There is no doubt about it. The Philippines is one of the most beautiful places you can go to in this lifetime. In addition to its beauty, it is also home to some of the kindest and friendliest people around. There are 7,107 islands in the Philippines. It’s impossible to visit each and every one of them on a single trip, but it is now surprisingly easy to go to as many of them as you can within a short amount of time. Prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime once you arrive. It’s true what they say—it’s more fun in the Philippines! As a resident of this island nation, this is what you need to know about traveling in the Philippines.
Safety is always one of the primary concerns when traveling to somewhere far. It is a new place, after all. And, more often than not, a change in scenery will also come with a change in systems and cultures.A lot of things can happen when international travelers get into sticky situations in a foreign and unfamiliar country. That is why a lot of travelers as well are wary about traveling to Southeast Asia. We understand where you’re coming from. These things worry us, too! There is nothing to really worry about, though. This is because while safety is a concern for you, it is a priority for us, and we are here to help you every step of the way.
Know Where to Go
As I said, There are a lot of islands in the Philippines. While a vast majority of them are peaceful and safe, there are some areas that are strict no-nos for travelers.
If you ever heard that the Philippines is unsafe to visit because of some internal conflict, know that these conflicts arise in only a small part of the country. It is best to avoid the war-torn provinces of the Philippines’ southernmost region of Mindanao. These areas include the Lanao provinces where the still-ravaged Marawi City stands.
On the other side of Mindanao, tourist hot spots like Siargao are perfectly safe to visit. The regions of Luzon and Visayas are generally peaceful. If you are looking to get some rest and relaxation, head on over to one of these area’s many beaches. Sand bars here are often free and totally serene.
It is the Filipinos themselves who will tell you where to go and what to do. Stay away from crowds, they will advise, as big crowds usually draw a big number of pickpockets as well. As much as possible, stick to the usual sites. These spots attract both foreign and local tourists alike for a reason.
Foreign visitors should also be wary of scams. As is with most of its Southeast Asian neighbors, there are also a number of scams tailor-made to lure in unsuspecting tourists in the Philippines.
The best way to avoid these problems is to plan ahead, know what your money is worth, and know ahead of time what you’ll do while on your visit.
Decide What You’ll Do
Let us all face it, there are just some things that are not for everyone. This is the kind of world we live in. Getting lost in both sights and food at Manila’s Chinatown of Binondo is fun, but not everyone will enjoy the cramped spaces and the insane amount of people while there. There are people who prefer the mountains, and there are people who prefer the beach. Thankfully, the Philippines offers up enough natural attractions for both kinds of travelers. It is all a matter of finding out what to do.
Filipinos have adapted well to the recent tourism boom that hit its beautiful country. Resort towns that cater to the visitors of selected tourist destinations have popped up here and there, and these towns will have everything you need for a relaxing and stress-free vacation.
The locals know what’s up. And so, they have carefully tailored tour packages to give visitors an exclusive look at all the Philippines has to offer. In Cebu, canyoneering is a hit among young adventurers. Thus, each trip comes with a guide to take them all to the best spots to leap off of.
In Palawan, it is the set island-hopping tours of Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa which are famous among visitors. Guests can tailor their experiences based on their preferences, but always with the supervision of a local guide.
Understand the Philippines
The Philippines is a paradise; however, as is with all of the world’s countries, traveling in the Philippines is not without its problems. Due to its strategic location to the immediate west of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is quite prone to natural disasters. The tropical country sees frequent bouts of storms. As it falls within the area covered by the Pacific ring of fire, occasional earthquakes are also not out of the question.
The Philippines is a developing country. That means it is actively seeking to get better amidst the ever-changing landscape of the world. You can see it in the high-rise buildings and the abundance of technology in its modern capital of Manila. The roads here are now long and wide, and trips that once took hours to complete can be done in much less. The Philippines did not do that well in the 2019 Global Finance safety rankings. Nevertheless, other studies point to the contrary. The Philippines is actually one of the safest countries around. The rate of crimes here is at a notable low compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors. With a crime index score of 41.09, it ranks as the third safest country in the region, behind only the geographically smaller but much richer nations of Brunei and Singapore.
Pack the Necessities
Now that you know where to go and what to do, only bring what is necessary for your trip. Even without the threat of pickpockets looming around, it is still quite possible to lose a valuable or belonging while on vacation.
The Philippines is a tropical country. Therefore, there is no need to bring thick jackets and scarves. Use that extra space in your luggage wisely! If you’re a backpacker heading to a place like Palawan, this backpacker’s guide to Palawan might be a good read for you.
Sunscreen, after-sun sprays and lotions, and insect repellents are always a must in the Philippines. The sun shines exceptionally brighter in this part of the globe. Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t scare the mosquitoes away!
As most of the outdoor activities in the Philippines involve either swimming by white sand beaches or going up majestic mountains, it is important to have clothes for both kinds of activities ready. A pair of flip flops is also the go-to footwear when here.
The Philippines is insanely beautiful and green. Still, it is often a victim of pollution. Help the Filipinos out in their fight for the environment. Bring reusable bottles and towels if you can.
Also remember that the farther you go from big cities, the less accessible certain things may be. ATM’s aren’t everywhere in the Philippines. It will be useful to always have some cash handy. Filipinos don’t like giving change for big bills. Have change ready in your pocket! This will also help in keeping your money safe in case of theft.
Last but not the least, do not let the fear of losing connectivity ruin your vacation. When in the Philippines’ countryside, there may be power shortages every now and then. Even without them, power outlets are not that easy to find. Always bring a power bank with you to keep your devices charged.
Keep It Simple and Safe
Filipinos don’t care much about appearances. The typical attire here is a plain t-shirt and shorts or pants. Why not adopt the same kind of style when traveling in the Philippines?
There is no one to impress with fancy jewelry when you’re here. Leave all of your designer items at home. It will only attract pickpockets and thieves if you bring them along.
We know that capturing an Instagram-worthy picture is half of what travel is all about these days. We’re not trying to limit your OOTD’s, we are just encouraging you to be creative. Besides, the gorgeous landscapes that will welcome you here will already do wonders for your feed.
In spite of all of these points, the absolute best advice we can give you is to stay safe. Wherever you may be, whether it is in the Philippines or abroad, it is important to always be alert. You will never know what really waits for you in a new place, and the most we can all do is be prepared.
Research, research, research before going to a new place, and only choose to visit destinations that are total musts. If you want to visit both the mountain and the sea—and experience all of the magic these two forces of nature has to offer—enjoy your visit when traveling in the Philippines.
- Philippines Tourism Department, https://www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/
- One our site: Visit These Breathtaking Destinations in the Philippines
- On our site: Visiting the Philippines: The Best Filipino Food
-All photos courtesy BingaBeach.com.