Philippines (Republic of the Philippines)

Languages: English, Filipino

Currencies: PHP · Philippine peso (₱)

Capitol: Manila

Continents: Asia

More useful information

Area: 342,353km2

Population: 109,581,085

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +63

Timezones: UTC+08:00

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Last updated on February 29, 2024

I was absolutely fascinated by the tropical paradise of Philippines. But it’s not only about the stunning landscapes, volcanic mountains, crystal-creal waters spreading across hundreds of islands with inredible biodiversity, but also because of people openness and friendliness, warm atmosphere, hospitality and easiness of traveling. Transportation network is well developed like in most of South-east Asian countries but Philippines consist of over 7600 islands (from which only 2000 are inhabited), and I though it would make traveling a bit more challenging. Instead, local transportation is cheap, well organized and adventuours. Join my Philippines travel guide for island hooping and discovering the best of this magnificent destination.

Philippines travel guide-experience beyond the usual.

Philippines travel guide -Palawan

Most travelers would be heading toward most well known paradise islands, which are: Palawan, Boracay, Cebu and Siargaoto, to find white sand beaches with turquise water and experience exceptional marine life of Philippines. The islands are overwhelming but there’s much more to explore than the most popular attraction – swimming with Whale Sharks.

After few adventurous weeks in Philippines I have put together plenty of usefull tips and advise, so this Philippines travel guide will help you shape an adventurous itinerary, unveiling unusual must-see places and attractions for a lifetime adventure ✩ ✩ ✩

Are Philippines safe to travel?

Philippines are generally safe to travel, except the south part of the country where you basically are NOT suppouse to enter.

Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago – highly dangerous due to terrorist activity, kidnapping and piracy!!

Your second dissruption may be the weather – Philippines are often affected by cyclones – so check the weather predictions before traveling. A tropical cyclone will affect a huge area, so it’s better to stay up-to-date with weather forecast. 

Generally the rest of the country is safe for travelers, we felt perfectly safe traveling for weeks across many islands. Pickpocketing rate is not higher than in any nearby countries. Philippines are one of the most amazing and adventurous countries I have travelled so far! You have to live this adventure – go island hooping, snorkeling with whale sharks and canyoneering. All safe and beautifully organized!

Philippines travel advise & tips.

MONEY: 1USD ~ 56 PHO (Philippine Pesos).

ATMs: Easily accesible in most cities/towns. CURRENCY EXCHANGE: Widely accesible and advisable.

DAILY BUDGET: Accommodation 7-15$, food 5-15$/budget option.

VISA: Check visa requirements before you travel. 

MEDICAL INSURANCE: Never go without medical insurance, this is not a thing to save money. Highly recommend VisitorsCoverage (the largest provider of visitor’s insurance for inbound travel to the U.S.).

PLUGS: 220V supply voltage and 60Hz. Usually type A/North-American standard, sometimes type C/European style.

SIM CARD: You must start using DrimSIM, the first universal SIM card and free app for travelers. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport, 10 GB cost 1000 PHP.

SHOP: Most popular shops 7-Eleven. Love these stores!! You can buy everything there, so handy! And they have vegan burgers 😉

What to wear in Philippines?

Philippines are mainly Christians, so you don’t have to worry wearing a swim suit even outside of beach areas (huge part of Asia is muslim, where different dress code applies). Dress casual light clothes. 

Best time to visit Philippines.

Dry season is considered from January to April with hottest months of April and May with temperatures 33-34 Celsius degrees. 

December to February, cooler season with temperatures are around 24-26 Celsius degrees.

How to get from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) to the city centre?

Manila Airport is a huge travelers hub with almost 40 mln passengers a year. The airport serves way more travelers than originally designed capacity, that’s why in 2023 the authorities are planning to undertake a massive  airport infrastructure modernization to accommodate incresing transportation demands. MNL has been names the worst airport in the world due to fligh delays and cancellations. 

Manila Ninoy Airport serves number of local cheap carriers, which will quickly transfer you for less than 40USD to discover all parts of the country:

  • Cebu Pacific
  • AirAsia
  • Philippine Airlines

There are few ways to get from Manila Airport to the city centre – and all are cheap:

  • GRAB – download now if you don’t have it yet – it’s the most efficient and cheap way of traveling in Philippines. You can order GRAB to pick you up from the airport. Travel time~ 30 min.
  • TAXI – taxis are cheap in Philippines, always travel on taximeter, the price will be similar to GRAB. Travel time~ 30 min.
  • LOCAL BUS – ticket costs around $0.5. Travel time~ 1h..
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT/SHUTTLE – still very affordable, choose from different options.

All travel times depend on a traffic, which is horrible in Manila! 😉

If you need to change terminals there is a free shuttle bus every 15-30 minutes. There is also an Airport Loop bus going through all terminals and it can drop you off in Pasay Rotonda or Taft Avenue Station – MRT metro station (the closest station to the airport).  

Manila top unusual landmarks of the Philippines' Capital City.

Manila is a huge metropolitan center, it is the most populous region of the country with almost 14 mln people. It is also the main gateway for sea and air travelers. Manila offers a wide range of attractions and landmarks that capture the essence of this vibrant metropolis with unique blend of history, culture, and modernity.

So with this Philippines travel guide I’m taking you on a city adventure that will completely surprise! Outside of a must-see attractions and landmarks in Manila there are few spots you can’t miss!

Filling Station Bar & Cafe - must-visit restaurant.

The finest restaurant in Manila City! The retro American design and concept of the place is mindblowing! Can’t describe how cool this place is! If you’re lucky you’ll be seated in a cadillac next to Elvis figure. The food is totally American style with filling portions and incredible milkshakes! You simple can’t count calories while going there for a dinner – just celebrate the cuisine and eceptional vibe!

The restaurant is a concept of ex-US Navy chef, who decided not to return to America after his service. 

Korean BBQ/Grill.

Queensam Korean Grill/BBQ is a traditional Korean barbecue. After choosing your start menu you will have to cook your meal yourself, which is such an unusual experience. Even for vegans like me you’ll find plenty of delicious and healthy side options that go along with meat portions: kimchi, marinated potatoes, veggie salads and delicious toppings – all traditional Korean flavours. The restaurant is located in Pasay, which is very close to the airport. 

Getting around Manila - local transport.

METRO: Manila is heavy with traffic, so getting around may be time consuming. Metro is a blessing and Manila has 2 metro systems:

  • (MRT) Manila Metro Rail Transit System,
  • (LRT) Manila Light Rail Transit System.

TAXI/GRAB: Taxis are very convenient way to travel trhough the city/maybe outside of peak hours. Grab is avaibale – however we found Grab more expensive than regular taxis. Taxis run by taxi meter and are quite cheap. 

JEEPNEYS: the most popular and adventurous way of traveling across the city. Stopping everywhere, jeepneys take up to 20 people and it’s a funny and iconic Philippines transportation. 

TRICYCLE: Easiest, cheapest and faunnies way of traveling in Philippines. Agree the price before you get in.

Where to stay in Manila?

Manila is a huge metropolis with plenty of accommodation options. If you prefer to stay close to the airport Pasay district would be ideal. We stayed there – lovely area and neighborhood, our budget-place was for 16$/per night per room with a bathroom: INNSITE Room Rentals. Highly recommend!

There are thousands of accomodation options on



And the below options are close to the city centre.

Best things to see in Manila.

Manila used to be in the heart of Spanish colony. There are plenty of significant landmarks in the city that are worth visiting. 

Top popular city tours:

San Agustin Church.

San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Built in colonial-era, you can marvel its stunning Baroque architecture. It is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the intricate Augustinian murals within the church complex.

Intramuros and Fort Santiago.

Exploring Intramuros the historical heart of the city.  Enclosed by thick stone walls, this well-preserved Spanish colonial district takes you back in time. Within Intramuros, visit Fort Santiago, a formidable yet compelling citadel that once served as a defense fortress during Spanish rule. Walk through its ancient stone walls, visit the Rizal Shrine, and take in breathtaking views of the Pasig River.

National Museum of the Philippines.

Explore its vast collection of Philippine art, archaeology, and natural history. Highlights include Juan Luna’s famous painting, the “Spoliarium,” and the “Pillars of Philippine History” exhibit.

Binondo - the oldest Chinatown in the world.

Basically my favourite part of every town. But Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world. Explore traditional Chinese shops and markets, and savor delectable Chinese food in authentic eateries.

Explore Manila street life!

Nothing is more interesting than walking city streets exploring the vibrant Asian atmosphere, local lifestyle and real food.

Top Manila day tours can be explored here. 

Top attractions and must-see destinations in the Philippines.

Cebu Island travel guide.

CEBU – is your must-travel destination, it’s a stunning island province known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches. It’s one of the most exciting islands, featuring iconic locations like Moalboal, Oslob, Tanawan and Cebu City.

The island is easily accessible from Manila and flights are the best option to get there. Check this Philippines travel guide for plenty of extreme adventures and breathaking spots like:


Cebu - swimming with Whale Sharks.

There’s no doubt that swimming with the giant creatures – Whale Sharks is a tempting and extremely exciting opportunity. 


With all information included on how to get to Oslob (or rather Tanawan), how to easier the registration process and what to keep in mind before snorkeling or diving with these gentle animals. 

I went for snorkeling tour and went diving the next day with Whale Sharks, to compare the experiences. Both options are very different but memorable.

Tumalog Falls.

Magnificent Tumalog Falls are located 15 minutes motorbike ride from Tanawan Whale Shark registration & watching point. The place is easily accesibly from Oslob – 30 min drive. It’s a great destination for a half-day tour, with heaven pools, amazing waterfalls and hiking trails. 

Philippines travel guide
Philippines travel guide

How to travel between Philippines islands?

Boat and ferry transportation is very well developed in Philippines. Ferries run between most of the islands. We have used few times and all boats were high standards. 

Browse all boat & ferry tickets here – is the most popular and best website to book tickets across Philippines. 

Top things to do in Palawan - Philippines paradise.

Palawan Island is the largest island in the Palawan Province, located in the western area of the Philippines. This magnificent place is a true natural paradise and it is considered an all-around destination that attracts a vast number of visitors each year. It is a place full of breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich biodiversity.

The whole Philippine archipelago is a magnificent destination for those who love nature but Palawan Island with it’s lush rainforests, crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs, and pristine beaches make up represents a most stunning territory and unique ecosystem.

  • Palawan has several wildlife sanctuaries, including Calauit Safari Park, where visitors can observe exotic animals up close and contribute to conservation efforts.
  • One of the most magical experiences of Palawan is observing the synchronized fireflies in the mangrove forests along the Iwahig River.
  • Off the coasts of Palawan, visitors have the opportunity to spot dolphins and whales, especially in the waters of Puerto Princesa and Balabac.

Puerto Princessa.

Puerto Princessa will be probably your arriving port, no matter whether you are trvaling by boat or plane. However – there are direct flights from Manila to El Nido, slightly more expensive than flights to Puerto Princessa, and you need to book them well in advance as they are quite popular.

One of Palawan’s most popular natural wonders is Puerto Princessa Underground River (Subterranean River National Park). This magnificent and globally renowned river is perfect to explore and appreciate the unique underground river system and limestone formations.

El Nido - lifetime adventure.

El Nido is another of Palawan’s natural treasures, surrounded by dramatic cliffs, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches like Nacpan and Las Cabanas.

But more importantly – El Nido is an amazing travelers hub, with great relaxing vibe, plenty of cosy cafes, beach front restaurants, massage places and hiking trails! The most popular are full-day trips across the surrounding islands, exploring caves, rivers and stopping for number of snorkeling and kayaking spots. 

There are 4 boat tour options – tour A, B, C or D, exploring the nearby islands, with 5 stopovers for kayaking through the river, snorkelling and island hooping. All the sights are breathtaking! The prices are very reasonable from 1200-1400PHP including lunch – you will choose from the menu while booking the trip (vege options available). The tour starts around 8am from the main port to sail through the magnificent crystal clear waters for the next 7 hours. The tour includes:

  • Snorkeling spots,
  • Kayaking,
  • Island hooping – where you can e joy drinks, dances, sunbathing or even beach volleyball.

Snorkeling equipment is for rent for small money, however you need to have/or rent water shoes – due to rocky bottom and sea urchins – purely for your safety. Here you can book your tour in advance at the same local price:

Canopy Walk - hiking trail in El Nido.

Canopy Walk is a very pleasant and quite short hiking trails, taking you to one of the most spectacular views points over El Nido. You need to hire a guide for this walk, it’s not possible to explore on your own. The whole equipment including headgear is included in the tour price. It takes 20 minute to hike up and you can enjoy the view. 

Where to stay in El Nido?

There are plenty of fantastic stays in El Nido, most of them are mid-range but budget options can be found as well. I highly recommend for great location and standard:

Boracay island.

Boracay island is best known for its white sandy beaches, lively atmosphere and vibrant nightlife. But it’s a great destination for water activities – snorkeling and sunset cruise should be definitely on your list. 

Two cheapest private transportation options from the airport (for ~ $10):

  1. Godofredo P. Ramos Airport Transfers for Boracay (Shared or Private)
  2. Shared Godofredo P. Ramos Airport Transfers (MPH) to Boracay

Bohol Island & Chocolate Hills.

Bohol is an idyllic province, famous for its Chocolate Hills and adorable tarsiers. Most travelers come here purely to reach Chocolate Hills but there are many other sights worth visiting such as the Loboc River Cruise and the historic Baclayon Church. 


Chocolate Hills Adventure Park!

Some would say better than the Chocolate Hills – Adventurous Park is really fun and you cannot miss!!

 They have packages of all activities at the cost of 1300 Pesos (while single attraction would be around 550 pesos). This includes:

  • 550-metres BIKE-ZIPLINE – amazing for adrenaline hunters!
  • TREE ROPE CHALLENGES (wasn’t that easy at all 😉 but it’s lots of fun!)

Cuisine to try in Philippines.

I’m a total freak of Asian kitchen! Philippines cuisine is probably one of my favourite across this part of the world. Finally the right choise of seafood and one of the best grilled fish are my favourite, and it really does not cost you a fortune. 

Philippino cuisine is heavily influenced by Spanish and Chinese flavours after hundreds of colonization years. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!