The Philippines

The Philippines

by Paul Chapman — Posted on July 2, 2015

The Philippines

I have been to the Philippines many times. It is quite simply a beautiful country and an absolute must off your backpacking list of countries to visit.

My first stop was at Manila air port arriving at terminal 1. I got off the plane and the first thing that hit me was the heat! A short bus trip to terminals 2,3 and 4 and I had the option to take inland flights on to my destination. I was headed for Cebu. The inland flights are pretty reasonable. I flew with Zest Air.

I arrived in Cebu a few hours later and the first thing I needed to sort out was my accommodation. There are GV Hotels all over the placeas well as hostels. These cost around ???pesos per night. As I did in Egypt I wanted a base as I was planning on staying a few months so I managed to rent a small flat for £100 a month.

There are plenty of pools you can go to, they charge anywhere between 50-100 pesos a day. You can hire motorbikes to get about on for about ???pesos a week or take the tut tuts or taxis. They charge us westeners double I’m sure but is still very cheap and this is what I opted for. Try and go for the white taxis over the yellow ones, they didn’t seem to charge as much!

The Philippines are made up of about 7,000 Islands so there are hundreds of boat trips. Some only an hour with fast craft, others take all night but that can of course depend where your headed? Once you are on these Islands you lose the western life. No air con, internet cafes or Macdonalds. Just rice fields and jungle. Very nice to travel round on a motor bike and go swimming.

There are plenty of pools you can go to, they charge anywhere between 50-100 pesos a day. You can hire motorbikes to get about on for about ???pesos a week or take the tut tuts or taxis. They charge us westeners double I’m sure but is still very cheap and this is what I opted for. Try and go for the white taxis over the yellow ones, they didn’t seem to charge as much!

The Philippines are made up of about 7,000 Islands so there are hundreds of boat trips. Some only an hour with fast craft, others take all night but that can of course depend where your headed? Once you are on these Islands you lose the western life. No air con, internet cafes or Macdonalds. Just rice fields and jungle. Very nice to travel round on a motor bike and go swimming.

At some point you want to get back to the city and check out the city life. Thats why my base was in Cebu. The people are very very friendly but be very careful as some of the locals will just see a walking cash machine! so please be very careful with your hard earned/saved money!

Food wise they have Jelebee (Philippino McDonalds).They have McDonalds but the Philippines people have rice with every meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner so rice will be sold every where trust me. They also have big shopping centers in the city’s but out on the Islands only small shops and markets. The markets sell fresh fish, meat and fruit but for me I stuck to the shops.

Philippines is a great place but completely different to the western life we know.  Could be bit of a shock to some people some of the things you see but visiting the Islands is just breath taking. The palm trees, rice fields, open roads riding your bike and the hot weather I will never for get my time there and I don’t think it will be too long before I’m heading out there again!

7 Comments

  1. Here’s a rundown of what should go in your suitcase:
    Clothing
    Shirts/blouses. Bring up to five short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts or blouses (how many of each depends on the season) in a cotton/polyester blend. Shirts with long sleeves that roll up easily can double as short-sleeved. Look for a wrinkle-camouflaging pattern or blended fabrics that show a minimum of wrinkles. Synthetic-blend fabrics (such as Coolmax or microfiber) often dry overnight.
    Pants/shorts. Bring two pairs: one lightweight cotton and another super-lightweight pair for hot and muggy big cities. Jeans can be too hot for summer travel (and are slow to dry). Many travelers like lightweight convertible pants/shorts with zip-off legs. While not especially stylish, they’re functional in Italy, where you can use them to cover up inside churches while still beating the heat outside. Button-down wallet pockets are safest (though still not nearly as thief-proof as a money belt). If you bring shorts, one pair is probably enough. Shorts can double as a swimsuit for men when swimming in lakes or the sea.
    Underwear and socks. Bring five sets (lighter dries quicker). Bamboo or cotton/nylon-blend socks dry faster than 100 percent cotton, which lose their softness when air-dried.
    Shoes. Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes with good traction. Mephisto, Ecco, and Rieker look dressier and more European than sneakers, but are still comfortable. Sturdy, low-profile tennis shoes with a good tread are fine, too. For a second pair, consider sandals in summer. Flip-flops are handy if you’ll be using bathrooms down the hall. Whichever shoes you bring, make sure they are well broken in before you leave home.
    Sweater or lightweight fleece. Warm and dark is best — for layering and dressing up.
    Jacket. Bring a light and water-resistant windbreaker with a hood. Neutral colors used to look more European than bright ones, but now everything from azure blue to pumpkin orange has made its way into European wardrobes. A hooded jacket of Gore-Tex or other waterproof material is good if you expect rain. (For summer travel, I wing it without rain gear — but always pack for rain in Britain and Ireland.)
    Tie or scarf. For instant respectability, bring anything lightweight that can break the monotony and make you look snazzy.
    Swimsuit. To use public pools, you’ll need a swimsuit (men can’t just wear shorts; and in France, men need to wear Speedo-type swimsuits — not swim trunks).
    Sleepwear/loungewear. Comfy streetwear — such as shorts, leggings, T-shirts, tank tops, yoga pants, and other lightweight athletic gear — can be used as pajamas, post-dinner loungewear, and a modest cover-up to get you to the bathroom down the hall.
    Documents, Money, and Travel Info
    Money belt (or neck wallet). This flat, hidden, zippered pouch — worn around your waist (or like a necklace) and tucked under your clothes — is essential for the peace of mind it brings. You could lose everything except your money belt, and the trip could still go on. Get a lightweight one with a low-profile color (I like beige). For more, see my article on money belts.
    Money. Bring your preferred mix of a debit card, a credit card, and an emergency stash of hard US cash (in $20 bills).
    Documents. Bring your passport; plane, train, and rental car documents or vouchers; driver’s license; and any other useful cards (student ID, hostel membership card, and so on). Photocopies and a couple of passport-type photos can help you get replacements more quickly if the originals are lost or stolen. In your luggage, pack a record of all reservations (print out your hotel confirmation emails). Bring any necessary contact info if you have health or travel insurance.
    Guidebooks and maps. Pack the travel info you’ll need on the ground (or download it into your ereader). I like to rip out appropriate chapters from guidebooks and staple them together, or use special slide-on laminated book covers.
    Small notepad and pen. A tiny notepad in your back pocket or day pack is a great organizer, reminder, and communication aid.
    Journal. An empty book to be filled with the experiences of your trip will be your most treasured souvenir. Attach a photocopied calendar page of your itinerary. Use a hardbound type designed to last a lifetime, rather than a floppy spiral notebook. My custom-designed Rick Steves Travel Journals are rugged, simple blank books that come in two sizes. Another great brand, with a cult following among travel writers, is Moleskine.
    Small day pack. A lightweight pack is great for carrying your sweater, camera, guidebook, and picnic goodies while you leave your large bag at the hotel or train station. Don’t use a fanny pack — they’re magnets for pickpocket


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