Philippine Islands: where they are, when to go and what to see

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

The perception that you have of certain places when you have never been there is a reference to readings, stories from friends and relatives, hasty images taken from the web. In the case of Philippines all this often leads to not seeing it as an ideal holiday destination because the clichés that accompany this archipelago are very strong. Why go then? Perhaps because of the terrible humid climate? Maybe because of the impressive population density and traffic in the cities? For cooking too spicy? Those who decide to spend their holidays in the Philippines must be clear that Mother Nature commands here: islands, volcanoes, beaches, coral reefs, mountains and lush vegetation are the diamonds of a custom made ring. Here are some useful tips for a vacation in the Philippine Islands.


  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where are
  3. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  4. Which island to go to?
  5. 10 things to see: beaches and places of interest
  6. What to do in the Philippines: excursions and tours
  7. How much does a vacation in the Philippines cost? Prices, offers and advice
  8. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 103.000.000
  • Capital: Manila (just under 2.000.000 inhabitants)
  • Languages: Filipino official language, English widely used
  • Local currency: Philippine peso (1 PHP = € 0,017)
  • Weather: Tropical-equatorial climate with temperatures between +25 and +35 degrees throughout the year. The dry season runs from December to April with a more temperate climate; during the rainy season, from May to November, it is even more humid with daily and abundant rainfall.
  • vaccinations: mandatory vaccination against Yellow Fever is required for all travelers over one year of age from countries where yellow fever is at risk and for all travelers who have even just passed through the airport of a country in which yellow fever is at risk of transmission. Here are the maps of the countries at risk in Africa and America.
  • Entry requirements: Electronic passport with remaining validity of at least six months
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where are

    Between Indonesia and the island of Taiwan, in south east asia less known, 7100 islands form the state of the Philippines, in Pacific fire belt. This part of the globe is characterized by strong and frequent natural phenomena such as earthquakes, typhoons, tropical storms, tsunamis and spectacular volcanic eruptions.

    How to reach us

    • Flights from Italy: From Rome and Milan you can fly with Saudia with a stopover in Riyadh or with Emirates with a stopover in Dubai.
      Cheap flights from Rome to Manila from € 371,00 - Cheap flights from Milan to Manila from € 486,00
    • Flights from the main European capitals: from Munich you can fly with Ethiad with a stopover in Abu Dhabi or with Qatar with a stopover in Doha. From London you fly with Cathay with a stopover in Hong Kong.

    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: the extension area of ​​the Philippine Islands is crossed by monsoons and the climate of the whole country is strongly influenced by them. Generally tropical / equatorial with a cool season from December to February and high temperatures from March to May. Between May and November the humidity becomes high, persistent heat and abundant rains. The sea water temperature is always pleasantly warm.
    • Best time: the best time to visit the country is certainly in the first four months of the year where even the humidity becomes bearable. February is the best month.
    • Period to avoid: in summer it rains a lot due to the monsoons. The islands are often hit by typhoons from May to December but are more frequent between August and November where they are accompanied by real tropical storms.
    • Advice: to prepare well for a trip to the Philippines, a good tourist guide is essential that also dispenses practical information such as restaurants, hotels or info points. The health situation is not critical but the public structures are to be considered inadequate; private ones are better but very expensive so it is advisable to take out a good insurance policy (Columbus, Globo Rosso, Viaggi Sicuri). Medicines can be found in both pharmacies and supermarkets. Don't forget to pack an umbrella, light cotton clothes, comfortable shoes and a swimsuit for the beach.

    Which island to go to?

    The Philippines is made up of approximately 7.100 islands divided into the regions of Luzon, Visayas e Mindanao. and those with the highest tourist flows are:

    1. Luzon: with the capital Manila it is the most comfortable island. Here you will also find everything in terms of infrastructure and tourist reception. The capital offers few interesting tourist views but remains a good base, especially useful for organizing one or more day excursions that can be organized through local agencies.
    2. Mindanao: with the beaches of Camiguin and Siargao, the first famous for its crystal clear waters and the second for its very high waves that attract surfers from all over the world. Beautiful excursions can be organized to see the many natural waterfalls. You arrive by air from Cebu.
    3. Palawan: perhaps the island with the most beautiful beach in all of Southeast Asia, that of El Nido, a tropical paradise far from the major tourist flows and still Spartan in hotel reception. If you are looking for resorts, there aren't any. Many other beaches are available for even the most demanding travelers. It can be reached by air from Manila or by sea from Coron.

    10 things to see: beaches and places of interest

    1. El Nido, a set of uncontaminated islets and hidden bays far from common places. Rich in coral reefs, caverns and lagoons with rocks overlooking the blue sea that create chromatic contrasts of rare beauty.
    2. Puerto Princesa River National Park, well protected by UNESCO in the São Paulo mountain range north of Palawan. The river is navigable for 4,5 km and along the way you can admire stalactites and stalagmites
    3. Boracay Island, in the central Philippines is the destination for organized holidays and resorts. White beaches, bars and restaurants surround the lovers of water sports and if you don't want to worry this is the place
    4. Chocolate Hills, is a famous tourist attraction in Bohol. With an extension of 50 sq km and almost 1700 hills it offers a panorama as beautiful as it is strange and during the dry season the grass that covers the hills becomes chocolate-colored.
    5. The Terraces of Banaue, on the island of Luzon. Indigenous ancestors dug these terraces about 2000 years ago almost entirely by hand to allow the cultivation of the land using a rudimentary irrigation system. UNESCO heritage since 1995.
    6. Siargao, island south of Manila. Famous for its high waves which attract surfers from all over the world. White beaches and turquoise sea with excellent accommodation capacity and good value for money.
    7. Coron, in the island of Palawan with its postcard landscapes and the wrecks of the Second World War is a very tourist destination but not a nightlife; there are pubs and clubs but people come here for the beauty of the sea. Connected to El Nido by ferry.
    8. Intramuros in Manila, is the old city wall characterized by an intertwining of perpendicular streets which, in Spanish times, were the seat of the government offices of Manila: the perimeter of the city is equipped with protective bastions inside which the access gates to the city are obtained . It can be visited with guided tours on foot, by bike or sidgway.
    9. Amanpulo, an exclusive resort on the island of Pamalican offers very high standards and is aimed at those who need to get away from everything and everyone but who have no budget problems; butler, swimming pool and personal chef are just some of the services for this earthly paradise.
    10. Batak village, north of Puerto Princesa reachable with local guides and after an hour of trekking. The Batak are a welcoming people and not at all suspicious, you can sleep in their village and help in small craft activities.

    What to do in the Philippines: excursions and tours

    How much does a vacation in the Philippines cost? Prices, offers and advice

    Deciding to take a vacation to the Philippines means planning at least ten days. To arrive you need from 15 to 18 hours of flight depending on the connecting airport and from Italy you can depart from the airports of Fiumicino or Malpensa. The average price for a return flight varies between € 400,00 and € 800,00.

    Life in the Philippines does not cost much and the favorable exchange rate also allows you to choose accommodations in level structures at reasonable prices; a four-star hotel on the island of Palawan ranges from € 40,00 to € 100,00 per night per room including breakfast. Eating is also not a problem because apart from restaurants, street food is widespread in the culture of this country and it is not difficult to taste local products directly in the markets for a few euros.
    Some Tour Operators offer quite interesting "all inclusive" prices in their catalogs: Go Asia starts from € 1.990 per person while The Travels of the Elephant from € 2.950 in tour with a guide.

    Moving around the archipelago is relatively complicated but the more touristic islands have small airports that guarantee scheduled connections with companies Philippine Airlines, Airswift and Cebgo. Ferries and buses are widely used as well as cheap while car rental is not recommended due to poor road conditions. It is advisable to take out health insurance before leaving and to remember that only medicines strictly necessary to cover the period of stay are allowed to enter the country. Finally, it is advisable to register on the Farnesina website.

    • Hotels and b & b in Manila from € 32,00 per room -
    • Cheap flights from Rome to Manila from € 371,00 - Cheap flights from Milan to Manila from € 486,00

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