If someone is looking for a true backpacking adventure, then the Philippines is the perfect destination. The 7,107 islands offer a variety of landscapes unlike any other places in the world. From pristine white sandy beaches to lagoons, rivers and mountains; the Philippines is truly a special place for a unique backpacking experience.
Photo credit: JourneyingPinay.com
Rich in natural beauty, the Philippines offers a lot that makes the visitors keep on coming back. Whether it is hiking the Chocolate Hills, gazing out at the Mayon Volcano or walking the Banaue Rice Terraces; there is definitely something for everyone. There are very few places on earth that allow for a sunny beach getaway and a backpacking dream all in one trip. Surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, hiking and backpacking are all popular activities for those visiting the Philippines. And, what’s great about this destination is that everything can be done in a budget!
Stepping into the mysterious and wonderful world of the Philippines can transport anyone into another realm. Because of its location, the Philippines is relatively untouched by mainstream tourism, so there are more experiences to have without the hassle of throngs of people. Backpacking here won’t break the bank, but planning a trip through the Philippines does take plenty of careful preparation. Here are some useful tips.
Tip #1 – Book in advance.
As with any trip, it is a good idea to book travel and accommodations well in advance – that always affords the best deals and preferred itinerary. Although the Philippines aren’t as touristy as other countries in the region, there are peak and off-peak travel seasons. It is easiest to book for cheap air flights during the rainy season or during the early part of the year.
Tip #2 – Bring cash.
Although major cities like Manila will have places that accept credit cards, the key to easy travel and exploration in the Philippines is to have plenty of cash on hand. In fact, some provinces and islands don’t have ATMs at all. It is wise to withdraw enough cash for the entire trip and do the exchange in the city, as doing the exchange outside of the cities will cost a lot more.
Tip #3 – Don’t forget the insect repellant.
The Philippines is known for a variety of destinations, but the country is also known for its insect problem. Mosquitoes are in abundance, so don’t forget to bring insect repellant – this is a must. This will not only protect visitors from the annoyance of itchy mosquito bites, but it will also help protect against contracting a more serious disease like malaria. It is also a good idea to get a malaria vaccination prior to travel.
Tip #4 – Pack the right clothes.
One must remember that the Philippines is located just above the equator, which means it is very humid and very hot. The moisture in the air is incredibly thick, even during the dry season. It is best to pack breathable clothes such as cotton shirts, tank tops and shorts, though hiking through the mountains will require light, breathable pants for safety reasons. For backpacking days, pack comfortable shoes, but don’t forget to bring flip-flops for hanging out in the city or on the beach.
Tip #5 – Respect the culture.
When traveling to any foreign country, it is important to respect the local culture and customs of that society. Filipinos are highly known for being polite and well-mannered. So do some research on appropriate interactions and behaviors before visiting. The people here are friendly and warm, but there are some cultural differences that visitors should be aware of.
**This is a guest post published 1/16/2013, Tips When Backpacking in the Philippines.