Visit the Philippines

The Philippines is the fourth largest English speaking country in the world. It can accommodate budget travelers. If you are not on a budget, you can have the very best for a reasonable price. The Philippines is the only country in the world that welcomes foreigners from all other countries. It is one of the very few you can enter without a visa. You will need to get one after 21 days[1] if you stay that long.


  1. Get low airfare in the off season, May through October. You can even come over and back on a courier flight, any time and it's very cheap.
  2. Book your hotel in advance since the good hotels sometimes fill up quickly. You can always find a good "pension house", to accommodate you in the $35-$50 range. These will have private bath, cable TV, air conditioning and hot water most of the time.
  3. Travel by land since it is inexpensive. A ride across a large city like Cebu in an air conditioned taxi is about $2.40 US and the ride to most airports not much more than that. Most airports are close into town.
    • Jeepney fares, are Peso 6 - 7, about 10 cents us, the main mode of transportation for most people. They are colorful and fun except when it is raining, they do leak.
  4. If you want to tour around Manila in a much cheaper and faster long distances destinations, ride the LRT (Manila Light Rail Transit System) and the MRT (Manila Metro Rail Transit System) with fares ranging from 10-15 pesos (25-35 US cents) or a stored-value (multiple-use) ticket ranging from 100 to 200 pesos (2.50-2.80 US dollar).
  5. Eat out. American and other international foods are available. Fast food places from Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonald's to their own, Jollibee, abound and prices are cheaper than in almost every country in the world.
  6. Visit the nightlife. The Philippines is always voted as best in night life by the expats in Asia, and the prices are the best too.
  7. Go shopping. There are many local handicrafts to buy. Do not overlook the silver, handmade in Baguio City, in the north of the main island Luzon, famous for years. Baguio is one of the cooler places to go too, in the mountains, the City of Pines.
  8. Don't tip. Tipping is the exception, not the rule. If you want to be given preferred treatment, even without making a reservation, give a hefty tip immediately and discreetly. With that, you can almost expect to be treated like a king. Filipinos are avid practitioners of The Golden Rule.
  9. Get sporty. Golf and other entertainments abound. Japanese tourists fly from Japan stay two nights at a first class hotel, play two rounds of golf on the weekend, have a caddie and umbrella girl and a nice room and food for the price of one round of golf in Japan.
  10. See the movies. First run movies are about 3.00USD or less and sometimes are in the cinemas before they hit larger countries(just make sure you get there early enough Philippine theaters have been known to have standing room only)
  11. Go to a spa there are many resorts and spas around , you can get a hot springs bath or a soothing mineral treatment being buried in natural rock and ash from the volcano (Mt. Pinatubo) or the hot springs in Laguna with pools with waters of different temperature from warm to really hot
  12. Enjoy the friendliness of the people. The most valuable and least expensive thing of all is the Filipino smile. It is free and every where. Filipinos are happy people, they are fun and will make you happy, great entertainers and hosts. And do not be surprised if you call 1-800 and the operator is a Filipino. Almost all major US companies outsource their customer service and help desk in the Philippines.


  • For shoppers, you cannot miss visiting SM Mall of Asia which is the largest shopping mall in the Philippines and is the 3rd largest shopping mall in the world in terms of Gross Leasable Area according to Forbes Magazine.
  • Although Filipinos are a friendly people in general, they are respondent to the illusion that most travelers, specially from the west, come to the country loaded with foreign money and will therefore try to con you into higher prices for whatever service or product you require. ****Please remember this is a third world country so please don't show off your buying power. asking for discounts and bargaining is not uncommon please use your common sense and unless you like getting overcharged do not flash large amounts of money
  • Going into the salon or barber shop is affordable in the Philippines. A haircut cost an average of 200 pesos (less than 5 US dollars) the most expensive cost about 500 pesos (about 11 US dollars).
  • Read the newspapers with a grain of salt. Problems with terrorism is worse in the United States and many other countries. The Philippines gets a bad rap from the newspapers who print the worst, never the best. To know for sure, find expats living in the Philippines. They will tell you that the Philippines is one of the safest places in the world.
  • If you wish to enjoy some of Philippines' beaches, try the famous Boracay Island! Remember to bring sandals, suntan, umbrellas and sunglasses!!( just remember if you choose to go to Boracay you will be paying a premium price as opposed to the other not so famous beaches )
  • Sto. Niño Church in Cebu or Basilica del Santo Niño is one of the places you would like to visit for people who devote Sto. Niño. Inside the Basilica is a museum displaying antique furniture, Sto. Niño's old cloaks etc. Also beside the church is the Magellan's Cross.
  • If you are planning to have a vacation in one of the beaches here, it is suggested that instead of going to the overrated and infamously known Boracay Island destination opt for a less crowded spots such as the island of Palawan that was rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region in 2007, and the 13th best island in the world having incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes.
  • Most Filipinos get excited when there is a foreigner. Be kind and polite to them, and know that Filipinos are sensitive people.


  • Do not use drugs here. Prescription drugs are available. But one marijuana cigarette is punishable by 12 years imprisonment in a bad jail with horrible living conditions.
  • It is better to have a Filipino friend or a travel guide with you.
  • Don't leave personal belongings unattended. There is very little violent crime but plenty of petty thieves, or snatchers, in the cities. These are non-existent in the countryside. They are after cell phones, good ones, and gold jewelry.
  • Both alcohol and cigarettes are so inexpensive and sold 24/7 so no reason not to kill yourself with a legal drug, the worst. Filipinos do not usually have drinking problems of the proportion and frequency of those from most developed countries. Women have only recently started to drink and smoke and it is still not consider good taste or wise for a woman to indulge in vices. Men get away with just about anything. It is not like the US here. If you are looking for equality, the liberated woman, better go to a developed country. Filipinas, female Filipinos, unless they are professional "entertainers," will not get intoxicated with you. And even the "pros", have little interest in alcohol.
  • Keep in mind that on January 10th this year the US Department of State issued a travel warning for the Philippines and you should consider reading it before you go.
  • Filipinos are known for their hospitality. They are really nice and warm. But sometimes they are too warm and they ask very personal questions and they think they have the "concern" and "the right to ask because you are under their care". Give them a gentle warning. Once you say please respect my private life nicely. They will respect it and stop asking personal questions.
  • Filipinos generally are sensitive and somewhat thinned skinned. Yes, they are friendly but don't give harsh comments and avoid being a sharp tongue. They like it running around the bush.
  • Consider a smaller city like Cebu City ,Baguio City or Tagaytay. Manila is very large, not ready for prime time yet. It is a great place to shop and do business, but a bit much for the first time traveler.

Things You'll Need

  • Not much you cannot buy here cheaper. Do buy a cheap local cell phone from your country of origin , about $100 US at most (but you can find the on classifieds for much less. Best to get prepaid phones(make sure they are GSM ( the Philippines runs on GSM 900/1800 frequencies ( you can get them unlocked at any mall in the Philippines , CDMA phones such as Verizon will not work . it is Very convenient and easy to buy credits,purchasing a sim card and talk time is easy , you can at just about any store even the small "shack" stores (sari-sari) carry them . Texts are US two cents, calls are about US 18 cents per minute. Most people text.
  • If you're a tourist from a temperate country, bring shades and an umbrella. During summer (from late March to early June, I think.) the temperature can reach to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}. The tropical sun is really bright. Filipinos don't wear shades they are used to the bright sun, instead they bring umbrella to beat the heat. During rainy season (mid June to late November) the umbrella is very handy. Tropical rains can be describe as a sudden large dark gray clouds appear and they give you a shower with big heavy raindrops.

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