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The Essentials Ahead of Your Trip to the Philippines

The Philippines is right at the top of the list of places to visit in south-east Asia and an essential stop on any tour of the region.

With the hustle and bustle of Manila, the beautiful beaches of Boracay or the delights of any of the 7000 plus islands that make up the country, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether it’s for a few days or a couple of months, make sure you have these essentials covered ahead of your trip.

The Basics

When planning your trip, make sure you know the basics of where is safe to travel and a little local knowledge. The key points are:

Language

Tagalog and English are the main languages spoken, although there are upwards of one hundred dialects spoken around the Philippines.

It’s worth learning a few basic phrases, but you’ll be fine speaking English almost everywhere.

Currency

The currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP), with £1 equalling roughly ₱68.50 (depending on the current exchange rate).

Visa Information

You can stay in the Philippines for an initial 30 days without a visa, after this you will need to apply to extend your stay with the Bureau of Immigration.

Looking After Yourself

There are a couple of key things to do before you set off:

Medicine & Vaccinations

Once you get out of the main metropolis, you’ll only have access to basic medical care, so take any essential medicines you need with you.

As for vaccinations, there are a number you will require. Some of these might be considered expensive and the diseases rare but consider that you’d happily pay the money and more to get rid of the disease if you caught it, so don’t take any chances. The jabs you need are:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Malaria
  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever

You should also be up to date on all your routine vaccines

Travel Insurance

Optional but recommended, travel insurance is a wise choice in a country home to many adventure activities.

Most people go to the Philippines to surf, scuba dive, island hop and zip around on scooters, so it’s worth covering yourself, and your valuables, in case of an accident.

Spending

If you’re visiting the Philippines, it’s likely part of a trip of a lifetime that you’ve had to carefully budget for. Before you set off, it’s important you consider all funding options and work out which route is right for you.

Cost of Living

Because of the varied landscape of the Philippines, it’s difficult to fully nail down an average daily spend whilst there.

If you’re in Manila or Boracay, expect to pay prices tailored to a Western tourist market. Meanwhile, once off the beaten track you can expect to pay as little as £1 for a meal or a bottle of Tanduay rum.

Similarly, add-ons for excursions will mean your daily budget will fluctuate. The Lonely Planet offers a basic spending guide to work off, which can give you a good guide.

When mapping out your trip, consider how ‘touristy’ the places you’ll be visiting are and what activities you will want to engage with. Likewise, think about the standard of living you’ll be looking to maintain while out there. From there, you should be able to calculate a rough estimate for your daily spend.

Once you’ve got the essentials covered, you’re all set to enjoy your trip of a lifetime to the Philippines.

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