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The Philippines

Destination Guide: The Philippines

The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, offers a captivating mix of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant cities. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and welcoming people, it’s a paradise for solo travelers, families, and couples alike.

Highlights & Must-See Attractions

  1. Boracay: Famous for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, Boracay is a tropical haven for beach lovers, offering vibrant nightlife and exciting water sports.
  2. Palawan: Home to stunning limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs, Palawan offers idyllic getaways like El Nido and Coron, perfect for snorkeling, diving, and island hopping.
  3. Chocolate Hills: Located on Bohol island, these unique geological formations resemble rows of chocolate kisses, offering a picturesque landscape that’s perfect for exploring.
  4. Banaue Rice Terraces: Often called the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” these ancient terraces in the mountains of Ifugao showcase the ingenious agricultural practices of the indigenous people and offer breathtaking views.
  5. Manila: The bustling capital city blends Spanish colonial architecture with modern skyscrapers, offering historical sites, vibrant markets, and a lively arts scene.

Our lesser-known favourites

  1. Siargao: Known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” Siargao is a laid-back island with stunning beaches, clear lagoons, and great waves for surfing enthusiasts.
  2. Batanes: This remote northern archipelago offers dramatic landscapes, charming stone houses, and a serene atmosphere, perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.
  3. Vigan: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan’s well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets transport visitors back in time, offering a unique cultural experience.
  4. Camiguin: Known as the “Island Born of Fire,” Camiguin is home to volcanic landscapes, hot springs, and beautiful waterfalls, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Did you know?

  • The Philippines is the second-largest archipelago in the world, with over 7,000 islands.
  • Jeepneys, colorful public transport vehicles, are a unique and iconic symbol of Filipino culture.

Food and Cuisine

  • Adobo: A popular dish made with marinated meat, usually chicken or pork, cooked with vinegar, soy sauce, and spices, adobo is a must-try Filipino classic.
  • Lechon: A whole roasted pig, lechon is often the centerpiece of Filipino celebrations and is known for its crispy skin and flavorful meat.
  • Sinigang: A sour soup made with meat or seafood, and flavored with tamarind or other souring agents, sinigang is a comforting and hearty dish.
  • Halo-Halo: A colorful dessert made with shaved ice, sweet beans, fruits, and topped with ice cream, halo-halo is a refreshing treat, perfect for hot days.

Practical Information

Best Season to Visit:

  • The best time to visit the Philippines is during the dry season, from November to April, when the weather is pleasant and ideal for exploring.

Temperature:

  • The Philippines generally experiences warm weather year-round, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 32°C. The rainy season, from May to October, can bring heavy showers.

Visa Requirements:

  • Most tourists can enter the Philippines visa-free for stays up to 30 days. Be sure to check the latest requirements or ask us for assistance!

Getting ready for departure

  • Local Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP). Credit cards are widely accepted in cities, but cash is preferred in rural areas and markets.
  • Culture & Dress Code: Casual and modest clothing is appropriate for most areas, especially when visiting religious sites. Light, breathable fabrics are ideal for the tropical climate.
  • Language: Filipino and English are the official languages, with English widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
  • Electronics: The Philippines uses type A, B, and C plugs. Carrying a universal adapter is a smart choice.
  • Local emergency numbers: Police: 117; Ambulance: 911.

Cultural Insights

Books

  • “Noli Me Tangere” by José Rizal: This classic novel by the Philippine national hero is a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and political intrigue, set during the Spanish colonial period. It offers insights into the country’s history and culture.

Movies

  • “Apocalypse Now”: Parts of this iconic film were shot in the Philippines, showcasing the country’s stunning natural beauty. It’s a classic worth watching for its gripping storyline and dramatic landscapes.

Before you set off for the Philippines, consult our Ultimate Packing List to ensure you’re prepared for this tropical adventure. For souvenirs, consider bringing back Filipino textiles, handcrafted jewelry, or dried mangoes to remember your time in this beautiful archipelago.