How to get the most out of your visit to the Philippines

This all depends on how long your staying and which islands. For example fishing is very poor in many parts due to dynamite fishing and also over trawled aswell as illegal fishing. BUT there is still some good sea fishing to be done if you do your research. Ive spent a lot of time and even here getting information on places can be difficult as tourism is still at its early stages. The advertisements of most things arent heavily done and there is a lack of support from tour operators. This could still be down to the fact that the Philippines is regarded as a dangerous location. Which i think is unfair on the country as a whole. A bit of common sense and being alert you are unlikely to fall foul to anything more than an overcharging vendor.

First thing i would advise is to look at your suitcase what are you bringing with you? Things i would bring are as follows :-

  • Camera
  • good quality breathable water proof jacket
  • clothing pack for 3 days ONLY
  • sun block
  • Anything medical you will need asprin etc.
  • Vitamins if you use them
  • Diving or sports equipment that you may need

That should be enough to get you through a few days here. But get a big suitcase! The reason to pack so light is that clothing is cheap, sunglasses can be bought for less than £1 from most street vendors, you are more likely to be taking a full case back. The camera is upto you but i currently have 3 due to locations there is my rather expensive Canon EOS, a Kidak Easy share which has camcorder facility and also a small Polaroid camera which also has camcorder features which fits into my top pocket. The reason i have the different cameras is sometimes its not safe to be wondering around with a camera that is worth more than a poor mans house. Medication wise there have been cases of viagra having something else in them which has killed several people in Angeles City. Birth control tablets that have been nothing more than sugar and your better safe than sorry. Vitamins are over priced here big time you could probably even sell some they are so overpriced. Diving and sports equipment is generally overpriced and of unknown brands so if its your main pass time better make sure its either available for purchase/rent or bring your own.

The Philippines has a lot to offer in the way of diving facilities due to its numerous islands and boat hire and instruction is cheap in comparision to most other countries. Aswell as the country has some of the most beautiful sea life on the planet. (ill add more on this tomorrow).

On land there are motorbike treks available, historical visits and shopping galore in some of the more upmarket malls. For more information if coming to the Philippines just email me and ill give you a more indepth view of the location you will be visiting.

If your in the City you will find eating out is not only cheap but most restaurants provide good food and most international dishes. If you eat at the bigger malls such as Ayala or SM the choice of restaurants is pretty vast to choose from. Also Pizza Hut, McDonalds and most other restaurants you find in the yellow pages directory will deliver to your lodgings most without any extra charge.

The most important thing about your visit is research different times of the year have different festivals and research will help keep your budget under control to get the most out of your visit. Getting a hotel to organise your trips out may make life easier but may also hit you in the pocket. People here are very approachable and getting a personal driver for the day, week or fortnight plus car can be easily achieved if prior notice is given. The same with boats. Get an agent involved and the price will shoot up and you are likely to be unaware on the cost. But the Philippines is for all budgets from a backpacker happy to stop in a shared room to an executive looking to stop in a private villa. If you want any help finding a location that suits you best please just drop me an email at matt_wilkie@hotmail.co.uk or visit www.tropicalpenpals.com/forum