Important Things to Know Before Visiting the Philippines
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” –Michael Proust
If you have always wanted a slice of the exotic and diverse lands, you could not get any more variety than in the country off the Philippines. Considered as a melting pot of all sorts, there is quite a lot the country has to offer foreign visitors. Indeed, stepping on the country is something out of this world—particularly if you have never visited a tropical destination before.
Moreover, jumping from one place to another is quite surreal as even places that would only be an hour flight away could look significantly different from where you departed. Of course, given that Metro Manila and Metro Cebu are two of the landing cities, you would get to experience what the local city life has to offer as well. But in lieu of finding things to do in Manila, go on a grand tour and try to discover new lush and verdant landscapes and unspoiled islands. Trust us; it would definitely be worth your while.
However, before you go on your self-imposed voyage and excursion to this beautiful country, it would be best if you made yourself aware of the pertinent things you should know before setting foot in the country.
You need an exit ticket
As a precaution to prevent a massive exodus of foreigners to the country, you are required to have a ticket for leaving the country before you can even be allowed in. In this regard, it is best if you booked your return flight on the same day you booked your ticket for departure. If you are looking for affordable flights, apps such as Skyscanner would scour all the airline websites for you to find you the best price for your flight. Remember, you would be charged so much more if you booked your ticket on the airport rather than booking it beforehand.
Brace yourself for heat and humidity
As the Philippines is a tropical country, expect to have bouts of extreme heat and humidity—depending on the season you choose to visit the country on. During the summer, it can get particularly hot and very humid—which is a lot different from dry heat. Humidity makes the air thicker that it can be a lot harder to breathe for some—especially if you are unused to it. Considering that you are probably going to be sweating a lot, it would be best if you packed and dressed accordingly. Light and lose clothes would be your best bet.
English is widely spoken
If you are worried about needing a translating app to understand the locals, fret no more. Most Filipinos can speak basic English and would have no trouble understanding you. Moreover, the locals are a friendly bunch so asking for directions and recommendations are two things you can definitely do. In fact, do not be surprised if one or two of them would elect to strike a conversation with you.
Cash is king
While more luxurious and expensive places would accept credit card payments, do not expect eateries located at the outskirts or the province to accept credit card transactions. However, this really boils down to what type of traveler you are, if you love traveling in luxury and staying in five-star hotels, you can continue to swipe away. But for backpackers, cash is king so remember to have your money changed as soon as you enter a major city. Furthermore, you might want to be a little careful with ATM machines as not all of them work and if you are going somewhere remote, ATMS would virtually be non-existent.
Scams are quite real
Every country has its common share of scams and the Philippines is no different—particularly when it comes to dealing with foreign tourists. Common scams would include overcharging you for a metered taxi ride—simply because you are a foreigner. In this regard, it might be best if you downloaded Grab or Uber (when you are within city limits) and use that instead of metered white taxis.