential things to pack for the Philippines?

Pack light, breathable clothing for the hot weather. Don’t forget a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Mosquito repellent is a must, and comfortable shoes are essential for exploring. Since some places might not have drinkable tap water, consider a reusable water bottle with a purifier.

What language is spoken in the Philippines? Will I manage with English?

Filipino and English are the official languages of the Philippines. English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas, making communication easy for US travelers.

Is the Philippines safe for tourists?

The Philippines is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution, especially in crowded areas. You can check the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory for the Philippines for the latest information on safety and security.

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