The Philippines is growing as major place of interest for a vacation. This country is comparably an easy travel haven in Southeast Asian standards.
It showcases an astounding chain of tropical islands and countless stretches of beaches where even the most seasoned travelers keep going back to. Aside from its natural beauty, the Philippines is known to have English as its second language, so it is not difficult for tourists to communicate with locals. Ultimately, the country has a down-to-earth, chillax vibe, which is very comforting especially for first-time visitors.
Even though it’s hard not to enjoy a trip to the Philippine’s, below are some useful tips for those traveling the country for the first time:
1. Cheap Time To Travel (June – September)
Tourists tend to avoid going to the Philippines between the months of June to September. This is because of the low season where there are numerous passing typhoons that create days or even weeks of torrential rains. In consequence, hotels and resort areas drop rates by 20 to 40%. However, rates soar up again during the high season (December to April). You may find yourself paying triple rates during the pleasant months.
So if you’re the budget-conscious type of person who doesn’t mind some rough weather condition, then feel free to book your vacation during these months.
2. What To Do When You Land
Upon your arrival at the airport, it is imperative to secure the local currency, which is the Philippine Peso. You can either withdraw your cash in peso through ATMs or you can go directly to a moneychanger located inside the airport. An ATM is a better rate than then the moneychangers.
The second thing you do after securing the local currency is get a phone. There are Globe and Smart booths inside the airport. Just head to any one of them since they give out a free traveler sim card, which you can use on your phone to call someone from the country or access the Internet.
Lastly grab a taxi out. Having an Uber or Grab app installed in your phone will save you from long taxi lines or getting ripped off with absurdly high rates.
3. Carry Change
Philippines has numerous modes of transportation ranging from buses, cabs and trains to jeepneys and tricycles, depending on where you are. Most vehicles do not take credit cards, you should always carry smaller sized bills for the fare.
Chances are drivers don’t have enough to break a 500P or1,000-peso bills. To avoid hassle and wasting precious time, it is necessary to prepare at least a handful of five-peso coins and 20-peso bills.
Aside from public transportation, having loose change is useful in purchasing items from peddlers or small convenience store located here and there.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Belongings
When you go to crowded places such as bus stations, parks and malls, you should always be wary of your personal belongings, as well as the people around you. This is to avoid accidentally losing your valuables or getting targeted by pickpockets.
When you get a chance to wander around crowded places, you’ll notice a lot of people usually wear backpacks in front. As funny as it may seem, those people are just doing it as a safeguard and to keep their belongings within the range of their vision. If possible, try to copy that safety precaution. It is better to look silly in front of others rather than losing a week’s worth of vacation budget. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
5. Try the Food
When you visit the Philippines, it is an absolute must to try some of filipino food and local cuisine. Try to sample as many food as you can since the country is composed of 7,107 different flavors.
You don’t have to try the ever-famous balut (a boiled bird egg) if you don’t have the stomach for it, but at least taste other FIlipino cuisine such as Adobo, Kare Kare, Lechon Kawali and Sinigang.
6. Speak the Language
The Filipino people are friendly, and usually speak English well, but they are always nervous to speak with foreigners. One great way to talk to them is to try and start a conversation in their language.
Here is a quick traveler’s guide to speaking Filipino.
Enjoy Your Trip!
Follow these tips when you visit the Philippines, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying a memorable vacation. Remember that you came here to unwind and leave all your worries behind.
Enjoy every moment, sights, sounds and taste you encounter along the way.