Planning your trip to
Travel light - limit the things you
carry with you when you travel. If at all possible, carry just
one 9" x 22" x 14" bag with a maximum weight of 20 pounds. If
you can manage to limit your bag to this size, you don't have to
check-in your luggage at the airport. Upon arrival to your
destination, you can go directly to customs while everybody is
waiting for their luggage at the carousel. Pack light and pack
smart. When choosing what to bring, think in terms of what you
can do without rather than what might be handy for the trip.
When you travel to the Philippines,
bring light clothing specially if you're visiting in summer.
Cotton Tees, shirts, pants and walking shorts are your best bet.
For ladies, a hat with brim will help protect against the heat
of the sun. A pair of sunglasses with UV protection is
recommended. And if you plan to travel to the countryside or
walk a lot, don't forget to bring your comfy sneakers or
Note that the Philippines uses 220V
of electricity. Most 5-star hotels provide 100V outlets but
generally, they are not available, specially in the rural areas.
So if you're planning to bring some electronic gadgets, make
sure you bring a converter with you.
Travel tip for smokers: long haul
flights can be difficult for smokers. Bring with you a couple of
nicotine patches and put one on about an hour before your
flight. It is amazing how this small patch can make your craving
for a smoke disappear.
Travel Tip on Valuables:
Avoid bringing valuables. A decent
watch and faux accessories (optional) are all you need. But in
case you did bring some expensive jewellery, deposit them and
your other valuables in the hotel safe (most major hotels
provide them for free).
Make sure you make a photocopies of
your passport and tickets just in case you loose them. Keep the
copies in a separate locations - place them in the deep pockets
of your luggage.
It is a good idea to use a belt bag
to put your money, passport and other valuables when on the road
rather than a bag. And position it in front of your body and
under your shirt if possible. Better yet, use a money belt and
hide it under your clothing.
Never leave your bag and other
valuables on the beach or at the poolside when swimming. It is a
lot safer to leave them in your hotel room.
It is customary to leave a tip when
rendered a service. On restaurants, a 10% tip based on the total
bill is recommended. However, if there is already a service
charge on the bill, a tip then becomes optional.
Taxis drivers, bellboys,
chambermaids, all expect to be tipped. For a short taxi ride, a
P20 tip will suffice. But for hotel bellboys and chambermaids, a
P100 tip is more appropriate. Adjust the tip according to your
length of stay and service rendered.
If you are about to do some shopping
and are scheduled to visit the Philippines, don't. Do your
shopping in the Philippines. Even designer clothes are sold
cheaper in the Philippines than the countries they are made in.
Many Filipinos living overseas come home to see their families
and shop at the same time. The savings oftentimes pays for their
Aside from the goods, you can save
substantially by having your medical, dental and cosmetic needs
done in the Philippines. Ask for referrals from friends (or the
hotel concierge for minor services) and choose the best ones.
June to August is the typhoon
season. Although the temperature is moderate and hotel rates are
lower, it is not the best time to travel specially if you intend
to see the countryside or cross the islands by sea.
From March to May is summer time and
is a good time to see the islands with clear skies and calm
waters. You are also assured that no flights or ferry boat trips
will be cancelled due to typhoons. Although expect the
temperatures to occasionally reach 38 degrees centigrade.
The best time to see the country is
from November to February when the weather is cooler. It is also
a good time to see the longest Christmas season in the world.
Were Filipinos start to decorate for Christmas as early as
Filipinos (as with most Asians) are
mostly conservative. Act, speak and dress modestly, more so
when going to the countryside. In most places, wearing shorts,
tees, sleeveless shirts, sandals or sneakers are fine -
specially in summer.
Avoid talking about religion and
politics specially to people you have just met. Especially when
drinking (alcoholic beverages) this sometimes lead to heated
arguments or worse.
If you are going to Mindanao
(southern Philippines) where some areas are predominantly
Muslims, dress conservatively - specially the women. And don't
call Muslims Moros. It's considered rude.
When travelling overseas, its always
a good practice to get a travel health insurance. Travel health
insurance offers peace of mind when abroad. Also, check with
local health authorities for any concerns when going to remote
villages. And drink only bottled water or canned beverages when
unsure of the local water supply.
Filipinos are a very friendly and
welcoming people. The Philippines has a lot to offer its
visitors. Discover the country, get to know the people and their
culture. Enjoy your visit to the Philippines and Mabuhay!