Philippines Travel Guide
The Philippines, an enchanting archipelago of over 7,000 islands, offers a vivid tapestry of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and genuine hospitality. Cradled by the Pacific Ocean, this Southeast Asian gem promises an adventure of a lifetime, blending bustling urban centers with paradisiacal beaches, verdant mountains, and colorful traditions.
Capital city: Manila
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP) – 1 USD = 56.53 PHP
Electricity: Power voltage is 220 Volts. Power sockets type A, B, and C.
Languages: The national languages are Filipino and English. Tagalog and Cebuano are also spoken.
10 Handpicked Highlights of The Philippines
Palawan’s Underground River
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan stands as one of nature’s marvels. Journey through its limestone caves aboard a canoe, witnessing the stalactites and stalagmites sculpted over millennia. The river’s mysterious depths and the surrounding lush jungles create an atmosphere of pure enchantment.
Chocolate Hills of Bohol
The iconic Chocolate Hills in Bohol, numbering over 1,200, transform from lush green to chocolate brown with the seasons. These conical mounds are nature’s artwork, resulting from ages of erosion. Visiting during sunrise or sunset amplifies their surreal beauty.
Historic Intramuros, Manila
The historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila harks back to the Philippines’ colonial era. Meander through its cobblestone streets, discovering Spanish-era churches, fortifications, and ancestral homes. It’s a journey through time, providing a window into the nation’s storied past.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
This marine sanctuary in the Sulu Sea is a diver’s paradise. The Tubbataha Reefs are home to a vibrant array of marine life, from sharks to turtles and myriad fish species. Its pristine coral reefs, often regarded as the best in the Philippines, make it a premier diving destination.
Mayon Volcano’s Perfect Cone
In Albay province stands the Mayon Volcano, renowned for its almost perfect symmetrical cone. Often draped in a veil of mist, its ethereal beauty is juxtaposed with its fiery nature. Treks here offer panoramic views and a closer look at its majestic presence.
Banaue Rice Terraces
An engineering marvel, the Banaue Rice Terraces are carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the indigenous people. These living cultural landscapes are not just agricultural feats but symbols of the Filipino’s harmony with nature. Their cascading steps tell tales of tradition and toil.
White Beach, Boracay
Boracay’s White Beach is postcard perfection, with its powdery white sand and azure waters. Once a secret paradise, it’s now a hub for beach lovers from around the world. Whether it’s water sports or simply basking in the sun, it’s tropical bliss personified.
Pagsanjan Falls Adventure
Embark on a thrilling boat ride through a narrow gorge to reach the majestic Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna. The cascading waters set amidst verdant cliffs offer a refreshing retreat. The journey, filled with rapids and serene stretches, is as enchanting as the destination.
Rizal Park and Shrine
Dedicated to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, this park in Manila is a confluence of history and leisure. Monuments, gardens, and the Rizal Museum make it a significant landmark. It’s a space of reflection, honoring the country’s journey to independence.
Taal Volcano and Lake
Taal, one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes, is unique for having a lake within its crater. Overlooking this geological wonder from Tagaytay ridge offers breathtaking vistas. A trek to its summit is both challenging and rewarding, providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
The Philippines' Geography & Landscapes
The Philippines, an archipelago located at the eastern edge of Asia, is graced with diverse landscapes and geographical features, a reflection of its island nature. Here’s an overview of the country’s geographic regions:
Luzon: The northernmost region, home to the capital city Manila. Dominated by plains, mountains, and the majestic Cordillera range, this region boasts attractions like the Banaue Rice Terraces and Mayon Volcano.
Visayas: Central islands known for their pristine beaches and historical sites. Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte are prominent provinces here, with landscapes ranging from rolling hills to coral islets.
Mindanao: The southern region offering a rich blend of cultures, lush rainforests, and high peaks. Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak, stands tall in this region.
Palawan: Often dubbed the “Last Frontier”, this elongated island offers diverse ecosystems, from coral reefs to subterranean rivers.
Best Time To Go To The Philippines
The Philippines, with its tropical climate, offers a mix of warm days and frequent rains. Here’s an overview of the seasons to help you plan:
Dry Season (November to April): Perfect for beach outings and island hopping. This is the peak tourist season, especially between December and February.
Wet Season (May to October): The country witnesses heavier rainfall, with July and August being the wettest. However, this can be an ideal time to explore without the crowds and enjoy cooler weather.
Typhoon Season (June to December): The Philippines occasionally experiences typhoons, with potential for heavy rains and strong winds. It’s vital to monitor weather advisories if traveling during this period.
Traveling in The Philippines
The Philippines is generally a safe country for tourists. However, like any destination, some precautions are necessary:
- Stick to well-traveled areas, especially in Mindanao, due to sporadic conflict in certain parts.
- Beware of pickpockets in crowded places and public transport.
- Avoid displaying wealth or expensive items to avoid unwanted attention.
- Use reputable transportation services, particularly when traveling at night.
- Double-check travel advisories and updates, especially during typhoon season.
- Only swim in designated areas; riptides can be a danger on some beaches.
- Drink bottled water to prevent waterborne illnesses.
- Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions.
- Ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Secure travel insurance that covers both medical emergencies and potential trip disruptions.
Getting to & Around The Philippines
Air: The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila) and Mactan-Cebu International Airport (Cebu) are primary international gateways. Numerous domestic airports connect major islands.
Sea: Being an archipelago, ferries are popular. Companies like 2GO Travel and Montenegro Lines operate inter-island services.
Land: Buses, jeepneys, and tricycles are common modes of transport. Major bus companies include Victory Liner and Philtranco for intercity travel.
Accommodation in the Philippines caters to every budget. From luxury resorts in Boracay and Palawan to budget-friendly hostels in Manila and Cebu, there’s something for everyone. Traditional “nipa huts” provide an authentic experience, while boutique hotels offer modern amenities.
Prices vary widely, with beachfront resorts costing more than inland accommodations. Always check reviews and book in advance during peak seasons.