Philippines Travel Guide

Philippines Sailboats Sunset

From the moment we laid our eyes on the Philippines, it was love at first sight. From Boracay’s white sand beaches, to the seaside cliffs of Palawan, this humble island country has given us more to fall in love with than other place we’ve visited.

With around 7,641 islands in the Philippines, you’ll have a hard time visiting all of it in just a few weeks. We hope this Philippines travel guide will help you spend the most of your limited time in this paradise.

Philippines Travel Guide Contents

Important Info  |  Best Time to Visit  |  Things to Do  |  What to Eat  |  Typical Budget

Travel Tips  |  What to Pack  |  Philippines Articles  |  Book Now

Philippines Travel Guide Nacpan Twin Beach

Important Information about Philippines

Philippines at a Glance: The Philippines has everything you’ll ever want. The country boasts of tropical islands, unique wildlife, white sandy beaches, rice terraces, turquoise blue waters, world class diving and surfing spots and a lot more!

Currency in Philippines: Philippines Peso | 2018 Conversion Rate: 100 pesos = $1.84 USD

Tipping in Philippines: In the Philippines, tipping is not required. Wait staff usually don’t expect tips so they are not offended when you do not give any tip. However, some establishments add a ‘service charge’ to your bill.  

 Language & Helpful Phrases: Filipino

  • Hello = kumusta

  • Thank you = salamat

  • Beer = bir

  • Delicious = masarap

  • Bathroom =  CR (comfort room) / banyo

  • How much? = magkano

  • Too expensive = mahal

  • Don’t want = ayaw

Religion and Culture: The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia.  Around 86 percent of the country’s population is Roman Catholic. Aside from Christianity, there are also Muslims mostly found in the southern part of Mindanao. When it comes to culture, the Philippines culture is a mix between Western and Eastern cultures.

Transportation around Philippines: In major towns and cities, taxis, motorized tricycles, jeepneys and buses are commonly available. Getting around the Philippines is pretty inexpensive.

Transportation Tip: is a great site is you want to book your transportation in advance or look at the time tables!

Philippines Travel Guide Sailboats on Boracay

Best Time To Visit Philippines

For an in-depth guide on the regional seasons, weather patterns and other factors, check out our complete guide on the best time to visit the Philippines. We’ve also listed out some of the basics below to give you a general idea.

Climate in the Philippines

The Philippines has three seasons namely hot dry season (summer), rainy season and cool dry season.

  • Hot season: March to May

  • Rainy season: June to November

  • Cool season: December to February

Peak season for tourists is usually from March to May during the summer time. This is usually the most expensive time to visit.

Times to avoid traveling in Philippines

The Philippines is within the typhoon belt so the country experiences around nineteen typhoons every year. It is best to avoid traveling in the Philippines from July to October when torrential rains and thunderstorms are commonly experienced.

Major Festivals in the Philippines

  • Sinulog Festival, Third Sunday of January: Celebrated in Cebu, the Sinulog Festival celebrates the Santo Niño or the Holy Child.

  • Dinagyang Festival, Fourth Sunday of January: This is another celebration of the Santo Niño which is celebrated with street dance competitions, bountiful food and drinks.

  • Panagbenga Festival, February: Panagbenga is a festival that gives tribute to the flower industry of the city. You will see here flower-decorated giant floats parading around the streets.

  • Masskara Festival, Third Week of October: The Masskara Festival in Bacolod boasts of colorful masks donned by dancers parading around the town.

Philippines Travel Guide Free Diving

Top Things to Do in Philippines

Island hopping

Boatmen all over the Philippines offer island hopping experiences for only around $20 to $100 per boat ride. Some great places to go island hopping are the Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan, Cebu, Iloilo, Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Camigiun, Palaui and Siargao.

Scuba diving

All over the world, the Philippines has some of the best scuba diving spots especially since it lies within the “Coral Triangle”. Scuba diving here will blow your mind. The country boasts of 5000 species of snails, mollusks and clams; 488 species of corals, 2824 fish species, and many more!

Some of the best scuba diving spots are Apo Island in Negros Oriental, Monad Shoal in Cebu, Manta Bowl in Masbate, Panglao Island in Bohol, Mactan in Cebu, Verde Island in Batangas, Anilao in Batangas, Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan, and Puerto Galera in Mindoro.

Go beach bumming

It’s hard to find beaches that are as beautiful as the ones found in the Philippines. Don’t miss the chance to see the beaches of Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Siargao, and Bohol.

Eat local food

Eating in the Philippines is cheap. You can buy a meal for as low as $1. Filipinos love to eat food so you can expect to find lots scrumptious dishes all over the country.

Insider Tip: Research about the different prices of activities and food in the country beforehand. Some locals tend to charge you higher when you are a foreigner.

Do you want more local recs? Work with one of ViaHero’s locals in the Philippines to plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook packed with food suggestions, as well as things to do and see.

Philippines Travel Guide Fruit Cut Fancy

Best Food to Eat in Philippines

When we read that not a lot of people are fond of Filipino cuisine, we were surprised, because we loved it!

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Sinigang: Filipino sinigang stew is one of our favorite local dishes. It is a meat based sour stew that has a lot of vegetables.

  • Adobo: Chicken adobo is one of the most famous foods to try in the Philippines. In Spanish, Adobo means ‘marinade’ and this is just that.

  • Kare Kare: This dish is made with simmered oxtail, peanut-based sauce and vegetables.

  • Lechon: If you love to eat pork, you’re going to love this! Lechon is literally a whole pig roasted for a few hours.

  • Halo halo: This is the must-try dessert in the Philippines. It is a mix of ice shavings, evaporated milk and everything good.

Typical Budget for Philippines

The Philippines is one of the best budget travel destinations in the world. Rum is cheaper than soft drinks and you can sleep in a hammock or camp in a tent for free in most beaches.

Good to know: If you want to save some money, keep an eye out for Air Asia and Cebu Pacific sales. These are one of the cheapest airlines in the Philippines. Set prices alerts on Skyscanner so you know when the costs drop.

How to Much to Budget in the Philippines Per Day

Budget traveler: If you’re on a tight budget and want to watch your spending closely, $20 – $30 per day could be sufficient.

Mid-range traveler: If you want to have a few splurges and stay in nicer accommodation, plan to budget $35 – $50 per day.

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Dorm bed = $5-$7

Budget room = $10

Mid-range = $20

Luxury hotel = $40+

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Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Street food = $0.5-$1

Mid-range restaurant = $4-$6

Fancy restaurant = $10-$20

Local beer = $1-$2

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Domestic flight = $30-$80

Bus = $5 for 3-hour ride

Jeepneys = $0.1-$1

Taxi = $1-$10

Ferry between islands = $5-$20

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Snorkeling = $3-$5 

Scuba Diving = $25-$100

Island Hopping = $20-$100

Philippines Travel Guide Big Lagoon El Nido

Responsible Travel Tips in Philippines

We’re passionate about sharing tips anyone can use to travel more responsibly. Here are some easy ways you can travel better in The Philippines.

1. Pack environmentally friendly products

Learn about traveling responsibly. Try your best to only pack environmentally friendly products. Here’s a packing list we made that you can use as reference.

2. Hire a local guide

Not only are you helping the local people feed their families, but you are also discovering more about the landscapes and their culture. After all, the locals know their home the best.

3. Be careful what you buy

Avoid buying products that are made from hard woods, ancient artifacts and endangered species. Corals and shells should stay where they’re supposed to.

Related Article: Why You Need To Visit The Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide Boracay Sailboat Sunset

What to Pack for Philippines

If you’re planning on going to the Philippines, we have listed the items you need to pack before traveling. Always remember that the lesser you pack, the better. You wouldn’t want to be carrying a lot of stuff in the tropical heat.

Here are some Philippines-specific items we’d recommend packing:

Southeast Asia Packing List Free Download | Two Wandering Soles

Philippines Articles

Find all kinds of information on traveling to the Philippines that will guide you plan the perfect vacation. From how to spend less than $50 a day, 2 week itinerary, to things to do, we have it all!

Tip: Be sure to book your flights between the islands before your trip, espcially the flight from Manila to Boracay. We have used (affiliate link) in the past to find the best deals on transportation in Asia.

Best Time to Visit the Philippines: When to Go & When to Avoid

The Philippines is an excellent destination with so much to offer travelers. However, each season has its unique draws and drawbacks. We’re going over the pros and cons of each season to help you determine the best time to visit the Philippines for YOU!

Banaue Rice Terraces: How to Get There and What to Do

When we visited the Philippines, we had a long wish list of places to see and not nearly enough time. The rice terraces in Banaue were the last to be cut because we desperately wanted to see them, but it just seemed too difficult and confusing to get there. Our...

Tranquil Night Stay in the Philippines – Palo Alto Bed and Breakfast

We spent a good portion of our day relaxing around the shaded infinity pool, surrounded by giant trees. I’d say this place is pretty close to paradise!

Freediving in the Philippines with Palawan Divers

Truthfully, neither Ben nor I knew much about freediving before signing up. We are always up for trying something new and challenging, so it seemed to be the perfect way to spend our last day in El Nido.

Complete Review of El Nido’s Best Island Hopping Tours with Caera Travel Tours

The Philippines is a country made up of 7,107 islands, and more than 1,700 of those belong to Palawan. And so it seems fitting that one activity everyone seems to do while in El Nido is to partake in the famous island hopping tours.

Most Magical Night in the Philippines – Kayakasia’s Firefly Kayaking Review

Now we can add this phenomenon to our list: seeing a "firefly tree". It's a rare occurrence, but when conditions are just right, fireflies will gather on one tree and illuminate it in an undulating glow.

Best Place to Stay in Boracay – MNL Beach Hostel Review

This modern hostel is well-located, just a short walk from D’Mall (the main shopping and eating area) and the beach. We stayed in both the dorm and a private room during our time there and were dazzled by both.

Travel the Philippines on Less Than $50 a Day

We are already talking about wanting to return to the Philippines, and for only $50 a day we'd be crazy not to. This budget breakdown spans 15 days and 14 nights or two people, and includes all domestic flights.

Ultimate Philippines 2 Week Itinerary

This itinerary is an adaption of what we followed. We altered it a bit based on some things we would have changed, and came up with what we think is a pretty badass route for a two week itinerary in the Philippines.

Epic Philippines Adventure Video

Come along with us on our two-week adventure in this beautiful, vibrant country!

Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan

Palawan’s turquoise waters and seaside cliffs make this island one of the top hotspots in the Philippines. And the town of El Nido is situated in the perfect spot to base yourself for all sorts of adventures, from island hopping to free-diving to dancing on the beach. Check out our...

Best Things to Do on Bohol Island, Philippines

Most people think of beaches when they imagine a vacation to the Philippines. But this diverse country has much more than sand and surf! If you are looking for motorbike adventures, off the beaten path experiences and jungle treks, you will want to be sure to add Bohol to your...

Top Things to Do in Boracay: Travel Guide to Paradise

With white sand beaches, warm ocean waters, and some of the best sunsets in the Philippines, this island paradise has been re-opened to tourists (after a 6-month shutdown) and is cleaner and less crowded than in years past. Whether you want to snorkel with tropical fish, try your kiteboarding skills,...

Why You Need to Visit the Philippines

Each country we’ve visited has given us different reasons to fall in love. For some it’s the food. For others, it’s the people, the culture, or land itself that draw us in.

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Philippines travel guide
Philippines travel guide

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