The Philippines is an island country in the Pacific Ocean. Geographically speaking, it is a part of Southeast Asia. Philippines is composed of three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city is Manila and it’s in the Luzon island.

Philippines has been inhabited for around 67,000 years. The country once was a colony of Spanish empire. So, it has derived most of its culture, religion, and language from them.

The Philippines

Map of the Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide

As the Philippine tourism tagline goes, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, it is truly more fun in the Philippines! It has 7,641 islands. This would simply mean that there is a thousand of things to do and experience. 

Of all the things that you must experience in the Philippines, still, the craziest is to try to eat balut. Balut is a popular street food in the Philippines. It is a developing duck that is boiled and eaten from its shell. It also has soup in it, and it’s best eaten when added with salt and spicy vinegar.

The Philippines was dubbed as “The Fiesta Islands” because of its uncountable number of festivals and celebrations. Festivals in the Philippines are vibrant and full of energy. So, for tourists out there, it would also be nice if you experience celebrating festivals with the locals.

Things to Do In Philippines

Points of Interest

Cebu

Cebu is one of the most important cities in the Philippines. More tourists come to Cebu every year because of its prime attractions whether it may be in land, sea, or air. Cebu is known for many things – prestigious Universities, extremely delicious foods and delicacies (not to mention Lechon Cebu), wide array of shopping destinations, unusual attractions, and many more. Never leave Cebu without visiting these places:

  • Magellan’s Cross – Cebu’s most-visited landmark
  • Kawasan Falls – a leveled-up canyoneering experience
  • Moalboal – a great diving spot for diving experts and enthusiasts
  • Malapascua Island – perfect for island hopping and sunset watching
  • Oslob – whale shark watching (swim with the whale shark!)

If you plan to visit Cebu, you should have at least 5 days to completely visit its north and south tourist attractions. 

Kawasan Falls, Cebu

Kawasan Falls, Cebu

Surigao

Surigao is a laidback city in Mindanao that can be traveled via land for 5-6 hours from Davao City. It is a jump off point to tourists who will travel to nearby destinations – Siargao, Bucas Grande Island, and Dinagat Island. Land travel time to other islands of Surigao may sound ridiculous, as it will take another 8-10 hours. But, mind you, the moment you see these destinations, you’ll surely skip a beat! 

If you like some adventure and road trip, then you can go for an island hopping. With time travel being considered, you need at least 4-6 day to fully enjoy what Surigao has to offer. But, if time will restrict you, then you can travel by plane taking any of these routes: Manila to Siargao, Davao to Siargao, Manila to Butuan City.

Here are some places of interest that can give you a whole new island experience:

  • Sohoton Cove – stingless jellyfish, lagoon, and cave
  • Siargao – surfing
  • Tinuy-an Falls – the Niagara Falls of the Philippines
  • Britania Group of Islands – island hopping
  • Barobo
Casa Rica Island, Surigao del Sur

Casa Rica Island, Surigao del Sur

Davao

Davao is the “Durian Capital of the Philippines”. But, there’s a lot more than just Durian. Davao is considered as the safest city in the Philippines. As crazy as it is, but the people of Davao just love the peace and calmness of the city. Imagine Christmas and New Year without fireworks, a law that says “No Smoking”, strict implementation of a 30kph speed limit, and many more. Indeed, Davao is being true to its tagline, Life is Here. Despite these laws, Davao still welcomes its visitors with open arms.  

Key attractions in Davao:

  • Eden Nature Park
  • Malagos Garden Resort
  • Crocodile Park
  • Samal Island
  • Roxas Night Market

If you still have time, you can go for a side trip in Mati City, about 3 hours away from Davao. Have a surfing lesson in Dahican, and experience riding an ultralight plane.

Davao Durian

Davao Durian

Mati City

Mati City

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Palawan

Palawan is the home of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Underground River in Puerto Princesa. It has 3 main destinations: Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. Top things to do here are island hopping, scuba diving and snorkeling. A lot of tourists love Palawan to the point that they always come back because it is such a tourist-friendly place. In fact, government of Palawan organize tours which makes it accessible and convenient for their visitors. Usual Palawan tours are inclusive of a buffet lunch, a good transportation, snacks, and of course a fun and entertaining tour guide.

Coron, Palawan

Coron, Palawan

Ilo-ilo

Ilo-ilo has preserved its culture as greatly evidenced by intact Spanish-inspired structures. It is known for a good number of old and vintage churches and the sumptuous La Paz Batchoy, a noodle soup. Do not forget to visit the Miagao Church, as it is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. 

Side trips from Ilo-ilo:

  • Bacolod – 1-2 hours via ferry
  • Guimaras – 15-20 minutes via ferry
Miagao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Miagao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Nightlife Hot Spots

Nightlife in the Philippines is not just a drinking session and unlimited partying. It would also mean a karaoke/KTV night, beer and food, and DJs, and live music. Best time to visit and experience nightlife in the Philippines is during summer season where most parties happen in the nearest beaches or clubs. Here are the top nightlife hot spots in the Philippines:

  • Manila
  • Cebu – best time: 3rd week of January, in time for the Sinulog Festival
  • Angeles
  • Davao
  • Bohol

Shop at

There are lots of shopping places in the Philippines. If you want high-end products, you can go to malls. A ton of malls are scattered in cities. SM Malls and Ayala Malls, are two of the biggest retail chains in the Philippines. If you are looking for items at its best bargain price, there’s also a place for you. You can go to Divisoria, a commercial center located in Manila; or any Chinatown located in specific areas. There are also night markets in the Philippines where you can find items and buy them at a cheap price. 

Looking for branded clothing? Try to go to a thrift shop or ukay-ukay. Your $10 can already buy several pieces!

Experiences to have

The Philippines will surprise you with a thousand of experiences to try. Here are the some of the things that you should experience in the Philippines: 

  • Eat balut – This is one of the most exotic foods in the world that can only be found in the Philippines. It might taste weird, but to the locals, it is one of the best street foods in the country. Balut is a hard boiled duck egg with an embryo inside it. It has soup in it as well.
Balut

Balut

  • Ride a jeepney – Jeepney is a common and most used transportation vehicle in the Philippines. It is a public transportation where it can fit about 14-21 passengers at a single ride.
  • Dine by the falls – Have lunch beside a waterfall. Yes, literally beside it. Experience this even once in your life.
  • Surfing – A lot of tourists go to the Philippines to surf. Famous surfing destinations are: Siargao, Mati, Baler, and La Union.
  • See the hanging coffins of Sagada – Sagada is known for its hanging coffins, which now became an attraction. Uncover its history and as to why they did such before.
  • Learn the history of the Philippines – Philippines is rich in history and almost all places here are historical. Go for a heritage walk or a pre-planned itinerary and get to know more about the Philippines.
  • And many more…

Best Time to Visit

Best time to visit the Philippines is during summer, from March to May. These are the months when weather is favorable. It can be warm to really hot. You just have to wear light clothing and bring water with you when you go and explore places. June to September are the months when heavy rains occur. Rains in the Philippines can be bad at times and can cause floods.

Getting Around

There is a wide array of options when we speak of modes of transportation in the Philippines. Jeepneys are the most accessible means of transport when getting around the major cities in the Philippines. Aside from jeepneys, options like Grab, Uber and car rental service, are also popular transports, but only in selected cities. You could always check the availability of these modes in your Philippine destination online.

Road Condition

Heavy traffic is common in the Philippines. If you are going to a certain place, you need to allot an hour or two for travel time alone as traffic gets really bad most especially during rush hours. The Filipinos drive on the right side of the road. Keep in mind, though, if you drive solo, you should avoid driving off the main highways at night, as it can be very dangerous.

Language

The national language is Filipino. English is also widely popular. The predominant religion is Christianity. In fact, it is the only Christian dominated country in Asia. 

Currency

The currency is the Philippine Peso. The approximate rate is 50 PHP for 1 US Dollar. The exchange of Pounds Sterling and US dollars is available at banks, hotels, and some retail outlets in Manila. However, outside the capital, it might be harder to exchange money. Credit cards are acceptable in major facilities within large cities. MasterCard and Visa are the most popular ones. There are numerous ATMs in cities and major tourist areas, but it is better to check the availability of ATM in your area of destination, before arrival.

Electricity

Philippines use type A sockets, as in the USA. Check out the above-linked page to see the photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 220 V.  Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage.

How Safe is the Philippines

There are areas in the Philippines that are unsafe. You still need to take a ton of care. Secure your belongings at all times. Never go to unknown places most especially at night time and when you don’t have accompany.

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June 27, 2016 12:00 am Published by 3 Comments

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