With summer coming around we know that a beach holiday is always the most exciting, relaxing and Insta-friendly.
Lucky for us since we’re in South East Asia we’re surrounded by countries with beautiful islands and the Philippines is one of them with 7,107!
But before you buy that plane ticket and fly off, here are 10 things that you should know to manage your expectations.
1. The traffic is chaos!
Like Thailand and Indonesia, the Philippines is no stranger to congested streets and the language of honks. Traffic can sometimes be so bad that you won’t even be able to open the car door to get out.
But the traffic is an organised mess! There are surprisingly few road accidents and you just have to trust your taxi to get you where you need to be (just leave about an hour earlier though).
2. Almost everyone speaks english
The local language in the Philippines is Tagalog but almost everyone can speak English so you don’t have to worry too much about Google Translating everything but its always a good idea to pick up a few words before travelling there so here are some that might come in handy.
Salamat – Thank you!
Kamusta – How are you?
Sarap – Delicious (because food matters the most)
Po – A marker of respect. When speaking to elders add po to the end of your sentence / phraseeg: Salamat po / Kamusta po
3. There are bag checks at malls for safety
Don’t be surprised if you have to get searched when entering a mall!
Security is tight for the safety of the public so as long as you let them search your bag and pat you down they’ll let you in. Remember, they’re just doing their jobs and that’s how things are there.
4. You can get around easily with tricycles or Jeepneys
If you’re looking to get around the area by public transport, some of the more exciting and cheaper options are the tricycles and jeepneys. Some rides can be as cheap as 10 PHP (Philippine Piso) which is just RM1.
5. The hospitality is amazing
The Filipino people are known to be some of the best in the customer service line and their hospitality is known globally. The warm friendliness is almost familial and makes you feel right at home even if you’re nowhere near it.
6. They drive on the right!
Like in America they drive on the right so make sure you look the RIGHT way.
7. The islands are gorgeous so find a cheap one
There are many islands to choose from so find one that is easy to get to, cheap, and gorgeous. Keep in mind that a lot of these islands preserve their natural beauty by keeping them clean so don’t litter.
Oh, and be prepared for a lot of walking.
8. Its hot, so pack light
It’s a tropical country just like Malaysia. Pack for a trip that you’ll probably sweat a lot on. Sunscreen and deodorant are a must. Light clothing, shorts and slippers are recommended.
Basically, dress like how you would when you travel in Malaysia.
9. Its primarily a Catholic country so Christmas is beautiful
Like how large cultural festivals in Malaysia are gorgeous with decoration filling the city, homes and restaurants, the Philippines is the same for Christmas.
Lights and paroles fill the street and illuminating the city in beautiful white and rainbow hues. Don’t forget to check out the Ayala Triangle Gardens Festival of Lights if you’re in Manila.
10. If you love malls, Manila is the place for you.
If you love shopping and non-stop walking, the Makati area is for you with 5 Greenbelt malls joined together for a shopping spree slash workout that you’ll remember.
Now that you have lots of extra information, its time to book that flight and buckle up for an adventure you won’t soon forget!
Written by: Loke J-Han