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Philippines Travel Tips

Make the most of your trip to the Philippines with our useful Philippines travel tips, as well as our list of top-rated destinations, best attractions, and things to do while you are on a holiday in the country.

Comprehensive Philippines Travel Tips: Easy Guide to the Country for First-timers

Comprehensive Philippines Travel Tips: Easy Guide to the Country for First-timers

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Renowned for its majestic beaches, spectacular mountains and rice fields, and friendly people, the Philippines offers much more for travelers who desire to explore the country further.

In this article, we’re treating you with useful tips, recommendations, and practical information to help you make the most as you travel and explore the Philippines, the beautiful archipelago located in Southeast Asia.

Time Zone: UTC +8


An island nation situated in the western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is comprised of  7,641 islands and has a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). The country is divided into three main geographic areas - Luzon (the largest island), Visayas, and Mindanao (the second biggest island). Manila, which is part of Luzon, is the country’s capital city.

The Best Time to Visit the Country
Money and Expenses
passports and Philippine flag

Tourists Visa in the Philippines

For most foreign nationals, there is no visa required for a 30-day stay in the country provided that you have a valid passport and you can present a valid outward bound ticket for a return journey to your country of origin or your next country of destination. 

Some nationals can stay without a visa for 59 days, particularly Brazilians and Israeli nationals, based on existing agreements, while others can stay visa-free for 7 to 14 days only. Be sure to check the government’s website first if you’re unsure whether or not you’ll need to secure a visa to travel to the Philippines according to the number of days you planned to stay in the country. 

Philippines happy traveling family in the car with blurred beach and mountain in the background

Getting Around the Country

With over 7,000 islands, getting around the country can be a bit challenging as it’s quite geographically dispersed. The key here is to plan your route suitably and the great news is, while it can be time-consuming transportation in the Philippines is generally affordable. The following are some of your options for getting around in the country.


You may want to take some domestic flights to explore some distant areas in the country. There are a total of 70 airports spread across the country with Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and Clark as the three main and busiest airports.

Motorcycle Taxi (Habal-Habal)
vacation in the Philippines food and drink in the Philippines

Food and Drinks

The Filipino foods are heavily influenced by a mix of different cultures that include Spanish, American, Malay, Chinese, and European cuisines.

As with the majority of Asian countries, rice is a staple in the locals’ meals. Adobo is the famous Filipino family favorite that involves marinating and cooking slices of pork or chicken in soy sauce, vinegar, and spices.

Another popular delicacy in the country is Lechon or roasted suckling pig. Sinigang, which is a pleasantly sour broth is also well-loved throughout the country. There are also a wide choices of seafood (which are fresher and tastier in provinces than in Manila) as well as delectable tropical fruits, including the refreshing fresh buko or young coconut juice. Pinakbet is an excellent bet if you’re looking for a local vegetable dish and halo-halo makes for a perfect dessert to beat the heat while exploring the country.

In general, San Miguel is the beer of choice in the country while the local-favorite rum called Tanduay is also worth trying.

Finally, you can also find a good array of Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Italian restaurants, particularly in the country’s major cities such as Metro Manila and Cebu. Fast foods like Mc Donald’s are also typically available in almost every big city in the country, but Jollibee is undoubtedly the locals’ most sought-after fast-food chain.


Whether or not you give a tip is generally up to you, although it’s expected for many rendered services including in restaurants. In some cases, a service charge may already be part of your bill, otherwise, 10% of the bill is the standard practice if you feel like giving a tip.

what to pack in the Philippines passport, camera, beach hat and shoes
What to Pack When You Travel to the Philippines

As a country with a tropical warm climate, it’s crucial that travelers pack accordingly when visiting the Philippines. Make sure to pack and wear light breathable clothing. If you plan to spend most of the day on the beach, it’s a good idea to wear rash guards and bring ample sunblock to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. A cap, hat, umbrella, and a pair of sunglasses are all travel essentials as well for travelers.

A lightweight rain jacket may come in handy for unexpected torrential downpours or you plan on heading up to the mountains where the temperature can drop considerably. Flip-flops are also a practical choice so you can walk around comfortably, especially when you go to the beaches. If you plan to go hiking or a trail you’ll need a pair of lightweight and sturdy hiking shoes. Other must-have stuff to include in your traveling bag include a refillable water bottle, bug spray/first aid kit, basic toiletries, travel adapters, and power bank.

 colorful maskara festival in the Philippines
Festivals and Celebrations in the Country

Filipinos are prominent for their upbeat and fun-loving nature, and it is evident in various festivals celebrated throughout the country year-round. Marked by joyous and colorful celebrations that sometimes last for as long as a month, these festivals serve as a way for Filipinos to showcase their culture and commemorate their religion, history, and customs.

It won’t really matter which month you travel as a number of festivals, where everyone is invited to join the fun, are celebrated in different parts of the country throughout the year. A few grand festivals celebrated in the Philippines include Sinulog in Cebu (Third Sunday of January), Panagbenga in Baguio City (February), and Masskara Festival in Bacolod (October 19).

best beach destination Philippines woman wearing beach hat enjoying stunning turquoise clear waters under clear blue skies
Best Things to Do in the Philippines

Endowed with stunning beaches and islands, lush jungles, awe-inspiring rice terraces, and beautiful mountains, as well as historical sites and mystical tribal villages, the Philippines has plenty to offer and more to eager travelers.

Visitors in the country are in for fantastic experiences and island activities including superb scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and boat riding. If you prefer to simply bask in the sun, you’ll be spoiled with a splendid array of spectacular beaches spread throughout the country. Oh, and if you haven’t known yet, the Philippines offer one of the world’s best sunset views. Meanwhile, for those seeking a fun-filled social life experience by the beach, nightlife in Boracay is also one that’s hard to miss.

Beyond the coastline, local and foreign tourists can also enjoy hiking and climbing impressive jungle-smothered peaks which are a sight to behold, particularly in Banaue and Sagada.

Finally, for travelers who are curious and appreciate history, the country does not disappoint with its remarkable historical sites and landmarks, which include Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Magellan’s Cross in Cebu.