Everything you need to know about the Philippines [TRAVEL GUIDE]
From what to eat in the Philippines, to the country’s best beaches - we have you covered.
We want you to maximize your trip to the Philippines, so let’s get down to business.
You’ve been seeing this name flashing on social media, and photos of its beaches have got you feeling some sort of way; it’s become a common topic of conversation amongst your travel friends, and has now officially landed itself a spot on your bucket list.
You know you want to go, but do you necessarily know why you want to? Yes, the photos look epic, but beyond that - what’s drawing you to the Philippines? If you aren’t sure yet, take a look at some of the many incredible aspects of this country that made it next on our list of LBW adventures; if you know your answer already, but just want to upgrade your knowledge of the area to further nail down why it needs to be the next place you book a flight to - read further.
WHAT IS FILIPINO FOOD LIKE?
Leave it to us to start with the important stuff, right? You aren’t going to be able to DO or EXPERIENCE any of the following items without nourishing yourself from the inside-out.
Filipino food has an influence from a multitude of roots including: the ancient Chinese, Malay, Arabic, Indian and Spanish cultures; now, it has combined together (along with touches from local villages) to create its own flavour, unique to the country.
Along your journey, expect to take in delicious soups and stir fry dishes that are rich in spices, thanks to the influence of so many nations! Keep your eyes peeled for Pancitarias (noodle shops) to grab a bowl of the nationally famous dish, pancit; here, you will devour thin rice noodles sauteed with soy sauce, citrus, garlic, mixed veggies, onions, and meat of your choice (should you wish!) It’s absolutely delicious, and the perfect pick-me-up enroute to an activity, or after a night out on the town.
WHAT MAKES FILIPINO CULTURE DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
Filipinos are extremely cheerful and family-oriented with an appreciation for art, fashion, music and food. They are known to be some of the most hospitable people that thrive off of throwing and attending events that include singing, dancing and (of course) eating, and overall just love to have a good time.
The Philippines annual calendar is jam-packed with festivals that include parades of colourful costumes, flowers, body-paint, marching bands and (you guessed it) LOADS of singing and dancing! If you are a fan of karaoke, or even just parties in general, we know that you are going to feel insanely at-home with the giddy people of the Philippines. The Philippines is also the only Christian nation in Asia, and you will find that they start getting prepped for Christmas as early as AUGUST! Now THAT’S a level of Christmas cheer to aspire towards.
HOW DO YOU GET AROUND IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Around the Philippines you will discover a variety of fun, unique, even (some might say) crazy methods of transport; to start, let’s introduce you with the most famous, and most popular Filipino method of transportation - the Jeepney. Essentially, the Jeepney is the product of handing over an old school bus to Xzibit, and asking him to pimp your ride. The result? A hilariously colourful and unique way to both travel the country AND appreciate local art and culture. Don’t mind getting a little cozy with your travel companions on these bad boys, as they are certainly built for style and efficiency - not comfort.
Next up you’ve got the Filipino tricycle, which resembles India’s rickshaws and Thailand’s tuk-tuks. What sets it apart is that a tricycle has its cab attached to the right-side, and can hold up to 7 people at one time! The people of the Philippines sure know how to make the most out of every situation, even with their vehicles!
Switching gears a bit here, but next let’s check out the Pedicab which is simply a human-powered bicycle cab! These are great for shorter distances around the city and to maneuver quickly and safely through tough traffic, all while helping locals get their daily step goals conquered! #winning
Remember, the Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, these previously mentioned methods of transport only get you around on land - once you've reached it. The most iconic method of sea travel in the Philippines is called a Banca Boat. It's essentially a hollowed out, canoe-shaped boat with long outriggers extended on either side. These boats have been increased in size to accommodate large groups as it makes it one of the best methods getting from one island to the next.
WHAT KIND OF WEATHER DOES THE PHILIPPINES HAVE?
The best time to visit the Philippines is between the months of November and April, during the country’s dry season. The temperatures start on their upward climb starting in March (daily average of 27-28°C), so if you prefer a cooler, but still sunny climate, the months prior would be a safer bet for you!
Fear not if your travel plans need to be during the Philippines wet season (from May through to October,) as their rain isn’t generally a constant downpour, and rarely requires you to alter your plans due to such. Some prefer to travel during the wet season as there are fewer crowds, and a more vibrantly green, lush country all around. It’s all about finding what’s most important to you, right?
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Good news to you (assuming you are not translating this page) is that the official languages of the Philippines includes both Tagalog AND English! Tagalog is known as the official education language, but is viewed to be not as important as English in schools; therefore, you will often find that most Filipinos speak a decent level of English. To set yourself apart from the other travellers though, we always think it’s extremely considerate of the local culture to try and learn a couple everyday phrases in the native tongue (it’s also a cool party trick to bring home too to show off to your friends!)
WHERE ARE THE BEST BEACHES IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Saving the best for last - of course! The Philippines is home hundreds of incredible beaches for you to choose from, but here are some of our favourite must-chill-at spots:
Duli Beach, El Nido: this surfer hot spot is an excellent place to start on or finesse your surfing skills, and is the reason we chose this exact spot to bring our travellers to on our Philippines Islands West tour to do just that!
7 Commandos Beach, El Nido: fear not weary traveller, this beach is accepting for people of all underwear preferences! This beach is only reachable via sea kayak or boat (as we do on our Philippines Islands West tour), and which makes it that much more beautiful once you come across it!
Alona Beach, Bohol: this traveller-favourite is home to many options for those passing through, or for those with a free afternoon on our Philippines Islands East tour! Here, you can rent a kayak, go snorkelling, or just kick it on the beach with a Manila Sunshine (their national cocktail!)
Panagsama Beach, Moalboal: here’s one you often won’t find online as being one of the “best” beaches in the Philippines, but there’s over one hundred thousand reasons why it’s on our list! This beach is where the infamous Sardine run takes place (as noted on our Philippines Islands East itinerary.) A sardine run, otherwise known as a bait ball, is a defensive tactic against larger prey, whereby all of these thousands of sardines band together for protection.
Well, that about does it folks for our Philippines Travel Guide. We hope that we gave your enough information to get you on your way to wanting to venture over to our latest destination, and would love to answer any questions you have! Feel free to comment below, or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org