Three “Do’s” to Remember on a Philippines Vacation
Having a vacation in the Philippines is best appreciated when you stay for a while,
like a few weeks or a month, to experience why it’s a lot of fun. However, staying that long requires some planning. It’s still a Southeast Asian tropical place with a climate and culture of its own—which you’ll have to adjust to (a thing that isn’t hard to do).
Do Travel at the Right Time
The Philippines has beautiful summers, but also has an equally terrible monsoon, which can be quite lengthy: the rains and typhoons start pouring in around late May and gradually disappear by late November. If you want the drier summer sun or cooler temperatures with no chance of rain, travel to the country anytime from mid-December to mid-May.
Bonus tip: There are spots in the Philippine archipelago which are almost typhoon-free, like Cebu, Boracay, and (sometimes) Guimaras.
Do Plan Your Itinerary
The Philippines is not a war-torn land; you might as well think of Tahiti or Tibet as dangerous. There are whopping 7,100 islands, and the “troubled” spots are only small, isolated regions in the extreme south. Everything else is peaceful and totally fun. It’s a simple country, without the sophisticated tourist traps, and best for people who want to be real travelers and don’t mind “roughing it up” a bit on their vacation.
Bonus Tip: If it’s your first time in the Philippines, do an extensive research on where to go, where to stay, where to eat, where the nearest hospitals are, etc. Choose what the travel magazines say are the best spots to go to. Buy maps of every city you’re about to visit. Don’t travel without an itinerary (and contingency plans) and only a GPS to guide you; you’ll waste your time getting lost.
Do Wear the Right Stuff
The people of the Philippines are welcoming, open-minded folks. They understand that their country’s heat and humidity naturally lead visitors to wear light, loose, and even revealing clothes—they do the same thing, too. Filipinos can be sexy “fashionistas,” especially at clubs and parties in cities.
However, this is still a relatively conservative culture. Show respect by wearing appropriate, non-revealing clothing to culturally-sensitive places and events, such as weddings and churches. Don’t callously show off the most expensive designer clothes or jewelry in remote, poorer provincial barrios where people barely have enough to get by. And when at the beach, bring a swimsuit, swimming trunks, or a bikini. Never go topless (if you’re a woman) or nude.
Moreover, this is mosquito country. If wearing pants in the heat is unbearable for you, wear lighter clothing but put on lots of anti-mosquito repellant lotion. If you travel during the monsoon, bring a strong umbrella, sandals, or boots.