I have lived all my life in the Philippines and I have traveled to places where foreign and local tourists abound. I have been to several great areas here either alone or with everyone else. I can say that this country has lots to offer. When I say a lot, I mean something that is beyond what tourists books and promotion sites say. There are plenty of very unique places, animals, plants, heritage and historical sights to see and explore. Filipino culture and way of life is something that you may want to get immersed with and learn about.
To fully enjoy your travel in the country, here are tips and additional tactics if you intend to visit the Philippines.
Consider the best time to visit - the Philippines is a tropical country with only two kind of seasons - the dry and rainy. The dry season is usually from November to May and the rainy season lasts from June to October. As expected, there are more tourists during the dry season. However, the already notorious traffic is multiplied during December. April and May which considered to be the "summer months" is, more often than not, too hot for convenience. It is also during these months that beaches and other tourist spots are crowded with people and hotel prices skyrocket to epic proportions. Thus, the best time to visit the country is within the months of November, January, February and March.
Travel and Wear light - Pack light and wear something light. It is best to wear something comfortable and appropriate to where you intend go. Wear an attire great at the beach when you are in Boracay or Pearl Farm but not when you are in the malls like in UP Town Center. Always wear something that will make you blend with the the rest of the populace. In this way, you become less conspicuous and safer. Moreover, instead of burdening yourself with the whole closet in your suitcase, it is a better strategic move to just pack light and buy additional clothes in gigantic malls in this country as the case may be.
Always make a reservation - With various apps, it is now very convenient to make a reservation for your hotel or resort. Making a reservation ensures that you can be accommodated in your chosen destination. Walk-ins without any reservation is risky and is often more expensive. If you intend to stay for a week in the Philippines, it is a great idea to hire a reputable travel agency to fully map out your itinerary.
Always keep an eye on your belongings - this means that just like in any other country or even in your own country, there are cases of valuables getting lost either due to your own negligence or simply due to theft. Do not get yourself in a very difficult situation where you are far away from home and suddenly you lose something valuable like your passport. But do not get me wrong, compared to those who are not, there are more people here who are honest and trustworthy. Don't get discouraged from visiting the Philippines because of a few rotten eggs.
Change your foreign currency - exploring the islands means there would be expenses for the trip, accommodation, food, entertainment and everything else. To enable you to pay for all of these, it is necessary to exchange your currency to Philippine Pesos. Learn about the exchange rate and make an estimate of how much you would spend for your stay. A thousand in Philippine money is more than enough pocket money for a day depending on where you are staying. Money changers are scattered all over the Philippines. Check out those money changers found in malls in Makati and at Market Market Mall at the Fort Bonifacio Global City.
Take Grab or Uber Service - if you do not have a travel agency that meets you at the airport to your destination, it is a better idea to travel via Grab or Uber. But, if you want a cheaper ride and experience the Philippine Jeepney, consider these tactics for a safer road travel. Taxi service is better when you are in Baguio or Davao compared to Metro Manila or Cebu.
Do not travel alone - if it is your first time to set foot in this country, it is best to travel with a group or a companion. This does not mean however that the Philippines is unsafe for solo travel. However, traveling with a group or a companion is of course definitely safer. If you travel alone, there is a greater chance for you to get noticed either in a good way or not whether you are a local or a foreigner.
Smile - when I say smile, it means you got to smile a lot. No matter what kind inconvenience you meet upon arriving at the airport to your hotel such as but not limited to long queues, erratic weather, and the notorious traffic just smile. Remember what has been said - "smile and the whole world will smile with you".
Filipinos are very friendly, approachable and accommodating. If we see you smiling, it is easier for you to ask us for directions and guidance. Most of us are willing to help and assist anyone who appears to be friendly, approachable and accommodating themselves. Do not be afraid to ask and we will render whatever help we can give. Majority of us can converse in English and you do not have to worry being misunderstood.