8 Tips to Prepare You for Visiting the Philippines
Many travelers want to visit the Philippines because it is home to the most beautiful islands in the world. The atmosphere, culture, and food might bring some unfamiliarity’s that can catch foreigners off guard. Below are 8 tips to prepare you for visiting the Philippines. Read more to be prepared and know what to expect for your exotic getaway.
In June 2017, I experienced a third-world country firsthand. I traveled to exotic islands throughout the Philippines for three weeks. This was one of the best experiences of my life, as I got to meet new people, learn a new culture and language, and try new food. I will never forget the people who made this trip memorable and the incredible places we went.
Tip #1: Be Aware of the Heat and Wear Light Clothes.
The hot and humid weather is the first thing I felt while arriving in Manila right after we left the airport. Humidity makes the air thicker, essentially making it hard to breathe. Sweat also takes longer to evaporate, which only adds to the heat. Bring light, loose clothing.
Tip #2: Know the Season.
The Philippines has two seasons: wet and dry. Know which season your trip falls on. The dry season stretches from November to May, and the rainy season is typically from June to October. The country also experiences typhoons, so stay up to date on the weather reports before your trip. The Philippines has 7,107 islands. The weather and languages are spoken from island to island vary. Bring ponchos to keep yourself from getting wet, especially if you go during the wet season.
Fun Fact: There are an estimated 175 languages spoken. The Current Constitution named Filipino and English as joint official languages.
Tip #3: Ask About Local Public Transportation
Transportation in the Philippines is quite easy because all Filipinos know the English language. I recommend taking Jeepneys or Tricycles to experience how locals get around at economical prices. As I stated before, the Philippines have over 7,000 islands, so know where exactly you want to go and book early bird tickets. We traveled throughout the Islands through Cebu Pacific Air. We also traveled from island to island in Bangkas, the jeepneys of the sea. They are small wooden boats made out of bamboo.
-Book your Flight with Cebu Pacific Air here!
Fun Fact: The Philippines has several cultural influences because the country was previously colonized by Spain from 1570 to 1898 and by the United States from 1903 to 1946.
Tip #4: Keep Change.
This will be useful for traveling to small islands where public transportation is cheaper. A tricycle will not have change for a thousand-peso bill. Make sure you have 50PHP on hand. Also, tip your servers 10% to 15%. People in the Philippines generally only earn minimum wage. A little goes a long way. Don’t expect to pay anything with credit card. Many places only accept cash.
Tip #5: Interact with the Locals.
I went to the Philippines with my ex-boyfriend, Luke Tignall. Luke’s grandfather moved to America when he was in his twenties. Family from his mother’s side lives there today. All of his family were happy and hospitable people. They welcomed us with open arms. I recommend getting to know locals and immersing yourself in the Filipino experience.
Tip #6: Try Local Food
Filipinos LOVE their food and normally eat five meals per day. Listed are five traditional and popular meals in the Philippines.
- Filipinos cannot go a day without including rice in their meals, EVEN for breakfast!
- They are known for their coconut juice and mangos
- Their FAVORITE food is called Lechon. Lechon is a suckling pig roasted until the skin turns crusty.
- Popular street foods are boiled duck eggs with an embryo called Balut.
Tip #7: Learn Tagalog
There are an estimated 175 languages spoken. The Current Constitution Names Filipino or Tagalog and English as joint official languages. Below are nine words to know in Tagalog. ** Ad PO to words, phrases, and sentences when speaking to someone older than you **
- Salamat. Thank You.
- Kamusta? How are you?
- Oo. Yes.
- Hindi. No. Not.
- Ako. I, Me.
- Ikaw. You
- Sarap! Delicious
- Paumanhin. Sorry, Excuse me.
- Paalam. Farewell
Tip #8: Learn about Filipino Music, Religion and their Traditions
The Filipino people mainly practice the Christian religion. Did you know that 80% of the Philippine population is Christian? This is because Spain had an impact on the Filipino people. 11% practice Islam and other beliefs and religions comprise the last 9% of the population.
Christianity is an important role in Filipino culture. Christmas and New Year’s are traditions that they celebrate. Relatives join for Noche Buenam, a Spanish term that means Midnight Meal celebrated on December 24th to greet Christmas Day. Families also gather for New Year’s Day and prepare round fruit signifying a prosperous new year.
Filipinos use various materials to create sound. They also sing vocally in groups for festival celebrations. Settlers from Spain introduced instruments such as the ukulele, trumpet, drums, and violin. Most music is contemporary; however, they also write their songs based on real-life events.