The Philippines is one of the most-visited countries in the world. This archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of about 7,640 islands is geographically classified into three areas – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. A trip to this country promises a lot of fun – not just us, but the nation’s official tourism slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” says so. Besides the idyllic islands and white sandy beaches, the Philippines is also known for historic sites, rice terraces, world-class snorkeling and diving spots, rich biodiversity, happening nightlife in megacities and jubilant festivals. This Philippines travel guide covers everything – the basic information (like currency and language), the details of when and how to travel, what to eat and where to go, and lastly, a few Philippines travel tips.
Best time to visit:
The Philippines enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year. However, January to May is the best time to travel to the Philippines, considering the risk of typhoons in the rainy season (August to October). This is also the duration when the country registers the highest tourist footfall. The average temperature ranges from 25 to 30°C in the months of December, January, and February, and the warm weather supports your expedition to the remote and undiscovered gems in the Philippines.
This section of our Philippines Travel Guide concentrates on how to reach the Philippines and how to get around the country.
Popular airlines like Philippine Airlines, Emirates, Cebu Pacific, etc. provide direct, one-stop and multi-stop flights from the USA to the Philippines. A majority of international flights land either at the largest Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila or at the second-busiest Mactan Cebu International Airport in Cebu. These airports are also well-connected to domestic airports throughout the country.
Coming to the other modes of transportation within the country, you could take a bus or a minivan when traveling between cities. Tricycle ride is the most common option for short road trips. The charge varies with the distance and ranges from 20 to 100 PHP for 1 to 5 kms. Scooters are also available for rent at 900-500 PHP. Enjoy a boat/ferry ride while exploring the hidden islands.
What to Eat:
Similar to most Asian countries, rice is the staple food in the Philippines. Our Philippines Travel Guide also includes information about the must-visit Filipino food for all those who are traveling to the Philippines for the first time. First of them is Adobo, a meat dish (pork or chicken) stewed in a sauce of vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce – it is so popular that it can be called the national food. The other popular Filipino dishes are Sinigang (a sour broth made with meat or seafood and vegetables), Kinilaw (a raw seafood salad), and Kare-Kare (a traditional stew prepared using vegetables or seafood and is distinguished by the rich and thick peanut sauce). Two Filipino snacks you must sample are Fish balls (fried balls of fish meat) and Empanada (a pastry filled with a mix of meat and vegetables). Don’t forget to satiate your sweet tooth – devour the famous Filipino cold dessert called Halo Halo.
Things to do in the Philippines:
Go island hopping in El Nido: El Nido is known for its white sandy beaches, towering karst cliffs, mangroves, lagoons, and rich coral reefs. Join any of the four Island hopping tour packages (Tour A, B, C, D) and explore this place referred to as Paradise on Earth.
Dive at Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park: Discover the beauty of the underwater world at this UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the Sulu Sea. Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park is the best diving spot in the Philippines!
Behold the stunning view of Bohol Chocolate hills: The sight of a group of 1,260 conical hills of different sizes covering an area of 50 square kilometers is almost breathtaking!
Unwind at Boracay Beaches: Boracay Island is a popular tourist destination because of the diverse experiences offered by this place – a bit of everything from relaxation, fun, adventure sports, to beach parties. You cannot miss the sunset at the white sandy beaches of Boracay!
Find your own way around Intramuros: This walled city is dotted with many historical landmarks; whose tales introduce you to the Spanish colonial era. Visit Manila Cathedral, Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago, and San Agustin Church and Museum.
Hike Mount Pulag: Dubbed by the locals as the “Playground of the Gods,” the climb up this 2922 m high mountain is extremely popular for its magical views of the sea of clouds.
Check out Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces: The majestic Banaue rice terraces in the Cordillera mountain range are thought of as the Eighth Wonder of the world. Follow the hiking trail along these 2000-year-old rice terraces carved out of mountains and enjoy the spectacular views.
Visit the Baroque Churches of the Philippines: A visit to the 4 Baroque Churches of the Philippines built during the Spanish colonial era is a must for all the history and architecture enthusiasts.
Recommended Read: A handy guide to holidaying in the Philippines!
Travel tips to the Philippines:
Our Philippines Travel Guide ends with a few travel tips that might be useful while exploring this great Island.
- Carry enough cash because not all places accept cards and online payment methods.
- The terminal fee at the airports in the Philippines varies from P50 to P220 per person for domestic flights and P600 to P1,150 per person for international flights
- Book hotels and flights in advance
- To avoid internet issues, buy a local SIM card or carry your own Wi-Fi hotspot
- Take the help of the Philippines Travel Map while exploring this archipelago.