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Travel to Philippines: 30 Useful Reasons

Ideas and Inspiration

Fresh Advice about country and its people. This is the Philippines travel guide to help you plan the best trip

THE PHILIPPINES is explained by thousands of islands, its bright rice fields, graffiti-splashed jeepneys, crowded cities, lively festivals and smiling, happy-go-lucky people. But travel to the Philippines is more than just visit a tropical destination. Here are some important things to know about country, the islands, its flavorful local cuisine, and the Filipinos.

The cheap destination

The Philippines is a cheap travel destination, even by Southeast Asian standards. Some resorts may be expensive, then the standard is first class. The cheapest month to fly to the Philippines is September. Philippine Airlines is the national carrier. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have flights to Cebu and Manila.

The Filipino people

You may wonder why is Philippines called Philippines. The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos. Why not Philippinos? The reason probably has something to do with the origin of the term Filipino. Whereas the islands have had the Spanish name Islas Filipinas since the 1540.

Happy students in Cebu city. Filipinas are always happy and smile
Happy students in Cebu city. Filipinas are always happy and smile

The official slogan of the country is “It´s More Fun in the Philippines”. Whatever adventure you´re looking for, you will explore the unique cuisine, the festivals and friendly and optimistic locals. If possible, Filipinos will sing from morning to late evening. They are some of the happiest in the world.


Learn to say Hello

You say, “Kumusta?” or “Kumusta ka?” This literally means “How are you”, but is commonly used to say “Hello” or “Hi”. Mot of Filipinos speak English, but they also have 12 local dialect. Even if they don’t have the confidence to start a conversation, you can be sure they’ll find enough courage to ask you these two questions: What is your name? Where are you from?

Filipinos love to sing

Almost every home has a karaoke machine. They sing with friends, on the beach and they also like to belt it out in public. The most popular way to karaoke is in KTV bars. It is an understatement to say that Filipinos love karaoke.

Nosebleed in Tagalog / Nose Bleed

The expression “nose bleed” is one of the most interesting, and unique, things that Filipino’s say. The term refers to the idea that if you think too hard, your nose will start to bleed. Filipino’s usually say this in English, nose bleed in Tagalog translates to balinguyngoy.  The saying is generally used in reference to Filipino’s trying to speak English, but gets stuck on a word. Then people around them will say “nosebleed” and all start to laugh.

Is it safe to visit the Philippines?

Some areas have risk due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Most of the country is safe to visit, but do not travel to The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, and not to Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
Check the latest Travel Restrictions in the Philippines.

Seafood served on the island of Ilo Ilo
Seafood served on the island of Ilo Ilo

Best months to visit

The best time to go to Philippines is between November and April. The wet season is from June to October. This tropical country with plenty of islands only has two seasons: dry and rainy seasons.

Largest island in the Philippines

The Philippines has a total of 7,641 islands. There are three main geographical island regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Popular destinations in Visayas are Cebu, Bohol, and Boracay. Luzon is the largest and most important island, where you find capital Manila and Quezon City, and Palawan, the best dive spot in the Philippines. Mindanao´s top destination is Siargao, perfect for island-hopping and surfing.

Cities in Philippines

There are 146 cities in the Philippines. Cebu is the oldest city, the first capital and considered the birthplace of Christianity of the Far East. Manila is the capital city, and one of the 16 cities that comprise Metro Manila, short for Metropolitan Manila. Quezon City is the largest and most populous city of Metro Manila. Quezon is a Technology hub with universities, government buildings, and gigantic shopping malls. Vigan City and Silay City are among the cities voted the most beautiful.

Hundred Islands National Park

Don´t miss out Pangasinan on the western side of Luzon. One popular attraction is called the Hundred Islands National Park, a protected area and the Philippines’ first national park. An island-hopping trip will bring you to some 120 islands and islets off Alaminos, Pangasinan. Activities from snorkeling, helmet diving, kayaking, cliff jumping in Marcos Island, ziplining, rappelling, and parasailing.

Entalula Island beach in El_Nido
Entalula Island beach in El_Nido

Some paradise Beaches

Philippines is perfect for vacation. With more than 7000 islands, it is tricky to know the best beaches. But here are a few in your search for paradise by the sea.
El Nido is the base for exploring Palawan´s star attraction, Bacuit Archipelago.Forty minutes by bike north of El Nido is Nacpan Beach, a 3-km beach and perfect for swimming. North of Nacpan, Duli Beach is an alternative for surfing from December to March.

For several world-class beaches, look to southern Negros. Fly into Dumaguete, and you are on Apo Island within an hour and many beaches.

Greetings the Filipino way

Both men and women often greet one another by shaking hands. Women sometimes meet and hug one another when they meet.

Never do this in the Philippines

Don´t insult the country or its people. Never use first names to address someone older. Don´t arrive on time. Avoid let the bizarre-sounding food scare you.

Mostly the people of Philippines are happy - as these two girl in city of Tacloban
Mostly the people of Philippines are happy – as these two girl in city of Tacloban

Is Philippines cheaper than Thailand?

Both countries offer similar experiences; Beautiful beaches, tropical rain forests filled with wildlife and cities full of culture and atmosphere. But Thailand is more expensive than the Philippines for a variety of reasons.

How Filipinas like you: Philippines women are very shy. If the girl’s lips tremble a little while talking, then this is the sign she likes you.
Make a Filipina happy: Be honest, compliment her and take her on a date. Humor is important. Be sweet and feed her. Make sure you smell good.
Filipina girls are jealous: Filipinos are very polite and respectful people. Filipina girls are jealous by nature and hearing someone they like compliment another girl will break her heart. Never tell her that her friend is pretty.
What race are Filipinos? The country is part of Southeast Asia and Filipinos are Asians. But describing Filipinos as Pacific Islanders isn´t necessarily wrong either.

Politeness is an art form

Most foreigners will be referred to as “sir” and “mam” no matter their age. Younger people refer to women and men as “ates” and “Kuyas” – like sister and brother. Filipinos respect and cherish their elders. Disabled and pregnant women even have their own lines at banks, restaurants and taxi queues, allowing then to bypass the crowd.

This is capital Manila

You need time to explore the capital city, also known as “Rome of the East”. Manila has plenty of places to visit. Rizal Park is the city’s biggest public park and is very dear to the Filipinos. Location: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila. The Ocean Park has more than 14,000 animals across 270 marine species. Plus animals shows like the Seal Lion Show, Penguin Show and the All the Bird Show. Location: 666 Behind Quirino Grandstand, Ermita. Nightlife: Republiq is one big and popular, a Las Vegas-styled club. The place to hang out at night. Location: Unit 8, Second Level, Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila. Manila Baywalk: Perfect for a romantic sunset, stretching 2km along the shore with Manila Yacht Club, live street music, faces and restaurants.
Location: Roxas Blvd, Malate.

Guided Tour Manila

Discover Philippine artistry, history, and heritage in Manila’s museums. If you’re a history enthusiast and a fan of the arts, then a private tour is tailored perfectly for you. Your driver picks you up from selected areas of Metro Manila. Along with your guide, you’ll make your way to the first destination – the National Museum.

Next is The San Augustin Church Museum. It displays a collection of religious art pieces, icons, furniture and clothing. Last stop will be a visit to Casa Manila, a typical house from the 1800s. The house will make you feel as though you´ve moved back in time, during the Spanish colonial period. Book Museum Tour

Best View: Mistral Rooftop Bar in Manila
Best View: Mistral Rooftop Bar in Manila

Hey, My Friend!

Filipinos say this all the time, regardless of whether they know you or not. It is a friendly way of greeting a foreigner and saying hello. Yell back the same thing and watch their smile stretch from ear to ear. Filipinos love to hear foreigners use the same expression as them.

What do you think…?

Filipinos are proud people and always curious to know what foreigners think of the Philippines. They are fairly receptive to constructive feedback, as long as it´s not too mean. They want to know how amazing their islands are, how lovely and friendly people they are. You´ll meet people welcoming you into their homes and their lives. Travel in the Philippines means the locals are curious to know about you and to share a piece of their beautiful country with you.

Ride in Tricycles, not Taxi

Tricycle is a sidecar for motorbikes and the common way to travel in most of the smaller towns. They are not exactly comfortable so if you want to travel long distance you´re better hiring a car. Be sure to negotiate the price before take-off. Jeepneys in colourful and creative design is another form for transportation for hot, bumpy and dusty rides.

Cebu Sex Tourism

The pleasure district is part of the urban area in Cebu, included prostitution and sex-business, such as sex shops, bars and strip clubs. You will find the best clubs and bars to pick up girls in Mango Square and Kazmik Club in City Time Square.

Bantayan Island – Just perfect

We celebrate this island because it remains relatively untouched by modern life, except some foreigners, sucked in by white sands, aqua-colored waters and red-gold sunsets. Welcome to Bantayan Island, at the northern tip of Cebu. Where beers are cheap, people are generous and probably the best fish and seafood are served. This is not the action-packed island. There are no five-star hotels, no malls, no fashion shopping. Bantayan Island is just a perfect mix of luxury and privacy. There is domestic flight from Cebu to Santa Fe, the town where most visitors prefer as home base when on the island.

Christmas and Flair Play

Catholic practice and almost four centuries of Spanish colonial rule, the Filipinos approach Christmas with passion and flair. At the forefront are star-shaped paper lanterns in myriad colours and styles. Christmas lantern can appear as early as September. In the city of San Fernando, a festival is the happening where artists compete to produce the prettiest designs. A lantern symbolizes victory of light over darkness and the Filipinos’ hope and goodwill during the Christmas season. This is one of the longest holiday seasons in the world, starting in September and ending January 9.

Don´t sing “My Way”

Frank Sinatra´s “My Way” has been banned from many karaoke bars across the Philippines – or removed from the playlists amid fears of violence. At least six people were killed in the last decade while performing karaoke versions of the song. Most of the killings are reported to have happened after the singer sang out of tune and crowds booed.
Rodolfo Gregorio, a karaoke singer in the city of General Santos, said: “The trouble with My Way is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion. You can get killed.”

Drugs Strictly Forbidden

Rodrigo Duterte, the sitting president of the Philippines, has taken a hard-line stance on drugs. Advice: When you visit Philippines; Say “No” to drugs and “Yes” to San Miguel beer.

Apulit Island; Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding at Isla Blanca
Apulit Island; Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding at Isla Blanca

Philippines Visa and Stay for long

Citizens of many countries can stay visa-free in the Philippines up to 30 days. But you can stay for much longer than most countries around the world allow foreigners to stay. Depending on what country you are from, you can stay in the Philippines for anywhere from 24 to 36 months through various visa extension options.


Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya a few years back. Meeting people, local food and engaging stories are my passion. I plan for ambitious once-in-a-lifetime trips. My delight is the prospect of Future Travels: Longer, Slower, Farther! I just want a tiny slice of adventure to be alive, and then excited to return home.


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