Features of an independent holiday in the Philippines
Philippines is a beautiful island state in Southeast Asia. Comfortable climate and romantic atmosphere of the resort attracts many tourists from all over the world. This is a heavenly picturesque corner of the planet with magnificent beaches, waterfalls, rice terraces, and a variety of coral reefs.
The Philippines will appeal to fans of relaxing languishing under the sunlight, and fans of active pastime. Hiking, biking, skydiving, mountaineering and other fun activities can offer this wonderful place. Our step-by-step guide on how to organize your own holiday in the Philippines.
Philippines on a map
Philippines is an island country, its coastline is the fifth longest in the world.
The seas that surround the Philippines: the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and the Sulawesi Sea.
The archipelago consists of more than 7000 islands, the largest of which are Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Palawan, Visayi.
The capital city of Manila is on the island of Luzon.
The time difference with Moscow is + 5 hours.
Main resorts of Philippines
Boracay is a popular tourist destination for an unforgettable beach vacation. Despite the small size of the island, it has many pristine white beaches. Developed tourism infrastructure allows travelers with different income to find a suitable accommodation. It is ideal for diving and snorkeling, besides the fun nightlife, a large selection of bars and restaurants will not get bored.
An interesting resort – the island of Bohol is also available for independent exploration. It attracts tourists with its lush tropical vegetation, chocolate hills, interesting historical buildings, unique wildlife, unlimited opportunities for diving and underwater photography.
Palawan is rightly considered the best place for a secluded beach holiday. Not for nothing this archipelago is a national park of world significance. Pristine exoticism of flora and fauna, diverse underwater world, majestic cliffs, primeval caves – all this and more can be seen after visiting the island.
Fans of respectable hotels, high service and cultural attractions can be recommended Cebu – the oldest island of the Philippines. It will appeal to those who want to enjoy a wild nightlife, interesting diving and hospitality of colorful locals.
Climate in the Philippines
In general, the state is in a hot climate zone with a high level of humidity. However, there may be some differences in weather on the eastern and western sides of the archipelago.
Philippine meteorologists distinguish four types of climate affecting the duration of the dry and rainy seasons:
- On the west coast, the dry season lasts from mid-November to late April. The rest of the time it rains;
- A climate with no dry season per se, with maximum rainfall between December and the second decade of March, and minimum rainfall in the spring months of late March through May.
- A climate that is similar to the previous one stands out, where you cannot specify a specific period in the year with a minimum number of rainy days. Precipitation falls evenly throughout the year. The third and second types of climates are characteristic of the eastern coast of the Philippines.
- Weather conditions due to the short dry season (December-February or March-May). This climate is more prevalent in the central part of the country.
Given these features, the best time to vacation in the Philippines is from January to March.
Advice! Even if the dates of the planned trip fall within the best climatic period, it is first necessary to clarify the conditions for recreation on the selected island. For example, in February on Boracay – the time of algae bloom, which means that for bathing in the azure sea will have to walk three feet on a slightly slimy mass.
Particular attention should be paid to the rainy season. The Philippines is not subject to the feature of the greatest amount of rainfall in the dark, as it is in most countries of Southeast Asia. The rains in the archipelago are floods, cancellations of flights and ferries, and the danger of typhoons.
The most dangerous month in terms of typhoons is August.
How to get to the Philippines
The only possible way to visit the archipelago is by plane.
The country has 10 international airports, the largest of which are located in Manila and Mactan Island (Cebu).
There are no direct flights from Russia to the Philippines.
Residents of the central region can build a flight to the Philippine capital or the island of Cebu with connections in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and other cities.
People from the Far East have an opportunity to make a connecting flight to Seoul, Beijing and other Chinese airports.
A flight from Moscow to Manila, which offers the best price-length ratio, via Guangzhou in February 2022 costs 320 euro, and takes almost 16 hours, including transfers.
While a flight from Khabarovsk at the same price would take 35 hours and involve two connections in China. A shorter connecting flight would cost 470 euros and take less than 10 hours.
Important: Russian citizens can stay in the Philippines without a visa for a maximum of 30 days.
You must have a passport with a validity of at least six months on the date of entry, a completed migration card and proof of date of return (copy of the itinerary receipt or e-ticket).
The procedure of customs and passport control is generally standard, the result of which is a stamp in the passport with the date of entry and permission for a 30-day stay.
If the 30 visa-free days allowed to a tourist is not enough, then at the entrance you can ask for a permit for a 59-day stay. Such a stamp can be given instead of a 30-day visa-free entry permit. This service is not free of charge.
Incidentally, if the need for a long stay in the country has already arisen, this extension can be done in any of the 44 immigration offices located in most major cities.
Transportation in the Philippines
You can travel between islands by ferry or by air, almost each of the islands has an airport.
Local carriers are Zest Air (Air Asia), Philippine Airlines, AirphilExpress, Cebu Pacific Air, SEAIR.
Important: The presence of an airport does not guarantee direct flight connections to other islands. Often, to get from one airport to another it is necessary to make a connection in Manila.
Some airports apply a system of charges on departure, it can be built into the ticket price, or can be charged in cash on the day of departure. The amount averages 100 pesos.
There are boats, ferries, small boats and even sailing boats between islands. The choice is solely up to the traveler. It is worth considering that traffic by sea is organized by both large companies and smaller firms and even private entrepreneurs.
Advice! It is preferable to travel on ferries and boats of large companies, which, as a rule, are in a better condition, which is noticeable even in appearance.
The price of the ticket depends on two factors – the distance and the ferry company. Additionally one must pay a port fee of 10 to 30 pesos.
The most popular way to travel around the islands – Jeepney – something in between the military jeep and van, usually pasted outside with bright stickers. It is possible to get into such a car simply by waving your hand at the roadway. The fare is about 10 pesos.
Tracycles are a kind of motorcycle cab, where the motorcycle is attached to the booth for passengers. Such a machine costs about 8 pesos per 1 km.
Motorcycles are the most common mode of transport among the locals.
Manila has an excellent bus network as well as the LRT light rail.
In addition to Manila, buses mostly operate on intercity routes.
Cabs are an inexpensive option to get around town or within the resort. The cost of travel is based on 12 pesos per 1 km. The car can be ordered at the hotel or simply stopped on the road.
Important: Before the cab pulls up, make sure the driver knows where you want to go and has turned on the meter.
Where to stay
Choosing a hotel is the second question after choosing your itinerary.
The Philippines has a wide range of lodging options, from rundown bungalows to Luxury hotels.
You can make an advance reservation on the sites www.roomguru.ru, www.booking.com if it’s about hostels and hotels. Resource www.airbnb.com is suitable for selecting private apartments
Worth knowing! The cheapest accommodation in the Philippines is unlikely to suit those who are squeamish about insects or reverent about comfort. Saving on lodging, you save on amenities, and often the sanitary side of your stay.
On the island of Boracay, the most economical option for 2-bed accommodation offers Blue Bamboo Hotel, where the night will cost from 10 euros.
Optimal in terms of price and quality is Marnin’s Place hotel, where a night will cost – from 16 euros. Or more expensive, 4-star hotel Coast Boracay, where the accommodation costs from 137 euros per night.
On the island of Bohol, famous for its Chocolate Hills, you can find an accommodation option – from 7 euros per night – Hostel Dormitels.ph Bohol.
The best value for money are Hotel Open Doors Haven, where accommodation in a budget 2-bed room will cost 11 euros, or a little more expensive Imagine-Bohol, offering apartments for 26 euros per night.
Similar accommodation prices can be found on the islands of Palawan and Cebu.
The national currency is the peso. Not everywhere in the country, with the exception of large cities and resort areas, you can pay with a bank card, so you either have to carry cash or use local ATMs.
A 200 peso fee is charged at almost any ATM when withdrawing money from the card. The allowable amount of a single withdrawal is an average of 10,000 pesos.
Currency exchange at a rate close to the official rate is possible only in large cities. In resorts the exchange will be less profitable, plus ubiquitous service charge of up to 10 % and tips are accepted for the staff of the exchange office.
It is preferable to carry dollars.
Planning Your Budget
Expenses inside the country besides accommodation are made up of several blocks:
- Food. Those who are calm about the lack of gastronomic delights, enough 10-20 dollars a day;
- Moving around the city. Travel costs about 2200 pesos or $50 per day. You will manage to keep within this amount if you often choose the latter variant from cabs and jeepneys.
- Sightseeing. Some sites may be completely free to visit, others you will have to pay to enter. In any case, any trip will be accompanied by a tip of about 20 pesos or the purchase of souvenirs. This item of expenditure in full each tourist can plan for itself.
Recommendations for security measures are limited to a standard set peculiar to all Asian countries:
- Observe the rules of personal hygiene, wash your hands before and after eating;
- Drink bottled water only;
- Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly with bottled water before eating;
- Watch your pockets and purses in crowded places to keep your personal belongings safe.
What else you need to know
– The state is quite poor, especially in the provinces and small islands. The “rich white” tourist is literally overpowered by crowds of beggars, most often children.
- Filipinos are open and hospitable people, ready to help. But, returning to the phrase “big rich tourist” in large cities are not uncommon facts with those who want to help not out of kindness, but for financial gain. Therefore, before you agree to help, make sure that the intention of the helper is unselfish.
- Do not set aside more than 1-2 days to visit major cities. A trip to Manila is unlikely to leave positive emotions, although it will certainly be informative. The reason for this is widespread noise, not too clean streets and crazy overcrowding supplemented by tourists.
- When planning your trip, allow extra time for transfers. In the Philippines, literally every kind of transport is delayed, from buses to planes. The reason is that one of the character traits of the locals is laziness and slowness.
- Be sure to take an adapter for power outlets.
- Be prepared that you will be searched and searched when entering a store or a bank. This is how local security measures show up.
- Ignore the fact that wherever you have to pay, the amount will be higher by an average of 10 pesos. Tipping, fees, and bonuses are common practice in the country.
Knowing these simple rules, well-planned budget and bought a plane ticket on time will allow you to save significantly on an independent trip to the Philippines in 2022. Duration of the flight to the place of rest pays off with unique attractions of the archipelago, the beauty and warmth of the island beaches.
Philippines. Travel and vacation in the Philippines.
The Philippines has seven thousand islands and a huge number of interesting and unusual places that are definitely worth visiting. In order not to get lost in this diversity, read the detailed itinerary of the country from our travel guide and get ready for a very busy trip.
Manila → Batad → Legazpi → Boracay → Bohol → Palawan
Days 1-4. Manila
Manila is the largest city and capital of the Philippines. It is considered the most densely populated city in the world. It neighbors here developed business districts with skyscrapers, noisy and chaotic Asian streets and colonial architecture.
In Manila, we suggest you stay in the Intramuros area. Here are some hotel options there:
Photo: Tappasan Phurisamrit / Shutterstock.com
Intramuros is a picturesque neighborhood on the banks of the Pasig River that offers ancient architecture from the time of Spanish influence along with historical landmarks.
It’s worth a stroll through the streets to see the variety of buildings, find interesting stores and see Filipino urban life.
Be sure to visit the main basilica and walk the perimeter of Intramuros – it’s surrounded by stone walls and is accessible from neighboring areas through numerous gates.
After a walk around Intramuros, head to Fort Santiago, an ancient fortress that once served as a defensive structure.
Here you can walk around the courtyards, visit the museum, and walk along the outer walls and promenade. The northeast wall offers a great view of the river and Manila.
Ticket price: PHP 75
How to get there: to get to the Fort, cross the canal near Plaza Morions Park.
Jose Rizal Park
Photo: PixHound / Shutterstock.com
For a break from the bustling streets, head to Jose Rizal Park. It is located just outside the borders of the Intramuros neighborhood on its south side.
The park has many paths, alleys, and several ponds. See Japanese and Chinese gardens, monuments erected to honor prominent people, and fountains surrounded by shrubs. In the evening, the fountains are illuminated and you can watch a light show.
Manila Bay Promenade
If you walk from Jose Rizal Park along Roxas Boulevard, you will reach the Manila Bay Promenade. On one side you will see the city’s bay and on the other side its high-rise buildings. It’s nice to walk here during the day and in the evening when the skyscrapers are lit up. At sunset, the promenade looks especially picturesque.
Binondo and the Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz
For a more Asian Manila look, head to the Binondo area. To do so, you must cross the William A. Jones Memorial Bridge.
Following directly down Quintin Paredes Road, you will see the notable Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz in gray and pinkish stone.
In the streets around you can find numerous markets, restaurants and cafes with local food and stores. Nearby is Chinatown, where Chinese goods are sold and Chinese restaurants are open.
Days 4-5. Batad, Rice Terraces
To get to the Batad Rice Terraces you need to take a plane to Manila and fly to Cauayan. You can find a convenient flight on OneTwoTrip.
In Cahuayan, take a cab directly to the terraces. The duration of the trip will be about 2 hours and the cost is $35 to $45.
Keep in mind that a cab cannot take you to the terraced accommodation, as there are no roads there. Ask the driver to take you as close as possible to the village of Batad. Then you will have to travel about 1.5 km (about 30 minutes) on foot.
We suggest you to stay at Batad Transient House. It has fantastic views of the terraces, mountains and surroundings.
To explore the rice terraces, hike along their narrow paths. The higher you climb, the more breathtaking panoramic views you’ll get.
Make time to see the incredibly beautiful Tapia Falls. The path to it starts right from your guest house. It is 1 km away, so you should be there in about 15 minutes.
The waterfall is situated in a gorge, and from it starts a narrow river. You can swim in the pool of the waterfall.
Days 5-6. Legaspi .
In the morning of the fifth day of your trip you will fly to Legazpi from Kauayan airport. We advise you to arrange a transfer or cab from Batad to the airport in advance so you don’t miss your flight. You can find the right ticket on OneTwoTrip.
In Legazpi, we have selected the following accommodation options for you.
Mayon Volcano Reserve.
Mayon is an active volcano that can be seen from anywhere in Legazpi.
We suggest that you go to the top of the volcano by quad bike. To do this you need to book a tour with the company Mayon ATV Tour. The cost of the tour will be from 8,500 PHP for two people. If you want to rent a quad bike for everyone, the cost per person is 6500 PHP.
The tour lasts 3 to 4 hours. During this time you will cross streams, lava rapids, and volcano slopes.
Be sure to visit the Daraga Church. It is an ancient structure with an original facade, colorful decorations and unusual sculptures.
Walk around the church to see its architectural elements.
If you have time, visit the Kagsawa Ruins, the remains of a 16th century Franciscan church that was destroyed by pirates. It was later rebuilt, but after the eruption of the volcano Mayon in the 19th century, only ruins remained of the church. As a bonus the park offers great views of the volcano.
How to get there: There are local jeepney buses from Legazpi bus station to the park.
Days 6-9. Boracay
On the sixth day of your trip go to Legazpi airport. The flight to Boracay island awaits you. Suitable tickets can be found on OneTwoTrip.
Since the nearest airport to Boracay is on the neighboring island of Panay, you need to take the ferry, which takes about 15 minutes to the port on Boracay.
The Caticlan Jetty Port ferry pier is right near the airport and the ticket price is about 270 PHP.
On the island of Boracay, we suggest you spend 3 days and 3 nights to enjoy its paradisiacal beaches and take a break from the commute.
Stay in one of the following accommodations:
On Boracay, be sure to spend time at White Beach, Punta Bunga Beach and Puka Shell Beach. The first of these is the most famous and longest beach on the island, along which there are numerous bars, restaurants and stores.
To buy something to remember the island, visit the D’mall near the second station of White Beach. Here you can find everything: clothes, souvenirs, jewelry and beach accessories.
Days 9-11. Bohol
The ninth day is your flight to Bohol Island. Convenient tickets can be found on OneTwoTrip.
On the island we suggest renting a car to explore all the sights with maximum efficiency.
We have selected for you 2 excellent accommodation options:
The Chocolate Hills are 50 square kilometers of unusually shaped hills, so called because of the color of the vegetation, which burns and turns brown over the summer.
The hills are located in the center of the island, and you can look at them from the observation deck. To get there, take the Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan Road. The trip takes about 1.5 hours. The entrance fee is 50 PHP.
Philippine Tarsier Nature Preserve
In the park you can see local tarsiers with small feet and big eyes. This species is on the verge of extinction, so it is definitely worth seeing them for yourself.
You can visit Philippine Tarsier as part of a short 15 to 20 minute tour. Opening hours of the park are from 8:30 to 16:00 daily.
Ticket price: 60 PHP
How to get there: about 50 minutes along Dauis – Panglao Road.
To enjoy the pristine nature, drive to the Pahangog Falls. Two waterfalls form a natural pool of emerald water.
To reach them, take the Bohol Circumferential Road. You need to drive to Guingoyuran Santa Cruz Chapel in Dimiao Village. Here you can leave the car.
Then you have a road through the forest. The walk to the waterfalls is about 1 km. Note that after the rains the road may be washed out and difficult to pass.
Days 11 – 13. Palawan .
On the eleventh day of your trip go to Palawan Island. Pick up your airfare on OneTwoTrip.
On the island of Palawan, stay for two nights. You will have an evening and two full days to spend here. One day we suggest you visit Puerto Princesa National Park and the other day the town of El Nido and the tropical coves and beaches of paradise. Here we also suggest renting a car so you don’t lose time on long trips by local public transportation.
Stay in the city of Puerto Princesa, at the Hue Hotels and Resorts.
Puerto Princesa National Park
The main attraction of the National Park is the famous underground river. To get here, you need to get to the coastal town of Sabang. Take the Puerto Princesa North Road. The drive takes 1.5 hours. Depart early in the morning, as the park is open from 8:30 to 15:30.
To get to the entrance of the caves, where the boat trips on the underground river start, you can take the ferry at the Sabang Boat Terminal. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Another way to get to the river is to take the Jungle Trail. It stretches for five kilometers. You can also use it on your way back.
Tickets cost 250 PHP (includes boat and life jacket).
For more information and reservations, you can visit the Underground River Booking Office in Puerto Princesa. The address is National Highway, bgy. San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City.
El Nido and the islands of the Bay of Bacut
To see the extraordinary beauty of the islands of the Gulf of Bacut you will have to leave Puerto Princesa at night, as the road to the starting point, El Nido City, takes about 4.5 hours. Take Puerto Princesa North Road.
When you arrive, head to the El Nido Beach pier. We offer you a choice of four boat tours from El Nido Paradise. During the 7-hour tour you will see small islands, lost beaches and coves with crystal clear water. Each tour (A, B, C or D) has a different program and costs from PHP 1200. Advance reservations are required.
Each boat tour also includes snorkeling masks, drinking water and lunch.
Days 13-14. Flight to Manila. Overnight stay. Return home
In the evening of the thirteenth day of your trip, go to the airport in Puerto Princesa. Your flight will take you to Manila.
Before you fly back to Moscow, spend the night in one of the following hotels near the airport:
- On a trip, instead of a suitcase we recommend taking a large, roomy backpack. This will make it easier to move around the route. For example, the path to Batad Rice Terraces is narrow and unpaved.
- Use Citywalks.me and Maps.me offline maps.
- To plan your travel within and between cities, use the Rome2Rio service.
While traveling you can book a car. Check out rental information here.