TIPS for TRAVELING in the PHILIPPINES
Some very basic facts about the Philippines: Some very basic facts about the Philippines: Lots of islands, lots of places to visit, lots of places to relax and lots of both reasonable and higher end hotels / resorts. Also lots of very low priced somewhat primitive places to stay and lots of things to see and do. You can find all of this within an hour's drive or two at the most from many hotels or resorts so you don't have to go on a whirlwind vacation, wearing yourself out visiting ten islands. Diving is everywhere, big cities have nightlife, food at the resorts is typically good with some excellent, there are adventurous things to do in many many places and of course lots of other activities. South Cebu, Negros and Bohol are what we suggest to most people. Why? For the reasons above and because it's a quick boat trip to Bohol or Negros for many other attractions and things to do assuming you have taken in a some of the great places in South Cebu (over 30 plus attractions that are significant..from great food to hot springs to diving and an incredible amount more).
FOR MEN and WOMEN we suggest:
- A suitcase larger than you need (half full) and only one each in the event you go on a shopping spree. Clothing is less expensive here. Other things (imported) may be less expensive but more probably are priced the same as your country or higher. You can check by Googling "malls" in one of the cities you will go through (I.E. "malls in Cebu"). If you travel light just a backpack may be a good solution (that is what our tour guides use).
- Comfortable sandals (or you can buy flipflops everywhere). You can buy sandals here but our (female) feet are size 5 to 7 typically and (male) feet are a man's 9 maximum so if larger you can have a difficult time finding sandals, tennis shoes, or loafers, etc. (but you can go Uni-Sex if a woman as a man's larger size might fit you). The sizes mentioned are American shoe sizes. You can convert those to your countries sizes using Google.
- High top tennis shoes if doing some hiking or hiking boots preferred (NEEDED FOR YOUR SAFETY) are suggested. If doing a lot of walking low cut tennis shoe might be better than sandals. Here, since most of us are raised from childhood wearing flip-flops we use them for almost everything or go barefoot at times.
- Cotton clothes.......did I say cotton clothes......YES, and lightweight also. Don't have any? Not a problem unless you are over 80 kg. (175 lbs). Above that weight you will have to do a lot of searching. And yes they are inexpensive if you shop right. A guide can explain more about that and, on sale in the malls, prices are reasonable or may be "cheap" by comparison to where you come from.
- A hat with a wide brim for sun protection. Your choice but something air goes thru is best. Leather or heavy cloth hats are not suggested.
- Sunglasses!!! The tropical sun is bright, the glare off the water can add to that.....and headaches are no fun. Sun screen.....not tanning lotion if you plan to spend any time at all in a bathing suit. 4 hours unprotected on a tropical beach can leave you in your room for two days if you are especially sensitive. If snorkeling think of doing it in a long sleeve shirt and pants if you plan to spend significant time just floating and watching.
- A 4 day supply of underthings for a ten day trip...bras and panties for women and shorts for men (if you wear them). Less than that can result in "a clothing shortage"; and a 5-6 day supply might be better. Bear in mind you may be changing clothes twice a day. You can get laundry service almost everywhere and if the hotel does not offer it ask around or let your guide handle it. Some hotels can be expensive and it may be better to let your guide handle it outside the hotel. 24 hour service is normal. Outside the cities hand-washing and sun drying (or indoors as we often do if rain is coming) is predominant. Hand washing along with machine washing inside a larger city is available. Also there are laundry's sprouting up here and there. A typical price is 25 pesos per kilo (US$0.53 cents).
- Two bathing suits (if you don't like putting on a wet one) are suggested. And while bikinis are becoming acceptable for women in the Philippines you are more likely to see t-shirts and pants when they swim. Your guides will wear bikinis but they are also sun smart and will cover up with a t-shirt over and even pants if in the water for an extended period of time, etc. As a side note nudity in public is illegal but very small bikini's are okay; on the other hand we can arrange for you to be dropped off for a few hours or even camp out overnight on a remote beach or Island. We leave the rest to your imagination (and ours......lol).
- A light long sleeve shirt and pants at night and shorts and a t-shirt during the day are suggested. These are the best solutions for the possibility of mosquitoes at night and warm weather during the day. Again bring enough for the "washing cycle" and frequency you will change clothes. Nights, by the way, are very pleasant typically and even more pleasant with a breeze (near the beach and in areas with mountains behind your location).
- Sweaters and jackets......probably not, but check the weather for the city or area you will be visiting. There are places where it can get chilly and even cold. On the other hand you can always layer for warmth (a better solution in our opinion). Baguio City (Google it) is one place you might need a sweater.
- A collapsible umbrella (the 12 inch kind) and a cheap rain poncho (the size that fits in a purse) you may need. It's possible you will get involved with Mother Nature if out and about and yes it's torrential and will soak you completely...(yes even that completely). By the way large malls and super markets do exist where you can purchase anything you forgot or decide you need and there are night markets where things are much cheaper......a day shopping can be fun but it can be hot so take breaks and stay hydrated. The malls are air conditioned; stores not in malls are very seldom air conditioned.
- We think a small backpack / knapsack is a necessity particularly if you go off trekking but even shopping with it comes in handy.
- Freezing a plastic bottle of water (ask the hotel to do it for you) the night before and then tucking it in your purse or backpack is a life saver. Don't fill it completely full; ice expands.
- LOMOTIL is a prescription drug used in case of a gastrointestinal problem. It works! It's a mild narcotic and slows peristalsis down. While the likelihood of your coming down with a GI problem is not high, it can happen and that pill (our experience) saves the day and night. Look it up on the Internet at Dosages.com. It's available here without a prescription. If you come from another country a prescription will probably be required in you country (and it's highly likely it will be more expensive). We also suggest a small tube of hydro-cortisone. It makes bug bits not itch in just a minute or two.
- A special note about carrying more than just pocket money on you, BUT there is an exception. Hotels in outlying areas may not have the ability to process credit cards and even if they do the Internet in these outlying areas may be not working. Also ATM machines do not exist everywhere and MANY hotels only except cash. A city with 25,000 people may only have two or three banks and of those, depending on your card type, at least one will not accept yours. So think carefully if you need to carry a somewhat large amount of cash and always carry it in two locations.
FOR GIRLS ONLY:
DIVE GEAR AND MORE INFO:
FOR GUYS ONLY:
An electric hand held battery operated shaver or beard trimmer. The alternative is a trip to a hair salon...for anything imaginable including a foot scrub. The prices are very reasonable.
Pharmacies exist and most items you can buy without a prescription but if you have doctors prescriptions please bring them. Prices are very reasonable.
If we left anything out just let us know and we will update the list. Thanks!