The Philippines is defined by its emerald rice fields, teeming megacities, graffiti-splashed jeepneys, smouldering volcanoes, bug-eyed tarsiers, fuzzy water buffalo and smiling, happy-go-lucky people.
With more than 7000 tropical islands to choose from, the Philippines is a beach bum's delight. There's an island to suit every taste, from marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean, to volcanic fantasy-scapes concealing hidden lagoons, to sprawling mega-islands such as Luzon and Mindanao. Sun worshippers and divers should head straight to the Visayas, where island-hopping opportunities abound and the perfect beach takes many forms. More adventurous travellers can pitch a tent on a deserted stretch of coastline in Palawan and play solo Survivor for a few days.
The Philippines is famous for its beaches, but sporty types need not feel left out. It is a divers’ paradise with its paradise underwater. Northern Palawan is perfect for sea kayakers, and Boracay and Pagudpud (North Luzon) are world-class kiteboarding destinations. Back on terra firma, trekking can be done just about anywhere, while mountain-bike and canyoneering tours are gaining popularity. And the Philippines is also, unofficially, the zipline capital of the world.
“Roads were made for journeys not destinations.”
Although it is still considered cheap, compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is still slightly more expensive with accommodation usually being the biggest expense. A comfortable budget would be around EUR 27,-to EUR 32,- a day, depending on your travel style. Because most of the places around the Philippines is spread out (it is an archipelago, after all) most people end up spending a lot on transportation as well. If you have more time and you don’t mind traveling slow, you can definitely stretch your budget a bit more. Here’s an estimate of rough costs on traveling the Philippines.
The budget of us is higher than the average as it includes several flights.
Tip: book flights in time, then they are cheapest. We did it last minute, but paid for a ticket between 50-150 euros. While these are already available under the EUR 50,-.
FOOD & DRINKS
EUR 59,18 per day per person
on the basis of 29 days and excl. fly ticket outside the Phiipinnes
Nationals from 151 countries ( may enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for a maximum of thirty (30) days, provided they are holders of a passport valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines. It is important to present a return or outward-bound ticket to their country of origin or to your next country of destination. If not in possession you are not allowed to enter the country of even the airplane.
Some nationalities can only stay for 7-14 days so it is best to check the government website beforehand. If you plan on staying for longer than 30 days, you can apply for a visa waiver first, granting an additional stay of twenty-nine (29) in the Philippines.
Phillippines has a lot to offer. But before you go you need to know what the hotspots of the country are. Beneath, we have selected a few of our finest moments. Of course there is much more to explore and if you want to see more, please click on the button below. You will not only find our highlights, but also from fellow travellers. Are you also one of these travellers that takes the unbeaten path, leave us a message.
DRINKS & BITS
is visited by everyone at least once and has some of the best WiFi in town. The menu at Art Cafe is extensive and includes seafood, pizzas, pasta and salads. This can be both good and bad as the quality of your meal depends entirely on what you order. Breakfast at Art Cafe was our go-to.
Nacpan Beach is a 4-km strip of powdery paradise north of El Nido town proper. The coconut lined beach faces a small cove next to Base Bay. Rent a scooter in Elnido and explore this beautiful beach.
Carved into the mountains of Ifugao some 2,000 years ago, the hand-hewn terraces are the rice bowl of the region, as well as a tourist attraction.
There aren't many places where you can come into contact with whale sharks. You can have the privilege to swim along these magnificent creatures in Oslob, which is located in the eastern part of Cebu island.
CAMPSITE & HOTELS
TIPS & TRICKS
Big advantage compared to other Asian countries: Almost everybody speaks English in the Philippines, from a 3-year-old kid to a 90-year-old granny.
English is the language of the government, and the preference for written communication, be it in school or business. There are also plenty of English version newspapers and magazines.
Karaoke is the national pastime in the Philippines and at some point, you'll find yourself mic-in-hand signing a song of the Backstreet Boys. Don't worry about sounding like a chicken being strangled. Filipinos aren't judgemental when it comes to singing and will respect your attempt at cultural immersion.
Of course, it goes both ways. Seasoned karaoke practitioners should not dismiss those with inferior skills. At least one murder in recent years was attributed to an unflattering karaoke assessment.
Try to book the domestic flights as early as possible because then they are the cheapest. The longer you wait, the more expensive they become and the differences are really enormous in the Philippines. You can score flights for months in advance for € 20,00 which costs € 100 last minute.
There are two main categories of all buses: 1. Ceres Bus Liners and others; 2. with air conditioning and without.
Ceres Bus Liners are yellow buses, often with air-cons and TV. They are sufficiently comfortable with a separate place for luggage at the bottom of the bus. Ceres buses go according to a schedule. It’s the most popular type of buses in the Philippines. The price is 10-20 percent higher than for non-Ceres buses for the same route, but it’s the best choice. Don’t go for other buses if you value your life 😉.
It’s a mix of a jeep, a bus and a lorry. They are the brightest, most colourful, cheapest, slowest and the most uncomfortable. In general, they are “the most”. But they are also the most fun as you can sit on top of the roof. Be aware that the driver not always pay attention to the fact that you are still on top. So keep your eyes open to duck and cover if needed.
Usually a driver takes money for tickets, but sometimes there is a busman who also helps everyone to find a place in the passenger compartment, so every centimetre is occupied by an attachable chair. He himself often travels standing in a doorway.
Jeepneys often go on short routes. In general, they are supposed to go according to a schedule, but often they wait until they are full. The fare depends on the distance. The price varies in the range of 10-50 pesos, most often it’s about 25 pesos.
(Shuttle busses, often GT Express): Shuttle buses are the most comfortable and fastest public transport in the Philippines. They have quite comfortable seats, air conditioning and soft suspension. But there is a caveat. In order to get more money, they add additional seats to a standard 10-seater minibus. The number of passengers could be up to 18. Also, there is no separate place for luggage, so you have to put it on seats and pay according to the number of seats occupied.
BEST TIME TO GO
Try to avoid the period from July to October. This is both the rain and the typhoon season. If you want to be certain of good weather, you can travel between January and May. Yet there are also exceptions here because the Philippines is such a big country and the seasons here and there differ.
Rainfall (mm) Temperature (°C)
9th of April Bataan Day, 12th of June Independence Day, 30th of November Bonifacio Day, 30th of December Rizal Day.
A positive travel advice applies to Philippines. It is not recommended to travel to western, central and southern Mindanao and the islands of the Sulu archipelago. Be vigilant in the rest of the country. Check the current travel advice for Namibia before departure.
Backpacking in Philippines also means that you need certain vaccinations, even if only one is required. This is the vaccine against yellow fever. However, this vaccination is only necessary if you have been in an area or country where yellow fever occurs in the seven days before your visit to The Philippines. This condition only occurs in Africa and South America and not in other Asian countries.
We recommend DTP, hepatitis A and also MMR if you have never been vaccinated against measles.
If you stay in the Philippines for more than two weeks, you will also be advised to take a vaccination against typhoid fever. Are you staying longer than three months? Then the following vaccinations are recommended: hepatitis b, tuberculosis and rabies.
Furthermore, it is good to know that Malaria occurs in many areas. You can choose to swallow tablets, but a good bug spray or cream can also satisfy.
TIP! If you already have had a vaccine for yellow fever and rabies they are no longer bound by a certain period, but are valid for life. This has been announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).