When you visit this great island country with its 7641 islands, you meet a country that could not be more different. Each island has somehow its typical habits, languages and people. In this article we want to give you 10 helpful tips for your trip to the Philippines.
Don’t waste too much time in Manila
When you travel to a country you always tend to explore the capital a little more closely and for a longer time. In many countries, this is probably also a real highlight to get to know the country’s metropolises more closely. So cities like Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok are a must see on every bucket list. However, there are also metropolises that are simply a metropolis where there is actually not that much to discover. Next to Jakarta in Indonesia, Manila is probably a similar capital that is most suitable for a few days as a stop over.
Don’t expect good internet
For us asdigital nomads, the internet is essential. We already knew before our trip to the Philippines that probably the landline and internet lines are suboptimal. Therefore, we informed ourselves early on which island which provider works best. There are Apps like nPerf, which show the network coverage very well. We recommend you as digital nomads, however, a mobile WiFi hot spot and a sim card from Globe and Smart with enough data volume, if you are dependent on the Internet. However, even with the mobile Internet you have strong fluctuations, especially in the evening hours and in the rain, the mobile network is heavily congested.
Don’t just book tours to explore island landscapes and beaches
To admit it is easy to go to a tourist office and book a day tour. You are picked up from the hotel and everything is already prepared. But to explore the true gems in the Philippines and get the feeling of “lonely beaches” you have to explore the islands yourself. For this there are countless possibilities. Rent a scooter, drive it to a port and rent a boat privately and talk to the locals. This is a great way to find highlights that haven’t been trampled flat by other tourists.
Take off your shoes when entering a stranger’s house
Admittedly, it is relatively easy for us as Germans to adhere to this rule. However, it becomes a bit more difficult when you wander through the day with flip-flops. But should you ever be invited privately in a house, take off your shoes even before entering the rooms or the doorstep.
Digital payment is not always possible
When you spend some time traveling in Asia you are just inundated with digital payment options and services. However, these have not yet arrived in the Philippines. There are many islands where you should travel around with cash. Only major restaurants accept card payments. For cash withdrawal, with an international credit card, will always be a fee of 250 PHP due (regardless of the amount of withdrawal).
Try Local Food and Avoid Burgers
Admittedly, the Philippines is not a culinary highlight between Pork & Chicken Adobo (a kind of goulash) just mixes strange food with a clear dominance of rice and coconut. However, there are culinary highlights in the Philippines, especially if you look in the direction of BBQ. There is great seafood and mega good marinades for beef, pork and chicken. However, if you want to keep eating your burgers you will find plenty here in the Philippines – the diet is probably not for a healthy lifestyle after all.
Explore not only beaches, but also the interior of the islands
Catalogs show beautiful white and deserted sandy beaches. On Instagram, you are just inundated with how beautiful the sea and their lagoons are. But the Philippines also have a beautiful hinterland. Here we recommend you again rent a scooter and just explore the island. Waterfalls, rice fields, palm trees and beautiful villages with nice people are just waiting to get a visit.
Negotiate prices on transport or use Grab
One of your main means of transportation in the islands of the Philippines will probably be the trike. The prices are usually half cheaper than regular cabs. However, these trikes in the Philippines are definitely not a luxury means of transportation. The easiest way to get from A to B in the metropolises is by Grab. Here the price is fair and you save the negotiation!
It’s not all cheap!
Often people have expectations that life in Asia is cheap. Especially when traveling to developing countries like the Philippines. However, life is only cheap for the locals there. Tourists have to pay a premium if they want to eat more than just rice and fish. Especially with international products, the Philippines are even more expensive than Germany. Therefore, rather plan more money than too little!
It rains even in paradise
What you probably always forget with all the great pictures is the fact that there are also rainy days here and midge, which can be really annoying. In addition, you have to be really careful with all the beautiful Kokospalmen no coconut on the head falls.