A Traveler’s Guide to Visiting the Philippines
Last 2019, the Philippines had 8.26 million tourists. Though, in 2020 and with the pandemic, this number went down to an alarming 1.5 million. That’s understandable since the country was forced to ban flights in and out of the country to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.
Despite that though, it’s undeniable that the Philippines should be included in a traveler’s bucket list. Amazing people with equally amazing hospitality, the whole country is filled with wonderful tourists spots and beaches, certain regions have retained their culture that never fails to fascinate visitors, and let’s not forget, amazing food. If you have a host in the Philippines, expect drool-worthy homecooked dishes that you will never forget.
The Philippines is such an incredible place to visit so if you’re planning to visit any Southeast Asia country, make sure to visit the Pearl of the Orient, Philippines.
Philippines’ Visa Requirements
To visit the Philippines as a temporary visitor, you need to apply for a visa.
According to the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs website, the application for a temporary visitor’s visa must be made in person and to be applied at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your area. If the applicant is a minor (under 18 years of age), the application can be made by his/her parent or guardian.
The following are the minimum requirements for a temporary visitor’s visa:
- Passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended stay in the Philippines
- Accomplished Visa application forms
- 2 pieces passport photos
- Proof of bona fide status as tourists or businessman
- Flight tickets for return or onward journey
- Payment of Visa fees
Flight Cost to the Philippines
Like any other country, the Philippines also has its peak season. Traveling during the months of January, November, and December is more expensive than the country’s off-season which starts in March.
On average, flight tickets to the Philippines will cost around $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the season of travel. However, these prices don’t include the additional fares for traveling to a secondary destination.
Since the Philippines is made up of thousands of islands, except for major cities, not all have airports. So if your destination is not located in the metro cities, you will need to pay extra fees for ferries or buses.
Flight Duration to the Philippines
If you are from Asia, the flight duration is between 3 hours (from Malaysia) up to 10 to 11 hours (from Turkey). If you are from the United States, travel time would take about 16 to 17 hours. If you are from Australia and you’ll be taking a direct flight, travel time is between 5 to 6 hours. From the EU countries, it could take 10 hours (from Russia) up to 15 hours (from Spain).
Important Apps for Tourists
While the rural areas are more relaxing, we can’t say the same for the Philippines’ major cities. Manila, for example, the country’s capital city, is known for its notorious traffic, and even hailing a cab proves to be a difficult thing to do.
Also a very popular app for the locals, Grab is a cab-hailing application that will give you the ability to book cars with compartments for your luggage. The Grab app also has other services such as food delivery and courier services.
Grab services are available in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Pampanga, Bataan, and Naga.
Unlike other countries that have their maps designed specifically for their countries, the generic Google Maps, which is usually downloaded on all phones, works very well in the Philippines.
The app can give the user accurate location of nearby establishments and can even provide accurate information on the time and how to get there via car, public transportation, or by foot.
The Philippines is home to some of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever taste in your life. So make dining out easier by using the Booky app.
The app can help you find the best deals in town and will help you save time looking for places to eat by giving recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the Philippines expensive?
Generally, the Philippines is a very cheap travel destination in Southeast Asia. Some hotels will be pricier than others but the price is worth it. However, if you don’t mind an average hostel room with basic needs and necessities, you’ll find a lot in the city at a very cheap price.
Food is very affordable too, especially if you dine in local family-run establishments. Aside from cheap food, one of the best things in dining in local restaurants is the taste of authentic Filipino homemade dishes.
- How’s the climate and weather in the Philippines?
The Philippines is characterized by high temperature, high humidity, and lots of rain. It’s a tropical country so as a visitor, expect sunny days and humid wind during the summer. If you are visiting off-summer though, there might be heavy rainfalls, storms, or colder winds, especially during nighttime.
If you wish to know more about the weather and climate in the Philippines, you can read it all here: When is the Best Time to visit the Philippines?
- Is the Philippines safe?
Generally, the Philippines is very safe to travel to. Filipino is well-known for being one of the most friendly and hospitable nationalities in the world. Aside from that, communication is not a problem since most Filipinos are English-speakers.
However, just like all the other countries, common sense is still needed. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and retreat from shady or suspicious negotiations with the locals.