10 things to know before your first trip to the Philippines

Features of an independent vacation in the Philippines

Philippines is a beautiful island state in Southeast Asia. The comfortable climate and romantic atmosphere of the resort attract many tourists from all over the world. This is a heavenly picturesque corner of the planet with magnificent beaches, waterfalls, rice terraces, and a variety of coral reefs.

Philippines will appeal both to fans of relaxing languishing under the sunlight, and fans of active pastime. Hiking, biking, skydiving, mountaineering and other fun activities can offer this wonderful place. Our step-by-step guide on how to organize your own holiday in the Philippines.

Philippines on the map

Philippines is an island country, its coastline is the fifth longest in the world.

The seas that surround the Philippines: the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and the Sulawesi Sea.

The archipelago consists of more than 7000 islands, the largest of which are Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Palawan, Visayi.

The capital city of Manila is on the island of Luzon.

The time difference with Moscow is + 5 hours.

Main resorts of Philippines

Boracay is a popular tourist destination for an unforgettable beach vacation. Despite the small size of the island, it has many pristine white beaches. Developed tourism infrastructure allows travelers with different income to find a suitable accommodation. It is ideal for diving and snorkeling, besides the fun nightlife, a large selection of bars and restaurants will not get bored.

An interesting resort – the island of Bohol is also available for independent exploration. It attracts tourists with its lush tropical vegetation, chocolate hills, interesting historical buildings, unique wildlife, unlimited opportunities for diving and underwater photography.

Palawan is rightly considered the best place for a secluded beach holiday. Not for nothing this archipelago is a national park of world significance. Pristine exoticism of flora and fauna, diverse underwater world, majestic cliffs, primeval caves – all this and more can be seen after visiting the island.

Fans of respectable hotels, high service and cultural attractions can be recommended Cebu – the oldest island of the Philippines. It will appeal to those who want to enjoy a wild nightlife, interesting diving and hospitality of colorful locals.

Climate in the Philippines

In general, the state is in a hot climate zone with a high level of humidity. However, there may be some differences in weather on the eastern and western sides of the archipelago.

Philippine meteorologists distinguish four types of climate affecting the duration of the dry and rainy seasons:

  1. On the west coast, the dry season lasts from mid-November to late April. The rest of the time it rains;
  2. A climate with no dry season per se, with maximum rainfall between December and the second decade of March, and minimum rainfall in the spring months of late March through May.
  3. A climate that is similar to the previous one stands out, where you cannot specify a specific period in the year with a minimum number of rainy days. Precipitation falls evenly throughout the year. The third and second types of climates are characteristic of the eastern coast of the Philippines.
  4. Weather conditions due to the short dry season (December-February or March-May). This climate is more prevalent in the central part of the country.

Given these features, the best time to vacation in the Philippines is from January to March.

Advice! Even if the dates of the planned trip fall within the best climatic period, it is first necessary to clarify the conditions for recreation on the selected island. For example, in February on Boracay – the time of algae bloom, which means that for bathing in the azure sea will have to walk three feet on a slightly slimy mass.

Particular attention should be paid to the rainy season. For the Philippines, there is no feature of the greatest amount of rainfall in the dark, as it is in most countries of Southeast Asia. The rains in the archipelago are floods, cancellations of flights and ferries, and the danger of typhoons.

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The most dangerous month in terms of typhoons is August.

How to get to the Philippines

The only possible way to visit the archipelago is by plane.

The country has 10 international airports, the largest of which are located in Manila and Mactan Island (Cebu).

There are no direct flights from Russia to the Philippines.

Residents of the central region can build a flight to the Philippine capital or the island of Cebu with connections in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and other cities.

People from the Far East have an opportunity to make a connecting flight to Seoul, Beijing and other Chinese airports.

A flight from Moscow to Manila, which offers the best price-length ratio, via Guangzhou in February 2022 costs 320 euro, and takes almost 16 hours, including transfers.

While a flight from Khabarovsk at the same price would take 35 hours and involve two connections in China. A shorter connecting flight would cost 470 euros and take less than 10 hours.

Entry Procedure

Important: Russian citizens can stay in the Philippines without a visa for a maximum of 30 days.

You must have a passport with a validity of at least six months on the date of entry, a completed migration card and confirmation of the date of return (copy of the itinerary receipt or e-ticket).

The procedure of customs and passport control is generally standard, the result of which is a stamp in the passport with the date of entry and permission for a 30-day stay.

If the 30 visa-free days allowed to a tourist is not enough, then at the entrance you can ask for a permit for a 59-day stay. Such a stamp can be given instead of a 30-day visa-free entry permit. This service is not free of charge.

Incidentally, if the need for a long stay in the country has already arisen, this extension can be done in any of the 44 immigration offices located in most major cities.

Transportation in the Philippines

You can travel between islands by ferry or by air, almost each of the islands has an airport.

Air Transportation

Local carriers are Zest Air (Air Asia), Philippine Airlines, AirphilExpress, Cebu Pacific Air, SEAIR.

Important: The presence of an airport does not guarantee direct flight connections to other islands. Often, to get from one airport to another it is necessary to make a connection in Manila.

Some airports apply a system of charges on departure, it can be included in the ticket price, or can be charged in cash on the day of departure. The amount averages 100 pesos.

Water transportation

There are boats, ferries, small boats and even sailing boats between islands. The choice is solely up to the traveler. It is worth considering that traffic by sea is organized by both large companies and smaller firms and even private entrepreneurs.

Advice! It is preferable to travel on ferries and boats of large companies, which, as a rule, are in a better condition, which is noticeable even in appearance.

The price of tickets depends on two factors – the distance and the carrier. Additionally you must pay a port fee of 10 to 30 pesos.

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Wheeled transport

The most popular way to travel around the islands – Jeepney – something in between the military jeep and van, usually pasted outside with bright stickers. It is possible to get into such a car simply by waving your hand at the roadway. The fare is about 10 pesos.

Tracycles are a kind of motorcycle cab, where the motorcycle is attached to the booth for passengers. Such a machine costs about 8 pesos per 1 km.

Motorcycles are the most common mode of transport among the locals.

Manila has an excellent bus network, as well as a light rail LRT.

In addition to Manila, buses mostly operate on intercity routes.

Cabs are an inexpensive option to get around town or within the resort. The cost of travel is based on 12 pesos per 1 km. The car can be ordered at the hotel or simply stopped on the road.

Important: Before the cab pulls up, make sure the driver knows where you want to go and has turned on the meter.

Where to stay

Choosing a hotel is the second question after choosing your itinerary.

The Philippines has a wide range of lodging options, from rundown bungalows to Luxury hotels.

You can make an advance reservation on the sites www.roomguru.ru, www.booking.com if it’s about hostels and hotels. Resource www.airbnb.com is suitable for selecting private apartments

Worth knowing! The cheapest accommodation in the Philippines is unlikely to suit those who are squeamish about insects or reverent about comfort. Saving on lodging, you save on amenities, and often the sanitary side of your stay.

On the island of Boracay, the most economical option for 2-bed accommodation offers Blue Bamboo Hotel, where the night will cost from 10 euros.

Optimal in terms of price and quality is Marnin’s Place hotel, where a night will cost – from 16 euros. Or more expensive, 4-star hotel Coast Boracay, where the accommodation costs from 137 euros per night.

On the island of Bohol, famous for its Chocolate Hills, you can find an accommodation option – from 7 euros per night – Hostel Dormitels.ph Bohol.

The best value for money are Hotel Open Doors Haven, where accommodation in a budget 2-bed room will cost 11 euros, or a little more expensive Imagine-Bohol, offering apartments for 26 euros per night.

Similar accommodation prices can be found on the islands of Palawan and Cebu.

Money

The national currency is the peso. Not everywhere in the country, with the exception of large cities and resort areas, you can pay with a bank card, so you either have to carry cash or use local ATMs.

Withdrawals from almost any ATM charge a fee of 200 pesos. The allowable amount of a single withdrawal is an average of 10,000 pesos.

Currency exchange at a rate close to the official rate is possible only in large cities. In resorts the exchange will be less profitable, plus ubiquitous service charge up to 10 % and tips are accepted for the staff of the exchange office.

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It is preferable to carry dollars.

Planning Your Budget

Expenses inside the country besides accommodation are made up of several blocks:

  • Food. Those who are calm about the lack of gastronomic delights, enough 10-20 dollars a day;
  • Moving around the city. Travel costs about 2200 pesos or $50 per day. You will manage to keep within this amount if you often choose the latter variant from cabs and jeepneys.
  • Sightseeing. Some sites may be completely free to visit, others you will have to pay to enter. In any case, any trip will be accompanied by a tip of about 20 pesos or the purchase of souvenirs. This item of expenditure in full each tourist can plan for itself.

Safety

Recommendations for security measures are limited to a standard set peculiar to all Asian countries:

  1. Observe the rules of personal hygiene, wash your hands before and after eating;
  2. Drink bottled water only;
  3. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed and bottled before eating;
  4. Watch your pockets and purses in crowded places to keep your personal belongings safe.

What else you should know

    – The state is quite poor, especially in the provinces and small islands. The “rich white” tourist is literally overpowered by crowds of beggars, most often children.
  1. Filipinos are open and hospitable people, ready to help. But, returning to the phrase “big rich tourist” in large cities are not uncommon facts with those who want to help not out of kindness, but for financial gain. Therefore, before you agree to help, make sure that the intention of the helper is unselfish.
  2. Do not set aside more than 1-2 days to visit major cities. A trip to Manila is unlikely to leave positive emotions, although it will certainly be informative. The reason for this is widespread noise, not too clean streets and crazy overcrowding supplemented by tourists.
  3. When planning your trip, allow extra time for transfers. In the Philippines, literally every kind of transport is delayed, from buses to planes. The reason is that one of the character traits of the locals is laziness and slowness.
  4. Be sure to take an adapter for power outlets.
  5. Be prepared that you will be searched and searched when entering a store or a bank. This is how local security measures show up.
  6. Ignore the fact that wherever you have to pay, the amount will be higher by an average of 10 pesos. Tipping, fees, and bonuses are common practice in the country.

Knowing these simple rules, well-planned budget and bought a plane ticket on time will allow you to save significantly on an independent trip to the Philippines in 2022. Duration of the flight to the place of rest pays off with unique attractions of the archipelago, the beauty and warmth of the island beaches.

10 things to do in the Philippines

Nina Akimkina

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is considered the most densely populated city in the world because of its small area. Manila has many skyscrapers and modern malls along with a great waterfront promenade where you can spend a beautiful evening. The city also has many landmarks that go back in time to the colonial conquests. One is Fort Santiago, built by Spanish conquistadors under Miguel López de Legazpi. Picnics and theater shows are often held in the fort’s vast grounds. The fort is located in the historic district called Intramuros, where the Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, is also located.

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2. Relax at White Beach

The island of Boracay is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. Boracay is directly associated with the places on earth that have become the cliché of the “Bounty Island”. There are many activities, rich flora and fauna, white and fine as flour sand on the beaches, the clearest water in the sea, and the coastline is fringed with tall coconut palms. The island can rent villas, stay in luxury hotels, as well as find inexpensive budget accommodation – which is why a lot of young people from around the world flock here.

The island of Boracay is considered the capital of night and evening life. White Beach, the longest beach on the island, is 4 kilometers along the east coast. The coastline is known for its perfect cleanliness and well-developed infrastructure. No smoking or drinking is allowed on the beach, but the many restaurants, bars, disco clubs, located around the perimeter of the beach – as much as you like. The nightlife is boiling here until dawn. On the opposite, western coast of the island, there are constant winds, so the beach “Bulabog” attracts fans of wind and kitesurfing from all over the world. For a modest fee, you can learn these sports at one of the many schools on the beach.

3. Conquer the Volcano

Volcano Mayon is one of the few active volcanoes on earth. Anyone coming to the Philippines, must visit this place. The volcano bears the name of the mountain of the same name about 2500 meters high, located just 15 km from the small town of Legazpi. The mountain has a regular cone-shaped shape, covered with dense tropical vegetation. There is always steam coming from the mouth of the volcano, a reminder of the activity. Those who wish can make an ascent.

4. Swim the underground river

The underground river Puerto Princesa is located on the island of Palawan, about 50 km north of the city of the same name. Puerto Princesa is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, it stretches 8 km through the caves. Rafting on the river is organized, their distance is limited to only one kilometer, as longer distances are not quite safe. This is largely due to the limited amount of oxygen and pressure in the cave. The existing route is enough to enjoy the beauty of the underground river, making memorable videos and photos.

5. Get to know the architecture of Cebu Island

The island of Cebu is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world: magnificent beaches, many historical sites, as well as great places for diving and snorkeling. Most resorts on the island are located a short distance from the center or on the small satellite islands of Badian and Mactan.

Tourists will have a fascinating journey through the sites of the Spanish conquistadors. Thus, on the island there is an old Spanish fort San Pedro, construction of which began in the 16th century and was completed only two centuries later. The bastion was built in the shape of a triangular, with one of the walls facing the land and two facing the sea. Today San Pedro is the oldest fort in the country and its architectural design makes it an attractive attraction for tourists. The basilica of Santo Niño is also interesting. This temple was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century on the site where the image of the infant Jesus, previously brought by the discoverer of these lands, the navigator Magellan, was found. In the basilica there is a museum and in the middle of the chapel there is the cross of Magellan that he left at the beginning of the 16th century to commemorate the arrival of the first Europeans in these lands.

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6. Learn how rice is grown.

The Banaue rice terraces are located on the island of Luzon north of Manila. At the end of the last century they were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of the terraces are mesmerizing, with numerous steps covered with dense vegetation reaching up into the sky. The total length of the terraces is about 22 thousand square meters. Many centuries ago a unique irrigation system was created here which is still in operation today. Thanks to it water can be raised to a height and quickly drain the plantations.

7. Take a picture of the longhorns

The Philippines is one of the few places that are home to a very rare species of monkeys, the tarsiers. The island of Bohol has two reservation centers for these rare and cute animals: in the towns of Corella and Loboc. Tarsiers are small animals, very kind and friendly to humans, with huge round eyes and soft fur.

8. Swim with whale sharks

Whale sharks live near the southwest coast of Cebu Island, in a place called Oslob. These huge ocean dwellers reach up to 20 meters in length and are completely safe for humans because they feed exclusively on plankton. To swim with the sharks you will need a mask, snorkel and flippers, as well as a small fee to rent a boat with a paddler. The sharks swim in close proximity to the divers, so it’s easy to take unique photos and videos. There are many popular snorkeling spots in the Philippines with rich flora and fauna as well as many sunken ships. Sites suitable for diving and snorkeling include Subic Bay, Coron Bay, Tubbataha Reef, and dozens of others.

9. Admire the Chocolate Hills.

This natural wonder is located on the island of Bohol on an area of about 50 thousand square meters. In total, there are about 1,700 hills covered with small grassy vegetation. The grass burns in the sun and turns brown, giving the hills a chocolate hue. From afar, the hills resemble anthills, located close to each other, so that the view is unique. The hills range in height from 30 to 100 meters.

10. Find Kawasan Falls

In the jungle on the island of Cebu is one of the main must-see places in the Philippines, the Kawasan Falls. The crystal clear turquoise waters of three cascading waterfalls and rich tropical vegetation leaves no one indifferent. To get to the waterfalls, you have to walk a narrow path through the jungle and a thicket of impenetrable vines with two-meter tall ferns. In addition, we must overcome three bridges hanging over deep abysses, so that on the way to the paradise adventurers also find themselves some elements of extreme.

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