Travel Guide to the Philippines: Gearing Up

The Philippines is a great place to visit- whether it’s your first time and just looking for a place to vacay, or you’re a Pinoy looking forward to come back home for a nostalgic trip after years of being away.

First off, let me say this: the Philippines is technologically advanced enough to provide you with most everything you might possibly need for an enjoyable and stress-free stay. Heck, you got malls that have just about anything, some of the best hospitals in Asia, and a whole lot of fun stuff to do. It’s really all about knowing where to find what you need, or at least knowing somebody who can hook you up.

That being said, you still need to prep quite a bit for your Philippine visit. You want to be as comfortable and as stress-free as possible for your entire stay. So as a public service of sorts, I’m here to give you some advice.

Getting Ready for Your Trip to the Philippines.

Let’s assume you’ve done your regular prep-work: made provisions for paying your bills back home + having the means to monitor all your banking activity online, clearing out your credit cards, securing your travel documents, securing your home and pets, having a medical exam + getting the necessary vaccinations if you need it, putting your memberships on hold, dealing with all your mail for the duration of your vacay, etc.

Pay special attention to:

  • Appropriate Clothing. The Philippines only has two kinds of weather, really: hot weather, and rainy weather. It’s a tropical country, which means you can get away with a single layer of clothing for the most part- a simple t-shirt and jeans, for example. You might still want to keep a coat with you if you feel cold. Or if you want to pack light, you can go ahead and just buy clothes when you get there.
  • Adaptors. Most appliances run on 220v rather than 110v. So be careful when plugging anything in- make sure it won’t be blowing up in your face. Also, you might want to bring Kensington adaptors just in case, so you can plug things into different kinds of outlets. Make provisions beforehand, or you can ask your hotel or host to provide you a safe means of using your gear. Otherwise, you can hop on over to a nearby Ace Hardware or electronics shop and get yourself a few extra adaptors.
  • Mobile Phone. Virtually everyone has a mobile phone in the Philippines, so you might want to bring your own and just buy a prepaid sim card and credits to use while you’re in the country. It’s great for keeping track of everybody for your peace of mind.
  • Entertainment. If you’re bringing with you your digital camera, laptop, mp3 player, camcorder, handheld console, etc. don’t forget to bring the appropriate charger (and data cables if you need them). Most have chargers that are good whether its a 110v or 220v outlet, but check just to be sure anyway. Nevertheless, you might want to bring yourself a couple of magazines or books instead, which you could read leisurely by the beach, or while waiting it out at a coffee shop.
  • Shades + Sunscreen. Lots of sun, remember? The Philippines is a warm, humid country, so you’re gonna need some protection. For sunscreen, you’ll need at least something with SPF15 which you’ll need to reapply if you plan on staying out in the sun for long. Bring a good pair of shades so you wouldn’t have to squint in the sun. Again, if you didn’t bring any, you could always head out to a mall and grab some from there.
  • Off Lotion. Particularly when you’re headed out to more rural destinations- you’d want some insect repellent to keep clear of bugs landing on your skin.

Packing It All Up

Go ahead and pack your usual personal care products and effects. More importantly, you’ll want to have a smaller bag with you to take along only the essential stuff. So you have:

  1. Your main luggage: which carries the bulk of your clothes and other stuff,
  2. Your handcarry, which has most of the things you’d like to keep with you at all times, or at least locked and securely stowed away while you’re out.
  3. And your smaller travel bag– which you’ll just be putting together, which will contain some of the things you’ll be bringing with you wherever you go- your shades and sunscreen, some bottled water, your passport, mp3 player, camera, mobile phone and just enough cash for the day.

More on traveling around the Philippines in coming posts.

Cheers, everyone!

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