Regarded for its sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and majestic mountains, the Philippines is a travel destination you shouldn’t miss. If you’re planning to visit this Southeast Asian country anytime soon, you need to learn a few things to make the most out of your trip.
From knowing whether sedan rentals in Manila is the better option during rush hours to learning a bit about the locals’ culture so that you can blend in, this handy guide will give you an idea of what it’s like to explore the Pearl of the Orient.
Planning Your Budget
Exploring the archipelago is relatively cheap, with the accommodation being your most significant expense. Compared to the prices of food in Western countries, the food in the Philippines doesn’t cost much, even if you dine at fancy restaurants. The typical budget for a meal ranges from $1 to $12. For traveling around the Metro, you can take jeepneys (local buses) or tricycles for less than $1 per ride. For long-distance travel, you can take overnight buses, ferries, or planes from $15 to $100 per ride.
Preparing Your Itinerary
Home to more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is best known for its beautiful beaches. But beyond the crystal clear waters are landmarks and attractions that will take you back to the rich history of the country. You can also hike up mountains and be rewarded with breathtaking views of both the land and the sea. Here are the top travel destinations in the country to help you plan your itinerary:
- Calle Crisologo in Ilocos Sur
- Fort Santiago in Manila
- Jose Rizal Shrine in Zamboanga del Norte
- MacArthur Park in Leyte
- Mactan Shrine in Cebu
- Rizal Park in Manila
- Mayon Volcano in Albay
- Mt. Arayat in Pampanga
- Mt. Makiling in Laguna
- Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales
- Mt. Pulag in Benguet
- Taal Volcano in Batangas
- Apo Island in Negros Oriental
- Bantayan in Cebu
- Boracay Island in Aklan
- Calaguas in Camarines Norte
- Coron in Palawan
- El Nido in Palawan
- Isla de Gigantes in Iloilo
- Kalanggaman Island in Leyte
- Panglao in Bohol
- Siargao in Surigao del Norte
Traveling Around the Country
When going around cities to explore local parks and other attractions, you can either rent a private vehicle, like sedan rentals or opt for public transportation. The former option is the way to go if you want a more comfortable ride.
The latter choice, on the other hand, will allow you to experience riding jeepneys or local tricycles, which can be fun unless you’re stuck in heavy traffic. A word of warning, though: the traffic around the Metro can be hefty, especially during rush hours, so be sure to go out early in the morning or late at night to avoid inconveniences on the road.
Finding Places to Stay
As with other Asian countries, you can easily book hotels online in the Philippines. For those traveling on a budget, you can stay at backpacking hostels, although they’re harder to find than hotels. If you want, you can camp in the mountains or by the beaches. To mingle with the locals, you can coordinate with local travel organizers to connect you with host families.
Immersing Yourself in the Culture
Filipinos are generally hospitable people, plus most of them speak English well. For these reasons alone, you won’t have a hard time mingling with the locals if you want to immerse yourself in their culture. Also, your trip to the Philippines won’t be complete without trying their exotic food, like the famous balut (duck egg), tamilok (woodworm), abuos (ant egg), and salawaki (fresh sea urchin), among many others.
As a final word, remember to respect local traditions and return their hospitality by at least saying hello. To make the most of your trip, don’t try to fit in too many places in a short time. When visiting a spot, especially an island, allot at least a day for traveling and another 2 to 3 days to explore.