What you should know before you go to the Philippines

From bustling cities to tranquil natural spots, the islands of the Philippines truly have something for everyone. But before you plan your trip, there are a few things that you should know. Below is some helpful information on some of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, as well as some tips on how to get around, how to pay, and how to make the most of your time in this unique country.

Must see locations

What are some of the must-see places in the Philippines?

With more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, you may be overwhelmed by where you should go and what you should see first. The list below offers up some suggestions to help you get started. These are considered just a few of the many must-visit places throughout the country:

  • Bohol Island: You could get to Bohol Island in about two hours if you are leaving from Cebu and taking a ferry. This popular tourist destination can make for a memorable day trip or you could stay for a few days and take your time exploring. There are amazing beaches, as well as great dive spots, that any nature lover will thoroughly enjoy. But you should definitely check out the island’s well-known Chocolate Hills, which transform into a brown color between March and May.
  • Manjuyod Sandbar: Found in Bais City, the Manjuyod Sandbar has been referred to as the Maldives of the Philippines, thanks to the pristine water, the perfect white sand, and the cottages on the water. You might even spot some incredible marine life while you are there. If a tropical getaway is what you’re after, definitely add this spot to your itinerary.  
  • Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park: Head over the famous island of Palawan, where you can relax your days away on its white sand beaches. But be sure to also go to the capital, Puerto Princesa, where you will be able to explore the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park. This underground river in a cave will provide you with an unforgettable experience. Plus, the water in the river is filled with fish and marine life because its waters connect with the sea. An extraordinary place, it should come as no surprise that this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • El Nido: Another really popular tourist spot in the Philippines is El Nido, which is also found on Palawan Island. It features beautiful beaches that boast clear water, and the picturesque setting is sure to have you posting plenty of pictures on your social media pages. Also be sure to check out the amazing limestone cliffs and the jungle while you are there.
  • Camiguin Island: Another must-see island in the Philippines is Camiguin Island. There are seven volcanoes on the island, and Mount Hibok-Hibok is one of them. You could hike up this active volcano to enjoy some breathtaking views of the natural landscape that is all around you. Or you could instead dive into the water that surrounds the island in order to get a closer look at the coral reef and all of the life living in the sea. And when you want to relax, the black sand beach will be there to welcome you.
Areas to avoid

What are the areas to avoid in the Philippines

It’s unfortunate but true that there are certain areas throughout the Philippines that should be avoided because they aren’t safe. This does not mean that you should not visit the Philippines at all; it just means that you should do some extra research while you are planning your trip so that you can avoid those areas that could be dangerous.
Below is a short list of some areas that experts recommend avoiding, but this list may not be complete, so researching in advance is necessary.

  • It is best to avoid areas in the south, where there has been violent conflict between the government and terrorists.
  • Areas in the far south, such as the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago, and Mindanao, are considered dangerous for travelers and should be avoided.
  • Some rural areas of the Philippines, such as the island of Luzon, should also be avoided because of the threat of terrorism.
  • The risk of kidnapping may be high in areas like North Cotabato Province, South Cotabato Province, Sarangani Province, General Santos City, Lanao del Sur Province, Lanao del Norte Province, Pangutaran Island, Iligan City, and Sultan Kudarat Province.
  • Theft could be common in big cities like Manila. Other areas to avoid due to the potential for violence include Basilan, Zamboanga City, Isabela City, Pagadian City, Makati, Patikul, and Jolo.
The best ways to get around

What are the best ways to get around in the Philippines

When it comes to getting around in the Philippines, you have a few options, and you can choose the best one for your needs based upon how far you need to go and how much you are willing to spend. Here are a few common ways that tourists could easily make their way around the islands:

  • Getting a bus ticket is a great way to travel over long distances. The amount you will pay could be based upon how far you go, but buses are typically air conditioned, and some even give you access to Wi-Fi, making for a comfortable and convenient ride.
  • Making your way around a city in a taxi could be an easy and affordable way to reach your destination. You could opt for a regular taxi or you could see if there are any Uber drivers available to pick you up.
  • A fun and memorable way to get around the Philippines is on a tricycle. This affordable form of transportation could hold up to four individuals, but it could feel a bit cramped, so it’s best for covering shorter distances.
  • If you are looking for a thrill, consider renting a motorcycle. As long as you are a confident driver and you have experience riding on bumpy roads or amongst a lot of other motorists, this could be a fun way to get to your next stop.
  • Much like buses, jeepneys are another affordable and popular way to move around the Philippines. This is a good form of transportation if you are going to be traveling over long distances, but these vehicles could get crowded with people.

When is the best time to go to the Philippines?

You could visit the Philippines at any time of the year, as it is known for its tropical climate, but the most popular time to visit is the dry season, which runs from November through April. This is the time of year when you can head to the country’s gorgeous islands and take in all of the beauty and sunshine that they have to offer, but you could also check out some of the more remote parts of the country as well. Keep in mind, though, that temperatures are typically highest throughout March, April, and May, while the weather is cooler during the months of December, January, and February. And the wettest months are July and August.
The Philippines’ wet season runs from May through October, and this is the time of year when typhoons might strike. But this does not mean that this is a bad time of year to visit either. Although it is the wet season, the rain does not fall constantly, so it may not even affect your plans. And even though the weather could be sunny and hot, there tend to be smaller crowds during this time of year too. But if you really want to avoid the crowds and take advantage of cheaper flights, consider visiting during May or November.


What is the currency in the Philippines

Before going to the Philippines, you will need to have your money converted into the Philippine peso (PHP). It is a good idea to have your money exchanged prior to your trip so that you can have the money you need when you need it upon your arrival. Consider using a currency converter to figure out how far your home currency will go once it is exchanged for the PHP.

If you need to exchange money after you have arrived in the Philippines, avoid scams by sticking with large hotels and commercial banks. Some malls also have authorization to exchange foreign currencies.

When making purchases, credit cards like Visa and MasterCard might be accepted by vendors throughout the country. Large department stores and hotels may also accept travelers’ checks. But it is best to always have some cash on hand, as not every business or vendor will accept credit cards.

Which electrical outlet adapter do you need for the Philippines?

The power sockets in the Philippines are type A, type B, and type C. The standard frequency is 60 Hz, while the standard voltage is 220 V. If necessary, be sure to pack the appropriate power plug adapter and voltage converter so you can safely use your appliances during your stay.

Do you need a visa to go to the Philippines

Do you need a visa to visit the Philippines?

It turns out that the Philippines is considered one of the easiest nations to visit without a visa if you are going there for tourism or business purposes. As long as you are a national from one of the countries on an extensive list on the Philippines’ Department of Affairs website, you could go to the Philippines and remain there for up to 30 days even if you do not have a visitor’s visa. However, you will need to have valid tickets for your return trip or valid tickets to head off to your next destination on your journey. You also need to have a valid passport that will not expire for the next six months.   If you want to stay in the Philippines for longer than 30 days, it is recommended that you get a Visa Extension prior to your trip. You could get an extension from a Philippine Consulate or Embassy.

There are some exceptions, though. For example, nationals of Israel and Brazil could stay in the Philippines for up to 59 days. Individuals who hold a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport, and those who hold a Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport, are allowed to go the Philippines without a visa but they can only stay for 14 days. And if you hold a Macau-Portuguese passport or a Hong Kong British passport, you can only stay in the Philippines without a visa for just seven days.

Vaccinations in the Philippines

Do you need vaccinations to go to The Philippines?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who are pregnant should reconsider visiting the Philippines, as the Zika virus is a threat there, and infection with the virus while you are pregnant may lead to serious birth defects. Also, because of the risk of contracting the Zika virus, all travelers are advised to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and prevent the sexual transmission of the virus   In terms of vaccinations, experts recommend being up-to-date on all of your routine vaccinations prior to going to the Philippines. These may include the flu shot, polio vaccine, varicella vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, and measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

Due to the risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid through the consumption of contaminated food and water while in the Philippines, the CDC also recommends receiving vaccines to protect yourself against these infections.

Your doctor might also recommend the following vaccines if you tell him or her that you are going to be traveling to the Philippines: hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, rabies, and yellow fever. Be sure to tell your doctor where you are planning on going in the Philippines, how long you plan on being there, what activities you will pursue while you are there, and if you are planning on visiting other countries before or after going to the Philippines. All of those factors will help your physician determine which vaccines are necessary.

See the Philippines

Ready to get out there and see the Philippines?

Armed with information on where to go and how to stay safe during your travels throughout the Philippines, you can make your journey a truly unforgettable one. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore these islands and everything that they have to offer!

IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

What the FX? Catch up on the latest market news.