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El Nido shorelines, the Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide

An archipelago of over 7,000 islands, The Philippines offers an extraordinary travel experience that combines pristine beaches, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. Dive into the turquoise waters of Palawan's El Nido or Boracay's White Beach, where powdery sand and crystal-clear seas create a paradise for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Explore the bustling streets of Manila, a metropolis that blends Spanish colonial architecture with modern skyscrapers, and discover the country's history at Intramuros, the old walled city. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local markets, where you can taste Filipino delicacies and shop for unique souvenirs. Trek through the lush rice terraces of Banaue or hike up the volcanic landscapes of Mount Mayon for breathtaking natural beauty. With its friendly locals, diverse landscapes, and endless adventure opportunities, the Philippines is a travel destination that promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.

One of the highlights of travelling in the Philippines is the chance to explore its remarkable underwater world. Snorkel or dive in the world-renowned Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site teeming with colourful coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. Swim with gentle whale sharks in Oslob or explore the diverse marine ecosystems of Apo Island. Discover the captivating beauty of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, as you navigate through its mystical caverns. For cultural immersion, attend lively festivals like the Sinulog Festival in Cebu or the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, where traditional music, dance, and vibrant costumes celebrate the country's rich heritage. The Philippines' natural wonders, cultural diversity, and warm hospitality make it a travel destination that will leave you with cherished memories and a desire to return again and again.

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Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT+8

Money

Philippine Peso (PHP)

Dialing Code

+63

  • This is Asia off the beaten track – dare to be different!
  • With its 7000 islands, this is a beach lover's paradise
  • The Philippines offers a unique cultural mix of Spanish colonial legacy and local Asian flavour
  • The Philippines is a thrill-seeker's dream with loads of adventure activities on offer, such as ziplining, kayaking & canyoning. It’s also one of the best places in the world for scuba diving!
  • Add it to a bigger tour of Asia and you won’t be disappointed

Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Manila is a lively, modern metropolis and one of Asia’s authentic ‘megacities’. Ancient meets modern here as soaring, modern skyscrapers and shopping malls brush shoulders with traditional shantytowns. Wander the streets, visit cool galleries and artisan markets or discover Manila’s vibrant indie music scene!

  • Go island-hopping and seek out blissful beaches for swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving
  • Visit the buzzing and beautiful mountain town of Baguio, famous for its faith healers
  • See the unusual hanging coffins at Sagada and try some adventure caving or hiking in this unspoilt spot
  • Marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Banaue’s ancient rice terraces
  • Relax on the idyllic island of Boracay, with its pristine, turquoise seas and glorious white-sand beaches

Food in the Philippines mixes the influences of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, and American cuisine and is distinguished by using a combination of sweet, sour and salty flavours. Rice and noodles provide the base for most meals, with fresh meat, fish and vegetables and sauces. Adobo is a popular method of cooking meat in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices. A Lechon (whole pig) is a delicacy of a dish. Popular flavours for cooking include peanut, lemongrass and pepper.

December to April is the best time to visit the Philippines when the weather is pleasantly warm and dry. Between May and November, the wet season sets in and the months of June-September see torrential rain and typhoons.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip.

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

Filipino and English are the official languages in the Philippines. Spanish is also spoken due to the history of Spanish colonisation.

The two-pin plug is used in the Philippines so you will need a universal travel adaptor if you wish to use UK appliances.

When visiting the Philippines do not get involved with drugs of any kind as penalties are severe.

You must be able to show some identification if asked by the police e.g. a photocopy of your passport.

Health

You should visit your GP around 8 weeks before your travel for any advice about vaccinations or health. 

Safety

Parts of the Philippines do have a fairly high level of violent crime, including gun crime, although British nationals are not normally targeted. Pick-pocketing and robbery are a problem in populated areas and on public transport, so stay vigilant. Only use taxis from a reputable firm. Safety standards on taxis, buses and boats can be poor. During the rainy season, flash flooding and landslides can happen.

We do not recommend hiring motorbikes, scooters, ATV vehicles, quad bikes or other types of motorised vehicles whilst abroad. Safety and quality of vehicles vary considerably and the traffic conditions can be much more dangerous than what UK travellers are used to. Should you wish to go against this advice, you should ensure you are hiring from a reputable company and that your travel insurance covers you for such activities.

 

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